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Friends, family remember caring, devoted pathologist

Dr. Kenneth Schneider, a professor emeritus of clinical pathology, an involved community member and a beloved father and husband, died last Saturday following an extended illness. He was 69.

From leading various medical associations to grassroots-level organizing for blood donation, Schneider leaves behind a legacy of devotion to quality health care and to the medical profession, friends and family members said this week. They described him as an unselfish person who always thought of others before himself.

"He just enjoyed helping others," said Della Sue Schneider Martin, Schneider's daughter. "That's kind of why he became a professor and a doctor in the first place, to help other people."

Schneider came to Duke in 1976 as director of hospital laboratories and professor of pathology. The American Society of Clinical Pathologists gave him a Distinguished Service Award in 1978 and the Commissioner's Medal in 1988. He was the co-recipient of the 1980 Albert and Mary Lasker Award for his work with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's Hypertension Detection and Follow-up Program.

Beyond his career at Duke, however, those who knew Schneider cited his work in the community and in professional associations as one of his most notable contributions. He worked with the ASCP, the American Association of Blood Banks, the Illinois Public Health Department, the American Hospital Association and the Durham and Charlotte chapters of the American Red Cross.

An avid fan of college basketball, Schneider was a member of the Iron Dukes and during the 1980s, was one of the original chiefs of the crews that drug-test NCAA athletes.

"[Being a crew chief] really bridged the two, his professional life and his hobbies," Martin said.

Christopher Kennedy, associate director of athletics at Duke, remembered Schneider as instrumental in establishing Duke's own drug-testing policies in the mid-1980s.

"We didn't have a testing program when we first set up our drug policy, and he set up the protocol for that," Kennedy said.

Before coming to Duke's Medical Center, Schneider was a professor at Northwestern University Medical Center, where he earlier had earned B.S., M.S. and M.D. degrees.

He is survived by his wife, Nancy Dankes Schneider; two brothers, Paul Schneider of Cumming, Ga. and Jack Schneider of Fallbrook, Calif.; his daughter, Della Sue Schneider Martin and her husband, Michael Jay Martin of Cary; his son Dale Edward Schneider and his wife Kathleen Schneider of Durham; and another son, Dwight Derold Schneider of New York City.

Contributions in his memory may be made to the American Diabetes Association, the Durham Chapter of the American Red Cross, Northwestern University or the Duke University Athletics Association. Donating a pint of blood is also suggested.

A memorial service will be held at Hall-Wynne Funeral Chapel at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 19.

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