Joan Schneider, known to loved ones as "Joanie," was born on January 14, 1952 in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
She was the adored adopted daughter of Leo and Davina (nee Baldini) Schneider. Both of Joan's parents preceded her in death; her tremendous love for them was evident as she told stories of them daily. She praised her mother's excellent cooking and often joked that it was a skill that was not passed down to her. In place of the culinary arts, she was blessed with a multitude of other talents. These are the countless gifts she has left us.
She graduated from South Scranton Central Catholic High School and went on to complete a Bachelor's Degree in Communication Arts and Secondary Education with a major in Speech, Theatre, and English at Mansfield University. She assistant directed Summer Stock Theatre for two summers in the early years of the Mansfield Theater Festival.
She served on the faculty at Wallenpaupack Area High School for over 30 years where she taught English, Speech, and, most notably and extensively, Theater classes. She famously led the drama program, earning the nickname "Drama Mama" and directing over 60 full-scale stage productions.
Under her leadership, the stereotype of "small town high school play" was defied and surpassed again and again. She challenged students with the task of undertaking professional and classic dramas and outstanding musicals. High quality production value was given to all performances and she pushed past the boundaries of the traditional high school auditorium. She brought shows into the community to dinner theaters and senior centers. She produced state champions and national finalists in speech, debate and drama competitions.
She was passionately devoted to creating great theater and to inspiring young performers, whom she treated as if they were already professional artists, not amateurs. Her work with students did not end at the curtain call, either; she spent endless hours counseling them to prepare for college and career paths, helping them through personal struggles and by being a loyal and loving friend. Her generosity was without end.
Joan appeared as an actress in productions put on by Center Stage, a local community theater group, and was also involved with the Wayne County Creative Arts Alliance.
Anyone who knew her, also knew, she was a witty, brilliant, and hilarious woman. Her giant and pure laugh was legendary and cherished. She was a work of art in the flesh: always adorned in wildly-colored fashions, stylish red hair and a smile that was as captivating as it was kind. She leaves behind an insurmountable number of lives that she touched, and her two beloved dogs, Shakespeare and Killian.
She dedicated her later years to peer mentoring programs, behavior modification and support groups for students from elementary to high school. She never stopped supporting, cheering on, and advocating for those she had guided over the years.
To say she was a force would be an understatement.
She was loved deeply. She will be missed forever by many. And never forgotten.
Share memories and photos on Joan's legacy page:
Memorial service will be held Saturday, March 24th at 4 p.m. Wallenpaupack Area High School Auditorium 2552 Rt. 6, Hawley, PA 18428.
"Joanie's Final Cast Party" immediately follows at The Capri Restaurant 447 Lakeshore Dr., Lakeville, PA 18438.
For offerings in memory of Joanie, please consider a donation to the "Joan Schneider Memorial Fund." Donations can be sent with checks made out to: WAHS Fine Arts Boosters, Attn: Alison Hoffmann, 2552 Rt. 6, Hawley, PA 18428.
To contribute to the memorial service flowers, please contact her dear friend Gary Brzuchalski at The Petal Pusher: 570-282-0101.
Arrangements are by Teeters’ Funeral Chapel, Hawley, PA. www.TeetersFuneralChapel.com.