Barbara W. Schaefer

Barbara W. Schaefer

October 11, 1953-October 21, 2023

Barbara Wittmann Schaefer passed from this earthly life on October 21, 2023.  She began her life with a smile on her face and joy in her heart on the family farm near Hooper, Nebraska, by way of the Fremont Hospital on October 11, 1953. She was then raised in Lincoln, NE.

Her parents, Ruby (Peck) and Oscar Wittmann have preceded her.  Barb is survived by husband, Ron; sister, Kathy Brenner of Eden Prairie, MN; uncle, Robert Peck (Mary) of Plymouth, MN; and many cousins and dear friends.

Upon entering the law profession, Barb was in private practice from 1978-1981, and then joined Union Pacific Railroad as an Attorney in May, 1981.  She was elected Senior Vice President of  Human Resources for Union Pacific Corporation in April, 1997, and was also elected Corporate Secretary for Union Pacific Corporation in June, 2004.  Barb was a strong and effective leader in developing a skilled, engaged, and diverse workforce.  She retired from Union Pacific on March 1, 2013.

Barb served as a board member of many non-profit and professional organizations and chaired the boards of Children’s Hospital and Medical Center, The Urban League of Nebraska, Big Brothers-Big Sisters of the Midlands, and Lauritzen Gardens.

Barb was also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Weitz Funds, and of the Boards of Directors of the University of Nebraska Foundation and the Mutual of Omaha Bank.

Barb received a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1975, where she was a member of Alpha Xi Delta sorority, a J.D. Degree from the University of Nebraska College of Law in 1978, and completed the Program for Management Development at Harvard University.  Barb enjoyed running, biking, reading, needlepointing, water skiing, and spending time at any lake.

May your memories of Barb bring you joy.  Memorials are suggested to the UNL College of Law, Lauritzen Gardens, or All Saints Episcopal Church.

FUNERAL SERVICE: Saturday, November 4, 2023, 10:30 a.m., All Saints Episcopal Church, 9302 Blondo St. To view a live broadcast of the Service, please go to and click the “Live Cast” button at the top of the home page.



  • Rebecca Anderson Posted October 24, 2023 1:26 pm

    I will always remember Barb’s winning smile and her wholehearted joy in everything she undertook.. Her friendship enriched my life.

  • Ken Kuwamura Posted October 24, 2023 2:37 pm

    Barb, thank you for all you did. May you rest in peace.

  • Mark Whitehead Posted October 24, 2023 2:45 pm

    Barb was one of the warmest and brightest people I knew. I will remember her easy smile and gracious.attitude. She will be missed.

  • Ron Speer Posted October 24, 2023 2:54 pm

    I am saddened to hear of Barb’s passing! She was a lady through and through and a joy to work with. She was a people person and loved her team and Union Pacific. May she rest in peace and may her family find comfort in the storm.

  • Candis Dorsch Posted October 24, 2023 7:38 pm

    Sooooo many high school memories. So love her then and what a professional and giving woman she became in her adult life. We’ll always remember the memories…..

  • Ed Kemp Posted October 25, 2023 7:14 am

    So sorry for the Family’s loss. I had a lot of respect for her and enjoyed working with her at Union Pacific.

  • Jerry Shelton Posted October 25, 2023 7:59 am

    I knew Barb in law school in the late 70’s. We clerked together at a Lincoln law firm. She was a joy to be around, always a smile. My condolences to her family.

  • George Dillard Posted October 25, 2023 8:46 am

    The Omaha will surly miss Barbara ‘

  • Yvonne Method Walker Posted October 25, 2023 9:17 am

    Heaven has welcomed a beautiful, spirit-filled, compassionate and gracious angel into its midst.

    I was privileged to have worked for Barb during her tenure as leader of the Human Resource organization at Union Pacific. Her commitment to the Company, to employee development and to diversity were testaments to Barb’s core values and beliefs. Since I was active in several local organizations and groups in Omaha, I also knew Barb to be a ‘fierce and respected warrior’ in the Omaha community-at-large, sharing her leadership talents and time with many local entities which benefited from her generous nature.

    While I grieve the passing of her earthly being, I celebrate the joy Barb brought into my life and the good fortune I experienced from having known her and being able to call her ‘friend’.

    Sincere condolences to her family. God Bless.

  • Sue Cunningham Boling Posted October 25, 2023 9:32 am

    I’m so sorry to hear about Barb’s passing. I knew her in high school but really became friends when we lived on the same floor at UNL our freshman year. She had the best laugh and was so much fun. So sorry for your loss.

  • Ericka Juno Posted October 26, 2023 8:21 am

    I am so sorry for your loss. Barb was a wonderful mentor and ally for Union Pacific employees.

  • Roger W. Sayers Posted October 26, 2023 10:47 am

    I am grateful that Barb touched my life. My experience at Union Pacific was enhanced greatly by my many years of work for her. Barb was truly an amazing person. Please accept my deepest sympathy and prayers as the family remembers her. God’s Blessings.

  • Susan Seacrest Posted October 26, 2023 1:24 pm

    I met Barb during our high school years at Lincoln Southeast. Barb was a delightful person–full of insight and kindness. I know she had a life of service and achievement and I send heartfelt her family and many friends. Barb’s memory will be in my heart forever.

  • Jamie Herbert Posted October 26, 2023 7:23 pm

    I am so sorry, Ron and family, for your loss. Barb was a mentor and inspiration to so many of us who had the good fortune of working for her. She was an incredible person who positively impacted so many lives. May she rest in peace.

  • judy & Rudy Tesar Posted October 27, 2023 7:17 am

    Barb and i were sorority sisters, i always admired her and her accomplishments. We also lived very close to each other for many years. She and i shared our love of needlepoint. Watching her succeed in so many fields was a real joy. She is a loss to many and will be missed.

  • Doug Glass Posted October 27, 2023 1:48 pm

    I was deeply saddened to learn of Barb’s passing. Barb was a friend and mentor during a large part of my career at Union Pacific and I was honored to have been associated with her. Barb left her mark on the railroad and the people she worked with. She will be missed, but her spirit and impact on the greater Omaha community will live on!! Ron, you have my heartfelt sympathy. Doug

  • Steve Bridger Posted October 27, 2023 5:33 pm

    Barb was a classmate at Lincoln Southeast High School, that I remember as kind and funny and a big part of school activities. She always had a genuine smile and greeting to those she encountered in class or the hallways. She will be missed by many. Prayers and Condolences to her family.

  • Ursie Fairbairn Posted October 28, 2023 10:07 am

    Seeing Barb’s photo and smile brings back happy memories of her kindness, humor and graciousness — not to mention the competence she brought to tough business decisions. She will always be remembered with great affection.

  • Angela Athy Posted October 29, 2023 1:22 pm

    I had the honor of working with Barb while at Union Pacific Railroad. Barb had a small embroidered pillow in a chair in her office: “Well behaved women seldom make history.” I’ll never forget seeing that the first time I was in her office and thinking that here’s someone willing to create change; to fight for those underrepresented and do the right thing. Barb challenged people’s thinking, in the right way. She made teammates feel important. She used to also say that the key to leadership was hiring people smarter than yourself and then enable and support them. I enjoyed working with Barb. May she rest in peace and thinking of her family in their time of loss and celebration of her life.

  • Julie J Wittmann Posted October 30, 2023 4:19 pm

    My cousin Barb had the best laugh and wonderful sense of humor. I am not surprised at all the giving she did in her life and know now she is at peace.

  • Charles Dent Posted November 1, 2023 3:59 pm

    I am truly sorry to hear of Barb’s passing and want to offer my heart felt sympathy to all of her family.God blessings and comfort to you all.

  • Nancy Ziegler Peetz Posted November 2, 2023 5:45 pm

    I am so sorry for you loss. I knew Barb in law school. She was so fun, kind and willing to help anyone stumped by anything a professor might through at us … especially put first year! It doesn’t surprise me that she went on to be a great mentor to many and willing to serve others.

  • Patricia Wade Posted November 7, 2023 11:55 am

    I was saddened to hear of Barbs passing. Barb was always warm, Friendly., and had a beautiful smile.

    Barbs life was “A Life Well Lived”

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