In the early morning light of July 3, 2018 we lost our beloved mother, Rosemarie Schneiter Neuman. Having enjoyed 90 years of life, she died peacefully at home with family by her side. While we lost a wonderful mother, the world lost a wonderful friend, artist, musician, and patriot.
Rosemarie was born April 24, 1928 in Belgrade, Montana, the oldest child to Swiss immigrants Fredrick Schneiter and Maria Brunner-Schneiter, who made a living as cheesemakers and dairy farmers. She learned to speak English while attending Belgrade Elementary School and with her brother Fred they taught their parents to speak English by sharing their daily lessons. After graduating Belgrade High School in 1947, Rosemarie worked in Bozeman, saving her money for a grand adventure. In 1951, at the tender age of 23, she embarked alone on a journey to the homeland of her parents, taking a train from Bozeman, Montana to Grand Central Station in New York City. From New York she sailed to Europe on the Queen Mary, returning six months later on the Queen Elizabeth. It was during this trip that she cemented the family relationships with our Swiss relatives that remain to this day. She was fortunate to have been able to travel more than a dozen times over the years to visit her Swiss family, and attend the most recent family reunion in Switzerland in 2017.
She met Ted Neuman, an engineering student and ex-Navy pilot from Roundup, Montana, while working at Montana Hall on the campus of Montana State College (now MSU). They were married on November 26, 1953 in Bozeman, Montana and together they had four children, Irene, Laura, Dan and Tim. The family moved to Stevensville in 1969, where Rosemarie found employment in a variety of positions from picking potatoes and thinning Christmas trees to helping teach kids in the Title I program at the Stevensville School. Eventually, she settled in the job of Administrative Assistant and efficiently ran the front office of the Stevensville High School from 1970 until she retired in 1993. If you ever served detention in that time period, odds are you sat across the counter from Rosemarie and she asked you what your story was. She made many young friends thus and retained an amazing recall of people and events during her experience there.
Rosemarie had a strong affinity for animals and agriculture, and our lives were filled with cats, dogs, horses, beef and milk cows, bum lambs, geese, goats, pigs, ducks, chickens and a llama. She spent countless hours doctoring and mothering animals back to health, and until her last days, she excelled at gardening and caring for animals. Our mother was an accomplished artist as well, painting and drawing since childhood. She finished hundreds of oil paintings and pastels in her lifetime, her work focusing on scenery, farm life and wildlife imagery. She was also a gifted musician and with her family pursued a family band for many years playing at parties, square dances, family reunions and many other weekend events. She belonged to and supported the Montana Fiddlers for many years, and was a charter member of the Five Valley Accordion Association. Our mother was also a passionate patriot, and although she was proud of her Swiss family and heritage, she dearly loved her country and spent many hours volunteering for the patriotic causes she believed in.
Rosemarie was preceded in death by her husband Ted, who passed in 2011, and her brother Fred Schneiter. She is survived by her brother Armin Schneiter, Fargo, North Dakota, all of her children, Irene/Ed Baca, Cornelius, Oregon, Laura/Charles Krimmert, Vashon Island, Washington, Dan/Tonya Neuman, Missoula, Montana, and Tim/Theresa Neuman, Great Falls, Montana. She is also survived by grandchildren Jason, Katy, Cyan, Shane, Raysha, Ren, Cole, Winter and Chance, and great grandchildren Gavin, Dylan, Chloe, Genna, Scarlet and Hudson, numerous nieces and nephews, and her beloved dogs Suzie and Holly.
A memorial service will be held Sunday July 15, 2018, at 2 p.m. at the Stevensville Senior Center, 100 Mission Street, Stevensville, Montana. In lieu of flowers or gifts, donations in her name to Pantry Partners Food Bank, P.O. Box 806, Stevensville MT 59870 would be welcomed.