Friday, March 28, 2008

A "Cupcake Toast" and Good-bye to a Dear Friend and Teacher!

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!


Anonymous said...

It was wonderful to see your tribute to my old friend Lee Snyder. He and I were in grad school together at OSU, and I have many happy memories of not only teaching rhetoric with him, but of his magic tricks. He loved teaching, and it's great to see that his legacy extends beyond that.

Dr. B. Waggenspack
Virginia Tech

Cornfields, children and waterballet said...

Thank you for commenting on my blog. We are still all very numb from Lee's passing. There have been no formal details announced about his funeral or a memorial, but we are waiting for his wife to make some of those very difficult decisions.

Again, Lee will be truly missed!


Becky said...

I attended graduate school at Ohio State with Lee. I am still in shock over his death. The past couple of days I have been reliving wonderful memories in my mind of time spent with Lee and Vickie. Lee was one of the kindest men I have ever known and the world is certainly a far lesser place without him in it. My husband and I were blessed to know him.

Dr. Becky McDonald
Ball State University

Anonymous said...

Well, Ann.. I'm Wayne Truitt, and I now sit in a hotel room with my sister, Vicki Snyder (Lee's wife, and my sister) and our mom. We decided to celebrate Lee's life through articles on the web and 'happened' on this. What a wonderful blessing. Lee is like Aslan.. tough, but kind and just. We will forever remember him and miss him dearly...

I'm sure Lee is already the toughest professor in Heaven!..


Terry said...

What a wonderful tribute for Dr. Snyder. I was blessed to be able to take several classes with him. He changed my life with his teaching. It will literally affect the generations to come in my family because of what I learned. What was taught was so easy to apply to everyday life. My wife and I developed a friendship with Vicki and him that was a definate blessing from God. Our prayers for Vicki and the rest of the family will continue in this sad time. But, I cannot believe Dr. Snyder would want us sad very long. His life was based on glorifying God, and the knowledge of being with his Lord someday. A prayer I am sure he wanted for all of us.
friend, farmer, and former UNK student

Anonymous said...

Hi Ann.. It's Wayne again.. Please know that Vicki and family very much appreciate everything that you have written in this blog. Thank you so much for this tribute :-)


Cornfields, children and waterballet said...

Thank you Wayne--I just saw the obituary for Dr. Snyder in the "Kearney Hib." I'll add the details to the blog.


Let me know if I can do anything else for Vickie. I can feed cats, water plants, bring in a meal, hold a hand, give a name it.

Amazed said...

Beautiful post, Ann!

Kaye said...

This morning a named popped in my head from my youth and I googled it. I knew Lee and Vickie while they were dating at KCC - they were the ones that made me determined to go and finish college. I sit here months later in tears to think of Lee gone.

If anyone is still following this post, I would like to know more.

John's daughter from Kentucky.

Anonymous said...

I found this blog when I googled Lee Snyder's name. I wanted to see what I would find because I met his wonderful wife Vicki just a few months ago when she moved to San Antonio, TX. She is such an exceptionally lovely, kind, and courageous lady that I know her husband must have been equally wonderful. We are blessed to have Vicki in our church family here in the town where they had planned to move together.
Susan Skidmore

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