In Terrace, former library board chair dies at age 91

Willy Schneider "was always a very, very passionate man" and his work at the library will be a lasting legacy to his memory, say friends

  • Sun Mar 1st, 2015 8:00am
  • News

Willy Schneider spearheaded the 1990s expansion of the Terrace Public Library.

One of the longest serving members of the Terrace Public Library board and a key figure in its expansion in the mid-1990s has died.

Willy Schneider, 91, passed away after suffering a heart attack Feb. 22.

“He was always a very, very passionate man,” said former longtime Terrace resident David D. Hull, who was a neighbour of Schneider’s and a city councillor when the expansion was first proposed during Schneider’s term as library board chair.

“I always admired him. When he took on and said he was going to do something, he did with vim and vigour and passion and he was always, always a consummate gentleman, professional and really a pleasure to be with,” said Hull.

That expansion, completed in 1995, took the building from a quaint building to a real asset for the city, Hull added.

Schneider was also a Rotarian and involved in many projects, including numerous playgrounds and the Howe Creek Trail, which started as a Rotary project, said Hull.

Born in Germany, Schneider served in the German army during the Second World War and recounted those years in his 2008 autobiography, “Such is Life.”

Coming to Canada in 1954 and settling in Terrace in 1959, Schneider built an insurance business.

Following decades of service on the library board, Schneider retired from the board in 2007.

When it was decided to name a board and meeting room at the library after Schneider, he put up a fuss, saying he didn’t need something like that to be named after him, but everyone knew he deserved it, said Hull.

The library board was a tight-knit group and it was an honour that had to be bestowed “because Willy and the people he bootstrapped with his passion made it what it is today,” said Hull.

Current library board member Melanie Wilke said the board was fortunate to have Schneider as a member.

“Willy’s booming voice was a frequent, welcome sound in the library as he came in to do board business and until his passing, as an avid reader. He will always be a part of the library, as our boardroom proudly displays his name,”  she said.

“We are saddened to hear about the passing of Mr. Schneider. His work with the Terrace Public Library will be a lasting legacy to his memory,” said mayor Carol Leclerc.