Mary-jane R. Snyder
Wm. H. Scott Funeral Home
1100 Greenleaf Ave
Wilmette, IL

Mary-jane R. Snyder, president of Mj Enterprises, an international communications and public relations consulting firm, and one of twenty-eight women of vision who, in 1966, met during the National Conference of the Commission on the Status of Women and founded the Organization of Women (NOW), died Saturday, October 27, 2007 at the age of 91. A lifelong and outspoken proponent for equality for women, the former newspaper woman came into the family planning field on a free lance assignment for Planned Parenthood-Chicago Area, and then served as its first public relations director (1959-1970). During her tenure there, Snyder was instrumental in breaking through Cook County Hospital's "de facto" ban on birth control by getting legislation passed making Illinois the first state to allow state-payment for birth control services for the poor. She became executive director of PPA-CA in 1974 and left in 1978 to launch her own population communications consulting firm. Snyder was appointed in 1964 by Governor Otto Kerner to the (IL) Governor's Commission on the Status of Women. She coordinated the public relations component for ratification of the ERA in Illinois. For better than a decade she trained several thousand health care professionals from developing countries to build awareness of family size and to establish family planning clinics in their own countries through Bogue Workshop at the University of Chicago Community and Family Study Center. She was part of the pressroom for the first United Nations conference on population held in Bucharest (1974), and subsequent conferences in Mexico City, New Delhi, Sri Lanka, and Geneva. She ran a special press service at the UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, and the UN Women's Conferences in Cairo and Mexico City. Snyder served as chair of Population Institute in Washington, DC, was a founding board member of Population Communications International and several other organizations whose focus is to increase world-wide awareness of the impact of overpopulation on a finite planet. Snyder was active in Theta Sigma Phi both locally and nationally and continued through its reorganization as Women in Communications International. Mentoring present journalists was part of her commitment to the truth and future of journalism. Her unconquerable spirit both inspired and empowered friends, colleagues, and acquaintances alike to reach higher in their personal and collective goals. She was a devoted mother, grandmother and great-grandmother who took each of her five grandchildren on "kindertrips," international adventures to introduce them to the world's diverse cultures. Born to Edward G. and Florence (James) Ryan on 25 July 1916 in Chicago's Hyde Park, she was an eager student and avid Girl Scout, selling the most cookies in the first Girl Scout Cookie Sale held in Chicago. She was a 1933 graduate of Hyde Park High School, and earned her degree in Journalism in 1938 from the University of Illinois. In 1939, she married graphic arts designer, Clark Quin Snyder in Chicago with whom she enjoyed an enviable marriage until his death in 1970. Snyder moved to Wilmette from Hyde Park in 1947 with her husband, two young children and extended family, John Rayner and his two year old daughter, Betsy. There, Snyder became active in the community through the schools, St. Augustine's Episcopal Church, Girl Scouts, North Shore Associates, LINKS, New Trier Mental Health Advisory Board, and many other organizations. Mrs. Snyder moved to Westminster Place, Evanston in May 2001, and remained active in Mj Enterprises until her death. Mrs. Snyder is survived by her children: Lindsay (James) Cantoni of Sun Lakes, AZ; Nadine (Richard) Baldwin of Cape Elizabeth, ME; Kevan Snyder, Atlanta, GA; Courtnay (Lawrence) Waite, Onalaska, WI; Elizabeth Rayner (Edward) Cox, Sanford, FL; grandchildren: Brian (Lauren) Cantoni, Kara Cantoni, Colleen (Ryan) Danner, Rebecca (Arturo) Cacayuran, Alexander Waite; two great-grandchildren, Emma and Elizabeth Cantoni. She is also survived by her sister, Joanne Johnson Fraedrich, Dallas, TX; sister-in-law, Eleanor Snyder Schwecke, Seattle, WA; five nephews and two nieces. She is predeceased by her parents, husband, and sisters, Joyce Ryan, and Jannette Ryan Fraedrich and one great-grandchild, Angel Cantoni. Snyder was the recipient of innumerable awards, professional and otherwise-for outstanding achievement and humanitarian contribution including, Golden Trumpet Award from the Publicity Club of Chicago, Rotary's Paul Harris award, several Helen Cody Baker awards, National Headliner Award from Theta Sigma Phi, Girl Scout's highest award, the Golden Eaglet, and one on which, was inscribed the sentiment by all who knew her: "Thank God for Mary-jane." Visitation Tuesday, 4:30 to 7 p.m. at Wm. H. Scott Funeral Home, 1100 Greenleaf Ave., Wilmette. Funeral Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2007, 2:00 p.m. at St. Augustine's Episcopal Church, 1140 Wilmette Ave., Wilmette, IL 60091. Interment Private. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Augustine's Episcopal Church or Planned Parenthood Association - Chicago, 18 S. Michigan Avenue, 6th Floor, Chicago, Illinois 60603. Info.,


Published by Chicago Tribune from Oct. 28 to Oct. 29, 2007.
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23 Entries
To Mary-jane's Family:

We were two of the college students that Mary-jane mentored. We attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and were members of Theta Sigm Phi. She attended one of our dinners and we kept in contact for several years after graduation. She was an inspiration and because of her we could't wait to graduate and enter the world of work. Today both of us volunteer our time to mentor young people passing on what she gave us.
Marcie Harrison & Arline Kaufman
November 16, 2007
Though it now seems like a long time ago in a galaxy far away, I do have fond memories of Mary-jane, Clark and children (I was one too at the time) from when she worked with my mom, Jane Browne, at Planned Parenthood both at 203 and 185 North Wabash Ave. I remember long, late night strategy meetings and passionate discussions about the importance of the causes they believed in. I know they fought many battles together and had a great deal of respect and admiration for each other. I'm sure her family is very proud of her accomplishments in an era when women usually had to shout to be heard. My best to you all.
Marshall Browne
November 7, 2007
Our condolences to the family for the loss of a woman who was larger than life and did not let bounderies get in the way
robert bloodworth
November 6, 2007
I knew Mary-jane through her and my long association with Women in Communications, now the Association for Women in Communications. Although the Chicago Chapter is no more, Mary-jane continued to be supportive, kind, understanding and so willing to help college students pursuing a degree and career in communications. She hosted luncheons for these students and I was honored to be at a few of them. I'll always remember her and all her good work for women everywhere. She was a great hostess at home too and I enjoyed visits there in Wilmette with other WICI vets. Godspeed, Mary-Jane!
carmeline esposito
November 6, 2007
Dear family of Mary Jane,
We remember the parties and the good times had with your family especially during the holidays when living in Kenilworth. Your Mother was a lovely person and will be missed. J.Michael Strohm family.
Michael Strohm
November 3, 2007
Dear Family of Mary-jane,
I knew your mother first in the mid-60's through my aunt, Jane C. Browne, with whom she worked at Planned Parenthood of Chicago for many years. She was an extremely intelligent, hardworking and passionate woman about causes in which she believed, like family planning. In later years (the '80's) I saw her often at St. Augustine's Church in Wilmette and at gatherings at her home particularly with Debby Stirling (my college friend) in later years. My heartfelt condolences to you all. What a valuable and contributing human being she was to her community and her country.
Best wishes, Sue Kornhaber
Sue Kornhaber
November 3, 2007
Dear Lindsay, Nadine, Kevan and Corky,
I'm so sorry to hear about the passing of your mom. She was my mom's best friend and business partner for the past 30-plus years. I saw or spoke with her almost every time I came to town and always enjoyed talking with her about just about anything. I also learned a lot from playing Bridge with her. Now she's been transplanted on "the other side" where she can flourish. We will all miss her.
With deepest sympathy,
Deb Clark Vance
November 1, 2007
Lindsay, Nadine, Kevan and Corky,
I will always remember arriving in Chicago and being welcomed by your whole family, back in the mid-60's, and especially by your mother. She made me feel like I was another of her daughters. I learned to cook several things from her, and still use a corned beef recipe "par excellence" that I have passed it along to numberous family members and friends. What a wonderful woman, what wonderful parents both she and Clark were. Please accept my sympathies. Lil Woolf
Lil Woolf
October 31, 2007
Lindsay, Nadine, Kevan and Corky,

Heaven has welcomed its newest angel!!!!!

There are so many memories of your mother in my mind, but one I don't think I've mentioned is about "Nurse Mary Jane". One summer, when I spent a few days at the Snyder enclave, I had a terrible case of homesickness and a painful boil on my leg to boot. Wouldn't you know that your mother's love dried my tears of homesickness and her skilled hands took care of the boil. In no time I could participate in the lovely family chaos once again.

Just think of all the people waiting to greet Aunt Mary Jane Saturday morning. Mom and Dad were in that crowd!!!!!!

May God grant you all His amazing Peace and Grace.

My love to you all,
Penny Edwards
October 30, 2007

I had planned to stop by to extend my thoughts on what a wonderful person your mother was and what great accomplishments she has left behind.. such as our Girl Scout Leader. Your Mom was a very special person and I feel lucky to have been in her life when I was young and in my later years. Please know I am thinking of you and your family at this time of loss.
My best, Joyce
Joyce Kuhles-Knauff
October 30, 2007
Mary-jane knew how to do things to make this world a better place to live. She put her whole self into doing just that.
George Denniston MD
October 30, 2007
Dear Family of Mary-jane Snyder:
I was privileged to know your Mother while attending the writing class at both Northwestern University and National Louis University. She was such a delight and I thoroughly enjoyed hearing about her family. She was a wonderful woman, full of energy and kind to everyone. My sympathy goes to all of you on her passing.
Marilyn Coy
Marilyn Coy
October 30, 2007
It is difficult for a single obituary or guest book entry to do justice to Mary-Jane. She was more than exceptional, she was a person who made everybody she came into contact with richer for the experience. We all loved her. My deepest sympathies go to all the family.

When my mother, Mary Louise (Quinn) Romeo passed away, it was Mary-Jane who took the time to talk with me for an hour to bring back the happy memories in order to make things easier for me. I will never forget that. God Bless You, Mary-Jane.
Steve Romeo
October 30, 2007
Dear Corky and Larry-I know this for a fact, heroes never die-just sit back and look at your children and know that your mother wll live on forever-we love you-The Graves Fam
sally graves
October 30, 2007
Dear Kevan,

We were so sorry to hear about your mother. What a wonderful life she had.

Love, J. David & Michael
J David Cooper
October 30, 2007
To Maryjane's Daughters...I will miss her laugh, our conversations and being in her presence. She is the type of woman, one calls a Grand Lady. There are few of them.
I send my heartfelt sympathies to each of you. Sincerely, Rhona M
Rhona Moore
October 30, 2007
Dear Kevan,
My heartfelt sympathies to you and your family. Please find comfort in all the wonderful family memories that you and your sisters hold so dear.
Connie Border
October 29, 2007
I remember Clark's great laugh and Mary-jane's sense of fun but mostly, with much appreciation, her empowering support of my Mom and so many other women. What an amazing gift that is to give. I'm thinking of you "girls" with best love.
Bonnie (Decker) Hull
October 29, 2007
Dear Lindsay and Nadine,
I am so sorry to hear of your mother's death. Hers was a life to emulate and I'm sure she leaves many, many wonderful memories. My sympathy to your and your families.
Marie Lou (Heineken) Smith
October 29, 2007
Lindsay and Nadine,

Please know that I'm thinking of you and your family at this difficult time. I remember your mother well, especially from our Girl Scout years. What a remarkable woman she was and what a wonderful role model for generations of women.

With sympathy,
Susie Parsons Reeder
Susie Reeder
October 29, 2007
Dear Lindsay, Nadine....
My memories go all the way back to Troop 29 when our Troop 10 merged..and she became one of our leaders...soooo many years ago! I remember her as being so much fun and dynamic...My sincerest sympathies to you and your families.
Sally Streeter
October 29, 2007
I knew Mary-jane many years ago at the Community and Family Study Center. She was a great lady and led a long and productive life.
Norma Dutter
October 28, 2007
I will never forget those occasional weeknight rides back to Evanston from the Loop -- with Clark Q. driving with one hand and holding Mary-jane's with the other the whole way, expertly weaving in and out of the lanes. I know how much they loved one another, and we may be sure he was right there on the other side to welcome her. She was a wonderful first boss and mentor to me, and I felt honored that she continued to keep up with my life through the years. What a wonderful person she was. Hers was truly a life to remember with smiles and to celebrate now.
Love to all,
Deborah Stirling
October 28, 2007
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