Lewiston Morning Tribune – May 30, 2009

June L. Snyder, 87, Orofino

      June Lavena Snyder, a lifetime resident of Orofino, passed away on Wednesday, May 27, 2009.

     She was born on June 16, 1921, to Letha Gleason Lear and George Gleason.

     June had many happy memories of her school years. Her mother was a school teacher and taught at several country schools. Sometimes her family would have to walk to La Cett, Dent or Harmony Heights, depending on the school her mother was teaching at. The family would live in the school and other children would board with them because they had too far to walk to school. When it became time for June to go to high school, she stayed in Orofino and "bached" with her brother and his friends. She went two years of high school and then married.

     On Sept. 14, 1937, she married Fredrick D. Snyder. Together they raised four children in Orofino. Sometimes they would move to find work, but they would always find themselves back in Orofino. June was a homemaker, but found herself working when Fred retired. She enjoyed working at the Orofino Care Center as a certified nursing assistant and then later in the laundry department. She retired after 11 years.

     June was a loving mother, grandmother and friend of many. She was very proud of her grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.

     June loved to collect old bottles; some she found in awful places. She was the happiest picking berries or looking for mushrooms out in the woods. She also loved her flowers, often sharing different varieties with family and friends.

     June was preceded in death by her parents, George Gleason and Letha Lear; her husband, Fred Snyder; brothers George, Vilas, Elbert and Stewart Gleason; and her sister, Elberta. She also was preceded in death by three of her children, Rick Snyder, Mike Snyder and Paula Lougee.

     She will be missed by her daughter, Carol Crawford of Orofino; grandchildren Jody and Tina Crawford of Newberg, Ore., Jeffery and Brian Crawford of Orofino, Jamie Crawford of Oregon, Vern Lougee of Newberg, Tracy and Mike Lubke of Orofino, Susan Lougee of Lewiston, Arils and Brenna Lougee of Orofino, Doris Jasper of Orofino, Peggy Keller of Montana, Pam and Brian Thomas of Spokane, Rick and Scott Snyder of Boise, Stacy and Rod Williams of Lewiston, and Charedee Crisp of the Tri-Cities. She will also be missed by her 50 great-grandchildren and eight great-great-grandchildren.

     A message for my family and friends - Love one another, forgive and forget, live and let live. I love you all. The Lord is my shepherd.

     There will be a graveside service at 2 p.m. Monday at the Weismann Cemetery in Orofino.

Clearwater Tribune – June 19, 2008

“Be honest that’s the main thing”

      Asked for pearls of wisdom, June Snyder, who celebrated her 87th birthday June 16, said ‘Be honest that’s the main thing, just be honest.’ With 18 grandchildren, 47 great grandchildren and seven great great grands, she has plenty of young people to pass the wisdom on to.

     Snyder’s party was June 14 and included a ‘huge cake’ with plenty of family in attendance. She says that at her age, it’s harder to have friends come, and was delighted to welcome Mary Bloodsworth, Maldoreen McKinney and Bonnie Spencer, among others, to her party.

     Snyder has lived in and around Orofino all her life. She and brother Stuart Gleason, 80, of Puyallup, WA are the only remaining siblings of six born to George and Letha Gleason.

     During her growing up years, Snyder’s dad mined during the summer, usually near Big Island. Her mom often cooked for fire crews at Boehl’s Cabin.

     Snyder recalls a trip at age two when the pack train had to cross the North Fork on horseback. She says she was just old enough to understand how dangerous that was. Her dad carried her kicking and screaming, across the river. ‘I’ve hated water ever since,’ she says. ‘I only like it for drinking.’ They did spend one winter at Big Island, and her mother, who was a teacher, taught Snyder and her brother. The family would usually spend winters in town, although her Dad would often stay out and prove up his claim.

     One of the more frightening parts of living in the cabin that winter was the danger of fire. She and two siblings were in the upstairs while her parents and baby twins were on the main floor. A rope ladder hung from an upstairs window and the children were instructed to climb out and use the ladder if fire broke out. Thankfully, they never needed to.

     As was the case with so many women of her generation, Snyder married young. She wed Fred Snyder, who hauled poles for Carney Pole for most of their married life. He died of emphysema in 1982, just a few months short of their 45th anniversary.

      ‘My mom was a teacher and she was struggling to raise six kids, and I fell in love,’ she says. She went to school for two weeks of her junior year and quit to get married.

     Snyder was a homemaker through most of her marriage as she and Fred raised four children, daughters Carol and Paula and sons Michael and Roderick.

     A favorite hobby during those years was digging in old dumps for cork bottles. There were times when Fred wouldn’t go near the old houses where she would look. ‘There might be rats,’ he would say. She still has most of the bottles she’s found.

     Another favorite pastime was looking for sillimanite on the upper North Fork. She would send it to a rock shop to have jewelry made. A treasured piece is a necklace shaped like Idaho that has semi-precious stones set in it. A few years ago she started collecting coins, not expecting to do it for long. ‘I never believed I’d make it this far,’ she says.

      After Fred retired, Snyder went to work at what was then Orofino Care Center. She was in her late 50’s when she started and worked to age 65. ‘Just the two of us at home, and he was retired. You want to get away from home,’ she says with a smile. She worked as a nurse’s aide for two years before the heavy lifting became too much for her and she started working in the laundry, where she stayed for nine years. Reflecting on the years past, Snyder says ‘oh, I tell you, everything has changed. Orofino has changed. We never used to have an empty store. We had drug stores and fountains in the drug stores.’

      ‘It was interesting to live here,’ she says. ‘Most of these people here,’ she says, pointing along Michigan Avenue, ‘are probably fifth generation,’ but, she adds, ‘I don’t know many people anymore.’

     When asked what she attributes her longevity to, Snyder says with a laugh, ‘Just being ornery, I think.’ That and good genes, since the relatives on her father’s side all lived long lives.

     Daughter Carol Crawford is her only surviving child. Sons Michael and Roderick ‘Rick’ and daughter Paula have all passed away.

     Crawford returned to Orofino about two years ago, and relishes the opportunity to spend time with her mother. They are in the process of remodeling Snyder’s home. ‘It will be the first time my mother has ever lived in a brand new house,’ Crawford says. The home was built by Snyder’s grandfather and they’re ‘tearing it apart and putting it back together.’ It will be a far cry from that cabin with the rope ladder fire escape hanging from the window, and Snyder plans to enjoy every moment in her ‘new’ home.

Transcribed by Jo Frederiksen

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