Dennis Schneider

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Dennis Schneider died unexpectedly on June 6th, 2024, several days after being severely injured in a fall down a set of stairs. He was born in Detroit, Michigan on June 1, 1943, to Alton Charles and Virginia Katherine (nee Trombly) Schneider. A loving father to his four sons, he will be sorely missed by Robert, Mark, and Jacob, while Ben, the youngest, tragically died a few months before Dennis’s own death. Dennis is survived by his brother Bruce, his sister Linda Clark, his lifelong friend Jean Schneider, and his grandchildren (Alyssa, Spencer, Sophia, and Luciano Schneider). He will be missed by a number of close friends and colleagues, including, but not limited to, Frederick Ortner, Pedro Teixeira, and Mark Williams.

Dennis not only loved his family, he was passionate about mathematics. He received his B.S. in math in 1965, his M.S. in 1966, and his Ph.D. in 1973, all from the University of Michigan. He joined the faculty of Knox College in the fall of 1973, where he taught mathematics until the day of his accident. Dennis was a demanding and exacting teacher who always tried to draw out the best in his students, many of whom ended up pursuing careers in mathematics and/or related disciplines. He introduced a number of new pedagogical tools to teaching at Knox and to his brother, tools that facilitate the teaching and use of mathematics, the most notable of which was Mathematica. His classic textbook Linear Algebra: A Concrete Introduction, and the Knox Packages, a collection of Mathematica programs for calculus and linear algebra, are widely used and admired. In 1977 he won the Philip Green Wright-Lombard College outstanding teaching award, and, in 2007, the Distinguished Teaching Award of the Illinois Section of the Mathematical Association of America in 2007. His devotion to his students was unquestionably a major reason why, when a weighted ranking technique was used, Knox was rated among the top 30 undergraduate level programs in mathematics nationwide whose graduates would go on to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics or statistics.

His impact on students was recently attested to by a symposium at Knox on June 1st of this year that was held to celebrate his teaching career, and which was attended by a number of students whom he had taught over his 50-year teaching career. Unfortunately, Dennis did not get to attend this symposium, or to witness this tribute, because his fall occurred shortly before the symposium. Those who wish to hear these heartfelt tributes can view recordings of the conference at https://markwilliams.web.unc.edu/conference-in-honor-of-dennis-schneider/.

At this very sad time the family will hold a private, solemn funeral ceremony. At a later date we intend to hold a celebration of Dennis’s life and achievements to which all of his friends and former students will be invited.

Finally, in addition to his love of family and his passion for teaching mathematics, Dennis was also a lifelong dog owner and lover of dogs, and a firm supporter of social justice and welfare. In lieu of flowers, the family would suggest a donation in Dennis’s name either to your local Humane Society or to the Central City Concern, Portland Oregon (centralcityconcern.org), a charitable society known to Dennis that provides support and assistance to the underprivileged and those who could use a helping hand.

Hinchliff-Pearson-West Funeral and Cremation Service of Galesburg is honored to serve the family. Online condolences may be made on the funeral home’s website at www.h-p-w.com.

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