Martha Jane Schneider, music teacher

Martha Jane Schneider, a piano teacher and church organist who had been a longtime resident of Cambridge, died June 24 of pneumonia at an assisted-living facility in Clemmons, N.C.

She was 92.


The daughter of a banker and a homemaker, Martha Jane Geoghegan was born and raised in Cambridge, where she grew up in a home on Oakley Street.

After graduating in 1936 from Cambridge High School, she studied for a year at Strayer's Business College in Baltimore and then went to work for Country Trust Co., her father's bank.


In 1941, she met and fell in love with John Schneider III, a Lehigh University student. The couple eloped and married in Elkton in 1942.

During the war years, Mrs. Schneider studied piano and music at the Peabody Conservatory, and after returning to Cambridge, gave private piano lessons for years in her Oakley Street home.

Mrs. Schneider was a longtime member of Grace United Methodist Church, where from 1952 to 1978, she was organist and choir director.

"She was also president and teacher in the Dr. Hines Bible Class," said a son, Howard Schneider, a Washington Post reporter who lives in Takoma Park.

"She was a staple at local schools, nursing homes and other churches, playing for Christmas sing-alongs and worship services," he said. "Particularly after retiring from Grace Methodist, she would fill in at churches in lower Dorchester County, some too small to support a full-time choir director."

Mrs. Schneider was the first director of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program in Cambridge, which was begun as part of the old federal Vista program.

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She also had been secretary to the Salvation Army Advisory Board, the Eastern Shore Hospital Center Auxiliary, and Delmarva Community Services.

Because of declining health, Mrs. Schneider moved in 2006 to North Carolina to be near a daughter.


"She was playing music to the end — duets with staff and favorite hymns for the residents," her son said.

Her husband, who was advertising and marketing manager at the National Brewing Co., died in 2009.

A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. July 28 at her church, 501 Race St., Cambridge.

Also surviving is another son, John Schneider IV of Newtown, Conn.; two daughters, Barbara Ellen Saturn of New York City and Martha Saturn of Winston-Salem, N.C.; five grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.