Risky Work, Risky Play
He may have been a risk-management insurer, but Leonard Joseph Snyder was hardly averse to risk. He loved to ski and hunt, and spent many a weekend in dicey weather fishing with his father on the family boat off Long Beach Island in New Jersey. But one of his greatest aspirations was so very much more tame: "He really wants to be a Little League coach when his children are old enough," said his mother-in-law, Kathleen Marquet. That would be the twins, Jason and Matthew, 2, and his 3-year-old daughter, Lauren. Mr. Snyder, 34, a vice president at Aon Consultants on the 101st floor of 2 World Trade Center, loved nothing more than "carrying his sons around on his shoulders," she said. It says much about Mr. Snyder, of Cranford, N.J., that his large family and many friends have been distributing leaflets bearing his picture as they journey from hospital to hospital, "looking for Lenny," Mrs. Marquet said. "We won't say that it's too late."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on September 16, 2001.
Leonard Snyder Jr., epitome of the family man
Janine Snyder will always remember the image of her husband reading to his three young children the night before he died. Nestled in their beds, Lauren, 3, and 2-year-old twins Jason and Matthew listened intently as their father, Leonard Snyder Jr., read them five different fairy tales until they fell fast asleep.
"I usually read to them before they go to bed, but that night, for some reason, he read to them, which made my memory of him a little bit greater," said his wife, Janine. "He wanted to read one or two, but of course, he ended up reading five, and 'Little Red Riding Hood' and the 'Three Little Pigs' were definitely on the list."
Mr. Snyder, an insurance broker and vice president of special risks for AON Consulting, worked on the 101st floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center. On the morning of Sept. 11, his wife learned about the terrorist attacks when she returned home from driving their daughter to school. She tried to call her husband's office, but there was no answer.
Born and raised in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Mr. Snyder, 38, attended Bishop Hoban High School, where he was a diver on the 1985 Pennsylvania Boys' State Championship swim team, said his mother, Marilyn Snyder of Wilkes-Barre. He graduated from Kings College in Wilkes-Barre in 1989 and moved to New York City a year later to work for Seabury and Smith.
He met his wife at Kings College, where the couple was introduced by a mutual friend, his wife said. They were married in 1994, and moved to Cranford the same year.
"We were college sweethearts," Janine said. "We dated for eight years, then we got engaged and we were finally married."
Mr. Snyder was also an avid hunter, fisherman and golfer. And when he wasn't fixing things around the house, he was restoring his vintage 1965 Mustang convertible. But most weekends were set aside for family outings.
"We'd always do something fun, like go to Bowcraft (Amusement Park, in Scotch Plains) or go for a walk in the park," Janine said. "He loved his family so much."
The weekend before the terrorist attacks, Mr. Snyder and his family spent the day at his parents' farmhouse in Hunlock Creek, Pa. and had lunch on nearby Harvey's Lake.
Mr. Snyder is also survived by his father, Leonard Joseph of Wilkes-Barre; three sisters, Mary Snyder Cooligan and Nancy, both of Scranton, Pa., and Kathleen of Philadelphia; two brothers, Christopher of Hazelton, Pa., and Darren of Wilkes-Barre, and his grandparents, Fred and Nan Krackenfels of Wilkes-Barre.
A memorial Mass will be held 2 p.m. Thursday at St. Michael's Church in Cranford. The family will receive friends in the church one hour before the Mass.
The family asks that donations be made to the Leonard J. Snyder Jr. Children's Fund, c/o the Snyder Family, 26 Henley Ave., Cranford, N.J. 07016.
Profile by Giovanna Fabiano published in THE STAR-LEDGER.