+ Asleep in Jesus: Melba Estelle Snyder +
My mother, Melba Estelle Snyder, née Grossman, born 15 March AD 1929 in St. Louis, Missouri, died in Prescott, Arizona on Friday 12 January AD 2008.
Mom was raised in St. Louis and Belleville, Illinois, but spent a great deal of her adult life in Texas, Kansas, and the Southwest. She was employed over the years as a business secretary, a stewardess for TWA on the beautiful Lockheed Super Constellation, a church secretary, adult education instructor for the Navajo Tribe, and with the Santa Fe Railroad. Mom volunteered with the New Mexico Make-A-Wish Foundation, TWA Clipped Wings, the B-24 Museum (a part of the Pueblo Colorado Historical Aircraft Society’s Weisbrod Aircraft Museum), and various other organizations. She was a long-time NRA member who for years reloaded her own .357 Magnum bullets.
She was mother to Walter (Stephanie) Snyder, Paul Snyder, Timothy (Brenda) Snyder, Stephen Snyder, and Carla Marie (Andrew) Byars, Prescott, AZ. Her grandchildren are Tim’s sons Joshua (Dana) and Jason Snyder, Marie’s two children, and my daughters Courtney (Shawn) Foote and Laura. Josh’s daughter Adrianna and Courtney’s son Jared are her two great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Roy and Augusta, née Lugge, Grossmann.
Memorials may be made to Make-A-Wish Foundation of New Mexico, Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church of Prescott, Arizona, or Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Emma.
She divorced my father while I was in college and remained in the Southwest after Dad left for graduate school. While some of the attending memories hurt for years thereafter, my greatest feelings remain those of love. An only child, she figured out how to raise a sometimes rowdy brood of five. She and Dad were both avid readers and I cannot recall a time in childhood when she didn’t read to one or another of her little ones. When we vacationed, Mom sat in the front seat, turned sideways so the whole car could hear her reading Marguerite Henry horse stories, The Swiss Family Robinson, and other books.
She never forced any of us but because her reading piqued our interest, she taught all five of us to read before we entered school. She did so well that most of us were reading at a fourth to sixth grade level by the time we finished first grade. And though Dad was also our pastor, Mom shared much of the in-home religious instruction. She used a big chart and gold stars to map and reward our progress at memorizing Bible passages and the Small Catechism. Mom also appreciated poetry and insisted that we memorize poems, first of her choosing and later of our own. Because of her, I can still recite much from Tennyson, Poe, and others, including The Charge of the Light Brigade, El Dorado, The Raven, and In Flanders’ Fields. Because I retain these and other quality verses, I forgive her for also planting Joyce Kilmer’s Trees forever in my mind.
Andrew, her son-in-law and her pastor, preached Mom’s funeral sermon and led the celebratory service on Wednesday 16 January at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, Prescott, Arizona. Plans are now that I will conduct her interment this spring in Walnut Hill Cemetery, Belleville, Illinois.
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