William O. “Bill” Schneider of Riverton passed away Thursday, March 18. He was 72.
God commands us to love thy neighbor and that is how Bill lived his life. Bill was not only the patriarch of his own family, but a fixture in other families. He was a dispenser of wisdom, a skilled hand, a listening ear and role model. He was there, as family, for those who at the end of their life had none. He celebrated new beginnings and smoothed everyday life’s rough patches for people who had nowhere else to turn for help.
Bill grew up in Fremont County. Pavilion, Kinnear, Riverton. He lost his mother and father at an early age and was no stranger to hardship. He used his experiences to better himself and those he came into contact with. A summer in his youth brought Bill a bounty that forever changed his life. It was delivered in the form of a young woman, Virginia “Ginger” Smith who came to Fremont County from Oklahoma to visit her sister. When Bill met Ginger he knew he did not want to spend another day without her. Soon after they were married and rarely were they ever apart.
Bill defined what it means to work hard and be dedicated to one’s family. After putting himself through college he became a teacher. Later he signed on to work for Amoco. In the decades Bill dedicated to that company he came to run the company’s gas processing plant outside of Riverton near Beaver Rim. No one knew the gas plant better. Even after retirement, Bill was called on to solve problems at the plant that no one else could handle. Bill was later asked to travel to faraway places such as Egypt and the North Sea for his work. He headed up efforts in Texas and Kansas at various times in his career. But his heart never left home.
“The Hammer”, “One Arm” and “The General” were some of the nicknames people gave him. He was as tough as they come. He could work for days and nights without sleep during shutdown and spend hours outside in sub-zero temperatures with never a complaint. He possessed legendary strength of body and will, yet possessed discernment, kindness, caring and character that were no less remarkable. His sons will attest that all of these attributes were sometimes called upon simultaneously in Bill’s role as a father. He excelled in this and transitioned perfectly as his sons grew, became men and had children of their own who will dearly miss “Papa”.
Fremont County offers its residents opportunities to experience some of God’s finest creations and Bill took advantage of this. He loved the mountains. He hunted. He fished. Winter and summer he could be found on our lakes or in the back country. Sometimes he scouted for game. Sometimes he looked for fossils, but more often than not he just admired the view. He traveled thousands of miles on his Harley Davidson with Ginger. Often they were joined by sons, other family and friends. He appreciated the country and never took it for granted. But what he liked even more were the people he met at home and on the road. He was quick to offer a smile and even quicker to hear a new friend’s tale. His friendly laughter filled many a room.
He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Ginger (Riverton), sons Scott (Riverton), Ryan (Riverton), Kenneth (Fulshear, Texas), Coy Knobel (Keller, Texas) and sister Carroll Weber (Riverton). Survived by them, but missed by many more including four daughters-in-law whom he cherished, his grandchildren, nieces, nephews, extended family and friends.
A memorial service is being planned for later in the year.