Life Story / Obituary
James Schneider was a man who experienced much in his 29 years, and whenever he put his mind to something, there was no stopping him! He was well rounded in his knowledge of various subjects, and could hold his own in any conversation. For James, everything was black and white with a very small area of compromise. He valued his strong opinions, and loved a good debate. An engaging man, James had a heart for others, yet foremost in his life was the family he treasured. Gone too soon, James will be remembered fondly by those who came to know and love him.
The decade of the 1980s saw technology grow by leaps and bounds. By 1987, and despite a drastic drop in the stock market, everything from gadgets to appliances became bigger and better. The political sector experienced a rise in conservatism, and children everywhere were mesmerized by the Talking Alf and Teddy Ruxpin characters. That year the Simpson’s made its television debut while VHS tapes were on the way out and bean bag chairs could be found in nearly ever home. Yet for Christian “Chris” and Leah (Corbliss) Schneider of Blairstown, New Jersey, nothing compared to the excitement experienced when they welcomed the birth of their one and only son, James Douglas Schneider on July 13, 1987.
Known as Jimmy during his younger years, he grew up alongside his two sisters, Lauren and Katelyn. Although James was born in Pennsylvania, the Schneider’s made their home in New Jersey where young James experienced a childhood of adventure. James attended Blair Academy, a private, co-educational boarding and day preparatory school. Always quite bright, James was academically minded and excelled in his studies. From a young age he was a voracious reader, and he became quite knowledgeable on varied subject matters. Through his thirst for learning, he also built a large vocabulary.
Although James had a small group of friends, they were close and nearly inseparable during their youth. As a kid he tried his hand at sports, playing some soccer and lacrosse, but James was just as happy if someone else was the team hero. He was always there to cheer them on and celebrate with them, but James preferred not being in the limelight, and he didn’t need or want the attention.
James had a passion for music. It began when he played the trumpet while in school and in time he learned to play and enjoyed the guitar. Through the years James’ musical abilities came to include other instruments as well as becoming a singer and songwriter which he loved tremendously.
To begin his college education earlier, James left school early and went on to earn his GED. With a desire to major in history and his interest in European history, James began his college career in Glasgow, Scotland. Throughout his four years there, James went to school and also put his musical talents to good use. He frequently performed, playing in clubs while opening for some of his friend’s bands.
James eventually returned to the U.S., living in Pennsylvania and New Mexico for several years. With his love for learning, he continued with his education. He had acquired plenty of college credits, but they were not really focused enough to center in on a degree. Quite independent, while taking classes James found ways to support himself. He worked as a cook and he also worked for one of the local hospice organizations. James was a free-spirited man who lived life on his own terms. His life was his own, so it was somewhat difficult for his parents to keep track of where he was or what he was up to.
It was while chatting online that James met the love of his life, Jane Benjamin. Even though miles separated them, the two shared common interests. They began talking and soon developed a strong friendship which eventually turned into love. When James decided on something, there was no way to convince him otherwise. Realizing Jane was worth taking a chance, James packed his car and set-out for Michigan in late 2010. When they finally met in person, there was an instant connection between them. Along with Jane’s family, James was introduced to Jane’s four year old daughter, Asher, and the connection with her was just as strong. The three of them soon became a family when on June 8, 2012, James and Jane shared vows of marriage. They began living on the NE side of Grand Rapids, Michigan and they could not have been happier.
For several years, James worked in in-home care with those who were developmentally disabled. He then landed a job at Spectrum Health where he held a variety of jobs over the years. Most recently, his experience culminated into the position of serving as an anesthesiology technician in the transplant unit at Spectrum. It was then when James felt encouraged to focus his education toward medicine. He continued taking classes and so looked forward to going to medical school. He felt he was meant to take care of people, and considered it his true calling in life.
Jane and Asher were James’ life. He loved being surrounded by their love and being home with them brought him the greatest joy. He especially loved cooking for them. Although James enjoyed his own vegan diet, he was the first to tell someone to make sure they were getting enough protein.
James was certainly knowledgeable about many things, and he also had some firm opinions, too. He could debate anything and it was very difficult to win an argument with him. Even so, James brought a special presence wherever he was. He was engaging, talkative when needed and he was frugal in nature. James found his spot in life with his wife and daughter and was looking forward to the future with them, and to give them the life he knew they deserved. James passed away quite unexpectedly, and with no time for goodbyes or a last, “I love you”, he lovingly has taken the joy of having lived and loved in a mighty and remarkable way along with him. Deeply missed, James will remain a special part of those who will keep his memory within their hearts.
James D. Schneider, age 29, of Grand Rapids, passed away Wednesday, March 22, 2017. He is survived by his wife, Jane; their daughter, Asher; his parents, Chris and Leah Schneider; mother-in-law and father-in-law, Lynnet and John Caras; grandfather, Harold Schneider and Dori Mills; sisters, Lauren and Katelyn Schneider; his brother-in-law and sisters-in-law, Jim, Chase and Rose; his aunt, Michele Schneider and uncle, Eric Schneider.
Friends may meet with James’ family for a memorial gathering on Sunday, March 26, 2017, 2-5 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes - Van Strien Chapel, 1833 Plainfield Ave., N.E., Grand Rapids, MI 49505, (616) 361-2613. For those who wish, contributions in James memory may be made to his family via the following links:
https://www.gofundme.com/in-memory-of-james-d-schneider. To share a favorite memory or photo of James and to sign his online guest book, please visit www.lifestorynet.com.