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1942

'42
Lee Seemann

Long before he became an early Warren Buffett investor and a wealthy philanthropist, Lee Seemann '42 was a 23-year-old from Omaha piloting a B-17 over Germany. Seemann, a decorated war hero who often called himself “an incredibly lucky guy,” died on June 2, 2015, in Omaha. He was 95.

Seemann was born May 10, 1920, in Minnesota, but his father, a car dealer, soon moved the family to Omaha. Lee attended Dundee Elementary and Central High, class of ’38. At 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds, he played football at Santa Clara University in California, where he took part in ROTC and was president of the senior class. After World War II, in which he survived a number of close calls, he met Willa Davis, who immediately liked him.

Seemann bombed the Normandy coast on D-Day, June 6, 1944, and flew his final mission on Aug. 9. Some 30,000 American airmen based in England died in the war, but Seemann enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner with his mother in Omaha.

He received the Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross (twice), the Purple Heart and the Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters. He recounts his harrowing tales in his 1998 memoir with David Harding, titled I Thought We Were Goners.

Lee became a branch manager at International Harvester and later started his own business, Seemann Truck and Trailer.Willa’s father was a prominent Omaha urologist, Dr. Edwin Davis. He and the Seemanns, still in their 20s, invested with Buffett in the late 1950s and built large fortunes. Over the years, Lee and Willa Seemann have donated quietly to universities, hospitals, museums, churches and other charities. In the 1990s, they were major contributors to the Strategic Air & Space Museum. They also donated to his high school, and a decade ago Central named its new football facility Seemann Stadium.

 

The couple raised four children, but suffered the death of daughter Jane Seemann in a 1988 car crash in Omaha.
 

In 2000, Seemann underwent heart bypass surgery. In recent times he was in hospice care, and his wife said he died from various old-age ailments.

 

Besides his wife, he is survived by sons Lee Seemann Jr. of Omaha and Scott of Washington state; and daughter Ann Drickey of Palm Springs, California.
submitted Aug. 4, 2015 8:23A

1968

'68
GRD Law '75
Edward L. Niland

Ed Niland '68, J.D. '75 died on August 4, 2015. Ed's death was due to complications associated with the treatment of esophageal cancer. Ed lived in Scotts Vallley. He practiced law from his office in Los Gatos. He is survived by his wife Julia and daughters Jessica and Danielle.

submitted Aug. 17, 2015 2:11P

1980

'80
Michael Schneikert

Michael Schneickert '80 died July 1 of injuries suffered in a traffic accident. He was 56. He was a longtime leader in the historic preservation community, serving on the boards of Pasadena Heritage and the Pasadena Community Foundation, where he chaired the finance committee.
 
A former Navy fighter pilot, he grew up in San Jose and took his undergraduate degree from Santa Clara University, followed by an MBA from Harvard University. And he was a managing director of UBS Financial Services in Los Angeles, named one of the top 50 financial advisers in California by CEO magazine.
 
Schneickert became deeply interested in architectural preservation after he purchased a 1913 Craftsman house on Hillcrest Avenue designed by Alfred and Arthur Heineman, now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. During a massive restoration project of the house and its acre of grounds, Schneickert and his wife, Karen Otamura, lived for years in a small apartment above the garage even as their three children were born. Once completed, the couple often hosted events, parties and architectural tours at their home.

After graduating from college, becoming a certified public accountant and then serving for two years as a naval lieutenant and pilot, Schneickert “really wanted to go to MBA school but didn’t have the money. He could have worked as a CPA, but young accountants weren’t making much. So he joined the San Jose Police Department as an officer from 1985 to 1987, got as much overtime as he could, and then went off to Harvard.”

“When Michael moved to Pasadena in 2002, he quickly embraced it as the place to build his life,” said Jennifer DeVoll, executive director of the Pasadena Community Foundation. “He was deeply committed to serving others. When he joined the board of PCF, he focused his enormous energy and passion on making the foundation viable for generations into the future. Pasadena has lost a true local hero with Michael’s passing.”
 
Schneickert’s business partner, Jordan Hayes, was convinced to move from San Francisco to Southern California by Schneickert. “He had the type of intelligence that came off the page,” Hayes said. “Whatever the topic, Michael always had an interesting and compelling perspective, and often one that you never considered before. His views were often marked by strong confidence, hope and optimism.”

Schneickert is survived by his wife Karen; their three sons, Roy and twins Jack and Nick; his father, Gary Schneickert; and his sister Christine.

submitted Aug. 4, 2015 4:57P

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