Jack Schneider toured post-WWII Germany armed with a clarinet and a saxophone.
He traveled with an Army band from town-to-town, entertaining the troops and the town folk with Sousa marches and Count Basie big band jazz.
When he returned stateside he met a beautiful young blond at the business school both attended; he went to work at Univac (headed by General Douglas MacArthur in 1955), working as a systems analyst on the first computers; and he married the beautiful blond. She was 20. He was 25. Over the next nine years, seven children were born to them. I’m number three of seven. He continued to be a musician, switching from saxophone to bass, and for many years was part of Francisco “Kiko” Rangel’s Latin jazz band. The group played at restaurants and, as seen below, often performed at the annual 4th of July St. Paul city picnic at Cherokee Park, a few blocks from where I live and my mom grew up.
On this Memorial Day, he’s in the hospital, trying hard to regain his strength so he can come home. Thanks, Dad, for your musical service to the country. You gave our soldiers respite from duty, and helped restore the flagging spirits of war-ravaged Germany after the conclusion of a brutal war.
Thanks also to my Uncle Jim, my dad’s older brother. His plane was shot down over the Pacific in 1944, so he never made it home to live the life his brother has been able to live. But his sacrifice, and others’ like him, made it all possible.