Joann Snell

  • "My deep sympathy to your family. May you have hope and..."
  • "We're thinking of you, John, with fond memories of Joann..."
    - Joyce , AA3SQ
  • "was a classmate at state high class of 55 will be missed"
    - beverly ross
  • "John Frances and I extend our condolences. I will miss..."
    - Dick & Frances Thompson

Joann Snell April 18, 1937 March 22, 2014 On Saturday, March 22, 2014, beloved mother and wife Joann Wiley Work Snell passed away at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville with her son at her side. She was 76. Born in Lewistown, she was the only child of the late Leonard and Margaret Newcomer Work, and lived her life in the State College area. While growing up, she lived with her extended family of mother, grandmother, and aunt as they ran a State College student dormitory, later including her stepfather Lee Stover (all deceased). Her favorite childhood times were spending summers at Ridgeview in southwestern Pa. Her life centered on her faith, family, and volunteerism. She was a State College High School graduate, and early in life she worked for Penn State Travel, Penn State University, and at the catalog desk for Sears. While at Sears, she helped thousands of people place their orders and fetched their purchases when they returned for pickup. One frequent customer, the late museum curator David E. Snell, returned to pick up one "item" not listed in any catalog - Joann herself! After several years' courtship, they married in June of 1967, and built a house together in the village of Lemont, where they lived the rest of their lives. We may never know how much of his Sears-Craftsman tool collection was acquired out of need, and how much was just a "social" purchase! In March of 1970 she left the work force to become a full-time homemaker with the birth of their son John, who survives. As the original "helicopter mom", she often volunteered at her son's school, assisting at its library or creating artful displays of pop-culture themes for kids' entertainment. Although she grew up in the Methodist church, she joined the Church of Christ at age 19. Her passion was sharing Christ's Love and teaching the Bible to children, and so taught Sunday school much of her life. In this she faced a problem in the mid-seventies: When you want to give your kids the best Vacation-Bible-School experience possible but don't think the current commercially published program is up to par, what do you do? Why, you take over and completely revamp the VBS program from scratch, which is exactly what she and her friend Genie did for several years starting in the mid-seventies, getting kids more involved in creative projects and re-creating snippets of life from the Bible to help them understand its message. Throughout the eighties and into the nineties Joann shifted her efforts more to community involvement, especially as volunteer, board member, and secretary of the State College Food Bank. She also ran the State College branch of the federal surplus food distribution program for several years, and was active with the Lemont Village Association. In later years she spent much of her time caring for her husband after he suffered a stroke that left him partially paralyzed, as well as her son during health issues. She, together with her family, enjoyed gardening, observing wildlife (especially bird-watching), ham radio, music, reading, writing, and art. Early in life some of her short stories were published in a Christian magazine. She excelled at pencil sketches, which could be found gracing the cover of a church cookbook published in the late seventies, as well as the Lemont Village Association newsletter around the same period. More interested in social than technical aspects of ham radio, she obtained her license (call sign N3BXM) in the early nineties and appeared with her husband and son assisting with communications during events such as the Habitat Housewalk. She enjoyed a variety of music over the years, loved hymns, and most recently enjoyed some modern Celtic music, such as Celtic Woman, Celtic Thunder, and Enya. Favorite authors included Grace Livingston Hill, Rosamunde Pilcher, and naturalists such as Edwin Way Teal. She also enjoyed British comedies like "As Time Goes By" and "Last of the Summer Wine" on TV. A visitation will be held at Koch's Funeral Home on Tuesday, April 8 at noon, followed immediately by the funeral at 1:30 p.m. Visitors may wish to think of a humorous or touching story to share at the ceremony. Arrangements are under the care of Koch Funeral Home, State College. Online condolences and signing of the guest book may be entered at

Published in Centre Daily Times on Apr. 6, 2014
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