Paul Eugene Schneider, who represented everything good and admirable about the Greatest Generation, died peacefully at his home in Glenview on September 28 at the age of 95.
Born to Eva (Smith) and Samuel H. Schneider, he was raised in South Shore and graduated from Hyde Park High School, with dreams of playing third base for the Chicago Cubs. The onset of WWII, however, led him to a different field — of combat. As a result of his nearsightedness, Paul was classified 4F but memorized the Snellen Eye Chart and was thus able to pass the vision test to serve his country. His reason for enlisting, Paul would later explain, was a sense of duty — both as a Jew and as an American — to fight what Hitler and Nazism represented.
Trained as a combat medic and serving with the 5th Armored Division in Europe, Paul was severely wounded at the Battle of Hürtgen Forest, in Germany. While administering first aid to a wounded soldier, Paul was blown from a landmine into barbed wire fencing. Paul was awarded two Purple Hearts and two Bronze Stars. After more than 50 surgeries and nearly three years at various VA hospitals, Paul attended Northwestern University. He graduated first in his class from the School of Commerce (now the Kellogg School of Management).
Paul secured a position with the Chicago accounting firm of Checkers, Simon & Rosner, where he worked for almost 60 years as a C.P.A. This included ten years as managing partner (and much longer as a rainmaker), still going into the office into his 90s. Paul was remarkably loyal to family and friends, often lunching with those he’d known for more than 80 years. He was an avid Cubs and Bears fan, but was not unhappy when the White Sox won the World Series. Despite his badly damaged leg, Paul enjoyed playing doubles tennis into his late 60s and golf into his 90s. Though there is some debate as to the number of holes-in-one he made, he absolutely, positively had at least one.
Paul had a strict moral compass. “It’s either right or it’s wrong,” and he adhered to the former. He demanded perfection of himself but could accept less than that from others as long as an honest effort was made. He quietly looked out for less fortunate relatives, discreetly paying their rent or helping with medical or funeral expenses. Almost as beloved as family and friends were his five o’clock martini, listening to Ella Fitzgerald, and his boundless appetite for reading. Paul had four children with his late wife, Marilyn (Wolf), to whom he was married for 25 years, until her premature death from cancer in 1974. In 1978, he married Sylvia (Steinberg), to whom he was married for 42 years.
Paul is survived by his wife, Sylvia, his children Eric (Nora), Laura, Mark (Susanne) and James (Amy), and his stepson, Warren (Cindy Kelleher) Kruger. He was the grandfather of Graham, Kyle, Emily, Matthew, and Carly Schneider; Ben, Rebecca, Sarah, Jeremy and Nathan Kruger. He was predeceased by his brother, Charles (the late Norma Jean Smith and the late Barbara Anne Krause), his sister, Eloise (Edward) Bell and his stepsons Robert (Amy Kaminer) Kruger and John Kruger.
Due to Covid precautions, interment will be private. A memorial and celebration of life will be held when safety allows. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Disabled American Veterans (dav.org) or Jewish United Fund (juf.org). Arrangements by Chicago Jewish Funerals – Skokie Chapel, 847.229-8822, www.cjfinfo.com