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SNYDER, John Ross

February 26, 1949 – Calgary, Alberta
June 7, 2018 – Calgary, Alberta

The Reverend John Snyder beloved husband of Donelda Snyder of Calgary, AB, passed away on June 7, 2018 at the age of 69 years.

Late in the evening of June 7, 2018 at Carewest Sarcee Hospice, John Ross Snyder passed away in the loving presence of family and friends. John was born to Robert (Bob) and Florence (French) Snyder. John was raised in the Scarboro area of Calgary with his brother William.

John attended both elementary and high school in Calgary. After high school John attended the University of Calgary gathering a group of friends to enjoy evenings of cards and board games. He worked during the summer for the City of Calgary as a Sidewalks Inspector.

On a walk with his father, John admitted that he had received a call to ministry in his soul. From then, John continued his education to become an ordained minister in the United Church of Canada at Vancouver School of Theology. In Vancouver he became good friends with most of his colleagues in the Class of 1986. And he spent meaningful time with his cousins during his years of Study.
After ordination, John was settled in Swan Hills and subsequently called to Strathmore where he met the love of his life, Donelda. John and Donelda were married on April 17, 1993 in a great celebration with family and friends.

Within 6 months, John became a husband, a step-father (much beloved by Jennifer), a grandfather, and shared guardian of Tiki the Cockatiel, and Lady the Sheltie. John loved being a grandfather first with Matthew and then with his brother’s Andrew and Nathan after Jennifer’s marriage to Chris Watson. It was special for him to have time with the grandkids on special occasions, and out at the cabin on the Little Shuswap Lake in BC. That was where he loved to come for his spiritual rejuvenation.

While in Strathmore, John was invited to become a member of the Strathmore Masonic Lodge. John enjoyed the brotherhood and the high moral integrity of the Lodge. In recent years the fine brothers of the Lodge assisted with the expenses of his wheelchair.

Throughout his entire life John was an avid reader; history was his passion. He was fascinated by the strategy used by the generals in various wars. John also enjoyed model railroads as a hobby and he loved puzzling out how computers could be used to co-ordinate multiple trains. While never able to build his own train layout, he was keen to support Bob Wallace in the development of his train room.

After eleven years in Strathmore, John was called to Irricana Pastoral Charge. Afterwards, John took further education courses to be an Interim Minister serving in this capacity at Nanton-Cayley Pastoral Charge and at Northminster United Church. At this point John reduced his work load due to health constraints. He was honoured for his 30 years of service to the United Church in 2016. John served his Church well, and particularly loved the Interim Ministry work. He was an avid “Parliamentarian” and was often called upon to assist with clarifications on the United Church Manual, or procedures. Many of John’s colleagues from Presbytery became long-time friends. Over the past years, John and Donelda have attended Scarboro United Church where John kept the ministers on their theological toes.

Throughout his life, John believed that loving is a choice and a person shows that love through living – what you express and what you do. John lived his creed in his everyday living. He had meaningful rapport with anyone with whom he had contact. He got to know many of the people working at the Co-op close to home, and he became well known to all the people working in the Hematology Outpatient Clinic at PLC.

And John formed more friendships while he lived in Sarcee, with staff, residents and their families. Some staff remember his teasing ways and his interest in their lives outside Sarcee. John and Donelda enjoyed the yearly Robbie Burns supper with Joyce and Dennis and Friday night suppers when friends gathered to share Chinese take-out, or Pizza. Last November, John and Donelda shared one last dance hand in hand, gracefully and lovingly circling his wheelchair in time to the music of The Midnight Blues Band. In April 2018, John and Donelda enthusiastically celebrated their 25th Wedding Anniversary. Right to the end, John’s mind was sharp, and he relished his theological discussions.

After his final weeks at the Peter Lougheed Hospital, John returned to spend his last hours at his home in Sarcee. During the evening staff members came to welcome John home and to say their good-byes. Later, as the day ended, John slipped the bonds of earthly life and was welcomed to the life beyond death with the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant”.

He is survived by his loving wife Donelda; daughter Jennifer and husband Chris Watson; grandchildren, Matt, Andrew, and Nathan; brother William, and numerous cousins and friends.

John was predeceased by his parents, Robert and Florence Snyder.

A Celebration of Life will be held at Scarboro United Church (134 Scarboro Avenue S.W.) on Friday, June 15, 2018 at 3:00 p.m. Reception to follow at the church.

Donations to Scarboro United Church, Telephone: (403) 244-1161 or The Mission and Service Fund of the United Church of Canada, Condolences may be forwarded through

In living memory of John Snyder, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Park Memorial, 5008 ELBOW DRIVE S.W. Calgary, AB, T2S 2L5, Telephone: 403-243-8200.

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Condolence Messages

  1. The Rev. Diane J. Strickland

    Dear Donelda and family,
    The news of John’s death has created a big “pause” for me. I am celebrating his passion for ministry and his appetite for biblical and theological discussion. I am giving thanks for the time he generously gave to me as a colleague over my years in Alberta ministry. I am grieving because of his great love for you and yours for him, and for the fierce commitment he carried for family and church. May you be comforted by the sacred promises of our faith and the embodiment of that in our faith community. I am several thousands of kilometres away, and will not be present to celebrate his life together with everyone at his celebration of life, but I will be with you in Spirit. May the God who made us, Jesus who came for us, and the Spirit who will never leave us, keep us all in grace. with love, Diane.

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  2. Dear Donalds,
    I was deeply saddened by news of the death of your beloved John. He was deeply passionate about his work in ministry and he knew the Manual backwards and forward! Got a question? The encyclopedic mind of John would know the answer. A fine colleague in ministry. Holding you close in prayer.

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  3. Tom and Connie McDonald

    So very sorry for your loss Donelda. We keep you both in our prayers.

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  4. Donelda, news of John’s death brings many memories of him. Memories from the late1970’s and early 80’s to today. Memories in Hammond and Maple Ridge, BC to the many places in Alberta where our paths crossed. He’s had many struggles over those years, and many joys. He’s given much to the church, and been blessed by your love and support. I’m sad that I will be unable to be present at Scarboro on Friday. Please know my prayers and thoughts will be with you and the church at that time.

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  5. Garry and Doreen McKinnon

    Donelda and family members; our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time of loss. We know that you were a strong support for John as he dealt with numerous medical challenges. We have many fond memories of our associations with John when he was our minister in Strathmore. We admired his intellect and passion for his ministry. His involvement in the community as a member of the Lions Club and in many other ways was appreciated. We hope you take comfort in many good memories of your years together. Garry and Doreen McKinnon

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  6. Dear Donelda, I am soo sorry about your loss of John. I know he was your world and together the both of you conquered. Although I only met you two a few years ago, I really enjoyed the stories and laughs we all had and that I had with John. I know one thing for sure is how much he loved you. You were his rock. Although at times John was very humble, he ALWAYS spoke about the wonderful life he had with his wife. He was a proud man and wanted to live life to the fullest. I know you are feeling the loss, but one thing you can always remember is the ultimate love he had for you always and forever. I am very proud that I had to opportunity to know, learn and spend time with the both of you. I will never forget. God Bless you Donelda. With love, Kris Weisbrod

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  7. I was a young teen when John served in Swan Hills. I often attended worship services as we had no class for jr high church school. I always enjoyed John’s sermons and from that time, developed a deep love of our (local and wider) united church. My mom was a board member and volunteer, and John would often end up at our house for coffee or meetings. I remember John as such a kind man who was always ready to have a deep conversation with a curious and wondering teen, and I am glad that I knew him.
    My condolences to your family.

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  8. Muriel McKinnon

    John’s Family,
    So sad to read of John’s passing. During his Strathmore years, he provided great comfort to me and my family when he officiated at the funerals of my parents, mother-in-law and husband. His gentle phone calls, visits and concern continued for many weeks after each event. He was a caring Minister and a true Mason.

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  9. Denise (Graves) Bemister

    I grew up in the house next door to John and was very saddened to hear of his passing. I have many memories of the neighbourhood kids playing football in the Snyder’s back yard, with John gamely quarterbacking in a full leg cast.
    My condolences to his family and his brother Bill — the best running back in the neighbourhood. My thoughts are with you

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  10. Dear Donelda and family- Ted and I are saddened to hear of John`s passing. He struggled with all of his health issues with grace. His knowledge of biblical history interwoven in his sermons was quite exceptional. Our Northminster kids loved being part of the Jellybean Club and we all loved his Sunday morning humour which was the prologue to his message. John`s commitment and service to the United Church had such a positive impact on so many over his years in ministry. Our sincere condolences to you and your family. With our love, Jean and Ted

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  11. To Donelda and family. I was sorry to see that Rev. John had passed away. I am sending my sincere sympathy to you all. His health was not good when he ministered here in Nanton which was a number of years ago. He is now at peace and with his heavenly Father. When our Nanton church had its monthly dinner you always attended with him and it was nice getting to know you. My prayers and thoughts are with you at this sad time.

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  12. We were so sad to hear of John’s passing. Our thoughts and prayers have been with you, Jennifer and family. I was sorry I could not make it to the service on Friday. I heard it was a lovely and a wonderful memory of John’s life. Take care of yourself – if you ever are in Strathmore give me a call. Sincerely, Gwen

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  13. Donelda,

    I am so sorry about John’s death. He was an excellent minister. I enjoyed the many occasions that I worked with John at Kerby Centre. It was also a real pleasure working with you at the centre. My prayers and thoughts are with you and your family.

    Peter M
    Calgary AB

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