Then ...     and      Now
William E. Schnakenberg

William E. Schnakenberg

October 30, 1998

Nyack Class of 55 pencil

Military Highlights - 5 days after HS graduation, Billy Williams and I joined the US Navy. I was 17 years old at the time and after boot camp in Bainbridge, MD and Class A Metalsmith school in Norfolk, VA, I spent the last 34 months of my service travelling all over the Mediterranean Sea on the U.S.S. Salem, a Heavy Cruiser, which is now a floating museum in Quincy, MA. I was discharged as an SFM-2 (E5) in November 1958 and came back to Nyack.

School/College Highlights- University of Virginia (kinda. see below).

Career Highlights- After the Navy, I was employed at the now defunct Willcox and Gibbs Sewing Machine Co as a machinist, and at the same time, at the also defunct Volk's Express on 6th Avenue as a truck mechanic.

In April of 1961, I joined the Orangetown Police Department and spent the next 38 years there. Coincidently, Fran McGovern, and Babe Moore's husband Bob Shorter, started the same day. In the Summer of 1979, while with the OPD, I attended the FBI National Academy at Quantico VA, the most prestigious of in-service police academies. For this 12-week training, I received 14 college credits from the University of Virginia (that makes a total of 14 for my lifetime!). At the time of my retirement on June 30, 1999, I had risen to the rank of Administrative Lieutenant and, among other things, was in charge of the computer systems for the department.

Marriage and Family Highlights - I am currently married (2nd time) and have 4 children and 5 grandchildren. I have two sons by my first marriage who are police officers in Florida. My oldest son William III, (Billy) 39, is employed by the Boca Raton PD. My younger son Robert (Robbie) 35, is employed by the Broward County Sheriff's Office. They produced all my grandchildren. I have two daughters. Elizabeth (Elissa), 21, and Theresa (Terri), 19, still living at home, but working (Thank God!).

Hobbies/Sports - Since retirement, I have been taking it easy at home and am involved in computer graphics and web page design as a hobby. I created the Orangetown Police Department web site at I have a site about my return, after 40 years, to my former navy ship mentioned above at and a site for the graphics program that I use and have been a beta tester for the last few years at I also created (with the help of Bob Merkert) this site.

I enjoy carpentry and build cabinets and other wood furnishings. I was a part-time house builder and restorer during my off days with the PD. I built my current house with the help of a general contractor. I enjoy building miniatures of anything; doll house furniture, models, etc. I should have moved to California and got a job with one of those special effects film companies, but I couldn't bear to watch my stuff being blown up. I still am a scale model builder although my failing eyesight has taken some enjoyment out of it. I have close to a thousand completed scale models packed away under my basement stairs. I also got heavily involved in Darts and was the first Vice President of the newly formed 'Rockland County Dartist's Association' back in the early '90's. I was interviewed during a local cable TV report about the start of organized darts in RC. I still throw darts to while away the time waiting for my computer to restart after a crash.

After reading Bob Dallow's Highlights, I wonder if I had done some of his crossword puzzles since I am a word puzzle aficionado. Crosswords, Jumble, Cryptoquotes, etc.

My only regret now is that I didn't take typing classes at Nyack HS rather than the Wood, Metalshop, and Drafting classes that I did take. I never did learn to type with more than 4 fingers at a time and now, they don't even seem to be working right anymore

Achievements/Awards/Outstanding Events - I had received numerous awards and citations during my 38 years with the Orangetown Police Department. I created their first computer database system back in 1984 and rewrote and reformatted all department forms which up until that time were photocopies of photocopies of photocopies. I was also on a committee to computerize all of Rockland County's police departments into a centrally located database. I was also involved in the Rockland County MDT (Mobil Data Terminal) project to equip all RC police units with computers which, when I left, was well on its way to completion.

Anything at all that you may want to say - At the time of the last reunion, I was one of the missing persons on the announcement list although I had been with the OPD for about 29 years at the time. It pays to keep a low profile!!!

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