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July 8, 2005 8:30 AM CDT

In Memoriam: James Richard Snyder


James Richard Snyder, Sr., a founder of the Masonry Institute of Michigan (MIM), passed away on May 7, 2005, at his Detroit home after a long illness, at the age of 81.

Mr. Snyder was known as a very hard working man. He served in the U.S. Navy aboard the USS Mendocino during World War II. After the war, he learned the masonry trade and formed his own company, JR Snyder Co., Inc.

In 1958, Mr. Snyder helped to create the Masonry Institute of Michigan, the first state institute of its kind in the country. In addition, he was also the former Regional Vice President of the Mason Contractors Association of America and Chairman of the Research Committee, as well as the former President of the Detroit Mason Contractors Association.

In his spare time, Mr. Snyder started the Snyder Softball Club, which won two back-to-back U.S. Slo-Pitch Softball Association (USSSA) world championships. For his accomplishments in the sport, he was inducted into the USSSA Hall of Fame and the Michigan Amateur Sports Hall of Fame.

He retired in the late '80s, but continued to work as a consultant in the industry.

"Basically whatever the man did, he didn't put his toes in ? he dove in with both feet," says his son, Jon Snyder.

In addition to his son Jon, he is survived by sons James Jr., Joseph, Jerald, Jeff, Jay, Jack, Judd and Justin Snyder; daughters Susan Kelley and Nancy Bryant; three sisters; 30 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

Eight of his children have followed Mr. Snyder's footsteps into the masonry industry; four of them are members of MIM, and two of those have served on the MIM Board.

Visitation was held May 8th at the Charles R. Step Funeral Home in Redford Township. The funeral was held at St. Valentine Catholic Church, also of Redford Township, on May 9th.

In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that memorial contributions be made to the J.R. Snyder Memorial Scholarship Fund with the Masonry Institute of Michigan, 12870 Farmington Road, Livonia, MI 48150.

MCAA sends its deepest condolences to the Snyder family.

About the Author

Masonry, the official publication of the Mason Contractors Association of America, covers every aspect of the mason contractor profession - equipment and techniques, building codes and standards, business planning, promoting your business, legal issues and more. Read or subscribe to Masonry magazine at

Information provided by Crain's Detroit Business, the Detroit Free Press and the Masonry Institute of Michigan.


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