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1936 Otto 2021

Otto J. Schneider

June 15, 1936 — October 30, 2021

Otto J. Schneider, of Berrien Springs, died Saturday, October 30, 2021 at the age of 85. He is survived by his children, Concepcion Schneider of Oak Park, IL, Otto Schneider and Elek Schneider of Chicago, IL and Bleyer Schneider of Las Vegas, NV. His first born, Otto Jr., passed away shortly after childbirth. His wife, Noemi Schneider (nèe Ortiz Lejarza), likewise preceded him in death, having passed away in 2019.

Mr. Schneider was the eldest son of Georg Schneider and Elisabeth Schneider (nèe Zimmermann) born in June 1936, in Elek, Hungary. His siblings, Ingeborg DiMilio and brother Philipp preceded him in death.

His early childhood was spent in Elek, Hungary and his early teenage years in Germany, where he and his family were repatriated after WWII. In 1952, sponsored by the American Aid Society, he and his family emigrated to the United States, initially settling in Chicago, IL. In order to help support the family, he found work installing custom displays, which would lead to a long career as a skilled interior woodworker and installer. Mr. Schneider was employed by well-known custom millwork companies in Germany, Illinois, Michigan, and Indiana.

In 1962, he married Noemi Ortiz Lejarza in Mexico City, Mexico, returning to Chicago, where the couple settled for the first few years of marriage. After the birth of his daughter and second son, the family moved to Berrien Springs, MI, living on and working the farm his parents had purchased. In the following years, his youngest two children joined the family.

In 1972, he moved the family to Germany to immerse his children in the German language and culture. After two and a half years and having traveled throughout Germany and Europe, including a visit to his birthplace, the family returned to the United States and resumed their lives in Berrien Springs. All four children graduated from Berrien Springs High School.

Mr. Schneider had a life-long passion for Fussball (soccer), a sport he learned to play as a child and continued to play until age and injuries forced him to become a ‘side-line player’. He was a member of two German soccer clubs; Schwaben A.C. in Chicago, IL and the St. Joe Kickers in St. Joseph, Michigan. Between the two clubs, he played soccer for over 40 years.

Riding motorcycles was another life-long passion. He bought his first motorcycle while living in Chicago in the late 50s, using it as a mode of transportation to get to/from work and he was hooked. Over the course of his adult life, Mr. Schneider owned many different makes and models of motorcycles, with the exception of Harley-Davidson; he never liked the look or sound. As he grew older and less able to manage the speed and dynamics of the newer motorcycles, he switched to riding scooters. He never missed an opportunity to ride, which is where he felt most content.

An unfortunate accident in 2020 set in motion subsequent ailments and injuries that he never fully recovered from, the last of which left him unable to continue living at home. His last place of residence was Pine Ridge Nursing and Rehab.

His children will remember him as a strong and stern person, but the discipline and strong convictions he taught them as children will remain with them forever.

At his request, Mr. Schneider will be cremated. Anyone wishing to honor his memory may make a contribution to the Humane Society of Southwestern Michigan. Online condolences may be left at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Otto J. Schneider, please visit our flower store.


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