Don Schneider, former president of the North American Division, passed away May 23 in Burleson, Tex. Schneider served as NAD president from 2000 to 2010 and president of the Lake Union from 1994 to 2000.
Lake Union Conference’s executive secretary, Steve Poenitz, who served with Schneider before his Lake Union tenure, issued this tribute: “Having known Don and Marti Schneider from growing up under his leadership, I remember fondly his invariable sermon introduction. While he loved humor, nevertheless, Don would look seriously at his audience and testify, ‘I love Jesus. Jesus is my Best Friend. And I’d like for you to become His best friend, too!’
“That testimony gives us a peak into his love for evangelism. I understand Don was one of the principals involved in the creation of the satellite seminars of the mid- to late 1990s with Mark Finley, Dwight Nelson, Doug Batchelor, etc. Don’s skillset included that creative flair which only he could initiate with his infectious laugh. He loved to tell folks about Jesus. In fact, even those who had left the church were on his mind. He determined to reconnect with them and learn from them ways to avoid losing their presence. So, he would place an ad in the newspaper and ask for an interview with former Seventh-day Adventists, offering them $100 for the interview. And they took him up on it. That’s the innovative and creative Don I knew. One who loved Jesus and loved people, especially young people.”
Schneider began life in Merrill, Wis. He came to know Jesus, first when he was in the second grade and his family became Seventh-day Adventist Christians, and again when he renewed his commitment while a senior at Wisconsin Academy.
He completed his Christian education at two Adventist colleges and the Theological Seminary at Andrews University. He and his wife, Marti, provided pastoral leadership to churches in Louisiana, Arkansas and Minnesota. He served in various conference ministries in Oklahoma, Oregon and the Central Union. These all led him toward service as president of five conferences — Wyoming, New Jersey, Arkansas-Louisiana, Rocky Mountain and Northern California.
He and Marti, who worked for Adventist Missions at the General Conference, retired in 2010. During retirement, they pastored the Denver South Church for three years, and, in 2013, settled in Keene, Tex.
In addition to his wife, survivors include his daughter, Carol and son, Don, Jr.