Edward Furnas Snyder

Snyder—Edward Furnas Snyder, 90, on August 12, 2016, in Bar Harbor, Maine, after a brief, rapid decline, surrounded in his last days and hours by family and friends. Ed was born on November 13, 1925, in Belle Plaine, Iowa, the oldest of three children of Mary Ella Blue and Edward F. Snyder Sr. His father died when he was seven, and his mother returned to school and taught at University of Maine. He attended Bowdoin College before joining the Army Air Corps in 1944 and graduated from University of Maine, where he belonged to Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi, in 1948. In the summer of 1950, on a student ship to Europe, he met Dorothy Mae (Bonnie) Mumford, and they married in 1951. He graduated from Yale Law School that year and clerked for U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Thomas W. Swan.

He and Bonnie became Quakers, undertaking a faith journey that was the central experience of their lives. Wherever they lived—in Maryland, Singapore, and Maine—they were active and faithful attenders of their nearest Friends meeting. Following the Spirit’s leading, he left a promising legal career to join Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), moving to the Washington, D.C., area and joining Adelphi (Md.) Meeting. At FCNL he led work on peace issues: lobbying; testifying; and organizing coalitions to end the arms race, the draft, and the war in Vietnam. He offered positive witness for the UN, Peace Corps, disarmament, and people-to-people engagement; served on the boards of American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), National Council of Churches, Center for International Policy, and 20/20 Vision; and coauthored Witness in Washington: Fifty Years of Friendly Persuasion (Friends United Press, second edition, 1994). From 1967 to 1969, he represented AFSC in Southeast Asia, organizing conferences and seminars and working in Vietnam. A Boy Scout in his youth, he introduced his family to the outdoors, interspersing camping adventures with car travel to yearly meetings across the country.

In 1990 he and Bonnie retired and moved to a solar house in Bar Harbor, Maine, joining Acadia Meeting in Northeast Harbor; helping to found the Friends Committee on Maine Public Policy; and working for Native American rights, restorative justice, and clean elections. At 67, he canoed the Allagash with his sons; at 70, he climbed Mount Katahdin for the last time; in 2002 he accepted an honorary doctorate from Haverford College; and in his late 80s, he joined the Occupy movement and co-facilitated classes in Acadia Senior College. The year he turned 89, he walked all the carriage roads of Acadia National Park. Beginning in 2001, Bonnie’s descent into dementia gave him a different kind of challenge. He was Bonnie’s primary caregiver until she died in 2009. Those close to him saw how important this experience was to his spirit’s full development.

He found joy with his grandchildren: attending Francis and Bonnie Mae Snyder’s school concerts, watching the Bangor Daily News for details of Roy and Sam Donnelly’s track meets, and reading to Blue Snyder. Strong-willed but fair-minded, he always took time to listen, and although others might experience his high expectations as judgment and asking too much, these expectations came from love and generosity, and the love always won out in the end.

Bonnie died in 2009. Ed is survived by four children, Edith Snyder Lyman (Nicholas), William Furnas Snyder (Laura Muller), Marjorie Blue Snyder, and Russell Mumford Snyder; five grandchildren; a brother, Ralph McCoy Snyder (Mary Dirks Snyder), and a sister, Mary Louise Snyder. Memorial contributions may be made to Friends Committee on National Legislation, 245 2nd Street NE, Washington, DC 20002 or act.fcnl.org/donate/honor-memory.

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