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  • Richard C. Schneider

    1977, San Francisco, CA

    Richard Coy Schneider was born in 1913 to Dr. and Mrs. Louis Schneider in Newark, New Jersey, where his father, having trained at the University of Pennsylvania, was a general practitioner. He attended Culver Military Academy, graduated in 1931, and then became an undergraduate at Dartmouth, where he was active in both lacrosse and swimming. One of his hobbies was traveling, and he satisfied this, as well as the need for some extra money, by working summers on freighters on the Old Dollar-Line. The first summer he traveled to the Mediterranean, and during the next he was head pantry man on a ship that traveled around the world, despite a strike on the part of most of the crew, with Dick leading the strikebreakers. Thus, as a teenager in those times, he had seen a good bit of the world. After receiving an A.B. degree from Dartmouth, he sought and gained entrance to the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, receiving his M.D. in 1939. Between his junior and senior years, he worked on a dude ranch where he and the other ranch hands would anesthetize horses with chloral hydrate and "do the shoeing."

    He returned home for an internship at Newark City Hospital and took a year in pathology at Cleveland City Hospital and a year of surgery at Detroit Receiving Hospital, where he was a fellow studying contaminated wounds under a National Research Council project. In 1943, he married Madeline T. Thomas of Finley, Ohio. They had courted for a number of years, despite their geographic separation, with Madeline attending Bryn Mawr and working at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Dick at Dartmouth and then the University of Pennsylvania. Shortly thereafter, he had to report to the Carisle Barracks, and during World War II he served in North Africa, Italy, and France on the neurosurgical service of the 36th General Hospital under Lieutenant Colonel John Webster. During this period he became chief of neurosurgery at the 236th Hospital and consultant at the Percy Jones Hospital. Following the war, he went to the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor for his neurosurgical training under Dr. Max Peet, practiced neurosurgery for several years in Cleveland, and then at the invitation of Dr. Edgar Kahn, in 1950, he returned to Ann Arbor as an assistant professor. He became an associate professor in 1952 and professor in 1962. He began the neurosurgical service at St. Joseph's Mercy Hospital. When Doctor Kahn retired in 1969, he became chief of the Section of Neurosurgery at the University of Michigan.

    Dr. Schneider's bibliography includes extensive publications on head and cord injuries. He described the mechanisms of acute central cord injury and hangman's fracture and made important observations concerning the role of vascular insufficiency of the brain stem due to injury to the neck and spinal column. In addition to his book documenting serious and fatal football injuries, he was coeditor with Drs. Kahn and Crosby of the first and second editions of Correlative Neurosurgery and served as editor of an expanded third edition. Later in his career, he edited a definitive reference on sports injuries. His association and research efforts with Dr. Elizabeth Crosby spanned a quarter of a century and included studies on the interplay between the cerebral hemispheres and cerebellum in relation to abnormal movements, as well as tonus. Together, they studied rotational movement patterns associated with vesti-bular centers in the brain stem and have contributed to the understanding of the role of association bundles in producing clinical and electroencephalographic signs at a distance from the actual lesion site.

    Dr, Schneider was a tireless worker capable of long hours in the hospital, office, and laboratories. His ability to be involved in and to finish many simultaneous projects was recognized not only in Ann Arbor, but nationally. Thus, as well as his membership and activities in the Congress of Neurosurgeons (CNS), he was a member of the American College of Surgeons, American Medical Association, Association for Research in Nervous and Mental Diseases, American EEG Society, American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS), Neurosurgical Society of America, American Academy of Neurosurgery, Neurosurgical Travel Club, and American Association for Surgery of Trauma. He had many committee assignments and held many national posts. Among them, he was president of the AANS in 1974 and was on the Board of Directors between 1970 and 1977, and he was a member of the American Board of Neurosurgery between 1966 and 1972 and was vice chairman between 1970 and 1972. In addition, he served as a visiting professor in institutions in this country and abroad.

    Doctor Schneider was first and foremost, a teacher and was able to transmit enthusiasm for neurosurgery not only to house officers but also to students. He was also able to delegate both patient care and operative responsibility; yet he supervised in such a way that the house officer learned not only by watching but also by doing. Although his extensive neurosurgical activities did not permit him much free time, he enjoyed swimming at the Barton Hills Country Club and long walks. He shared with his wife a love for travel, having visited 60 countries in his lifetime. His wife, Madeline, was a strong factor in his success and is an avid gardener and homemaker and also finds time to serve as a volunteer at the University Hospital. Dr. Richard Schneider died June 9, 1986.

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