Virginia Chain Schmid: A legal love story
The lawyer and his wife give back to the place they met.
Posted: Thu, Apr 7, 2011
Marvin graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1933. He graduated from the law college in 1935. I graduated in 1937.
When we met, I was a high school English and history teacher in Columbus and Marvin was a bachelor lawyer. We both felt the university had shaped our lives, made what we did in our 61 years together possible. That's why we supported the University of Nebraska College of Law and its library. That's been the biggest recipient of our philanthropy by far.
Marvin and I married in September of 1941. Pearl Harbor was that December. The sky kind of fell in on us and on millions of other people. He was in an anti-aircraft unit in the Army. One of the places he was stationed, on the Gulf shore of Texas, was infested with cockroaches. But he was not in combat, so we had a lot to be thankful for. I was with him as much as I could be. Eventually, he was transferred to the legal branch of the Army (the judge advocate department), and during that time he was shipped to Omaha, which was the headquarters of the 7th Service Command. That was one of the best breaks of our lives. Marvin was discharged as a major.
Our son Brian was born in 1943.
When we came to Omaha, we knew no one. We had no money. Marvin decided he wanted to practice law. He specialized in banking law and business law. He and a small group of men founded four suburban banks in the Omaha area. He loved what he was doing. But as hard as he worked, he really enjoyed life, too. He golfed. He water-skied, snow-skied. He fished. He flew his own plane. We traveled the world.
Our son loved to fly, too. He was a lawyer. Marvin Brian was his name. We called him Brian. He was a good-looking, well-built boy and man. He was an easy-going, likeable guy. He and Marvin did everything together. Brian died of pancreatic cancer when he was just 43. It was a nightmare.
Marvin died eight years ago.
He and I wanted to name the reading room at the law library in our son's honor – the M. Brian Schmid Reading Room. It just seemed appropriate. We thought the law students would use it a lot. It's very quiet. We were told that the view out the window would never be changed. Those big windows look out on open space – blue sky and a peaceful view.
It just seemed the natural thing for us to help young lawyers.
Student support is one of the university's campaign priorities. If you'd like to help budding lawyers at the College of Law or if you'd like to help support the Schmid Law Library, contact Angie Hohensee or Ben Zitek at 800-432-3216.