By Conrad Dudderar
Tributes are pouring in as Yukon remembers Pat Snyder, an accomplished artist, benefactor and matriarch of an iconic grocery store family.
Snyder, wife of Yukon Historical Society Hall of Fame inductee Jim Snyder Sr., died March 23 at age 91.
“Pat exuded graciousness” longtime good friend Ernestine Limestall said. “She was one-of-a-kind.
“Pat brought out the best in all that she did.”
The Limestall and Snyder families were neighbors for more than 50 years on Kingston Drive.
“Pat had a message without words,” Limestall related. “She could walk in a room, and you received sweetness, graciousness, respectfulness, and kindness. Her outward appearance was always as sincere as she was.
“Pat expressed herself with how she dressed and how she looked at you. Her words were dynamic. When she said something, you remembered her. It was always like her painting – she brought out the good and the beautiful.”
For many years, Limestall and Snyder were active members of the Yukon Art League. They were soulmates in the local art community along with other Yukon legends like Donelda Wheatley.
“The expression of any creative activity had our soul in it, and our relationship with the spirit,” Limestall shared. “Where words failed, Pat could put on the canvas, and you got the message.”
Snyder was known for her beautiful paintings that appeared on Christmas cards she’d send to family and friends. Each card had a message that expressed her strong Christian faith.
“They were always done in the colors of brightness and hope,” Limestall said. “That’s what Pat always brought to me.
“She would leave artist magazines in my mailbox, and we’d share thoughts about how the artist relates to the soul.”
Snyder’s hometown grocery store was a Yukon Main Street landmark for decades. The Snyder family employed many local youths, instilling a strong work ethic.
“Anybody who worked for Jim Snyder learned what business was all about,” Limestall added. “They made good employees wherever they went from working at the grocery store. If you worked at Snyder’s, you got an education from the best!”
The Snyder family not only employed many Yukon students, but they were strong education advocates as founding donors of Yukon Public Schools’ Foundation for Excellence.
A GREAT INFLUENCE
Margaret Albrecht said Pat Snyder was a great influence on her life since the time they met in 1961 when Margaret and husband Emil came to Yukon.
“Emil got a job there two or three months later, so Pat and I have known each other for so long,” Albrecht said. “We have been on a lot of trips and have done a lot of fun things together.
“Pat was a wonderful artist and a wonderful, sweet person. I have never known her to say anything bad about anybody. She had wonderful children, grandchildren and a bunch of great-grandchildren.”
The late Emil Albrecht was Snyder’s longtime manager, working nearly 40 years for Yukon’s legendary grocer.
“We made a good living and had a wonderful Yukon family,” Margaret Albrecht added.
Another longtime close friend, Charlotte Novak, was Snyder’s bridge partner in a bridge group that played regularly.
“Pat was a special person,” Novak said. “She was the sweetest, kindest person I’ve ever known. She was compassionate and generous to everyone that she met.”
Both Novak and Albrecht also were close with Snyder as longtime members of a Yukon knitters’ club.
In her later years, Pat Snyder moved into Spanish Cove Retirement Village where she became active at Yukon’s premiere senior community.
She was always caring and loving, according to Spanish Cove CEO Don Blose.
“That’s Pat Snyder; we’re going to miss her deeply,” Blose said. “Pat and the entire Snyder family have been a wonderful asset to Yukon for so many years. They’ve poured out their goodness to the whole community and contributed to so many different projects, sometimes anonymously.”
The Snyder family has been a “cornerstone” of Yukon, Blose added.
“The kids are great – and I know they got every bit of it from Pat and Jim,” he said. “They just built their life on goodness.”
As a Spanish Cove resident, Pat Snyder was instrumental in chairing a committee that created “Central Park” as part of a beautification project at the Cove campus.
“Pat helped raise a lot of money so we could have a very nice park area with a fountain and flowers where we could have concerts,” Blose added. “It’s just a beautiful setting for people to go relax and have peace.
“Pat was the ringleader behind that. She was always looking for something to beautify our community.”
Her paintings were often on display for people to enjoy at Spanish Cove.
“Pat just had an emotional connection to people. Even toward the end, she went with such grace and dignity,” Blose added. “To visit her, Pat would be more interested in you than in her condition. That’s just a mark of a very high-caliber individual.”
A TRUE YUKON MILLER
Yukon Chamber of Commerce CEO Pam Shelton, a former Yukon school teacher, saw first-hand Snyder’s impact on this community.
“Pat Snyder, a true Yukon Miller, loved supporting education and was an amazing artist,” Shelton said. “Pat was definitely a giver, enjoyed life and always had a smile for you.
“She will truly be missed but remembered for all she did for Yukon.”
Snyder was a huge supporter of the Mabel C. Fry Public Library and the Ladies Library Club’s annual Christmas auction.
“The paintings that Pat did and donated to the auction were invaluable,” Yukon Librarian Sara Schieman said. “Her paintings always brought such a good price and raised so much money for the library.
“Pat was such a nice lady, too.”
Yukon civic leader and socialite Marge Brakefield, whose family has had a decades-old plumbing business, knew Snyder well.
“Pat was a beautiful, loving lady,” Brakefield said. “Her artwork will always be remembered because she did those beautiful Christmas cards every year.”
Brakefield recalled that both Pat Snyder and Kathryn Wright – wife of longtime businessman and banker Clarence Wright – were known as the “first ladies of Yukon” for many years.
Funeral services for Pat Snyder will be 2 p.m. Friday, April 1 at Covenant Community Church, 2250 S Yukon Parkway. Burial will be in the Yukon Cemetery. Arrangements are by Yanda & Son Funeral Home, Yukon.