Bernhard E. “Bernie” Schneider, 82, longtime Ellensburg resident and business owner, passed away peacefully at his home on Thursday, February 11, 2021. He is survived by his wife, Freda; daughter, Cory, and her husband Nathan Chilman, as well as grandchildren Max and Line.
Bernie was born in Hasselbach Germany (Bavaria). He trained as a brewer before immigrating via ship from Hamburg to Montreal, Canada when he was 19. He had $30 in his pocket and no English language skills! He worked his way across Canada laboring, mining and hunting for a living and learned the language on the way by reading comics and newspapers. He met Freda at the bottom of a gold mine in Wells, BC and after the birth of their daughter Cory, they emigrated from Canada to the United States. In the United States, Bernie worked in the Seattle shipyards, eventually becoming a union pipefitter and working at the Bangor Nuclear Submarine base in Silverdale WA, on the Alaska pipeline in Valdez AK, and at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, among other projects.
In 1980, Bernie and Freda decided they wanted to move to Ellensburg, so they bought a service station at the west interchange. They eventually remodeled it into a mini-mart and he operated this business until he retired at the end of 2010. Bernie joined the Ellensburg Posse in 1985 and was an active member for 30+ years, including serving as Captain and as Treasurer. He was active in search and rescue and was a member of the Ice-Age Club, enjoying Nick Zentner’s geology classes and lectures.
Bernie enjoyed traveling around the United States, tinkering on engines, flying airplanes, talking investments and stock market, and fishing in Alaska with his best buddy, son-in-law Nathan. As an immigrant, he embodied the American Dream. He loved everything that this country offered: boundless opportunity, beautiful scenery, the wide-open spaces of the great west and the cowboy way of life. He was a hard worker and an adventurer and lived his life with integrity and by a strict code of honor.
Memorial contributions in Bernie’s honor are suggested to Hospice Friends, 302 E Second in Ellensburg. The family wishes to thank KVH Hospice for their outstanding, compassionate and skilled end-of-life services.
Johnston & Williams Funeral Home and Crematory of Ellensburg has been entrusted with caring for Bernie’s family. Online condolences may be left at www.johnston-williams.com
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