Snyder—Maryhelen Hintz Snyder, 85, on January 23, 2018, in Vienna, Va. Mel was born on October 6, 1932, in Brooklyn, N.Y., to Helen and Howard Hintz. She met Ross Leland Snyder Jr. while attending Swarthmore College, and they married in 1955 at Westbury (N.Y.) Meeting. In the early 1960s, they moved to Albuquerque, N.M., and she joined Albuquerque Meeting, where she held marriage strengthening groups, read poetry at the arts evenings, offered deep listening sessions, cared for others, and easily connected with young people. In 1979, her book of poems Enough was the first of many published works of poetry, memoir, and psychology and counseling.
She cofounded and taught at Corrales Community School, and after receiving a doctorate in 1984 from the Fielding Institute, she led national and local co-counseling groups and a peer support counseling group. Her website, onbecominghuman.org, described her as a specialist in developing “livening and empowering relationships with our partners, our children, our communities, and ourselves.” Ross died suddenly in 1996 just before their forty-first anniversary.
In 2004 she moved to Blueberry Hill Cohousing Community in Vienna, Va., and a year later joined Langley Hill Meeting in McLean, Va. Her vocal ministry was often about the power of Love, and she enjoyed conversations about living in the Spirit, especially in the Spiritual Formation group and with the small group of seekers at the drop-in session before meeting for worship. She served on the Ministry and Worship Committee for seven years, two as clerk, and was one of the founders and guiding forces of the book discussion group. She, with another Friend, led in starting the meeting’s Working Group on Racism in 2006, to help the meeting to recognize perceived diversity challenges and racial barriers to relationship with the Divine.
She trained in the Alternatives to Violence Program (AVP) and in 2008 attended the AVP international conference in Kenya, helping displaced persons to return peacefully to their homes. In 2010, a travel letter commended her and another Friend to Kenyan Friends. She attended the United Society of Friends Women International Triennial in Mombasa and visited local Friends meetings and Friends Theological College, where she joined in teaching mental health and substance abuse classes.
She was named the 2016 Passager Poet of the Year. In her last years, she campaigned for support in meeting to ease the isolation of those with hearing loss, including herself. The article Love Story (FJ Mar. 2016) describes her personal challenges in making clear the isolation she felt in meeting because of increasing deafness and her joy as the meeting worked to provide supportive hearing technology.
Her other publications include a poetry chapbook Undressing for Rodin (1989); a professional book Ethical Issues in Feminist Family Therapy (1995); books of poetry Because I Praise (1998), Sun in an Empty Room (2012), and Never the Loss of Wings (2015); and No Hole in the Flame (2008), a memoir of her marriage and her coping with Ross’s death.
The concerns and abilities of her profession contributed to her memberships in Westbury Meeting; Manhasset (N.Y.) Meeting; Albuquerque Meeting; and Langley Hill Meeting. Excelling at making connections with and between people, she created community and connection wherever she was. Her desire to avoid driving long distances at night provided others many opportunities for shared car rides with conversations about life’s joy and struggles. Her warm smile and concern for others live on in Friends’ memories.
Mel is survived by four children, Jennifer Zito (Bill Carlson), Susan Snyder (Michael Greenlick), James Snyder (Lori Barfield), and Kenneth Snyder (Beth Conover); eleven grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and many Friends and friends everywhere she has lived.