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Family and friends celebrate 100 years of Grace

A list of Grace M. Snively's accomplishments were recalled at the program at the Hagerstown Elks Lodge 278

July 28, 2013|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com
  • Grace M. Snively gets a hug and kiss from her pastor, the Rev. Leroy Jackson, Sunday, at her 100th birthday party. Dozens of family and friends attended a banquet in her honor at the Hagerstown Elks Lodge 278 on North Jonathan Street.
By Kevin G. Gilbert, Staff Photographer

A program for Grace M. Snively’s 100th birthday celebration Sunday afternoon at the Hagerstown Elks Lodge 278 put things in perspective.

Snively has witnessed 1,200 months, 5,200 weeks and 36,500 days, not to mention hundreds of full moons and nearly 100 spring seasons, according to the program.

But just as impressive is Snively’s dedication to her community, which was celebrated by a fitting crowd of about 100 guests at the local Elks Lodge.

Snively’s volunteer work included visiting inmates at the Maryland Correctional Institution-Hagerstown, where she talked to them about living life on a “higher level,” according to guests who attended Sunday’s event. Snively — who turns 100 today — went to the correctional facility south of Hagerstown “until she couldn’t do it anymore,” said Delores Harmon, mistress of ceremonies for the celebration.

Reginald Keys read off a list of Snively’s accomplishments.

Snively was inducted into the Maryland Senior Citizens Hall of Fame in 1999, was named The Herald-Mail’s and the Easter Seals’ Top 10 Women on the Move in 1998 and inducted into the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame in 2006, among other accomplishments.

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Snively is a member of Ebenezer AME Church, has held many positions in the church and in 1945 joined the Sharon Temple, a women’s auxiliary unit of Elks Lodge 128.

A long list of colleagues, family members and others recalled special memories of Snively.

Hagerstown City Council member Donald F. Munson said Snively was one of the most wonderful supporters over the years of his political life. Munson said he was always struck by the amount of class Snively had.

“She lit up my life, frankly,” said Munson, who brought along a message for Snively from Hagerstown Mayor David S. Gysberts and Hagerstown City Council members.

Written recognitions also were delivered from Gov. Martin O’Malley, and President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama.

Guests enjoyed a meal and hundreds of cupcakes, each adorned with a picture of Snively. Her face graced another large cake, and a large knitted wall hanging recognizing Snively’s milestone hung in an opposite corner of the room.

People who stepped to the podium talked about a variety of ways Snively helped them, such as being like a mother to them or encouraging them to be strong in certain situations.

The Rev. Leroy Jackson, pastor of Ebenezer AME Church, talked about how Snively encouraged him to hold onto God’s hands as he carried on his duties.

“If I turned out to be anything, it’s your fault,” Jackson said, drawing laughs from the crowd.

Snively, who lives on Pennsylvania Avenue in Hagerstown, made a few brief remarks during the celebration.

“I’m awful tired,” Snively said afterward. “Thanks so much for coming,” she told a reporter.

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