Charles Lowell ‘Chuck’ Snyder

FORD RIVER — Charles Lowell “Chuck” Snyder, 85, passed away at his home in Ford River, Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019. 

Charles was born in Escanaba to Marjorie (Wilke) and Gerald Snyder, life-long Escanaba residents. Charles attended St. Joseph’s School and St. Norbert’s in DePere, Wis. He graduated from Escanaba Public High School in 1954. He studied drafting at Bay College, and he practiced drawing his entire life. He was both artistic and athletic. He enjoyed snowmobiling, hunting, fishing, boating, and diving. As a young man he performed in a water-skiing troupe, the Escanaba Aquanauts. 

Charles spent four years in the U.S. Navy, 1954-58. He was on an Underwater Demolition Team following the Korean War, serving on the USS San Marcos and USS Aircraft Carrier Ranger on Arctic and Caribbean cruises. His military experience forged his ethical sensibilities and his world view. 

Following his military service, he worked for American Motors in Milwaukee 1958-59, after which he was a rescue and recovery diver for the Delta County Sheriff’s Department. He worked for 42 years at the Mead Paper Corp as a machine tender, mostly a back tender. He learned to know what to do and when to do it, in part, by listening to the machine. That he could be counted on to growl “thar she blows” in appropriate moments is thought to stem from the digesters blowing at the mill.

Charles was attuned to sound. He had a radio-quality baritone voice he used frequently to improvise a limerick or to utter a quip. He was a master of the one-liner. He loved listening to music, especially piano, and he treasured his family of musicians, pianists, and singers.

He followed football, Fox News, the Escanaba Daily Press, and the locally-performed arts. He was handy, a gifted steward of the family home in Ford River. He gardened (flowers not vegetables), and he fixed every engine and cart required to maintain the property. A squirrel nibbling in his garden could prompt him to rise silently from his recliner, grab the ‘pea shooter’ he kept by the patio door, and take aim. He painstakingly decorated his home and yard for the holidays to welcome guests. 

Charles grew up without brothers and sisters. Perhaps because of that he cultivated deep ties with family and friends. In 1964 he built a cottage on Stella Lake in the Hiawatha National Forest, clearing trees, driving a point, and working with hand tools and lumber salvaged from the old St. Anne’s rectory in Escanaba. It was here, ‘at camp’ that he was happiest, embellishing stories, and trading points-of-view with family and neighbors who knew him well or with visitors he just met. 

Charles is survived by his wife of 58 years, Mary (Schaut) Snyder; his cats, Billy and Mildred; and five of his six children, Elizabeth Snyder (Polly Thistlethwaite) and grandchild Eryn (Mathieu) Mercer-Niehues and great-grandchild William Niehues, Jerry Snyder (Jill Snyder) and grandchildren Brennan Snyder, Andrew Snyder, and Jordan (Taylor) Snyder and great-grandchild Nixin Snyder; John Snyder (Lisa Snyder) and grandchildren Mitchel Snyder and great-grandchild Brooklyn Snyder, and Nicole (Jonathan) Swanson and great-grandchild Abel Swanson; Susan Snyder and grandchildren Alexandria Snyder and Dylan Snyder-Perez; Paul Snyder and grandchild Jonathan (April) Bradford. Charles is also survived by his grandchild Justin Snyder, the son of his youngest daughter Jacqueline (Snyder) Dagenais who preceded him in death as did his grandson Spencer Dagenais. 

Visitation will take place on Friday, Nov. 29, from 3 to 6 p.m. and also on Saturday from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at the Crawford Funeral Home, 302 S. 13th St., Escanaba. Prayers will be said on Friday at 5:30 p.m. by Pastor Hans Tolpingrud.

The Mass of Christian Burial will be on Saturday at 11 a.m. at St. Joseph and St. Patrick Church where Charles was a life-long member with Rev. Timothy Ferguson officiating. At the conclusion of the mass, a luncheon will follow in the church hall.

Burial will take place at Holy Cross Cemetery in the spring.

A message of condolence may be directed to the family by visiting crawfordfuneralhomes.net.