Mary Frances (Snyder) Schneider, 93, of Fort Wayne, passed away on Wednesday, September 30, 2020, at Kingston Residence in Fort Wayne.
On May 22, 1927 two major events happened that would change the course of history. Charles Lindbergh made a successful transatlantic flight, landing in Paris, and far away in Plymouth, Indiana, Mary Frances Snyder was born. At her birth Mary became the Matriarch of the Snyder family, being the first girl born in three generations.
Aside from the first 7-10 days of her life, Mary spent the rest of her 93 years in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She attended Smart, Harmar, and South Side High School, and graduated from South Side in 1945. She attended Indiana University at both Extension in Fort Wayne, and the main campus in Bloomington, Indiana. When Mary was around 11 years old, her brother, Roland (13) brought a friend home to have dinner. Howard Schneider would spend many hours at the Snyder home over the next 14 years, and on October 4, 1952, Mary and Howard were married.
Mary and Howard raised three children in their house on Gaywood Drive. Mary was active in the lives of her children being a Homeroom Mother at Southern Heights for over 15 years. She and Howard served as Co-Presidents of the PTA at Southern Heights for 3 years, and her involvement continued even after her children moved on to Junior High and High School.
Mary worked at Farnsworth Electronics from 1950-52, where she met a family life long friend, Scott Nevin. After leaving Farnsworth to raise a family Mary became a professional volunteer. The following is a mere snapshot of all she accomplished. She was a member of the Pi Omicron Sorority, Kappa Chi Delta Chapter for over 50 years. She served as President and held other offices and made life long friends in her time at Pi Omicron. She was a member of League of Women Voters in Fort Wayne, and served on the National Level of the League, as well. In the 1980’s she served on the Governor’s Task Force for Toxic Waste, and spent many weekends hiking train tracks and local areas looking for illegal dumping. Around 1968 she began volunteering, with her friend Evelyn Smith, for WOWO Call for Action, serving every Friday assisting people with needs in Fort Wayne and surrounding areas, she remained active with Call for Action locally, and nationally for almost 10 years. She remained active with the Class of 1945 from South Side High School until her early 90’s, and remained in contact with many of her classmates until her death. She supported care for the environment with her involvement in the Izaak Walton League, ACRES, Trees of Indiana, World Wildlife Federation, and others. Howard and Mary supported the Arts with involvement and attendance with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Orchestra, Civic Theater, First Presbyterian Theater, and Wagon Wheel Theater.
Mary was a Jubilee Member of First Presbyterian Church, having been a member for 58 years. As a member of First Presbyterian Church Mary was Ordained as a Ruling Elder and Deacon and served on various committees and led the Chancel Guild for over 35 years. She co-founded EarthHealers at First Presbyterian in the late 1980’s beginning the church’s journey into caring for the environment. For many years she assisted in providing monthly meals for the Rescue Mission.
Mary is survived by her son, David (Dr. Dawn Frank), Delphi, Indiana, her daughter, Rev. Gretchen Schneider, Indianapolis, Indiana, 2 nieces, 4 nephews, cousins, and many “greats”. She was preceded in death by her husband, Howard in 2010, her daughter, Johanna, in 2018, as well as her parents and 2 brothers. She is also survived by many friends.
A Celebration of Mary’s Life and Resurrection will be held at 11 am on Saturday, November 14, 2020 at First Presbyterian Church, Fort Wayne, with The Rev. Gretchen Schneider and The Rev. Dr. Annie Epling co-officiating. There will be a time of visitation one hour before the service. Because of Covid 19, Masks must be worn and (sadly) there will not be a reception following the service. The service will be livestreamed on the church’s website: firstpresfortwayne.org. A private family graveside service was held on October 22, 2020.
In lieu of flowers Mary requested that donations be made to the donor’s choice of the following: ACRES Land Trust; The Fort Wayne Philharmonic Orchestra; and/or First Presbyterian Theater.
Thank you to Heartland Hospice and Kingston Residence of Fort Wayne for their care of Mary in her final days. We are grateful.
Online note to the family at www.sheetsandchilds.com.
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