Monday, March 2, 2009

I received this from Herb's family and thought I would pass it along.

Herbert Morris Schneider, born April 24, 1921, died February 14, 2009 after a short illness.

Herb was a member of the Merchant Marine, starting as a wiper-oiler in World War II and retiring as chief engineer of the SS Coronado, an oil tanker. He maintained a lifetime interest in machinery and engines of all sorts, from tiny models to the Wartsila-Sulzer RTA96-C, the world’s largest ship engine. His work at sea took him to ports all over the world, from Alaska to Bangla Desh to Brazil to Marseilles. He was always a stalwart union member.

When his children were young, he worked at a variety of machinist jobs ashore for eighteen years. Once he took his family for a year on a kibbutz in Israel.

When he returned to sea in 1968, it took a Supreme Court decision to get him on a ship. He was denied a Coast Guard security pass for political reasons. That decision was appealed to the Supreme Court, which found that the Coast Guard had exceeded its authority in investigating Herb’s or any other seaman’s beliefs and opinions. This action brought to an end almost twenty years of Coast Guard blacklisting.

Herb had a lifelong interest in archaeology. He talked of driving a tractor with an archaeologist in attendance during his year on the kibbutz, turning up potshards as he plowed. In the early 1970s he spent over a year as mechanic in charge at the Ozette archaeological dig on the coast of the Olympic Peninsula, maintaining all the pumps and machinery on site. He was the only person there who did not have at least a college degree, but maintained that he was much better paid than any of the graduate students.

He enjoyed traveling with his wife of over 50 years, Shirley McDevitt Schneider. They made numerous trips to Israel and to Europe as well as travels to the Panama Canal and to Asia.

After retirement he worked for many years as a volunteer on Sandy Bradley’s Potluck radio show, forming friendships with Sandy Bradley, the Canote brothers, and Utah Phillips among many others. He helped to organize a retirees’ local in his union, the Marine Engineers Benefit Association (MEBA). He also became active in Volunteers to Outdoor Washington , helping to build and maintain the Iron Goat Trail on Stevens Pass. He led a very active life, hiking and exploring by car up to within days of his death.

Herbert was the son of Felix Schneider and Emma Solomon Schneider Tarshis of Seattle and was predeceased by his wife Shirley. He is survived by his companion, Connie Phelps of Seattle, his sister, Ann Pincus of Sonoma CA, his children Franz Schneider of Hollister CA, Maggie Kadet of Spokane, Wolfe Schneider of Buckley WA, and Reba Schneider of Seattle, as well as seven grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, and many nephews and cousins.


markin said...

Farewell To An Unrepentant Wobblie

Strangers In Another Country, Rosalie Sorrels and various artists, Red Barn records, 2008

The first paragraph here has been used in reviewing other Rosalie Sorrels CDs in this space.

“My first association of the name Rosalie Sorrels with folk music came, many years ago now, from hearing the recently departed folk singer/storyteller/ songwriter and unrepentant Wobblie (IWW) Utah Phillips mention his long time friendship with her going back before he became known as a folksinger. I also recall that combination of Sorrels and Phillips as he performed his classic “Starlight On The Rails” and she his also classic “If I Could Be The Rain” on a PBS documentary honoring the CafĂ© Lena in Saratoga, New York, a place that I am also very familiar with for many personal and musical reasons. Of note here: it should be remembered that Rosalie saved, literally, many of the compositions that Utah left helter-skelter around the country in his “bumming” days.”

That said, what could be better than to have Rosalie pay musical tribute to one of her longest and dearest folk friends, her old comrade Utah Phillips, someone who it is apparent from this beautiful little CD was on the same wavelength as that old unrepentant Wobblie. Here Rosalie takes a wide scattering of Utah’s work from various times and places and gives his songs and storytelling her own distinctive twist.

For example? Well, right from the first song “Starlight On The Trail” about being adrift in America in the later part of the 20th century with its prologue taken from some thoughts on the writings of author Thomas Wolfe (of “You Can’t Go Home Again” fame). Or the stirring “He Comes Like The Rain” a fair description of Utah himself if one thinks about it. Or to get political (and worry about the next generations) “Enola Gay”. And political memory about the forgotten “pre-mature anti-fascist” heroes of the Abraham Lincoln Battalion of the International Brigades that fought in Spain when it counted in “Eddie’s Song”. Finally, how about the appropriate ‘Ashes On The Sea” complete with Kate Wolf/Woody Guthrie story. If there were more than a five star spot here I would click it. Utah, rest easy, Rosalie did good, she did very good by you here. Adieu, old working class warrior.

Anonymous said...

nice picture..
thanks for sharing information with us...
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Anonymous said...

Herbert was the son of Felix Schneider and Emma Solomon Schneider Tarshis of Seattle and was predeceased by his wife Shirley.Nice posting..

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