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Ask the Pastor

† Theological musings and answers to selected questions by a confessional Lutheran pastor.

27 January 2008

+ Asleep in Jesus: Melba Estelle Snyder +

MomMy 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.

Super ConnieShe 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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Blogger jWinters said...

My condolences for your loss, and may you be comforted by the knowledge that we will possibly be flying one day with your mother...if they have heavenly airlines...

in Christ,

28 January, 2008 20:50  
Blogger Not Alone +++ PAS said...


My father died in Aug. 2006, and I find that I miss him more now than I did even then. Such a blessing as our parents is impossible to give sufficient thanks for. Luther speaks of this in the Large Catechism. How often we do not realize how wonderful the 4th Commandment is. No wonder the Lord says this to us as His children.

God's peace to you.

21 February, 2008 07:35  
Blogger TK said...

Just reading this now in March. I'm sorry for your loss of your mother here on this earth. You've written a very nice post to her memory. I love the snappy outfit she is wearing in the photo. Is that a TWA outfit from the 40's? God grant you peace in your memories of her!

10 March, 2008 11:03  
Blogger disgruntled world citizen said...

I'm sorry to hear about your loss. I lost my father this past February. May you be continually uplifted. Peace.

21 March, 2008 11:51  

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