R. Wayne Snider of Grace Village Retirement Community in Winona Lake, Indiana passed away at 9:15 am on Tuesday, January 28, 2020 at Parkview Whitley Hospital, Columbia City, Indiana at the age of 91. He passed peacefully from this life into the loving arms of his Savior, whom he loved and served for a lifetime.
Wayne was born December 16, 1928 in Roaring Spring, Pennsylvania to Sara E. (Gingrich) and Dr. Claude K. Snider. As a boy, and then a young man, he enjoyed accompanying his father, a local doctor of osteopathy, on his house calls. Many times he would be his father’s driver during the frequent middle of the night calls. Prior to his graduation from high school, he and his older brother David became members of the Civil Air Patrol, serving their community in this important way. He loved telling us the story of flying much lower than necessary over their home to purposefully scare their mother as she was hanging the laundry outside to dry! This happened more than once.
In 1946, Wayne graduated from Roaring Spring High School and made plans to go off to college. He settled on Bryan College in Dayton, Tennessee. It was there he met a professor who ignited his passion for history. He began to see the hand of God in historical events and it was there that he knew, history was “His-story.”
Wayne graduated from Bryan College in 1950, and moved to Winona Lake, Indiana where he entered what is now Grace Theological Seminary. He completed the two year program and received his Master of Divinity degree.
In 1954 Wayne, now Professor Snider, became the first Dean of Men at Grace, serving in this position from 1954 to 1959, while teaching both history and Physical Education. During this time, Grace College moved from its status as a division of Grace Theological Seminary to four year college program. While teaching at Grace College in these early years, he also pursued and received a Masters of Arts in History at Indiana University.
It wasn’t long before he noticed a particularly beautiful new freshmen student in his history class, Hyla Palmer. Wayne and Hyla dated and after a few years passed, he proposed to her on the night before a big exam for Hyla, which she promptly failed! After Hyla graduated they were married at Grace Chapel, on the Grace College campus on August 15, 1959. Wayne and Hyla welcomed three daughters into their family, Lisa, Jackie and Jennifer “Jen”. As his daughters grew, it was normal to be asked at breakfast what day it was, and that always resulted in a short lesson on the anniversary of this invasion, or that military triumph. Wayne and Hyla shared 55 years of marriage together before she passed away on September 7, 2014.
During his more than 50 years of teaching history, thousands of students passed through his classroom doors, including each of his daughters, and his future son in law, all experiencing his love of “His-story”. In addition to teaching history, Wayne was a long time member of Winona Lake Grace Brethren Church. He had many roles at the church including maintenance and many, many dark winter hours shoveling and clearing the sidewalks before Sunday services. He was also a member of the Warsaw Breakfast Optimist Club for many years. He served as Republican precinct committeeman for Wayne township and was especially thrilled as each daughter became old enough to pass through his line and cast her vote. Wayne was an ordained minister and had the joy of officiating the marriage of his daughter, Lisa and new son in law, David in 1982.
Professor Snider retired in 2004 after more than 50 years of teaching. He received many honors and a former long-time colleague, David Plaster said of Wayne,” when I think of Wayne Snider I think of words like loyalty, faithfulness and a servant’s heart.” Wayne became a Professor Emeritus of Grace College but continued to collect historical artifacts and instruct those he encountered with reminders of God’s hand in history and the importance of not forgetting the lessons that history has taught us. Even though it didn’t always seem so, you could consider yourself fortunate to receive one of the very thick packets of reading materials and newspaper clippings that he loved to mail! Ever the professor, he was still handing out assignments up until his passing.
Wayne was a resident of Winona Lake for nearly 70 years and he loved his community very much. A true American patriot, he loved his Lord, he loved his family and he loved his country. He also had a special love for dogs and horses. He will be lovingly remembered and missed by his three daughters: Lisa (David) Floyd (Kiawah Island, South Carolina), Jackie Snider (Warsaw, Indiana) and Jennifer “Jen” Snider (Pierceton, Indiana).
He is also survived by two grandchildren Vanessa Floyd (Arlington, Virginia) Alex Floyd and his fiancée Kelley Griffin (Summerville, South Carolina), four nieces and six nephews, and sister Alice (Charles) Koontz (Winona Lake, Indiana). A sister-in-law, Alice Miller (Wooster, Ohio); a sister-in-law, Audra Snider (Martinsburg, Pennsylvania). He was preceded in death by his parents, wife Hyla Mae Snider, brother David Snider and one nephew.
Visitation will be held on Wednesday, February 5, 2020 from 3:00 – 7:00 p.m. at Redpath-Fruth Funeral Home, 225 Argonne Road, Warsaw, Indiana.
A memorial service celebrating Wayne’s life will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, February, 6, 2020 at Winona Lake Grace Brethren Church, 1200 Kings Highway, Winona Lake, Indiana and officiated by Pastor Kip Cone and assisted by Chaplain Bryan Benjamin. A private family graveside service will be held at Oakwood Cemetery, Warsaw, Indiana.
Memorials donations may be made to: K9s for Warriors, 114 Camp K9 Road, Ponte Vedra, Florida 32081; or to the Hyla M. Snider Elementary Education Scholarship, c/o Grace College Advancement Office, 200 Seminary Drive, Winona Lake, Indiana 46590.
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