Obituary for Julia "Judy" Snyder
Julia (Judy) Thomson Snyder was born June 25, 1927, in Pineland, Texas, to George and Ferrol (Fevvie) Emerson Thomson. She joined four siblings and was later joined by another sister. The family moved back and forth between East Texas and Louisiana for her father’s work but finally settled in Zwolle, Louisiana.
Judy’s adventurous, independent nature was obvious at an early age. At 16, she was sent by bus to her sister’s in New Orleans. At 17 she began attending Southern Missionary College. During that year, she was recruited to teach in St. Petersburg, Florida. So at 18, Judy began her lifelong career—teaching elementary children.
The next year she met Andrew Snyder, a serviceman on leave, and they began corresponding. Judy decided to attend Union College in Andy’s home state of Nebraska. At Union, she became friends with Andy’s sister, Naomi, and was frequently invited to the Snyder farm. Andy often said he “rescued” Judy from the South and they were married on May 30, 1948. They moved to Berrien Springs and he began attending Emmanuel Missionary College. Within a year, they moved back to Nebraska and began farming. Four children joined their family—Linda Denise, David Andrew, Rebecca Dinelle and Rachel Jean.
The family moved back to Berrien Springs in 1959 where Andy eventually started a cement construction company. Julia managed the family, and when Rachel began Kindergarten, she decided to attend school. By taking classes in the evenings and summers, Judy completed her BA and MA. She taught other grades, but Kindergarten was her favorite. Her 24 year career ended as a Kindergarten teacher at Mars Elementary School in Berrien Springs. Few things gave her as much pleasure as having former students approach her in the grocery store or on the street and share memories of her classroom.
Judy’s independent spirit strengthened. Often traveling alone, her adventures took her to Hawaii, Europe, China or across the country to visit children and grandchildren. But holidays were reserved for family! Andy and Judy were among the group that founded what became Maranatha Volunteers International and were named Volunteers of the Year in 1998. When Judy retired in 1985, they traveled the world spreading the love of Jesus.
After Andy passed away, Judy eventually moved to live with her daughter, Denise, in Atlanta. On July 2, 2019, surrounded by her children, she quietly fell asleep to await Jesus’ coming.
Julia was predeceased by her husband of almost 69 years, Andrew Jack Snyder; her parents, George and Ferrol Thomson and her five siblings. She is survived by her children: Denise (Siegfried) Grentz of Douglasville, Georgia; David (Renate) Snyder of Stephenville, Texas; Rebecca (Mark) Becker of Apopka, Florida; and Rachel Kroncke of Douglasville, Georgia; her 7 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.
A Celebration of Julia’s life will be held Saturday, July 20, 2019, at 4 p.m. in the Youth Chapel of the Pioneer Memorial Church in Berrien Springs.