Margaret "Peggy" Snyder
(Mrs. Gary Smithwick)
March 18, 2014
After a 14-year battle with breast cancer, Margaret Ruth "Peggy" Snyder passed away on March 18th at her home in Gulf Harbour surrounded by loving family members. She was born in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, January 28, 1948, to Arthur H. Snyder and Margaret Fox Snyder. Her father was a lead nuclear scientist with the Manhattan Project and her mother was a parochial school teacher and vice principal. Peggy was a classically trained pianist and served as organist at her church in Oak Ridge. Peggy was a 1966 graduate of Oak Ridge High School where she was a cheerleader, member of the high school student council and an outstanding student academically, voted most likely to succeed. She was the first female lifeguard at the Oak Ridge public swimming pool, which was constructed by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers and remains one of the world's largest freshwater pools. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with High Honors in 1970 from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville where she was founder of the International House for foreign students. She was a member of Delta Delta Delta Sorority. She was a University of Tennessee Torchbearer, the highest honor conferred on an elite group of students each year. Peggy then served as a guide at the United Nations in New York City before winning an International Rotary Foundation Scholarship to the University of Caen in Normandy, France, where she earned the Diplôme Supérieur. She became fluent in the French language during that time. In 1977, she graduated from the Law School of the University of Tennessee with the degree of Doctor of Jurisprudence. She was licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia, Tennessee and Virginia. After law school, she joined the U. S. Justice Department Civil Rights Division as a trial attorney litigating education cases. Displaying the same resolute courage that she would later bring to her battle against cancer, Peggy traveled to southern Mississippi to compel the desegregation of schools there despite the overt intimidation efforts by the Ku Klux Klan which required that she receive round the clock protection by federal law enforcement agencies. She retired from Justice after having suffered life-long injuries from a 1980 near-fatal helicopter crash into Washington's Tidal Basin. She later became General Counsel and Executive Director of the Communications Fraud Control Association, a Washington-based international professional organization that was one of the first to take on the issue of computer and network security. Later, she served as president of the D. C. Federation of Citizens' Associations, and on various boards, including the board of the Simonton Cancer Center. She was a fundraiser and lector at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Washington's Georgetown neighborhood. In 1988, she married Washington communications attorney Gary Smithwick. Peggy loved to SCUBA dive, sail, and travel. Over their 26 year marriage, she and Gary visited over two dozen countries. Peggy is survived by her loving husband, her brother James Snyder of Houston, Texas, her niece, Alexa Snyder, nephew Andrew "Drew" Snyder, her step children, Steven Smithwick of Atlanta, and Heather Smithwick Haley of Chapel Hill, NC, and four grandchildren.
Arrangements are private. Friends will be notified of a future Celebration in Peggy's memory to be held in Washington, which was Peggy's desire. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Georgetown University Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, 3970 Reservoir Road, Washington, DC 20007 and the Mayo Clinic, Department of Development, 200 1st St SW, Rochester, MN 55905.
Published in The News-Press on Mar. 23, 2014