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Alumnus Maintains Old-School Ties – 79 Years Later


Loyola Marymount University wasn’t always on a main thoroughfare close to freeways. In 1930 and ’31, John Schnieders would take the V Line railcar, transfer to the S Line then catch the Pico Line to get to then-Loyola University. His commute to campus from mid-city Los Angeles cost him 5 cents. 

John SchniedersSchnieders, who turned 100 years old in November 2009, is the second-oldest living Loyola University graduate. Vincent Arnerich, Class of 1930 and Law ’32, turned 100 five months earlier in June.

To complete his B.A. in business in 1931, Schnieders took night classes after working all day for Spartan Grocers. “It was hard,” he said, “but you make time for anything that you want.”

While he was at Loyola, Schnieders “played a little football and basketball” and was on the university’s debate team. He has kept up with the news about the team’s recent successes, including the perfect score in every round at the Hobart and William Smith College Round Robin Tournament in April 2009, the first time that has been achieved in the tournament's history.

Family is important to Schnieders; he talked lovingly about how close his large family was growing up in Dyersville, Iowa – near the setting for the film “Field of Dreams” – and he talked about his three daughters, JoAnn Wilber, Susan Schnieders and Martha Charchenko, and his 22 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren. It’s not easy to keep track of such a large family that extends across generations, and his wife, Marie, sometimes gently reminds him of who is exactly who. The Schnieders were married in 1980, three years after John's first wife, Annie Blair, passed away.

Schnieders’ family has been important to LMU, too. Four relatives earned degrees at LMU – Susan, M.A. ’90, nephew Robert Schnieders, J.D. ’74, cousins Oliver Schnieders ’36 and Francis Schnieders ’40. Also, Edmund Schnieders Jr., another nephew of John’s, served on the LMU board of regents from 1978 to 1990. John’s brother Gilbert “Gibby” Schnieders and his cousin Richard E. Schnieders also studied at Loyola but they left before completing their degrees. 

John Schnieders maintains the lifestyle that has served him well for 100 years: keeping family close, going to church every day and taking pride in all he does.

Posted Feb. 1, 2010