Date: August 14, 2008
About: Herman Schneidman - Class of 1931
Oldest Living Packer Helped Team Win Two Titles
Herman Schneidman, a two-time member of the NFL champion Green Bay Packers in the 1930s and a longtime Quincy businessman and civic leader, died Tuesday in Sunset Home. He was 95.
At 5-foot-11, 200 pounds, Mr. Schneidman made his mark in professional football as a blocking back, or the forerunner to a fullback in today's game. He also played receiver, linebacker and defensive back.
"There's a picture in the Pro Football Hall of Fame display for Clarke Hinkle showing him scoring a touchdown," said Aurie McGee of Quincy, Schneidman's nephew. "He later sent a thank-you note to Herm that said if it wasn't for his blocking, he wouldn't be in the Hall of Fame."
After graduating from the University of Iowa, Mr. Schneidman joined the Packers in 1936 and the team went 10-1-1 and defeated the Boston Redskins 21-6 in the NFL title game.
Two years later, the Packers lost to the New York Giants 23-17 in the championship game. In 1939, Green Bay made history by recording the first shutout in a championship game by beating the Giants 27-0. Some NFL historians consider the 1939 team as one of the greatest in league history.
After the 1939 season, Mr. Schneidman briefly retired but returned to the Packers for the 1940 season. However, he was released before the season started and signed with the Chicago Cardinals so he could be closer to his home and business.
Mr. Schneidman retired for good after the 1940 season and joined the U.S. Navy, where he played on the Great Lakes Naval Station team with the likes of baseball star Dom DiMaggio and future NFL Hall of Famer Otto Graham.
During his NFL career, Mr. Schneidman played in 46 games, rushing 13 times for 37 yards and catching seven passes for 119 yards and two touchdowns. He also had an interception.
"He was pretty matter-of-fact about his pro football career," McGee said. "He really didn't talk about his career much unless you asked. One time he was showing us a team picture and pointed at one of the guys and said 'That's the coach, Curly Lambeau.' Curly Lambeau! Can you believe it?"
In September 2006, Mr. Schneidman received a warm welcome when as the oldest living Packer, he returned to Lambeau Field to take part in alumni festivities.
During the weekend, he was introduced to players from Green Bay's 1996 Super Bowl championship team. "A lot of the guys were asking, 'Who is that?'" McGee recalled. "Once they found out it was the oldest living Packer, they all came over and shook his hand."
Mr. Schneidman, who wore jersey No. 4, even left a surprise for the most recognizable Packer to ever where No. 4. He signed a hat at Brett Favre's restaurant and left it for the quarterback. Several weeks later, he received a personal thank-you note from Favre.
"Everything was perfect. It was a perfect day," Mr. Schneidman said at the time.
Mr. Schneidman was born in Rock Island on Nov. 3, 1912, and moved with his family to Quincy when he was 6. He was a three-sport letterman (football, basketball and track) at Quincy High School from 1929-1931, where he captained the basketball and football teams. He received the Watson Honor Cup and the school's sports award during his junior and senior years. Mr. Schneidman is a member of the Quincy High School Sports Hall of Fame.
Mr. Schneidman received an honorable discharge from the Navy and returned to Quincy in 1945 and entered the family business, Schneidman Distributors, with his brother, Ed, who was then mayor of Quincy. Mr. Schneidman was also involved in many civic groups giving his time, expertise and money to benefit Quincy and the surrounding area.
Visitation will be from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday at Duker and Haugh Funeral Home. Services will be held at 9:30 a.m. Saturday in the Duker and Haugh Funeral Home followed by a funeral Mass at 10 a.m.in Blessed Sacrament Church, Seventh and Adams. Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery with military honors conducted by American Legion Post No. 37.