Jean Elizabeth Snyder, 66, passed away unexpectedly at her home in McConnellsburg Sunday, August 27, 2017.
She was born December 9, 1950, in Waynesboro, Pa., the daughter and youngest child of the late Mary (Hamil) and Malcom “Max” Snyder.
Jean was raised on her parents’ small farm in “The Narrows” near Knobsville and spent many happy years there that she enjoyed recalling with family and friends who shared those memories and with occasional drives along “The Narrows” road.
She graduated from McConnellsburg High School in 1968 and the University of West Virginia, Morgantown, in 1972 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology.
She was of the Protestant faith and loved old-time hymns, many of which she could sing by heart. When Jean lived in “The Narrows” her father would often accompany her on the piano.
Following her graduation from WVU, Jean came home and, in January 1971, began working full-time for Fulton County where she remained her entire professional life, more than 40 years. She was still working full time when she died, and had made no definite plans made to retire.
She began her career as a caseworker at what was then the county Office of Aging and Children. Eventually that agency became, under her guidance, Services for Children, a name she chose to differentiate the agency from other like agencies that shared similar names. In 1976 Jean was named director of Services for Children. She held that position until she became the human services administrator in March of 2009, overseeing all of Fulton County’s human services programs and those that are shared with Franklin County, such as the Drug and Alcohol program. Although she was no longer involved in the day-to-day operations of Services for Children, she still took a keen interest in the agency’s activities and was very much its go-to-person for advice, problem-solving and opinion, mostly solicited and sometimes not.
Jean’s impact on Fulton County and human services programs cannot be overstated – it was enormous and far-reaching. She was passionate about her work, had a deep concern for the county’s less fortunate children and families and was their relentless advocate. She tirelessly pursued resources that brought many programs and services to those children and families that would have otherwise had to travel to other counties to receive. She was very well regarded in the human services field, both locally and at the state level. A visionary in the field of human services, she was often ahead of trends in creating new and improved services. Her compassion for human and animal rights was prevalent in her work.
In 1996 Jean was instrumental in the inception of the Fulton County Partnership, which is now the Fulton County Family Partnership. She was the president of the board of directors from the beginning and only within the last two years had she stepped into the vice president position. The partnership made the county’s dental clinic possible, as well as the Medical Assistance Transportation Program. Where ever there was a need for social services for children and families, Jean worked relentlessly to secure those services or to retain services that were in danger of becoming obsolete.
Jean served on and led many boards of directors during her career at Fulton County Services for Children. Some of them include the Franklin-Fulton Children’s Roundtable; the Leadership Roundtable; the State Leadership Roundtable; CASSP; Fulton County Criminal Justice Advisory Board (CJAB); Camp Cadet; Fulton County Child Abuse Prevention Team; Franklin/Fulton Counties Child Death Review Team; CAPS (Child Accounting Profile System) team; Fulton County Medical Center Community Planning; PCYA Administrator’s Group; Fulton County Human Services Block Grant (HSBG) Planning Team; Franklin County Human Services Block Grant (HSBG) Planning Team; the local RoundTable’s Family Engagement Committee; Women in Need STOP program; and the Fulton County Multi-Disciplinary Investigative Team.
Jean’s knowledge, experience and dedication to her work have left the county and its citizens with a void that will be difficult to fill. She represented Fulton County well. Her friends and family knew Jean as smart, perceptive, determined, generous, kind, independent and funny. She was a private person and humble; she never blew her own horn. She was quick with incisive retorts and could get to the heart of most situations with a clear head. She was curious and had a broad range of interests, most particularly current events, politics, cats, and, most recently, neglected and abused dogs. She was a big fan of college football, particularly WVU. At one time she was an accomplished bridge player and enjoyed playing bridge weekly for many years. Jean loved to read, and devoured books, magazines and newspapers. She read the Philadelphia Inquirer, New York Post and Patriot-News with regularity. Jean’s love of newspapers and writing brought her to The Fulton County News as a part-time staff writer more than 30 years ago. She was still writing for the “News” at the time of her death. She had deep and abiding empathy for the down-trodden, both in her professional life and her personal life.
Jean is survived by brothers: James R. (husband of Alice Jean), Warfordsburg, and Jeffrey Snyder, Chambersburg; three nieces and one nephew; and six great-nephews and three great nieces. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her sister, Judy Snyder Uglow, and good friend Kay Beach.
Visitation will be Wednesday, Aug.ust 30, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., at Howard L. Sipes Funeral Home, McConnellsburg. There will also be visitation one hour before the service on Thursday at the funeral home. The funeral service will take place at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 31, at the funeral home. Pastor Donald Bard will officiate.
Interment is at Union Cemetery, McConnellsburg.
Memorial contributions can be made to Speranza Animal Rescue, 1216 Brandt Rd., Mechanicsburg, PA 17055.