John Schneider III, former longtime marketing and advertising executive at Baltimore's National Brewing Co., died Thursday of complications from Alzheimer's disease at a nursing home in Newtown, Conn. The former Cambridge resident was 91.
Born in Oshkosh, Wis., the son of a physician and a homemaker, Mr. Schneider moved with his family to Cambridge in 1933.
He was a 1936 graduate of Cambridge High School and earned a bachelor's degree in business in 1942 from Lehigh University.
During World War II, he was commissioned in the Army Air Forces, and after completing pilot training was stationed in England, where he was an operations and air control officer and liaison to the Royal Air Force Bomber Command.
After being discharged with the rank of captain in 1946, he returned to Cambridge and went to work as manager of local radio station WCMD.
In 1958, he joined National Brewing Co., whose executive offices and brew house were located on Dillon Street in Highlandtown, as sales promotion manager.
He was later promoted to national director of merchandising for National, which was then the nation's 17th-largest brewery and brewers of National Premium, National Bohemian and Colt 45 malt liquor.
"During his career, he was responsible for coordinating the radio and television broadcasts of the Baltimore Orioles and Baltimore Colts, working closely with Chuck Thompson during the peak years of the two franchises," said a son, Howard Schneider of Takoma Park, who is The Washington Post's Jerusalem bureau chief. "The beer company sponsored the teams through the 1960s and 1970s."
It was Mr. Schneider who helped develop and implement such promotions as the "home run derby" and sending Frank Hennessy, the company's spokesman who was dubbed "Commodore of the Chesapeake" or "Roving Ambassador of the Chesapeake Bay," to every corner of Tidewater Maryland aboard the Chester Peake.
The 1915-vintage bay skipjack was used to plug the company's slogan and beers that came from "the Land of Pleasant Living." The Chester Peake's sail was embroidered with a large depiction of Mr. Boh, the one-eyed, mustachioed waiter that had been promoting National Bohemian since the 1930s.
"National was one of Doner's great clients, and it was always a privilege working with John. He was such a nice guy and a good marketing man," said Herbert Fried, former Doner ad agency chairman.
"First of all, he was incredibly good at what he did and had a great imagination for sales promotions," said Bill Costello, who had been National's advertising director.
"John was great to work with. He was always up and never down. He had a great, sly smile and was a delightful human being in every way," said Mr. Costello.
Art Westbrook, who was in sales, worked closely with Mr. Schneider for nearly a decade.
"He made our products synonymous with Baltimore, and that was because of the advertising and promotion," said Mr. Westbrook.
"When you think of what he did with National Boh and Colt 45, it's amazing. He didn't have the budget of a Miller's or an Anheuser-Busch," Mr. Westbrook said. "Yet on a limited budget, he was able to make our products national products. He just did a fantastic job."
Until retiring in 1983, Mr. Schneider commuted daily from his home in Cambridge over the Bay Bridge to his Highlandtown office.
Mr. Schneider's home overlooked the Choptank River, which he liked to explore aboard the Salty, his powerboat.
He also enjoyed building ship models and listening to big-band music.
He was a member of Grace United Methodist Church in Cambridge.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Oct. 24 at Thomas Funeral Home, 700 Locust St. in Cambridge.
Also surviving are his wife of 67 years, the former Martha Jean Geoghegan of West Jefferson, N.C.; another son, John Schneider IV of Sandy Hook, Conn.; two daughters, Barbara Ellen Schneider Saturn of New York City and Martha Saturn of Jefferson, N.C.; five grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.