Robin Williams‘ widow Susan Schneider marked their wedding anniversary by accepting an award on behalf of her late husband on Saturday night (22Oct16).
The actor and comedian, who committed suicide in August, 2014, aged 63, was posthumously presented with the 2016 Angel Harvey Heart of a Patriot Award by the United Service Organizations (USO). Susan was on hand at the ceremony in Chicago, Illinois, which was held on the same day as the USO of Illinois’ 75th anniversary, as well as what would have been her and Robin’s fifth anniversary.
Robin was recognized for his contributions to entertaining troops, as well as being the first ever celebrity to do a tour of duty.
In a moving speech as she collected the award, Susan told the crowd: “I’m here with you tonight because of my husband’s heart. Robin absolutely had the heart of a patriot. I cannot think of a more fitting award for him, nor one that he would be more proud to receive, especially in the presence of all of you. Robin was also a warrior, and like so many of our finest servicemen and women he had battles to face.
“Robin honored the values woven into the fabric of a soldier’s heart. Loyalty, duty, service and respect – he himself embodied these qualities and this was his connection to the hearts within all of you.”
Susan spoke at length about her late husband’s battle with Lewy Body Dementia – a common form of dementia that has similar characteristics to both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
As she explained his health struggles, Susan compared them to the journey a soldier goes through.
“The parallels in his journey with that of a soldier’s are unmistakable,” she continued. “I imagine many people can’t begin to understand the intricacies of the battles you’ve fought as a soldier, or are fighting now. You may not even know the whole picture yourself, just your current mission. Work in the military may feel like survival at times, where the pressures are so overwhelming – life or death – that you just have to focus on the next right thing.”
Now Susan is working to raise funds for brain disease in memory of her late husband, telling the crowd the actor had “brought the light of dawn to a new mission for all of us. That mission is to eradicate brain disease.”
“Today is your 75th anniversary,” she concluded. “Today, October 22nd, is Robin and my wedding anniversary too, and there’s no place I would rather be. It feels like Robin wanted me here on this day to celebrate with all of you, with our best man Bobcat Goldthwait, and with our maid of honor Jean Horn. I also think my honey may have wanted me to put on a pretty dress and to just feel the love in this room tonight.”