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Snead Young Matthews Davis

1909 - 2014 | Obituary Condolences Gallery
Snead Young Matthews Davis Obituary
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DAVIS Please Sign the Guestbook @ Snead Young Matthews Davis, 104, of Jacksonville, Florida, died February 22, 2014, in Jacksonville. She was truly an exceptional individual, who met the challenges of her life in a way that exemplified a deep respect for family and friends, the cattle industry, and the many causes to which she was dedicated. Born on September 25, 1909, in Berrien County, Georgia, Snead was the eldest of three daughters of the late Henry Spann and Sampie Snead Young. She grew up on a farm during World War I and the Great Depression, attended Georgia State Woman s College (now Valdosta State University), and then taught school in Alapaha and Enigma Georgia. In 1934, Snead married Thomas D. Matthews who owned the Santa Fe River Ranch (SFRR) near Alachua, Florida. There they established the first herd of registered cattle in the State. Following Tom s untimely death in 1947, Snead continued to operate SFRR. In 1948, she married A. D. Davis, one of the Founders, and President and Chairman of Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc., and moved to Jacksonville. Together they further developed the purebred cattle business at SFRR and led efforts to modernize the Florida livestock industry through the use of purebred cattle and good herd health practices. SFRR became a nationally acclaimed Polled Hereford herd with its cattle taking top honors in competitions nationwide and its bloodlines much in demand. Snead and A. D. expanded their cattle interests to the West in 1955 when they purchased the Lazy CJ Ranch in Saratoga, Wyoming s North Platte Valley. In 1957, they also purchased The Big Horn Ranches in North Park near Walden, Colorado. A. D. and Snead, with their national recognition in the cattle industry, created the trademark for the Winn-Dixie Stores: The Beef People. During the twenty years of major growth of the Winn-Dixie Stores, Snead supported her husband in his key leadership role within the company and their great involvement throughout the State of Florida and the United States. Notably, Snead served as delegate to the Democratic National Convention that nominated John F. Kennedy. It was in their suite with many well-known political leaders of the time that Lyndon B. Johnson was persuaded to accept the role of Vice President. After their divorce in 1968, Snead turned her full attention to running SFRR and breeding Polled Hereford cattle until the ranch was sold in 2009. She was ably assisted by three great cattlemen as Managers, her cousin William Crip Snead, Ed Calendine, and Philip Snead. Snead was recognized many times for her knowledge of and expertise with cattle, including the high honors as the first female inductee to the American Polled Hereford Association Hall of Fame and inductee to the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame. She was also the first woman asked to judge cattle and did so at the American Royal in Kansas City. She attended five World Hereford Conferences and has participated in the national cattlemen s associations conventions for more than sixty years. An international ambassador of the United States cattle industry, Snead traveled the world promoting American cattle, and in 1977, she represented the beef industry as one of twelve professional women from various fields exclusively chosen to tour an emerging China. A member of the Florida Cattlemen s Association since its inception, Snead was made an Honorary Director in 1989. Merging her expertise within the cattle industry with her appreciation for higher education, Snead was a long-time supporter of the University of Florida, serving on the University of Florida Foundation s Board of Directors, and as Vice Chairman of the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS)/Special Help for Agricultural Research and Education (SHARE) Council from 1983-1985. Her major gifts to UF/IFAS, including the gift of a large acreage of SFRR, aided the development of educational programs for young people especially in the advancement of beef cattle research, cattle judging, and related areas. Florida Blue Key, in recognition of Snead s outstanding ability, leadership, and service to the University of Florida, elected her to membership in its Honor Fraternity in 1989. In 1993, the University of Florida National Alumni Association conferred upon her the title of Honorary Alumna. Snead was also inducted into the Foundation Hall of Fame in 1993. Always an active and enthusiastic member of the communities in which she lived, Snead showed patronage and service to many organizations: a member of the Board of Directors of Bartram School, Jacksonville, for twenty-five years; a recipient of the Florida Sheriff s Association Distinctive Services Award; a member of the Jacksonville Symphony Guild Board; a founding member of the Womens Board of the Wolfson Children s Hospital; a supporter of the American Cancer Society Cowford Ball; and a member of the Cummer Museum and the Saratoga Museum. Senator Lawton and Rhea Childs asked her to join The Florida House, the nation s only state embassy in Washington, D.C, at its creation in the 1970s. She served on its Board for over 30 years and was recipient of its outstanding leadership award inducted to The 1845 Society. Ever the avid huntress, Snead was widely respected among her hunting companions for her endurance and energy as well as for her skill with rifle and shotgun alike. She hunted big game every season in Wyoming from the early 1950s until she killed her last elk at age ninety-eight. She was legendary as an expert bird hunter throughout the South, and her fly fishing acumen was equally distinguished. Aunt Snead, as she was known to friends and relatives alike, enjoyed entertaining. Her homes at SFRR, Ponte Vedra Beach, Jacksonville, and Saratoga, were often filled with family, and a wide variety of friends from around the world. She hosted many parties that are still remembered, especially her Georgia-Florida Football Post-Game event, which she held annually for over fifty years. She is survived by her sister, Nancy Young Schmoe, Quitman, Georgia; her nieces and nephews: Suwannee Shuntich (Louis), Susannah Borg, Jeannie Wisenbaker, Yon Lindsey (Michelle), and Robert Lindsey (Carolyn); fourteen grand-nieces and nephews; and seventeen great grand-nieces and nephews. Snead is predeceased by her other sister, Alice Young Lindsey. The family will receive friends from five thirty o clock until seven o clock in the evening on Monday, March 3, 2014 at The Oaklawn Chapel. Funeral services will begin at seven o clock in the evening on Monday with Rev. Bruce Jones officiating. Graveside services for family will take place at Newnansville Cemetery in Alachua, Florida on Tuesday, March 4, 2014, at two o clock in the afternoon followed by a Celebration of Life Reception for friends and family at Santa Fe River Ranch at four o clock in the afternoon. Contributions may be made in her honor to The Florida Cattlemen s Foundation, Santa Fe River Ranch Youth Fund, PO Box 421929, Kissimmee, FL 34742-1929, or to the . Hardage-Giddens, The Oaklawn Chapel, 4801 San Jose Boulevard is serving the family.
Published in the Florida Times-Union on Feb. 26, 2014
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