Harold “Hal” J. Snyder, Jr., devoted husband, father, and grandfather; master of puns; and all-around good guy passed away on Thursday, October 15, 2020, at the age of 80.
A resident of Shepherdstown, Hal was raised in Keyser, West Virginia. He was the son of the late Harold J. Snyder and Philomena (Corbacio) Snyder, and brother to Frederick J. Snyder, who also preceded him in death.
Always a lover of knowledge, one of his earliest treasured possessions was a 1948 World Book Encyclopedia set – each volume read cover-to-cover. He was a 1958 graduate of Keyser High School and earned both a Bachelor of Science (1962) and Master of Science (1964) in Civil Engineering from West Virginia University, with a specialty in environmental engineering.
His engineering career included 25 years with the Environmental Protection Agency, which he joined at the agency’s inception in 1970. Informed by science, eschewing politics, and guided by compassion, the bulk of his professional life was dedicated to managing the impacts of hazardous substances. He would later have a brief but rewarding career with Alpha Engineering in Martinsburg, West Virginia.
After the loss of his first wife, Elizabeth Llewelyn Snyder, to breast cancer in 1973, he turned his life-long obsession with cars into a passionate hobby. In the Sports Car Club of America, he found an appealing blend of racing cars for sport with a rules structure and emphasis on safety that satisfied his engineer’s sensibilities. In auto racing he found teammates, mentors, worthy competitors, and most importantly, good friends. With the help of his racing family, he eventually built and engineered the cars he raced. Through auto racing he embraced the joys of victory, late-night engine rebuilds, and the occasional guard rail.
His 34th high school reunion sparked a romance with his former classmate, Betty (Bowers). Their elopement in 1993 was the start of a nearly 30-year adventure that forever bonded two families as one. The two began the next phase of their adventure by retiring to Shepherdstown in 1996.
In Shepherdstown, the newlyweds discovered a community filled with soon-to be good friends. The town welcomed them, and Hal became involved with many worth while organizations, among them the Shepherdstown Community Club, Cress Creek Homeowners Association, Shepherdstown Visitors Center, and the local chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Hal found immense joy in his nine grandchildren, showering them with love, wisdom, and a wealth of corny jokes.
Hal is survived by his wife Betty; their three children, Lori (Trax) McNally (husband Jim), Valerie Ann Trax (husband Tim Williams), Sarah Snyder Merkel (husband Ted); and his nine much loved grandchildren, Megan, Riley, Mackenzie, and James McNally; Cole and Teagan Hattabaugh; and Elizabeth (Libby), Johanna, and Bridget Merkel.
In keeping with his belief in scientific research, Hal donated his body to West Virginia University. Memorial services will be planned in the future in both Shepherdstown and Keyser, West Virginia.
The family is eternally grateful for the help and support from the Shepherdstown community and for those who provided compassionate care as he neared the end of his journey.
Arrangements made by Brown Funeral Home.