Words do not come easily to me today as I struggle to express the depth of my sorrow at the untimely death of a dear friend. And though many of you never met him — or even heard his name — he was a friend to you as well.
Richard Harlan Schneider, whom we affectionately called Rick, died on April 2nd at age 54 of complications from brain cancer. Even in his final years when the battle was getting harder, his commitment to the Alzheimer’s community and our cause never wavered.
An esteemed Board member here at the New York City Chapter, Rick was a generous, loving man whose contributions to our success were incalculable.
As I reflect back on my six years as President and CEO, it is clear that like most major charities, the Alzheimer’s Association relies on the hard work and leadership of our board members. We have been blessed, in every way, to have dedicated Trustees who are deeply committed to us — most often the result of a personal experience with Alzheimer’s disease.
Rick, a prominent member of the financial services community, was no different. But even among this elite crowd of superior and talented people, he was special. He and his wife Tami first came to us to ask for our help when his mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. He knew that the Chapter could be an important resource for his family. But he also recognized that for many others without his resources the Chapter provided a true lifeline.
Rick volunteered to serve on our board, where for five years he demonstrated outstanding leadership as an Alzheimer’s “apostle” in the truest sense of the word. He was never ashamed to talk about his family’s experience with dementia, and never afraid to articulate over and over again — to anyone who would listen — how important the Chapter had been to his family.
Even in the midst of this economic downturn, with the financial industry under siege, Rick was always willing to stop what he was doing and spend time on our work. He and Tami opened up their home and their hearts to us, time and time again.
Rick knew that if we did not have the financial resources to do our work, many would suffer. In five years, his personal contributions, coupled with an unique ability to rally seemingly everyone he knew to support our services, exceeded $1.6 million dollars. We are a stronger, more responsive and more compassionate organization today, in large measure, due to Rick’s distinctive contribution to our vision.
Model board member. Devoted son. Soul mate to his lovely wife Tami. Dedicated and loving father. And a man whose friendship I will treasure always. I am a better person for having known Rick Schneider and the New York City Alzheimer’s community is stronger and more resilient today than ever before.
Rick, you will be missed.
— Lou-Ellen Barkan
President & CEO