BATH, NY – Town of Alfred native Frank Lyle Snyder, 93, of McGibney Road, Belmont,breathed his last breath Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 at the Bath V.A. Hospital, following a long life well lived.
Born Dec. 2, 1927 on Rock Hill south of Alfred, current site of the Alfred University Equestrian Center, oldest son of Earnest M. and Ferne (Jacox) Snyder, he grew up on Edgewood Farm on Randolph Road, which his parents purchased in 1930. There, he watched in horror as fire destroyed the family home and barn in 1931. He witnessed his father rebuild it all, only to see the barn destroyed by fire again in 1939.
He first attended Alfred Grade School, then the new Alfred-Almond Central School beginning in 1940, where he graduated with the Class of 1945. While farm work limited his involvement in fall and spring sports at A-A, he did excel on the basketball court during winter months. A free throw shooting whiz, he won the Allegany County Free Throw Shooting Contest in both 1945 and 1946, making 22 of 25, and 24 of 25, respectively. After A-A lost by a single point in the 1945 Section V Class B championship game, Coach Paul Powers persuaded Frank to take post-graduate classes and play another season of basketball in 1945-46, which he did, helping the Eagles win their first Section V championship.
Frank attended his first Alfred University football game with his father in September 1937, coinciding with Alex Yunevich’s coaching debut, and was hooked for life. One can count on one hand the number of home games he missed over nine decades.
He served with the U.S. Army for 13 months in 1946-47, stationed in Manila, Philippines, where among 5,000 troops, he was offered first dibs on his assignment and chose to run the post exchange, together with his A-A classmate Dave Ferry. “Born lucky,” he became “blessed” on Feb. 15, 1948 when he married Jean Marie Palmer, aka “The Tinkertown Charmer,” also a 1945 A-A grad, and daughter of Fred and Doris (Potter) Palmer. They first resided in a house he and his brothers helped his father build near the family farm on Randolph Road.
Frank worked with his father on Edgewood Farm until November 1948 when he rented Sunny Cove Farm from Alva Fitz Randolph, where he milked a Holstein dairy. He purchased the farm in 1950. The original farmhouse, deemed beyond repair, was replaced in 1953 with a prefabricated ranch house. There, Frank and Jean made their home with two daughters, soon thereafter adding two sons.
When milk prices dropped and the dairy farm proved unsustainable, Frank gradually sold off his Holstein herd and in 1958 purchased the Ford Gum vending machine franchise from John Gorton. He continued to make hay, pastured 65 head of beef cattle and boarded horses during the next 17 years. He sold the gumball vending business in 1975.
Early in their marriage, through the ministry of Rev. Hurley S. Warren, Frank professed faith in Jesus Christ, was baptized and joined the Alfred Seventh Day Baptist Church, where he served as trustee, church president, and deacon.
A jack of all trades and master of most, in addition to farming and selling gumballs, Frank at one time installed phones for the local telephone company, served as a nighttime security guard at the College of Ceramics, was a substitute rural route mail carrier, operated the Main Street Gulf service station, served as an Alfred Town Assessor, and together with brothers Ken and Nelson purchased and developed real estate as Alfred Community Enterprises.
After purchasing his grandfather Clarence Jacox’s farm on Jericho Hill, Frank built what is now known as Snyder Road, where he sold building lots on the hillside overlooking Alfred.
Together with his son Jerry, in 1978 he reestablished Sunny Cove Farm as a dairy farm.
Upon Jerry’s marriage to Dotty Hotaling in 1983, Frank and Jean sold the farm to them and relocated to a farm on McGibney Road in the Town of Ward, which they bought from Frank’s brother, Ken. There, he remodeled the farmhouse, and, after selling the dairy in 1984, continued to harvest hay and cash crops. He later sold the farm to Chuck Deichmann, maintaining life use of the home, where he was primary caregiver of his wife during her five-year decline and subsequent passing in March 2007 due to Alzheimer’s.
A music lover, he marveled at the talent of Alfred University student instrumentalists, seldom missing a performance.
While inheriting his father’s stellar work ethic, Frank was not all work and no play. When the work was done, the play began. Basketball, volleyball, softball, ping pong, bowling, camping, swimming… there was little he didn’t enjoy. He was a real competitor in any game of cards, a trait that he passed to his offspring. For many years, he played pinochle with his pals (John Jacox, Bill Stopper, Herm Sicker, etal) at the Alfred fire hall and, later in life, was a regular with Alan Burdick’s poker posse. An avid bowler, he was a regular league bowler on the Squirrel’s Nest Motel team in the Tuesday 6:45 League at the former Tech Lanes in Alfred, also traveling with a Hornell area tournament team.
He also loved to travel. In 1966, after purchasing a commercial van for his gumball business, he led the family on a three-week camping adventure to California, visiting numerous friends and relatives along the way. He and Jean enjoyed travels to Europe, Canada, the Caribbean, New England, Florida and more. Later, he returned to the Philippines for a visit together with his daughter Susan.
In addition to his parents and his wife, he was predeceased by his brother Kenneth Snyder and twin grandsons.
Survivors include two daughters, Susan Meacham and Barbara Welch; and two sons, Gerald Snyder (Dotty) and David Snyder (Beverly), all residing in the Alfred area; two brothers, Harold Snyder (Beverley), Nelson Snyder (Amanda); and two sisters, Kay Chapman of Alfred Station and Dorothy Goodridge (Lyn) of Dover, NH; a brother-in-law, Jim Palmer (Faith) and sister-in-law, Sue Palmer, all of Avon Park, Florida; 19 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren; and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.
At Frank’s request, there will be no calling hours. A private graveside service will be held at the convenience of the family. Arrangements were under the direction of J.W. Embser Sons Funeral Home, Inc. in Wellsville. To leave online condolences please visit www.embserfuneralhome.com.