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