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Battling Cancer, Philanthropic Ridgewood Couple Die Weeks Apart

Sara "Sally" Bruce Snyder passed away on Nov. 6, with her beloved husband John Austen Snyder passing 12 days later. The couple were well known in Ridgewood for donating their time to numerous causes.

The following obituary was submitted by Feeney Funeral Home in Ridgewood.

Sara “Sally” Bruce Snyder, 77, of Wyckoff, formerly of Ridgewood, NJ died peacefully on November 6, 2012 at the home of her daughter in Severna Park, MD. The cause of death was breast cancer.  

John Austen Snyder, 79, also from Wyckoff and formerly of Ridgewood, died peacefully on November 18, 2012 at the Christian Health Care Center in Wyckoff, NJ. The cause of death was prostate cancer.

Sally was born on April 17, 1935 in Milwaukee, WI, the daughter of Jackson and Harriet Edgell Bruce. She grew up in Milwaukee where she attended the Milwaukee Downer Seminary, and then graduated from the Woodstock Country School in Woodstock, VT. She graduated from Wellesley College, class of 1957, and trained at Bank Street College of Education in NYC.  

John was born on June 25, 1933 in Passaic, NJ, the son of Austen and Margaret Overacre Snyder. He grew up in Ridgewood and attended Ridgewood High School. He graduated from Princeton University, class of 1955, and was a member of Tower Club. He served two years in the U.S. Army in Germany.

Sally and John were happily married on August 22, 1959 and remained so for 53 years. They lived most of their married life in Ridgewood where they raised their family. The couple were active parishioners of Christ Episcopal Church. John served on the Vestry as well as Warden while Sally served on several committees of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark.

Before starting their family, Sally taught at the Bank Street School for Children. After moving to Ridgewood, she became an a dedicated community volunteer. She was active in the College Club of Ridgewood, and the Wellesley College Alumnae Club. She was an avid reader, writer and a student of literature.

John retired as senior vice-president of human resources at The Bank of New York and then worked for the pension fund of the Episcopal Church in New York City.

As an influential community leader, he served on the board of the Family Counseling Service of Ridgewood for nine years and was president in 1985-1986; he was a member of the Honorary Board of Children’s Aid and Family Services from 1995 until his death. John was a member of the Somerville Award Committee of the Ridgewood Public Schools, a trustee of the Ridgewood Education Foundation, and a leader in the restoration of Van Neste Park in Ridgewood. He was also an active member of the Ridgewood A.M. Rotary.

Sally and John are survived by their daughters Susan S. Austin and her husband David, of St. Paul, MN and Ann S. Mooradian and her husband, David, of Severna Park, MD., and granddaughters Kate Austin and Sara and Morgan Mooradian; Sally’s brother, Dr. Calvin Bruce and his wife Cathy of Madison, WI, her brother Jackson Bruce and his wife Lilias of Milwaukee. WI., John’s sister, Virginia Bartholomew of Huntington, NY, and a wide circle of beloved and devoted friends.

A Memorial Service for John and Sally will be held at 1 p.m. on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at Christ Episcopal Church, corner of Franklin Avenue and Cottage Place, Ridgewood. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to:

The Valley Hospital Foundation
223 N. Van Dien Ave.
Ridgewood, NJ  07450
 
Hospice of the Chesapeake
445 Defense Highway
Annapolis, MD  21401
 
Christ Episcopal Church
105 Cottage Place
Ridgewood, NJ 07450

Laura Johnson November 28, 2012 at 02:52 PM
I knew Sally many years ago when I was growing up in Ridgewood. She was such a lovely person with a warm smile. She will be missed.
denise November 28, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Sad but a peaceful ending as they both went together. Aftr 53 years of marriage there is some graceful ending for them both. It is sad to se one parent be without their spouse for a long period. God rest their souls
Jim Morgan November 28, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Sally and John were a wonderful and cheerful couple. Sally's warmth and concern for children was an inspiration to anyone. When folks gathered in their home, Sally made everyone feel like the most important guest she was entertaining. I personally benefited on many occasions from John’s sage advice, always delivered with a touch of humor. His "THE LORD BE WITH YOU" was the booming call to attention for many years in meetings at Christ Church. As a trustee of the Ridgewood Education Foundation for many years he generously gave of his intellect and creativity to enrich the Ridgewood Schools of which he was a shining example. They were loyal to their friends and welcoming to all comers. As a couple they were so obviously devoted to each other it is fitting that they departed together. It is not often that you can wholehearted say that two people will be missed by all that knew them, but in this case it is absolutely true.
Nancy Greene November 28, 2012 at 05:40 PM
John was also active in the Ridgewood Rotary AM Club, where he held court among such longtime friends and fellow wits as Syd Stoldt and John R. Butler. I was also a Rotarian 1995 - 2002 and took every opportunity to sit at John's table, because laughter always surrounded him. When my young daughter attended meetings with me, she headed right for John's lap every time. In the winters that John & I sold calendars together in front of the post office, time went fast because so many people saw him and came say hello. I was fortunate to meet Sally through my work at the Library, where she was so often doing research or borrowing more books - what a reader, and what a gracious, smart, kind and fun person. She was delighted so easily.. Their extraordinary warmth has a lasting effect. Nancy Greene
Boyd A. Loving November 28, 2012 at 06:55 PM
Whenever John spoke at Christ Episcopal Church, regardless of the topic, people turned their heads and listened. He was the most extraordinary speaker and influential religious leader I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. Sally was warm and welcoming to everyone at the Church; new members and those well established. They will both be sorely missed.
Ron Verdicchio November 28, 2012 at 09:53 PM
Two wonderful community-minded people whose only mission was to make the world a better place. They were kind, learned, courteous to all, had the common touch and always had a good word to say. The Daily Treat will be less spiritual and spirited on Wednesday mornings without Sally. John's booming voice and morning spiritual at the AM Rotary are legend. I always greeted John as "Reverend". He was. They leave warm memories.
Laura B. November 30, 2012 at 04:06 AM
We were so fortunate to have Aunt Sally and Uncle John in our lives. We will always hold them in our hearts and souls as we continue on without their physical presence. All the kind words from everyone is appreciated, and reminds us of how large and loving they were in so many ways to so many people.
Janice Cundey December 05, 2012 at 02:45 AM
John and Sally have been dear friends for over 50 years, dating to the time when I first met John as a fellow employee at Irving Trust Company in New York City. Shortly thereafter, and happily, we moved to Ridgewood and became close personal friends as well as business colleagues. These were two extraordinary people and they deeply touched all who came in contact with them. John took over a room with his presence and Sally always made you feel like the most important person in her life. I miss them very much already. Chris Cundey

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