"Mary Jane Schneider, Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor Emerita of Indian Studies, died Friday, Aug. 29, 2014, at the age of 73.
Born June 10, 1941, in Manchester, N.H., she was the daughter of Alfred George Graves and Elizabeth Conboy Harris. She was reared in New Hampshire and a graduate of Laconia High School. She received a B.A. in anthropology and French at Beloit College, Wis., and her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in anthropology at the University of Missouri-Columbia. It was also in college where she met her future husband, Fred Schneider.
After her college graduation in 1963, she worked at the Paterson Museum in Paterson, N.J. She married in 1965 and resided in Norman where Fred was studying to receive his M.A. in anthropology at the University of Oklahoma. Mary Jane worked on a research project at the Stovall Museum to develop one of the first successful computerized museum inventories in the nation. She later continued this project at the Museum of Anthropology at the University of Missouri. In the summer of 1967, she and her husband moved to Missouri where she served as the cook for the Missouri Archaeological Field School. In the fall, they moved to Columbia where both entered the graduate program in anthropology and Mary Jane was appointed director of the Museum of Anthropology. She received both her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees while directing the museum.
She moved to North Dakota where she first had a temporary teaching position in the Department of Anthropology, University of North Dakota. It was during this time that she served as editor of the Plains Anthropologist. With the establishment of the Department of Indian Studies in 1977, she was soon appointed the first chair of the department and was greatly involved in the development of the department. She was eventually served as Professor of Indian Studies.
During her association with the department, she twice served as president of the Plains Anthropological Society and spent a year on leave to conduct research for a new exhibit at the Minnesota Historical Society. Among her many articles, books and chapters in books, she co-edited the book which accompanied the exhibit. She published material on Plains Indian cultures, Native American clothing and art and the role of women in Native American cultures.
Her hard work, love of teaching and research, professionalism and personality resulted in her receiving, in 1997, the highest academic honor awarded to a faculty member at the University of North Dakota — a Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor. In 1998, she was awarded the McDermott Award for Excellence in Teaching, Research, Creative Activity and Service at the University of North Dakota. She retired from the University in 2003 as professor emeritus. Also, in that year she received the Distinguished Service Award from the Plains Anthropological Society.
She loved history and travel. Most likely this was prompted by her spending her eighth grade in England when her mother received a Fulbright Teaching Exchange. This also afforded her the opportunity to travel through Europe. Later, she and her husband had travels throughout the U.S., to Canada, Guatemala, Honduras, England, Scotland and Wales.
She was an avid reader of mysteries, Native American culture and history, English history and fiction. She was also a frequent visitor to natural history museums, art museums and public gardens. She started sewing while in grade school and later in life became an avid quilter and fabric addict. She exhibited and sold her work at shows in North Dakota, Minnesota and Oklahoma, and won many ribbons for her work.
Upon retirement in 2003, she and her husband, Fred Schneider, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, returned to Oklahoma. For several years she taught courses for the Department of Anthropology at Oklahoma University.
She was preceded in death by her parents."
Source: UND University Letter, 9 September 2014