RUSTON, LA - Professor Emeritus Robert C. Snyder, Sr., 92, departed this life Wednesday, June 8, 2011 just nine weeks after the death of his beloved wife of 65 years, Virginia Webb Snyder.
Robert Snyder was born in Niota, Tennessee on April 30, 1919, the youngest of six children. He attended Tennessee Wesleyan College in Athens, Tennessee; studied at Florence State now the University of Northern Alabama; Western Kentucky; Tulane; and attended graduate school at Vanderbilt. He with his family spent summers at University of Mississippi and University of Alabama.
Although teaching was his passion, "Bob" Snyder was involved in civic and state affairs for many years. In the 1950's, 60's, and 70's, Professor Snyder was a prolific lecturer on cultural, civic, and educational affairs throughout the state. He was chosen as a member of the Executive Council on the Louisiana Commission for the Humanities; served as a national editorial critic for many specialized publications; and fielded questions on a weekly radio broadcast in Shreveport, LA.
In 1962, Mr. Snyder worked to establish the Lincoln Parish Library; served as President of the Board from its inception to recent years; in1966, Governor McKeithen appointed him to the State Library Board of Commissioners; reappointed as President of the State Library Board; was awarded the coveted Modisette Award by the Louisiana Library Association; and served as a national officer in the American Library Association. In 1971, he was appointed by Governor Treen to serve on the Louisiana State Ethics Commission, served as Chairman and was a board member for 26 years.
Above all Mr. Snyder enjoyed a remarkable 42 year career at Louisiana Tech University. During this time, he was head of the Department of English and Foreign Language and later the Department of English. He loved the classroom and the students and to his last days could recall the countless Tech students he taught by name. At his retirement in 1989, he was honored to be conferred the rare Professor Emeritus title and Louisiana Tech's first Distinguished Professor. Former students, Charles and Sam Wyly established the Robert C. Snyder Chair English Endowment. Mr. Snyder was also an avid sports fan and served on the Tech Athletic Council from the late 1950's through the 1980's. He was selected by the Alumni Association for the school's Arliss Scroggin's Award for Distinguished Service to Louisiana Tech well after retirement in 2005.
He was proud to have been employed during war time as an "engineer" by the Atomic Energy Commission to work on the Top Secret Manhattan Project at Oak Ridge, Tennessee during the development of the Atomic bomb.
Mr. Snyder was as beloved as he was at times difficult. His brilliancy had no match. His white long sleeve starched shirts and seer sucker suits…his knowing laugh, his acerbic wit and charm, and his engaging manner of telling stories combined with his refinement will be forever missed.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Sophia Elizabeth Brock and Robert Harrison Snyder; step-mother, Alpha Simpson Snyder; his beloved wife, Virginia Webb Snyder; sisters, Elizabeth Snyder Harrington, Ava Snyder Glendenning; Mary Frances Snyder Smith; brothers, Samuel Snyder, Gilbert Snyder; and half sisters, Mary Jane Snyder Sewell and Sue Snyder Long.
Robert Snyder is survived by his three devoted children, seven grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren: Rebecca Snyder Howard and husband Dr. Rennie Howard of Williamsburg, VA; Stephana Snyder Dean and husband Albert " Bud" of Bossier City; Dr. Robert C. Snyder, Jr. and wife Gayle Langley Snyder and daughter Molly Snyder of Helena, AL; grandchildren, Tad Howard and wife Susan and son Grady of Georgetown University Washington, DC; Scottie Howard Brown and husband David Brown of Richmond, VA; Virginia "Ginny" Dean Nolen and husband Drew and children Melanie and Mary Elizabeth Nolen of Shreveport; Robbie Dean of New Orleans, LA; Dr. Steven Snyder and wife Janet and children Will and Evelyn of Mobile, AL; Dr. Hunter Snyder and wife Jennifer and daughter Jillian of Madison, AL; two beloved half-brothers, William Snyder and Joe Snyder and their families; and many cherished nieces and nephews.
Pallbearers: Grandsons, Tad Howard, Robbie Dean, Dr. Steven Snyder, Dr. Hunter Snyder, Drew Nolen, and David Brown. Honorary pallbearers will be colleagues Dr. Dan Reneau, Wiley Hilburn, Johnny Maxwell, Francis Thompson, Clyde Thompson, Charles Wyly, Sam Wyly, Teddy Allen, Dewey Thurman, Bill Carter, and Billy Baskin. Post Honorary are Pat Patterson and F. Jay Taylor.
In lieu of flowers, the family requested memorials and donations be made to Robert C. Snyder Endowed Chair of English at Louisiana Tech; Presbyterian Church of Ruston; or the Lincoln Parish Library in Ruston.
The family would especially like to express sincere gratitude to Dr. Ed. Mariano, the Russ House, the sitters who provided care and comfort, countless friends, special teachers, and members of the Presbyterian Church for their caring concern shown over these last weeks.
A memorial service will be 2:30 P.M Tuesday, June 14, 2011 at Presbyterian Church of Ruston with Rev. Edith Hill officiating the service. The family will receive friends in the Fellowship Hall at the Presbyterian Church of Ruston from 1:00 PM until service time. Interment will follow in Pines Memorial Gardens in Ruston, LA under the direction of Kilpatrick Funeral Home of Ruston.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.kilpatrickfuneralhomes.com