Tuesday, January 15th, 2013
Betty Rose Snyder, 92, a genealogist, author, artist, musician, patriot, sports fan and beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, passed away peacefully on Jan. 10, 2013, at her home in Laguna Hills, Calif.
She was born Betty Rose Pond on April 8, 1920, in Rockford, to Marion LeRoy and Frona Denman Pond. She was married to her high school sweetheart, Clyde Wilbur Snyder, for 52 years; he passed away in 1992.
She is survived by her four children, Larry (Connie) of Cincinnati, Gary ("Teri") of Irvine, Calif., "Bill" (Julia) of Heathrow, Fla.; and Barbara (Col. "Bill") Kogerman of Laguna Hills, Calif.; seven grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
Two grandchildren are deceased.
Betty was a young beauty who became a pageant princess in Celina before her marriage. She also liked to boast that she was a member of the high school band for seven years. (Pause. Beat. She joined as a trombonist in the sixth grade.)
Clyde volunteered for the army during WWII, and she was left at home with her two little boys and a babe-in-arms, like many, not knowing whether they would see each other again. His letters home from the war are a treasured family heirloom.
Self-taught as a youngster at the piano and organ, Betty served as organist and choir director for the Rockford Methodist Church, later developing her talent as a visual artist. She was an active volunteer in Mercer County politics as well as an avid member of the local bridge club. She developed an interest in her ancestry after inheriting two very old Van Wert and Mercer County histories. Clyde, meanwhile, was the catcher on the local American Legion Baseball Team and led them to near-legendary status in rural northwestern Ohio.
Having launched all her children, Betty moved with her husband to Foster City, Calif., in 1969, where he took on western regional management responsibilities for his employer, and she joined the Daughters of the American Revolution and became a certified genealogist while honing her talent as a photographer. She traveled to England and made several trips to the East Coast, Ohio and Utah to further her family research, ultimately publishing two books on her ancestry and a monograph on Snyder ancestry.
Her award-winning first book revealed that her family had founded the first Baptist Church in the Northwest Territories and solved a mystery about the source of two silver candlesticks much prized by the same congregation to this day, in addition to a relationship with the British Tudor monarchy; and her monograph revealed the Mayflower ancestry her children inherited from their father. It also was in Foster City that Betty became a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. She and Clyde scored front-row tickets behind visitors' on-deck-circle at Candlestick Park and seldom missed a Giants game. She developed a speaking relationship with such greats as Pete Rose. ("Hi, Betty." "Hi, "Pete.") To her death, she never missed a game when either team was broadcast.
Betty moved to Laguna Woods Village, Calif., in 1995 to be nearer her Orange County children. As Regent of the Aliso Canyon Chapter (Laguna Woods Village) of the DAR and president of the local chapter of Colonial Dames, she kept up her advocacy for history. She championed Civil War heroes wherever they lie; she traveled to Louisville, Ky., in 2003 to witness a ceremony she set in motion, paying tribute to the thousands of soldiers who, she had discovered, were buried without appropriate military honors if they had died of "camp fever." She was thrilled to receive the Distinguished Service Award from her DAR chapter in 2006.
Betty stayed mentally sharp to the end, completing two crossword puzzles daily and following sports on TV. She kept her sense of humor, and she loved her assisted living apartment in Villa Valencia in Laguna Hills, Calif. She was intensely proud of her family and as a final gift, was able to see her daughter Barbara sworn in as mayor of Laguna Hills and Barbara's daughter Elizabeth Vaughan deliver a thrilling version of "The Star Spangled Banner" only a few weeks before her death.
After being stand-out, home-town athletes, her sons became successful business leaders and a mathematician and her daughter an elected official. Her grandchildren possess a variety of academic, business, educational and artistic accomplishments. She got to know three of her great-grandchildren and loved the pictures she received of the three littlest in Florida.
Betty Snyder left a legacy of love for her family, respect for her country and beauty for generations to come. She was a Christian lady who will no doubt be welcomed into the arms of her Lord, her husband and her two grandchildren who predeceased her. Once again, she will have the best seat in the house.
Funeral services are noon Friday at Ketcham-Ripley Funeral Home in Rockford, the Rev. Chip Steffy officiating. Burial will be in Riverside Cemetery, Rockford.
Calling is 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Friday at the funeral home.
Memorials may be directed to the Rockford United Methodist Church.
Condolences may be sent to ketchamripley.com.