HAROLD ZAHNISER SNYDER of Mancelona, Michigan went home to be with his Savior on December 24, 2021 at the age of 93. He is preceded in death by his parents, Clarence and Lefa Snyder and his siblings, Ruth Evelyn (Snyder) White, Art and Al Snyder and his grandson, Seth Willey. Harold is survived by his wife of 67 years, Ellen (Vore) Snyder and his daughter Marian (Snyder) Willey, son-in-law Mark Willey, son James Snyder, and daughter-in -law Gina Roberts Snyder. He is the proud grandfather of Luke Snyder, Becca (Snyder) Loli, Laura (Willey) Coppersmith, Josh Willey, Ben Willey, Rachel Willey, Kristen Willey, Jana Willey, Tim Willey and John Willey and all his great grandchildren; Sophie, Lauren, Wesley, Summer Coppersmith, Shy, Armani, Bryce, Cooper, Moses Willey, Atticus, Solomon, Eden Willey, Alexa Willey-Burke, Sadie Willey-Fekete, Eva and Ari Loli, Wren, Nel, and Muir Snyder.
Harold grew up with a love of family, horses, the outdoors and Jesus Christ. He was raised on a farm with a well-known surgeon for a father, a bishop’s daughter for a mother, and 3 older siblings. He ran track in high school, winning the Michigan state championship in the half mile. He went on athletic scholarship to University of Michigan, graduating with a degree in Biology. He secured a Masters degree in Botany, and a PhD in Conservation Education from Michigan State University.
In 1954, he marred Ellen and began the family that was so precious to him.
He served as a pastor of a Free Methodist church for two years, but retired from the ministry “because he ran out of sermons!” He then completed his PhD and taught briefly at a Junior College and then was hired by Taylor University as a professor. During his time at Taylor, he became the Chairman of the Science Department. His love was always field biology. This love caused him to start a Jr. Science Camp in northern Michigan in the summers with the intent of giving young boys a love for creation and the Creator. While at Taylor, he taught Conservation classes at a program he launched at Big Twin Lake, in northern Michigan. Eventually, he developed that into Au Sable Environmental Institute. Au Sable grew to include professors and college students from over 20 different Christian colleges. His passion was to create community around a love for creation and the Creator. He also started Cedar end Farm and Retreat Center in Mancelona, Michigan with the same purpose.
He was a man full of stories and jokes for all occasions. He sang in quartets throughout his life, praising and worshiping through music. His favorite verse was Psalm 34:1 “ I will bless the Lord at all times, His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”
He loved keeping in touch with his many friends gathered throughout the years, from boyhood on.
He lived a full, rich life of adventure, generosity, and humor. He will be missed, but never forgotten.
His memorial service will be held at the Lodge of Au Sable Institute on June 11, 2022. Any memorial gifts in his honor can be sent to continue the projects and programs he loved there. Online: Visit www.ausable.org/donate and click “In memory of” in the online form and enter “Harold Snyder.”
Check: Mail with “Harold Snyder” in the memo line to Au Sable Institute, 7526 Sunset Trail Road NE, Mancelona, MI 49659
Au Sable Institute
7526 Sunset Trail Road NE, Mancelona MI 49659