The soul of an artist…the wanderlust for travel… the passion for progressive politics…the love of family – all these describe Joan and help to paint the portrait of her life.Born in Philadelphia on September 24, 1931 to Charles and Faye (Cantor) Stein, Joan was an only child but grew up surrounded by many wonderful cousins, particularly on her mother’s side,
who were more like sisters and brothers to her.As she grew up, Joan helped her parents, who owned and ran a variety of small stores in and around Philadelphia. She attended the Philadelphia High School for Girls, known as a place for the education of academically talented women, graduating in 1949. She entered the workforce in various retail jobs and married Hal Snyder in August 1950 at the ripe old age of 18, then embarking on what she expected to be a life of housekeeping and motherhood.
But fate had a different path in store for her – that of trailblazing the difficult path as a woman in the professional workforce. The motherhood part was realized with the birth of twins, Harris and Alison in November of 1952 and Elaine in August of 1957. After an accident left Hal unable to work for an extended period, Joan re-entered the workforce as a secretary at an accounting firm. Recognizing smarts when he saw it, her boss encouraged her to begin acquiring the skills and education that eventually led to a New Jersey state certification as a School Business Administrator in 1981. This was no mean feat as it required attending night classes at Rutgers University, Glassboro State College, and other state programs over many years while she was working full time and raising a family. Her professional career included stints as Board Secretary for Camden County Vocational and Technical High School and Collingswood Public Schools and culminated with being appointed as School Business Administrator for Cinnaminson Township Public Schools in 1981 where she worked until her retirement in 1995.
The soul of an artist…Joan’s talent for the fine arts was evident at a young age, having been encouraged by her art teachers in high school to create a portfolio to use for college applications. Although her path took her in a different direction, her love of beauty and the visual arts led to the creation of beautiful home environments both inside and out and just an amazing fashion sense – she always looked like a million bucks. Her consultation was often sought by her daughters and daughter-in-law as decorator extraordinaire.
The wanderlust for travel…Joan’s mother, Faye, wrote in her autobiography that she herself had had a wanderlust for travel (her exact words) but not the courage to follow through. Her daughter most certainly did. Oh, the places she went – Hawaii, Asia and Indonesia, Alaska, the Netherlands, and numerous countries in Europe and the Balkans. She also loved to take the opportunities to visit her children (and grandchildren) out-of-state including New York City, Washington DC, Rehoboth Beach Delaware, Boston, and San Francisco.
The passion for progressive politics…Joan developed rabid passions for the Eagles football team and for progressive politics once she retired (Who knows? Maybe those passions were lurking underneath the surface all the time.) She was always ready to participate in a long and agitated rant about the current state-of-affairs with anyone who shared her views but was respectful of those who did not. And woe to the person who tried to telephone her during an Eagles game!
Reading was also a life-long love and one of her favorite later life activities was volunteering to work in the Mt. Laurel library. She especially loved interacting with the young children who came in with their parents.
The love of family…Although Joan was a private person, it was clear to all of us that her family came first in her heart. Her parents and youthful extended family were the rock on which she stood. She was proud of the people her children and her grandchildren became and of all the accomplishments, both large and small. She welcomed each new spouse into the fold as one of her own. She thrilled at the birth of two little great grandchildren.
Joan V. Snyder’s walk with those who loved her ended on December 20, 2020 at 89 years young in Camden’s Cooper Hospital, very near to her childhood homes and the first home of her married life. She was the beloved mother of Harris (Gail) Snyder, Alison (Donald Allison) Snyder, and Elaine (Ed Barberic) Faye-Barberic, the beloved grandmother of Daniel (Danae) Allison, Jordan (Youssef Tawk) Allison, Michelle Snyder, Jessica (Paul) Friz and Matthew Snyder, and the beloved great grandmother of Salim and Sayde Tawk.