Ronald Edward Snyder

Ron Snyder was supposed to be in class on Wednesday morning. He got a call from Western Washington University telling him he had missed the class he was auditing. Sunday night, when sitting with friends at his dinner table, he had said, “I love to learn. I like taking classes. I like learning new things.” At 79, he planned to take piano lessons: “I always wanted to play the piano,” he said simply, and that was that.

That’s who Ron Snyder was: plain-spoken, matter-of-fact and committed to walk the path God had given him. But Ron could not go to class on Wednesday, because he went to his final rest lying next to his beloved wife of 50 years, Marty, who wants the world to know he was the best God had to offer and the world was blessed to have him.

Ron is survived by his wife, Marty; daughters Susan Brouwer, Kristen Rossey and husband Bill, Sarah Hughes and Emily Archambault. Everyone knew Ron loved his children and his wife, but nothing surpassed the joy and delight brought by his grandchildren (Jon Brouwer, Matthew Rossey, Katelyn Hughes, and Luke, Seth, Ethan and Hannah Archambault).

It comes as no surprise that he loved children, for his life was about giving hope to the young people around him. Born on Nov. 28, 1938, Ron lived his early life in Kalamazoo, Michigan. After completing his undergraduate study at Hope College and his master’s degree in social work from the University of Michigan, he worked as a supervisor at the Child Welfare Office of Macomb County. Ron and Marty were married in Birmingham, Michigan, on April 15, 1967. They moved to Kalamazoo where Ron worked as the chief psychiatric social worker for the Child Guidance Clinic. In 1974, Ron and Marty moved with their close friends Bernie and Mary Brower and Steve and Linda Tamminga to form Manna Farm in Whatcom County, where they live in community today. The farm is a picture of Ron’s love and vision: Everyone who came was welcomed and left as a friend. He not only knew his neighbors, but he loved and cared for them as if they were his own: opening the doors of his house, taking dinner to a friend, and loaning his truck and tools without question. Ron spent 30 years of work as the first social worker at the Bellingham-Whatcom County Health Department, administering the Children with Special Needs and the Maternal Child Health programs.

Ron’s love for his family was only surpassed by his love and faithfulness to the Lord. A Sunday School teacher and elder at First Reformed Church, his counsel was wise and without judgment.

Ron was preceded in death by his parents and brother Dick. He is survived by brother Jim and wife Sharyn of Indiana, sisters Janet Champanois and Karen and husband Wayne DePree, and sister-in-law Marty Sult, all of Michigan.

Funeral services were held at 1 p.m. Monday, Dec. 18, in First Reformed Church of Lynden. Memorials can be directed to Bethany Christian Services or Lighthouse Mission.

Please share your memories and condolences in the online guestbook at Arrangements are entrusted to Gillies Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Lynden.