Donna J. Snyder, 70, of Salamanca, died Wednesday (April 18, 2012) in Buffalo General Hospital following a short illness.
She was born April 28, 1941 in Salamanca, the daughter of Salamanca Common Council President Charles E. Hensel and Dorothy E. (Marks) Hensel who pre-deceased her.
Mrs. Snyder was a 1959 graduate of Salamanca Central High School and for many years served as treasurer of the family-owned commercial real estate business, Hensel Enterprises. She was married to Daniel T. Snyder who died April 4, 2003.
She began her journalism career as Cattaraugus County bureau chief for the Buffalo Courier Express, and then later served as County Editor for the Salamanca Press before joining the News. She was well known as a tenacious reporter of the courts and criminal justice system as well as her ability to report on government finance and political issues.
In April of 2004 she entered a nursing home for an extended rehabilitation from illness, but, continued to cover stories through phone contacts and a laptop computer. In 2007 she returned to work from her home office through March 2012.
In 2002 she was presented with a community service award from the Cattaraugus County Bar Association at the Law Day Program held April 24. As Senior Correspondent of the Cattaraugus County Bureau of the Buffalo News, the award was presented to Mrs. Snyder in recognition of her part in law making in New York State. After enactment of the Â³Operation RecognitionÂ² legislation which made high school diplomas available to World War II veterans who were unable to complete their secondary education, Mrs. Snyder sought assistance of the late New York State Senator Patricia K. McGee to include Korean War veterans in the legislation. As a result the law was amended. It was signed into law by Gov. George Pataki on Sept. 5, 2001. Mrs. SnyderÂ¹s husband, Daniel was a Korean war veteran and the first to receive such an honorary degree.
Active in community affairs, Mrs. Snyder served as President of the Salamanca Area Chamber of Commerce in 1995-97 and was chairperson of the cityÂ¹s annual Falling Leaves Festival.
Angry that each year the countyÂ¹s male politicians from both parties in the county gathered together at an Election Day luncheon with no women allowed, she organized the Â³Woman Achievers LuncheonÂ² an annual event in which women active in politics gather for their own Election Day luncheon. The luncheon was attended by many women in local and state politics who enjoyed the variety of themes including Â³recipes from the White House.Â²
Mrs. Snyder was a member of the Cattaraugus County Arson Task Force and active in volunteer fire company activities, serving for many years as head of the Kill Buck Volunteer Fire DepartmentÂ¹s Ladies Auxiliary. For many years she raised basset hound show dogs, winning numerous awards.
She is survived by a brother, Rodney C. Hensel of Buffalo; a close friend and helper, Mark S. Williams of Hinsdale; a son Donnald G. Hensel of Salamanca; two grandchildren, Charles and Ginna Hensel; five aunts, Irene Fidurko of Salamanca and Velma Hensel, Clara Merrill, Inez Domes and Viola Hogan, all of Florida and several cousins; a sister-in-law Jeanne Haines of Salamanca, a brother-in- law Earl Crouse, a sister-in-law Joanne Snyder; stepchildren Richard Snyder, Denise Porter, Patricia Luna and Barbara Snyder, several step-grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, April 28, 2012 at 1:00 P.M.in the O'Rourke & O'Rourke Inc. Funeral Home, 25 River Street, Salamanca, New York.
Interment will be in Crawford Cemetery, Salamanca.
Memorials may be made to the Salamanca Rail Museum and Salamanca Historical Society.