Josie Schneider: R-C featured senior is long-time volunteer, also likes to paint
Josie Schneider doesn’t remember a time when she wasn’t volunteering for something.
During World War II, she volunteered with the Red Cross and the American Women Voluntary Service. While her daughters were growing up she was a 4-H volunteer, teaching cooking, sewing and crafts. And in the Carson Valley, Schneider has devoted numerous woman-hours to the senior center and other organizations through the Retired Senior Volunteer Program.
After growing up in Huntington, New York, a small community on the north shore of Long Island, Schneider, The Record-Courier’s featured senior, moved to California where she worked as an office manager. That’s where she met her future husband, Eugene.
“I didn’t have anything else to do,” said Schneider, “so six months later we were married.”
While Schneider raised their two daughters, Gina and Susan, she ran a preschool from their orange grove in Redlands, Calif. Many people can’t supervise a large brood of children. Yet Schneider was licensed to take in up to 12 children at a time.
“Lots of love, crafts and sunshine,” said Schneider. “And I was able to be home with my children. That was an added incentive.”
It was during their first weekend visit to Topaz Lake that Schneider and her husband decided that they loved the Carson Valley. They purchased a lot at Topaz where they planned to build their dream home. They still own that lot; however, when they moved, it was to Gardnerville, not to Topaz.
“We love the Valley, its terrain, its friendly people and its weather,” said Schneider. “We didn’t know a soul when we moved here. But now we have lots of good friends.”
Once Schneider moved to the Valley, she and her husband became involved with the senior center and RSVP. Schneider worked at several locations through RSVP from 1983 through 1987, and in 1988 she started helping at the senior center by assisting in the dining room.
Work at the senior center kept Schneider busy, yet in 1994 she again shifted the focus of her volunteer work by inputting immunization records into the computer at Community Health Services and helping at Family Support Council until 1996.
This woman of many talents also contributed time at Gardnerville Elementary School by helping students read.
Somehow, during this hectic schedule, Schneider found time to develop a new hobby. She always enjoyed knitting, reading and playing cards at the senior center, but after admiring the paintings hanging on the walls at the senior center, she decided to try her hand at painting as well.
First she took classes just to see if she had any talent. Later she enrolled for a grade.
“I got straight A’s,” said Schneider. “And I especially like working with oils.”
Schneider’s work has hung at the senior center and at the Carson Valley Inn’s gift shop.
“I’m surprised by what I turn out,” said Schneider. “And the best part is, I really have fun.”
Schneider and her husband will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary next year. To mark the occasion, they plan a trip to Steamboat Springs, Colorado, to visit their two daughters and their grandson, Reed.
“Steamboat Springs is almost as nice as the Carson Valley,” said Schneider. “Almost. Not quite.”
Recently poor health has limited Schneider’s volunteer activities, and she has kept a low profile. But she says that when her health picks up, she’d like to travel and get back to RSVP.
“I’ve always been a volunteer,” said Schneider. “It’s what I do best, and it makes me feel good to help people less fortunate than me.”
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