Remembrance for Larry J. Snyder

With family at his side and a lifetime of memories, Larry J Snyder, 88, of Des Moines earned his golden wings on March 29, 2021.

An extraordinary man, husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather, if there ever was one, Larry’s gentle, kind, and fun spirit is already dearly missed. Born the oldest of three to the late Marvin Charles and Pearl Snyder of Burien on July 24th, 1932, Larry was proceeded in death by wife Jean E. Snyder (Wilson) as well as younger brother Corry. He is survived by his sister Janice Rekate of Burien. In his sister’s own words:

He was always a gentleman and always a gentle man.

Larry quickly took on his father’s love of fishing and building community. After high school graduation, like many others, Larry was drafted into the Korean War. Following his father’s advice, Larry took advantage of every opportunity offered to him and became a communications liaison between the US Army and the South Korean military. Larry and Jean exchanged dozens of lengthy letters during his deployment which only strengthen their desire for each other. Returning home and eager to be one in marriage they eloped to Idaho. Jean’s father even propped a ladder beneath Jeans window for a quick escape to Larry’s awaiting getaway car. This would go on to be one of today’s most beautiful love stories, more than six decades in the making. Larry and Jean are survived by their four children, Kathy J. Schwartz (husband Art), Carol L. Coughlin (husband Doug), Larry J. Snyder Jr. (partner Jill), and Annie M. Brooks (husband Dana) as well as foster children Mary and Anna. His source of joy included five grandchildren, and eight great grandchildren, all of who can’t believe his chair is empty. Fortunately for Larry, every family member remained in the Pacific Northwest.

Remarkable family vacations to Lake Chelan including a lifetime friendship with Tom Burnett of 25 Mile Creek, Hawaii on any Island with a Palm Tree, Mexico by land and sea as well as international visits to Switzerland and Italy. Every adventure generated countless, retold stories, and pictures to be remembered for generations. Taking the skillset from his father, Larry and Jean organized family and friends fishing trips in Puget Sound, Canada, and Alaska. With the knack of gathering new friends, each of these getaways enlarged the next one.

Professionally, Larry began as a Trust Assistance at the Washington Athletic Club before and after his service in the US Army. In 1956, his father asked him to join the family business, Rainier Furniture, in Burien. This partnership of father and son would help create a thriving enterprise based on unmatched service, high quality products, and community building. As founding members of Greater Burien, Inc. both son Larry and father Chuck would use this platform to produce large scale parades, street dances, and regional efforts to attract customers and more businesses.

One of the largest endeavors was the formation of the U-4 Miss Burien Unlimited Hydroplane Team which joined the regional race circuit during the golden days of the sport. The completely restored and race ready 1960 U-4 Miss Burien still exists in the collection at the Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum in Kent (Washington). Once it became clear SouthCenter would become an economic powerhouse and it was time for MC Snyder to retire and go fishing, Larry took advantage of a business partnership to open the regions first La-Z-Boy (proprietary) store on SouthCenter Parkway. He and a dedicated staff (including Larry Jr.) would operate this specialty home furnishing concept store for 25 years until his retirement in 1992. Jean found a perfect retirement role as Mr. Larry the van driver at her business, Des Moines Childcare until the subsequent sale of the business in 1996. Jean and Larry found the perfect corner lot in Golden Valley (Buckley) where they would build the perfect spot to spend their golden years. Few would argue this giant yard was filled with every beautiful plant, tree, flower, and grass, a lifetime dream for Jean and Larry. With ambition still abound, both Larry and Jean found ways to serve in the community at the Buckley Food Bank and as health advocates for neighbors in need. Golden Valley was their address until it was evident that Jean’s dementia path would require 24/7 Memory Care. Prior to Jean’s passing in 2017, every member of the family promised they would care for Larry, including a comfortable place to live with Carol and Doug in Des Moines. He spent every day surrounded by a giant, loving family. One of his most important errands each week was a Dollar Store run so he’d have a full jar of candy when the great grandkids came downstairs for a visit during Sunday dinner.

Larry was a man of life and family. His resilience to battle through a seven way bypass open heart surgery at 75, and a full knee replacement at 82, all with quiet ambition and determination made him a unique force. His example is the pathway we now get to follow.

As a family, we must acknowledge the countless medical community members that advocated on his behalf at Highline Medical, including Dr. Daniel Ziperovich, Dr. Daniel Gottlieb and Dr. Keith Fugisaki. These men and the staff that support them gave Larry 100% all the time.

Our road without his smile, gentle laugh, and giving spirit will endure. He and our Mom left a very clear picture of a life well lived. The room feels empty without you Dad. We’ll take it from here.

Remembrance donations can be made to:

Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum-Team U4 Miss Burien
5917 S. 196th Street
Kent, WA. 98032

Buckley Kiwanis Food Bank
127 N. River Ave.
Buckley, WA. 98321