Don Schnepp died in 2004. I am learning that it was suicide. I feel so sorry and so bad about all of this now.
Don and I both worked together at Bill Derry's Drug Store in the 56-57 years. We became friends that year when we were seniors. We had lived on the same street for years without really knowing each other but finally we became fast friends. I was Doris Day to him.
Maybe that it why his sister used a rock to remember him by.
Anyway, I learned this afternoon that he had been the subject of a problem in Paulding after his sister had donated a rock to the Middle School where he had taught. Don had gone to Ohio State late in life to take up the teaching trade so that he could have employment. We had remained friends and even exchanged letters and visited back and to with one another. He confided in me many of his secrets that were obviously not so secret, but we dished the dirt and I learned all the gossip from him. We were buddies.
In high school he had tried to smash his red Plymouth against a wall so that finally I realized how unhappy he was with himself for being a social outcast. When his father proposed that Don and I get married, Don confessed to me that he was gay and that he liked boys. At that time, I learned who all the gay guys in Van Wert were then, and some of the neighborhood adult men who were obviously who had introduced him to that lifestyle.
He admitted to me that some of the boys in his class were flirting with him and that it would be hard for him to resist the temptation. In high school, he was in the band and would not take up sports fearing that he would be discovered to be gay. Apparently, he learned from all his gay friends in Ohio State that it was all right to be aggressive and to solicit young boys because the upshot of all of this is that I learned this afternoon that he had raped two of his students. That is their story. I will not question them on it.
This will follow with a newspaper article that I read this afternoon. I am writing this for my classmates in Van Wert, Ohio who knew both of us way back when. I am so happy to know the truth now that I think others who care would want to know it too.
He apparently had a friend in a woman who was a school secretary at the school. The newspaper reported that she defended him. That was kind of her, but probably a bit misguided.
I applaud the two boys who had the nerve to put their own reputations on the line through speaking out. I do not doubt that Don had sex with them. I know him well enough to believe in a part of their story. I have not heard all of it. Yet, nobody can ever understand why it is that when a person is so hurt by an act like this that they can get support from others. I understand why. One remembers the Don who was kind, who gave me his car to use, who asked me for a date to a hayride, and who was a great listener and pal. I deplore his act against the children but I do still like the Don who was my friend.