Virginia Margaret “Ginger” Snyder, 62, of Kalamazoo, died Jan. 8, 2012, at Rose Arbor Hospice, succumbing to cancer after having risen above it for several years.
The red-headed Ginger came into the world on Feb. 28, 1949 at the old Three Rivers Hospital overlooking Scidmore Park and joined her parents Jeanne (Fallon) and Harold Cordes and brother Rick, Chicago transplants, at a farmhouse just outside Parkville, where chickens and ferocious roosters roamed and strawberries were an early summer treat.
While still a toddler, Ginger moved with her family to Fishers Lake where she grew up, attending Mendon Schools and graduating valedictorian of the class of 1967. She was a cheerleader and percussion player at Mendon, participated with her horse Queenie in 4-H, and loved to skim on water skis. Through her school years Ginger formed many lifelong friendships including that of John Snyder, an upperclassman by one year whose attention she gained while she was still a freshman.
Ginger went on to the University of Michigan and earned a degree in education, graduating in 1971. Shortly thereafter she earned the title of Mrs. Virginia M. Snyder when she married her high school sweetheart on June 11 of the same year in a marriage that marked its 40th anniversary last summer.
Ginger and John lived briefly in Ann Arbor before moving to Whitmore Lake, from which Ginger commuted to teach special education in the South Lyon school district. The couple moved to Kalamazoo and the Milwood neighborhood in 1974 with Ginger raising her two children David and Kathryn “Katie” while she also operated a home-based day care center for children of educators.
A devoted mother, Ginger involved herself in the school system through volunteerism. When her children launched into college years, careers, and marriage, Ginger became an attendance officer at Loy Norrix High School, providing encouragement to the many students whose lives she touched. Later she became a field worker for Holy Cross Children’s Services. Ginger was also a Big Sister to a young lady who received unflinching support.
The focus of Ginger’s life was to contribute to the well-being of others. The loyalty of her friends is a testament to the strength of her generous character. Ginger’s legendary frosted butter cookies, shaped to represent events at which they were served, were enjoyed by thousands of people over decades.
A highlight of Ginger’s life was the honor she received of being chosen to carry the Olympic Torch on its leg through South Bend, Ind. en route to the Salt Lake City Olympics of 2002. However, that proud moment couldn’t top her joy in the accomplishments of her children and the birth of her grandchildren.
Ginger is survived by her husband, John; their children and spouses, David (Jennifer) Snyder of Orland Park, Ill. and Katie (Brian) Schoenholz of Lake St. Louis, Mo.; grandchildren, Fritz Schoenholz, Emmitt Snyder, Xander Schoenholz and Clare Snyder; brother, Rick (Laurel) Cordes of Three Rivers; brother-in- law, Dexter (Charlotte) Snyder; sister-in-law, Mary (Charles) Shears; nieces and nephews, Maya (Adam) Bramlage, Casey (Sylvia) Cordes, Chelsea (Jeremy) Frei, Zach (Kelly) Freed, Caleb and Olivia Cordes, Michelle (Tom) Boomer, Marcy (Brian) Wright, Richard (Shelly) Snyder, Cheryl (Rick) Howe, Amy (Brian) Decker and several grandnieces and grandnephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, Harold and Jeanne Cordes.
Cremation has taken place. Visitation will be held Saturday, Jan. 14 at 10 a.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1515 Helen St., Kalamazoo followed by an 11 a.m. memorial service with Pastors Jerry and Jenny Duggins officiating. Memorials may be directed to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan, 222 N. Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo, MI 49007, and condolences may be left at eickhofffuneralhome.com.