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Obituary for Edwina Snyder (Mason)

Edwina Snyder (Mason)
Edwina Mason Snyder, 66, died at home on June 13, 2017.  She was born in Anderson, SC on January 13, 1951, the daughter of the late George Edwin and Sara Ruth Wiggins Mason.  Edwina graduated from Walhalla High School in 1969 and Winthrop University with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education in 1972.  Following her college graduation, she taught elementary school in Cabarrus and Davidson Counties, NC.  She left teaching after her husband’s graduation from medical school to serve as the spouse of an Army surgeon, enjoying life and raising a family in Ft Lewis, Washington; Ft Polk, Louisiana; Washington DC; and finally the Presidio of San Francisco, California, before returning home to South Carolina, moving to Greenville in 1987.

Edwina is survived by her husband of 44 years, Dr. Bruce A. Snyder, the marriage a result of a loving relationship that developed following a blind date in college.  She is also survived by her daughters, Dr. Emily Elizabeth McCormick (Evan) of Durham, NC and Dr. Rebecca Anne Snyder (Dr. Alexander Parikh) of Houston, TX; and six grandchildren, Madeleine, Macallan, Graham, Sawyer, Henry, and Abigail.

Although she described herself as a quiet introvert, she was known by her family and friends to be quick of wit and full of humor.  She was a skeptic, believing in real facts and science, and often questioning commonly held beliefs.  She loved nature and believed that the environment should be protected, and that clean air, clean water, and safe food are essential for our children’s future. She was proud to be a Democrat and to call the members of the Greenville Democratic Women her friends. A robust discussion of politics or current events was always welcomed, and she enjoyed participating in fact-based arguments inclusive of all positions and views within the political spectrum.

Edwina was a lifelong liberal, believing that it was important for society to provide education and opportunities to those from disadvantaged backgrounds to help them achieve success in life. She thought that not all misfortune could be avoided, and that everyone needs a helping hand at some point in his or her life.  An avid reader, she often shared her love of reading and owning books, an interest she was proud to have passed on to her children and grandchildren.  Every Christmas and birthday was an opportunity to gift large stacks of books to all family members. The daughter of two school teachers, and a teacher herself, she believed that the development of reading skills and the presence of books in the home were essential to the transformation of children into successful, happy, and productive adults. She was a voracious reader beginning in childhood with encyclopedias found in the library after hours at the schools where her parents taught.  She loved children’s books, but also read on wide-ranging topics such as bibliographies of former presidents, mountain climbing, art, child development, evolution, natural disasters, and extreme weather. There were few topics she found uninteresting as she enjoyed being a life-long learner, finding excitement in new, unexpected things.  Her favorite Valentine’s gift received from her husband was a simple tortoise shell.

She was a woman of many capabilities.  She was an excellent cook. Edwina smocked dresses for her daughters, made quilts for the family, grew flowers and vegetables in her garden, learned how to make paper and books, and tolerated her husband’s busy work schedule and eccentric hobbies. She loved visual arts, and no travel was complete without a least one museum visit. Edwina herself was an excellent artist, enjoying drawing and painting.  She was unselfish in her time, volunteering at her children’s schools, swim-team, athletics, and ballet. She loved to sit and read to her children and grandchildren.  Her greatest pride was in her two physician daughters, who she was privileged to watch grow into strong, successful women with wonderful, loving families.  She was delighted also to have two caring, energetic, and smart sons-in-law, as well as six practically perfect grandchildren. All who knew her will miss her greatly.

Edwina wished to express special thanks to all of the excellent and compassionate physicians and nurses who provided care for her over the years, especially recently during her final illness, Dr. James Stephenson and Dr. Carla Jorgensen.

The family will receive friends in the home in celebration of Edwina’s life on Saturday, June 17, 2017 from 2-4 pm.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to charities encouraging the love of reading at an early age and thus close to Edwina's heart: Reach Out and Read Carolinas, 18 Plott Drive, Silva, NC 28779 and First Book, 1319 F Street NW, Suite 1000, Washington DC 20004.  
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