Snyder 'a Proverbs 31 woman'

August 22, 2004|by MARLO BARNHART

Editor's note: Each Sunday, The Herald-Mail will run "A Life Remembered." The story will take a look back - through the eyes of family, friends, co-workers and others - at a member of the community who died recently. Today's "A Life Remembered" is about Edith Fannie Mills Snyder, who died Aug. 13 at the age of 77. Her obituary appeared in the Aug. 14 edition of The Herald-Mail.

SHARPSBURG - As the family of Edith F. Snyder struggled to capture the essence of her life in an obituary, a niece, Sharon Ingram, contributed "Aunt Edith the pie maker," while a cousin from Ohio, Linda Draper, added that she was "a Proverbs 31 woman."

After an illness that began late in 2003, Edith Snyder died at her Harpers Ferry Road home Aug. 13 with her family by her side. She was 77.

Anyone who knew Edith instantly would understand the reference to pies, according to her husband, Ray Snyder, who said his wife and other ladies from the Burnside First Church of God sometimes would turn out 400 to 500 pies in a single day for a charitable cause.


"Some days, she'd be up there from 5 a.m. until midnight cooking," he said.

Her work at the church and for outside charities mostly was behind the scenes, and that's the way Edith wanted it. At home, the burners on Edith's range were rarely cool - something was always in the oven or simmering on the stove for her family.

"There are probably 100 jars of her green beans in the basement right now," Ray Snyder said.

The reference to a Proverbs 31 woman becomes clear when the text of that Bible verse is read. It refers to the woman who is known by the fruit of her hands. "Let her own works praise her," the passage says.

And praise her they did, according to her husband; her daughter Bonnie Ridenour and her husband, Paul; her son Dallas Snyder and his wife, Betty, and her granddaughter, Julia Snyder. They gathered at the Snyder home to share their memories of those works and the woman who performed them so well.

"She covered up all her hurts and never complained, even in this last year," Ray Snyder said of his wife of 56 years.

The family was amazed that Edith managed to pull off her legendary family Christmas and Easter breakfasts in her final months.

Bonnie Ridenour said she will remember her mother as someone who was close to her family and friends, both old and new.

"She was very proud to have been part of the graduating class of 1945 at Boonsboro High School," she said. "Those classmates got together every year for a reunion, and mom went to all of them but the last one."

That close relationship was reciprocated, as the family reported getting many cards from Edith's high school classmates.

When she wasn't baking, putting up vegetables from her garden or otherwise taking care of her family, Edith developed a love of traveling, especially to Hawaii, where she journeyed three times.

During a 1997 trip, Dallas Snyder and his wife celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary by accompanying Edith and Ray to Hawaii on their 50th anniversary.

"When Hawaiian entertainer Don Ho found out it was their 50th anniversary, he brought mom and dad up on stage and sang 'Tiny Bubbles' to them - it was great," Dallas Snyder said.

Earlier this year, Edith traveled to New Jersey for the wedding of her grandson, Bray Ridenour.

"When she danced with our son at the wedding, she told us it was the first time she had ever danced," Bonnie Ridenour said. "I knew it was her first long dress, but I didn't know it was her first dance, too."

As illness continued to rob Edith of her strength, the family brought her home from the hospital a week before she died and stayed with her around the clock.

"She didn't want to bother us, she kept saying," Bonnie Ridenour said. "It was like her - she'd rather hurt than bother us."

Summing up her mother's life, Bonnie said love would be the word to define the gift she gave to all who knew her.

"She wanted to be loved, and she gave so much more than she got," she said.

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