Rathdrum Post 154

Manuel Schneidmiller


Manuel Schneidmiller (Mannie) was born July 27, 1915 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He was the son of German immigrants to Canada who had been living in a small Russian community named Yagodnaya Polyana about 40 miles northwest of a much larger city called Saratov located on the lower Volga River. His parents Henry and Anna Marie Schneidmiller were from farm families. His father's first employment in their new country was with the Canadian Pacific Railway. They had traveled to Canada with the intention of eventually finding their way to the Palouse region of the state of Washington. At the time the United States was severely limiting the immigration of individuals who were coming directly from Russia. Living in Canada for 8 years the family was finally able to enter the United States in the mid-1920s settling in Whitman County, Washington near St. John. They began to farm first on a rental basis that eventually grew to become a substantial wheat operation. The Schneidmiller family grew to number 11 children with 2 girls and 9 boys.

Mannie attended St. John schools graduating in 1937. His senior year he played on the small town's basketball team facing Bellevue High School for the state championship in the days that schools were not divided into divisions. They lost the game played at Hec Edmondson Pavilion on the UW campus in Seattle. Following graduation from high school he enrolled at Central Washington College and while a student there played football for Central. Beginning his junior year he transferred to Washington State College graduating in 1941 with a degree in agronomy.

Following graduation his first job was with Farm Security in Spokane as a farm loan specialist. It was his first "off the farm" job and was also the place that he met his later to become wife Gladys Vest. She was working in the office he entered. Gladys was from Western Montana but had grown up in the East Farms area of the Spokane Valley. She had graduated from Otis High School (now East Valley) and Northwestern Business College.

Shortly after WWII was declared Mannie enlisted in the Marine Corp and traveled to Quantico, Virginia for officer training school. He completed the program and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant. His first duty assignment directed him to San Diego and thereafter on a mission to deliver 18 amphibious landing craft to Samoa. It was there he joined the Second Marines amphibious tractor battalion. His war battle theatres included Saipan, Tinian, Tarawa and Okinawa. In 1946 he was discharged at Farragut, Idaho and later joined the Marine Corp Reserve from which he was retired as Lt. Colonel. Mannie received the bronze star, Purple Heart and other medals for his wartime service.

He returned to Spokane where he married Gladys in January of 1946. He worked for several years in the farm real estate business and in 1949 purchased a farm with his brother Elmer in the Post Falls area. Gladys along with one son Gary moved to Idaho in that same winter. The purchase included several hundred acres of farm land, a home and a good set of farm buildings. Together with his brother the two began their farming experience on the Rathdrum prairie. Both Ag majors from WSC they quickly determined they were more interested in farming and less interest in the dairy operation they had begun. In the 1950s the family purchased additional lands and ultimately created Schneidmiller Brothers, Schneidmiller Land Company and Schneidmiller Partners. They specialized in the production of grass seed and expanded the operation to include the farming of approximately 4000 acres in Spokane and Kootenai counties.

Mannie was also involved in a number of other business ventures. He was one of the founding owner directors of Northern State Bank, the predecessor of Washington Trust Bank in North Idaho. He also ventured with the owners of the Jacklin Seed Company to create the Plant Food Center in Post Falls. At Liberty Lake Mannie and family developed the Valley View Golf Course and the beginning project work that ultimately became Meadow Wood. Family development work that began with his participation include Coeur d'Alene Place, Montrose, and other neighborhood communities in Northern Idaho and Eastern Washington.

Throughout this time frame Mannie and Gladys were very involved in their community. Gladys was the bookkeeper and business manager for the farming operations and on a volunteer basis also helped Mannie with a number of the Board positions of which he became involved. He served for 18 years as a commissioner of the Post Falls Highway District and nearly as long as a commissioner on the board of the original Post Falls Irrigation District. Mannie was active with area Chambers of Commerce and other civic organizations as well.

Mannie and Gladys have been very generous to the North Idaho community through establishment of a number of scholarship programs designed to help high school graduates continue their educations. These scholarships are funded by family donations through the Idaho Community Foundation as well as Washington State University. For their support of WSU Mannie and Gladys were honored as Benefactors in 1998. The Schneidmiller family also gifted land to Kootenai Health for the establishment of their Post Falls medical campus as well as a land gift through Jobs Plus to originally bring the Harpers/Kimball organization to the city of Post Falls. Mannie and his wife Gladys have been honored by Kootenai County as grand Marshalls for the state's centennial celebration in Boise and various business and personal recognitions from the City of Post Falls, the Post Falls Chamber of Commerce, and the Idaho Community Foundation.

Mannie passed away November 1997. A veteran's flag memorial located in the Post Falls cemetery was created in his memory honoring his service and the service of all veterans. Featuring the four primary service flags and their bronze seals, the installation was dedicated in 2013.