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Bettie Louise Snyder

SHARON — Bettie Louise Snyder died at Sharon Hospital on May 12, 2022.                                  

The only child of Louise (Walker) Snyder and Herbert Parker Snyder, Bettie was born in rural western Pennsylvania on August 21, 1931.  During her life, she preferred small town living, so naturally fell in love with Connecticut’s Northwest Corner at first sight.

She moved to Sharon in 1959 to become office manager at Magnamusic Distributors,  and then in 1961 joined the staff of The Sharon Clinic.   In 1974, she became the first program director at Noble Horizons for several years, and next served as assistant to the president of an international financial planning company, Hamilton Gregg & Company, at the home office in Falls Village.

Always interested in the arts, Bettie worked for 15 years at various radio stations in Connecticut and New York as producer, on air personality, and reviewer of plays and concerts. She was the first Arts & Entertainment Editor when WKZE opened in Sharon,  then continued writing art reviews for Hudson Valley newspapers for many years.

Her love of theatre began in Pennsylvania, and took hold when she joined The Oblong Valley Players, finding camaraderie with the Northwest Corner’s talent.  She also wrote and performed monologues throughout the Northeast, and toured with several theatre companies, including the Grumbling Gryphons Traveling Children’s Theatre of West Cornwall.

Clowns fascinated Bettie.  She studied with a Ringling Brothers professional, and began this remarkable part of her life visiting hospital patients on a weekly basis, and performing at fairs and parties for all ages.  The warden of an upstate New York prison saw a video of her work and invited her to teach values clarification to inmates. Using the power of humor as the foundation, she found these classes amazing and humbling.

In 1989, the possible collapse of the Sharon Creative Arts Foundation was an unacceptable option to many area theatre buffs.  Bettie was voted President of SCAF.

She hired local theatre companies to produce a season that wound up in the black, allowing The Sharon Playhouse to keep open its doors. She invited a group from Pine Plains High School to perform The Music Man to end the season. That group became Tri Arts.

During the summer residency of The Berkshire String Quartet, Bettie served on the Music Mountain Board of Directors for eleven years.

Referring to herself as a saloon player, she loved the role of “fly on the wall,” and for two decades, played cocktail party piano standards in local inns and at private parties, while eavesdropping on the intriguing conversations swirling around her.

After retiring from the business world, Bettie wrote and published dozens of essays for local and national magazines and newspapers.  Additionally, she penned three books: Veedor the Condor  about the only free flying, yet captive, Andean condor in the world;  Quickies from Romeos & Other Lovers, a collection of recipes from 101 men  with unique vocations from across the United States;  and The Kingdom of Ning, an inspiring read  and coloring book for children ages four to one hundred.   

In the late 90s, she was asked to write a script for docent tours of Holley House Museum in Lakeville.  Fascinating research led her to hold the family in high esteem for their outstanding contributions to the Northwest Corner and beyond.   

Writing stage and screen plays became her passion.  Hemingway’s Promise, a one act play about the last hours of Ernest Hemingway’s life, won a Pen & Brush (NYC) first prize, and garnered consistent audience and scholarly accolades at readings.

Animal welfare, gardening, and puzzles filled many happy hours, as did developinga popular line of greeting cards.

For five years beginning in 2011, she operated TreeHouse, a studio apartment rental on her Sharon property, where she welcomed weekend guests from around the world.   

Bettie is survived by her beloved cats, Cleo and Ginger, and cousins in Colorado, California, and Florida, along with those she knew as friends.

A gathering to celebrate her life will be held at a later date.

The Kenny Funeral Home, Sharon, is in charge of arrangements.

In accordance with Bettie Snyder’s wishes, her body has been donated to the Anatomical Gift Program for the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University for medical education and research. Donations can be made in her name to the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine.

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