William Otto Schnerre Dec. 30, 1921 ~ Sept.10, 2012
William Otto Schnerre, 90 of Fayetteville died Monday, September 10, 2012 at Circle of Life Hospice. He was born December 30, 1921 in Galena, Illinois. He was the third of six children born to Otto Bernard and Margaret Melville Schnerre. He began life on a working farm in a small town and later achieved great accomplishments in both his professional and personal life. He was a military man who was not only in command, but also commanded the respect of so many. He had a strong sense of family and was loyal to his friends. He was a war hero and a personal hero to many. As he put it himself, “I’m an ordinary guy with extraordinary adventures!” He would later tell stories of his childhood on the farm and of growing up during the Great Depression. Along with his older brother, Bob, he discovered a fascination for airplanes. He was an excellent student and went on to graduate at the top of his class as the valedictorian and also as the Senior Class President. He learned many things from his father, but would later be known for one thing in particular. His father taught him the art of the clock. In his retirement, he began to repair clocks, just as his father had taught him. In 1941 Bill’s dream of flying became a reality when he signed up to be an aviator with the Army Air Corps and went to train in South Texas. Upon graduation, he became an instructor pilot. When the Army Air Corps dissolved, he became an officer in the United States Air Force. He proudly served his country and he had the privilege of flying many different aircraft during his career, beginning with the B-24 and ending with a B-47, including various training aircraft. He flew during World War II, the Berlin Air Lift (which he considered his finest humanitarian contribution), the Cold War and the Korean War. In 1965, he retired as a lieutenant Colonel. Early in Bill’s career he met and fell in love with an Oklahoma girl, Joyce Eunice Hair. In 1942, Bill and Joyce were married in Enid, Oklahoma. They moved from one base to another and over the years they were blessed with three daughters, Martha, Linda and Judi. Of all of his accomplishments, he was most proud of his daughters and the men they chose to marry. Through all their duty stations and after retirement, Bill and Joyce made many lifelong friends. After 42 wonderful years of marriage, Joyce lost her fight to diabetes. Alice Wagner, one of their lifelong friends, became his second wife. With Alice, Bill found a renewed enthusiasm for travel and life in general. She remained an important part of his life and they were very good friends until the time of her death in the 90’s. Upon retirement, Bill and his family moved to Fayetteville, Arkansas. The years following brought much pleasure. He set aside a room in his house for clocks, to continue what his father had taught him years earlier. Later on, he would expand his hobby to include woodworking, where he built grandfather clocks, toys and furniture. Bill also enjoyed his time outdoors. At home, he kept a garden and was always proud to provide home-grown goodness to all of the meals he loved to prepare. In his younger years, he was known to hunt while in his later years he never turned down an opportunity to go trout fishing. In his spare time, he loved to travel, read and of course, there was always time for a game or two of cards. He was preceded in death by his parents, Otto and Margaret Schnerre; wife of 42 years, Joyce Schnerre; second wife, Alice Wagner Schnerre; three brothers, Bob Schnerre, Jim Schnerre and Jack Schnerre and sister, Mary Mullen. Survivors include his daughters, Martha Wuerz and husband Hartmann of Esslingen, Germany, Linda Hebard and husband John of Fayetteville and Judi Adams and husband Gil of Tulsa, Oklahoma; sister, Betty Longshore of Port Angels, Washington; sister in law, Jo Schnerre of Orion, Illinois and Billie Hair of Muskogee, Oklahoma; grandchildren, Petra Howard and husband Alan of London, England, Tom Wuerz and wife Elizabeth of Cleveland, Ohio, Laura Choate and husband Peter of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Michelle Choate and husband Rod of Tulsa, Oklahama, Rachel Greer and husband Trey of Muldrow, Oklahoma and Alex Adams and wife Randa of Cabot, Arkansas; ten great grandchildren, Henrietta, Sebastian, Isaac, Arwen, Orien, Emmalee, Kaitlyn, Wiliam, Susan and Claire and many nephews, nieces, great-nephews, great nieces, great great nephews and great great nieces.
The family will receive friends Thursday, September 13, 2012 from 5 to 7 PM at the funeral home. A memorial service will be held 1:00 PM, Friday, September 14, 2012 with Mr. Robert Dockery officiating. Burial will be at the Fayetteville National cemetery under the direction of Beard’s Funeral Chapel. In lieu of flowers, please send donation to the
American Diabetes Association, P.O. Box 11454 ,Alexandria, VA 22312. Online condolences may be made to the family at www.beardsfuneralchapel.com.
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