Marie Snider, 89, died at home in North Newton, Kansas, on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016.
A writer throughout her life, Marie inspired and empowered thousands of readers with her syndicated column “This Side of 60” for the past 26 years.
She was born to Nicholas and Dorothy (Moser) Gingerich on August 9, 1927, in New Bremen, New York. Brother Jim was born five years later.
At the age of 4, Marie entered first grade in a one-room schoolhouse next door to the family farm on Route 12 in Lewis County.
After graduating from Lowville Free Academy at the age of 14, Marie attended Eastern Mennonite and Goshen colleges. She taught for several years at a one-room school in Lowville and at Rockway Mennonite School in Kitchener, Ontario.
Returning to Goshen Seminary to earn a master’s degree in religious education, she met Howard Snider from Guernsey, Saskatchewan. They were married at New Bremen Mennonite Church in Lowville, New York, on Nov. 27, 1954. Howard died on August 2, 2015.
In 1957, the Sniders moved to Edmonton, Alberta. Vada was born in 1958 and Conrad in 1962. During the Edmonton years, Marie focused all of her energy on family, building a strong social world and organizing countless parties and picnics.
In the mid-1960s, Howard accepted a faculty position at Bethel College and the family moved to North Newton.
Marie began working at Prairie View Mental Health Center in 1967. Throughout the years her role expanded and, when she retired in 1991, she was director of communications and had a staff of five in her department.
The 1970s and 1980s were a period of great professional growth.
In 1976, Marie edited the booklet “Media and Terrorism: The Psychological Impact,” which was later reprinted in its entirety in the report of the United States House of Representatives subcommittee on Media and Terrorism.
She won numerous national awards for healthcare communications, including the prestigious MacEachern Award from the Association of Hospital Public Relations.
In her 50s, Marie returned to school again. This time earning a master’s degree in communications from Kansas State University. Her master’s thesis, titled “Sex Roles in the Comic Strips – a Historical Perspective, 1896-1979,” led to dozens of speaking engagements. And in 1980, she was invited to appear as “the real Marie Snider” on the television show “To Tell the Truth.”
She presented workshops at the National Council of Community Mental Health Centers conferences. At the 1982 New York conference, Marie was voted one of the top six of more than 300 presenters.
Public service included: board of Health Systems Agency of Southeastern Kansas; communications advisory board for the General Conference Mennonite Church of North America; and North Newton City Council.
After retiring from Prairie View, Marie began writing “This Side of 60.” The column was syndicated and at one point appeared in more than 70 newspapers across the United States and Canada. Intellectually active throughout her life, she wrote the final column only 10 weeks before her death.
Throughout her life, Marie thrived on friendship. She treasured long-term friends and was continually making new friends, right to the end.
She loved: Playing games – bridge, mah jongg, Rook, dominos; Working on the computer late at night; Square dancing; Spending time in the Colorado mountains with family; Attending theatre productions and watching old movies; Encouraging and following her children’s activities; Exercising in various ways that adapted as her abilities changed; and Having endless coffees and conversations in the living room.
Marie is survived by daughter Vada, son Conrad (Diane Sorensen) and 4-legged George of North Newton; brother Jim (Roberta) Gingerich, Moundridge, Kansas; nieces Lynette (James) Allen, Moundridge, and Kara (Dean) Revel, Miltonvale, Kansas; nephew Darwin (Jodi) Gingerich, Moundridge; great nieces and nephews; Boshart, Widrick, Moser and Gingerich cousins in eastern United States; sister-in-law Agnes Snider, Weber and Snider nieces and nephews in Canada.
Celebration of Life service at 4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, at Bethel College Mennonite Church, 2600 College Ave., North Newton.
Memorials may be made to Bethel College Mennonite Church; to the Howard Snider Scholarship Fund at Bethel College; or to Harry Hynes Memorial Hospice. In care of Petersen Funeral Home, 215 N. Main Street, Newton, KS, 67114.