Shirley R. Snyder: 1929-2013

vmannix@bradenton.comNovember 24, 2013 

BRADENTON -- Compassionate. Generous. Great sense of humor.

Knew how to get things done, too.

Shirley R. Snyder represented all those qualities and more to her friends and family.

"An amazing woman," said Patty Benson, chair of Manatee County's Democratic Party.

"A caring woman," Betty Elisha said.

"A great friend," Phyllis Virzi said. "I'm going to truly miss her."

She's not alone.

Snyder passed Nov. 17 in Nashville, Tenn., from leukemia. She was 84.

"I'm touched by how my mother was so highly thought of by so many people in that community," said Peggy Ruth in Springfield, Tenn.

They'll gather 10 a.m. Tuesday at Trinity United Methodist Church, 3200 Manatee Ave., to mourn her. Interment will be at Sarasota National Cemetery.

Snyder was a Marine from 1950-52 stateside during the Korean War.

"'Once a Marine, always a Marine,' Mom loved to say,"

her daughter said. "She had to have a little toughness to do that. She was very independent, intelligent and went her own way."

That experience served Snyder well in Washington, D.C., where she spent 30 years, most of it as a legislative aide for Sen. William Proxmire, the Wisconsin Democrat.

"She was quite the political lady," said Virzi, a Democratic party colleague. "She was very effective and knew how to run things."

Yet when it came to getting involved, whether it was for the party or Trinity's thrift store or the Manatee Players, Snyder stepped up.

"When there was a meeting and somebody needed somebody to volunteer, she'd do it," Betty Elisha said. "You could count on her."

"You think of her age, but she was there with you, going door to door," Benson said. "She did it for future generations, showing how important it is get out and vote, no matter what your party affiliation."

Snyder had a soft spot in her heart for others, too.

"When my husband passed, I wanted to just curl up and she said, 'No way!'," Virzi said. "She got me out, got me to join things, got me involved and saved the day for me."

It was the same at holidays like Thanksgiving.

"All the ladies who didn't have anywhere to go, she'd have over her house," Elisha said. "She was very, very caring in things like that. That was her."

Vin Mannix, local columnist, can be reached at 941-745-7055. Twitter: @vinmannix

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