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It is with great sadness that we share the passing of Dr. Jack E. Snider. Dr. Jack
E. Snider is recognized throughout the region as a fervent advocate of education and
model of civic service. He joined King College in 1955 and over five decades has
faithfully served in a number of titles including Registrar, Director of Admissions,
Director of Financial Aid, Director of Alumni Affairs, Professor of Education and
Head of the Education Department. Most recently he served as Senior Vice President,
working tirelessly to cultivate financial aid resources for a rapidly growing student
body. Throughout his time with the college he has cultivated numerous colleagues
and friends among the faculty, staff, alumni and community, and is one of the most
beloved personalities to grace the College's 144-year history.
A native of Unicoi, Tennessee and an avid athlete, Snider played football, basketball
and baseball in high school, and also played on an independent baseball team at the
age of 16.
During World War II he served in the Army with the XVIIIth Airborne Corps, earning
silver wings as a glider man. As a CG-4A glider pilot he was towed aloft by a C-47,
landing behind enemy lines to participate in five major campaigns, including a mission
to help liberate prisoners from the Wöbbelin concentration camp. He was wounded just
three days before the war's end.
Following the war, he attended the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, where he
served as the athletic trainer for the Tennessee Vols. Snider assisted the team in
conditioning and practices as well as in physical therapy, helping see the Vols to
three Bowl games. After graduation Snider attended both Peabody College and Columbia
University, receiving his doctorate in Humanities from Lincoln Memorial University.
During his studies Snider met his wife, Evelyn, the love of his life. A native of
Erwin, Tenn., she was a landscape architect as well as a teacher, serving as an education
professor at King and leading English classes at Tennessee High School. The couple
married and in the following 44 years would visit all 50 states and 29 countries together.
In honor of Evelyn's passing, Snider created an endowment that today helps fund the
King College English Department. The Evelyn Widener Snider English Scholar and Department
Award was given to a student for the first time in 1998 and is bestowed upon a student
of integrity who shares Evelyn's intense love of English. Wanting the endowment not
only to help the English Department but to be beneficial to the King College family
and the public, Snider also helped pave the way for the creation of the Jack E. Snider
Center for Honors. The Center is a formal honors program that fosters intellectual
curiosity in students and encourages growing scholars to incorporate a number of disciplines
within their educational goals. Since its establishment in 2004, the Center has welcomed
such personalities as authors Sharyn McCrumb, Wendell Berry and Frederick Buechner,
among others, to interact with students. The first graduates of the program received
their honors as Snider Fellows in May 2007.
Evelyn was always interested in helping other people and certainly helped shape the
lives of many of the people she touched, Snider said of the endowment's continuing
benefits to numerous growing scholars.
Likewise, Snider has devoted his energy, efforts and talents to better the lives of
numerous others. He is past president of the Kiwanis Club, served in the Chamber of
Commerce and on the board of the Salvation Army. He devoted many years to the United
Way, and is a past president of the Bristol Boys' Club, from which he received the
Man and Boy Award in 1973 and the National Service Award in 1989. In 1995 he received
the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award from King in honor of his demonstration of exceptional
character and Christian mentorship and service.
He served as a Blue and Gold Associate for the U.S. Naval Academy, primarily working
with area applicants applying for admission, and is a past president of the Tennessee
Associate of Collegiate Registrars; the Tennessee College Alumni Association; the
Tennessee College Public Relations Association; and a member of the National Council
for the Advancement and Support of Education. He also served as executive director
of the Mid-Appalachia College Council, Inc., a consortium of 12 area colleges.
In recent years Snider was presented three awards considered among the highest honors
in their respective civic organizations. He received the Ruritan Club's Tom Downing
Award as well as the Rotary Club's Paul Harris Award. He was also awarded membership
into the Kiwanis Club's prestigious George F. Hixson Fellowship, established to honor
the first president of Kiwanis International. One of the most visible recognitions
of his distinguished career is the Jack E. Snider Bridge, located over Interstate
181. The bridge's christening was reported on by the Wall Street Journal.
In conversation with students, Snider commented that I would like not to be just remembered
as a friend or acquaintance, but work my way into people's hearts and be a part of
someone's life. If I can be a part of others' lives...then they will, in turn, do
the same thing. Then I will live on through the lives of those I touch.