On Sam Snyder

 

Dad’s Obit that I wrote

Samuel Morton Snyder (aka Sammy) died Oct 3,2020 in East Longmeadow, near his hometown of Springfield, MA at the age of 87 after a several year battle with dementia. He was the youngest of five children of Morris and Stella Snyder, Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe at the turn of the century. Stella was particularly grateful for Sam because she had been told by her doctor that she was too old to have another baby, and then Sam showed up on February 11, 1933. In his own words, he was “spoiled.” To get him to drink his milk, his siblings or parents would take him to the railroad tracks to watch trains. He was renowned for adventurous tricycle riding in the neighborhood and was often collected and brought back home by neighbors and/or police. His wide smile, and open face, which said, “I’m here to help you,” endeared him to the customers of the family business, Snyder’s Market. For the rest of his life, his family would witness people greeting him on the street and when asked how he knew them, his answer was always the same, “I knew them from the store.”

After stints at Brandeis and Bowdoin College, the US Military, he returned to work at Snyder’s Market, and then at his father-in-law’s business, Tucker Garments in Indian Orchard. His business life was characterized by strict honesty and love for his co-workers and employees. Unfortunately, his business failed during an economic downturn and he went from running a company to being a salesclerk at RadioShack. In typical Sam fashion, he never complained about his circumstances and he threw himself into excelling at his new job and bonding with his customers.

He was, in his own words, a dedicated to “logic.” Every life problem was approached by careful analysis. He’d intone his listener’s name in a deep bass voice, take a pause and then speak in outline form, complete with spoken-out-loud letter headings to each subcategory of his exhaustive analysis. He may have been “spectrumy” before it was cool. When he was diagnosed with high blood pressure, he carefully drew graphs of his readings to aid his doctor. The lawn was watered via a carefully constructed traveling-sprinkler hose pattern that was never to be altered. When the dog developed digestive problems, he curated detailed spread sheets of her bowel movements including measurements of the estimated weights of said movements and his own scale of their “hardness.”

Despite his unwillingness to overwhelmed by emotions, he was passionate about life’s pleasures. He loved classical music and would often be seen air-conducting Beethoven symphonies being blasted out by the stereo system that he had bought only after months of careful research. He would rhapsodize about the differences in musical interpretations by his favorite pianists Arturo Schnabel and Walter Gieseking. He spent many years perfecting his tennis game, and with his wife Barbara, made a formidable mixed double team. Ice-cream was a life-long interest and he would drive an hour to North Hampton just to get his favorite flavor from his favorite store. Bagels and Biali’s were bought only at a certain bakery in the Bronx, two and a half hours away from his home in Springfield. He lustily sang favorites such as Zum Gali Gali to keep the family calm during those long car trips. He said “I love you” easily to his kids and grandkids.

In addition to a basement filled with impeccably packed and filed containers of dishwashing detergent and toilet paper, he leaves behind his wife of 60 years, Barbara Snyder, his children Richard and Danny Snyder, grandchildren, Ani and Tim Graves, Christopher Snyder and Rose Boughton. He will be having a reunion with his daughter Laura Snyder as well as his parents, brothers, sisters, cousins who passed before him.

A memorial service will be held at Goose Rocks Beach in Maine where he spent many summers with his family, at a date to be determined. His instructions combined his compassion for others and his trademark precision, “think of my instructions as preferences and if you disregard one or more of them, I promise that I won’t come back to haunt you. I want my ashes put in the tidal river – “Little River” – at the East by Northeast end of Goose Rocks Beach in Maine, much nearer to Timber Island than the beach, when the tidal river there is flowing out strongly – maybe two hours or so before full low tide. A lack of wind would be desirable for pouring, or you can simply dunk the container.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.