Tom Snyder, 85, of Oconomowoc, died peacefully at UW Madison Hospital from complications of heart surgery.
Born to John P and Lillian Snyder, Tom spent most of his life living in Oconomowoc, the city he loved.
Tom graduated from Oconomowoc High School. He attended Marquette University for two years, and then graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1951. He served as pilot in the U.S. Navy.
After his service, he worked for a medical supply company in Maine until returning to Oconomowoc to take over the family business, Snyder’s Fine Clothes of Oconomowoc.
He was president of the National Junior Men’s Wear Association in the U.S. and traveled extensively. He was instrumental developing inventory management programs for retailers before there were computers.
He retired in 1996 and devoted his time to family, friends, philanthropy and his community.
Snyder was a lifelong member of St. Jerome Parish, a founding member of the Oconomowoc Area Foundation, a past president of the Oconomowoc Rotary Club where he was responsible for bringing the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra to Oconomowoc, past president of the Oconomowoc Area Chamber of Commerce, One of the founders of Festival of the Arts, Citizen of the Year, a member of the Knights of Columbus, a board member at Mount Mary, a board member of the Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University, a member of the Young Bachelors Club (who didn’t need to be young or bachelors).
He was extremely close to his brothers John Jr. and Pat and traveled the world with his adored sister Anne. People marveled at how brothers and sisters were also such close friends.
Tom leaves behind a community who loved him dearly including his brother Pat (Luly) Snyder, sister-in-law Joan (David) Hughes, his longtime companion Ramon Aguirre, who was both friend and family to him, and his dear friend Maureen Stapleton.
Anne and Coley Griffin and John Snyder Jr. preceded him in death.
He had 14 nieces and nephews who he called his own. He was devastated when four of them - Kevin Griffin, Pat Griffin, Mike Griffin and Joe Snyder - left this world before him. A friend and peer to all of them, he rejoiced in their accomplishments, held celebrations in their honor, and introduced them to philanthropy and volunteerism. He could be seen loading them all in a car when they were young (before seat belts were required) for a late night movie or more recently bar hopping on a bus with them for his 85th birthday. When Tom said “Cousins Party,” the cousins came! He will be greatly missed and wonderfully and gratefully remembered by Mary Pat (Tom) Cook, John III (Susan) Snyder, Jim Snyder, Jerry (Berrin) Snyder, Bob (Gwen) Snyder, Mary (Stuart) Carlson, Megan (Mike) Welsh, Sue (Jeff) Moroski, Amy (Rick Russell) Michael (Stacey) Snyder, Lin Griffin and Tammy Snyder.
He also leaves behind a generation of great- and great-great-nieces and -nephews who loved and respected him.
He was generous beyond reason and fun beyond comparison. He was wise and worldly yet grounded in his roots. He will be deeply missed and forever cherished. The twinkle in his eye has been extinguished but the glow will remain in our hearts forever.
Visitation for Tom will be at St. Jerome Parish, Oconomowoc, from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm Thursday. Funeral Mass will be Friday at 10:00 a.m. with burial and a reception to follow.
In lieu of flowers, memorials appreciated to Oconomowoc Area Foundation, Oconomowoc Public Education Fund, St. Jerome Parish and the Hagerty Museum.
Schmidt & Bartelt Notbohm-Kreutzmann Funeral and Cremation Services is serving the family. For more information, call 262-567-4459 or visit online at www.schmidtandbartelt.com.
“My candle burns at both ends; It will not last the night; But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends - It gives a lovely light!"