One might ask why I would change my blog background to something as "cheerful" as cupcakes on a day when a dear friend passed away? Well, I can only say that when I saw this background it just made my "heart" happy and I knew my dear friend and professor would have loved it! So, "Here's to you, Dear Dr. Snyder!"
Dr. Lewis Snyder passed away yesterday, March 27, 2008 due to complications from heart surgery. Dr. "Lee" Snyder as most of us called him, was a professor of Speech Communication at the University of Nebraska-Kearney. Lee had taught speech at UNK for more than 21 years. He loved salsa, making salsa, and most importantly, growing the ingredients for salsa. He had a passion for magic and loved to share that with his students. He loved spending time in San Antonio, Texas and was hoping to retire there with his wife, Vickie.
Dr. Snyder and his wife Vickie were kind people. They were quiet, sweet and yet loved everyone and especially the Lord. Lee had attended "Divinity School" before he came to Kearney in 1987. Dr. Snyder told a story of how he and his wife loaded up their moving van and let the "Lord" guide them as to where they should go. They ended that journey in Kearney, Nebraska.
Lee's classes were tough--I like to say "rigorous." I took his two Rhetoric classes and loved every minute of it. They were tough. I am sure I failed his finals! He helped me to excel at my writing and even helped me to submit one of my papers to a Rhetoric Competition at the University of Ohio at Bowling Green. I didn't win, but I was very proud of the paper he had helped me to write and edit.
Lee was so kind. He was gentle. He was at peace with himself. He knew from where he came and where he was going. He taught what he loved and because of that we grew to love it as well.
Lee was a God-fearing man who attended church on Sundays. He was a man who nursed his wife through many years of cancer treatments. He was so Christ-like. He was a devoted husband.
Although Vickie and Lee tried for many years to have children, they were never blessed with children of their "own." I know Lee once told me that he had many "angels" waiting for him in heaven. He was talking about his children. So sweet! What a grand reunion today!
Before I had even meet Dr. Snyder, I marched into his office and told him of all the rumors I had heard about his classes. I told him that the "word on the street" was that he was the hardest professor in his department. He just laughed and told me I would be fine! And guess what? I was. This is when I was a "40 something mom" trying to raise four young children and balance all the other things I had on my plate.
Just last week during our annual "spring cleaning" I came across the salsa recipes Dr. Snyder had shared with me. He wanted me to have some of his favorite salsa recipes. I will always think of him when I make or eat salsa.
Dr. Snyder was so kind to the International Students at UNK! He wanted them to succeed. He had compassion on their poor language skills and helped them through many, many 100 level speeches and classes. He was not above teaching a 100 level class. That is a sign of a great professor!
Dr. Snyder had been working on a very large textbook. I think there are over 1,000 pages in it. He had been compiling all that he could about Rhetoric and it's history into one textbook. I hope it will be finished. It was his life's work. --I am not sure on all the details here. I just know it was a huge project and he was so proud of his work~!
So today when I make some strawberry cupcakes and share them with a few of my dear friends, I do it because of how my life has been effected by one man. Thank you Dr. Snyder for being a great professor, teacher, example and friend. I will miss you!
Sidenote: I see from the comments that Lee's brother-in-law, wife and mother-in-law have read this post. I hope I didn't take away from anything that you might have not wanted me to share. I truly only posted this because of the great respect I have for Dr. Snyder.
Also, we have been told there will be a Memorial Service for Dr. Snyder here in Kearney, Nebraska, on Monday, April 7, 2008 at Countryside Christian Church at 2:00 PM. I believe a funeral for Dr. Snyder is being held on Wednesday or Thursday, April 2 or 3rd in Ohio. I hope I have those details correct. I know the University of Nebraska-Kearney would like to have some kind of memorial service for Dr. Snyder, but again are waiting until they can talk with Dr. Snyder's wife, Vickie.
To the Snyder Family: Please know that we want to respect your feelings at this time. Please let us know how we might best serve you at this time!