On Barbara Snyder

Barbara Fay Snyder died 10-12-2022 in Middlesex, CT at the age of 83 of natural causes. She was born March 4th, 1939, in Springfield, MA, to Herbert and Gertrude Levine (nee Cohen), both 2nd generation Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. Barbara’s fondest childhood memories were the summers spent in Westbrook, CT at their beach house with the extended family. During the school year back in Springfield, she kept busy playing baseball on her street, spending time with friends at their houses, and later playing basketball and volleyball in High School. “I was a pretty good athlete.” She went to college at Becker Junior College in Worcester, MA and studied to become a medical secretary. At the age of 20, she met and married Sam Snyder, also from a large extended family in Springfield. A year later, she had her first child, Richard and then a few years later, Laura and then Danny. In her early 20’s, the family lived in New Rochelle, NY. She loved going to the City with Sam, seeing shows and sampling chocolate mousse at every restaurant. In her late 20’s, they moved to Longmeadow, MA and lived on a block of newly constructed homes where all the families had young kids, the fathers went to work, and the mothers stayed home with the kids. Barbara supervised the kids’ homework, drove them to music lessons, assigned chores, made meals, paid the bills and so much more. She also became an expert tennis player and for a time was President of the Tennis Association of Forest Park. During a contest, her serve was clocked at 57 miles per hour! She was passionate about music. During car rides, she and Sam would have debates on the composer of the classical music being played on the radio. Sam was a connoisseur of classical music but more often than not, when the host named the piece, Barbara was the one who was right. She loved animals and going to the zoo was the favorite family outing: most often, the Forest Park Zoo because it was local, but once a year, the family made the 3 hour drive to her favorite, the Bronx Zoo. During one visit, a jaguar peed through the cage bars, over the heads of the crowd and into her eye prompting peals of laughter from her and the kids. Decades later, she remembered those years as the happiest times of her life, “It was a very busy time, but I miss it all.” In her early 40’s, she went into the workplace, moving from job to job until she wound up a medical secretary at Baystate Medical Center. She loved that job, and they loved her for dedication and compassion towards patients. The doctor there jokingly referred to her as “Mom.” Like her mother Gertrude, Barbara had high and exacting standards for everything: restaurant service, doctor’s expertise, and life itself. She faced life’s disappointments with obsessive attention to detail, piercing intelligence, and sarcastic humor. When her son Richard came out as gay, she said, “it’s ok Richard, just another thing for me to deal with.” When her daughter Laura had breast cancer she said, “I just wish it were me… or your father.” Of Sam who pre-deceased her by 2 years, she said, “I think the wisest person I ever knew was Sam. He was very smart, although also very stubborn. I miss him.” When she was in her final moments and was asked how she was doing, she said in a sarcastic tone, “just perfect, everything’s perfect.” One part of her life that always met her ideals were her animals: Tasha, the Siberian Husky, and a series of cats -Snookie, Pepper, Holly, Pumpkin, Callie and Stanley all of whom she loved, and they loved her back. She said, “I wish I could come back as a cat with me as the owner.” She leaves behind pages of to-do lists for herself and others; a basement filled with impeccably packed containers of toilet paper, cat food and kitty litter. She is survived by her brother Peter; sister-in-law and best friend Joyce; children Richard and Danny; grandchildren Rose, Christopher, Ani, Tim; son-in-law Jon Graves, daughter-in-law Debbie, numerous nieces and nephews, and her cat, Stanley. She will be having a re-union with her animals, husband Sam, and daughter Laura and will no doubt uncover problems of the afterlife and tell the management how to fix them.

Poem on Barbara by his sister-in-law and best friend Joyce Levine


When the kids were smaller (and you were taller,)
I know you were happy then.

When you went to shows (and I don’t mean at Loews,)
I know you were happy then.

When on the clay courts (your Nirvana of sorts,)
I know you were happy then.

When we drove 101 (G-d, we had fun,)
I know you were happy then.

But then life overwhelmed
and JOY was elusive
but, even so,
SAD wasn’t exclusive.

For you had those moments
such as pride in your loved ones,
your grandkids, your daughter,
and, of course, your two sons.

And all of your kitties, including Stanley,
were able to make you smile
and raise your spirit and lift your heart,
if only for a while.

I’ll miss all our phone calls
that were such a big part of my day.
I wasn’t ready for you to leave
I loved you, Barbara Fay.

And so
when you, Sam and Laura meet out at sea
(thanks to the powers that be,)
I know you’ll be happy again.