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 Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, March 31, 2016, Page 5

A dedicated man named Harold "Jay" Snyder
by Rhett Murphy

The definition of dedication is: the quality of being dedicated or committed to a task or purpose. This defines Jay Snyder perfectly. Family and friends would describe him as dedicated to everything that he does. He would do anything for anyone he meets before he would do something for himself. Jay was the mayor of Diagonal and also a farmer, businessman, fire chief, mailman, and hunter, just to name a few.

As a young man Jay attended and graduated [from] Bedford High School. One day Jay was walking to class and he missed the step with his foot and landed on it awkwardly. He broke his foot. Using his great sense of humor he says everyone in the area could track him in the snow because his right foot never fully recovered and it turns in. Jay tried to enlist in the service, however, his foot and ankle did not pass the physical. This disapponted Jay because he knew that was the only way that he would be able to see the world.

Jay was an owner of a feed store in Bedford. He was there every morning and night doing everything for the store with the help of some of his employees. Jay would head to work after he got done doing the mail route. Jay told me once it had rained for several days and he couldn't get to some of the people's homes who lived on gravel or dirt roads. He was aware that the mail had to get delivered because some of the people were in need due to paychecks or bills to pay. Jay was dedicated to his route and got in a plane and packed everyone's mail inside of plastic bags. He made sure the mail had the ability to absorb the impact.

The one thing Jay was the most dedicated to was his wife, Irene. Irene loved traveling as much as Jay did. They would take two separate months out of the year to go traveling. This was a time that Jay and his wife would dedicate a whole month to meet new people and see new sites. Jay said that he has traveled to every country in the Western Hemisphere. He loves to talk about his experiences in each different country. He told me that Irene would pick a country and he would take the month off to make sure she got enough time to see the whole country.

To this day he thanks his employees for allowing him to take the time to go take all of these trips with his wife. The best part, he said, was meeting new people because if you know Jay you know he loves to talk. While talking with people Jay got to know many interestingstories and that was his favorite part of traveling.

Jay loves to tell stories of his travels, one he shared with me was of his time in Brazil. He told the story about when he reached the camp that he was staying at. He talked about how a tribe that was down river was in a war with the tribe he was staying with. He explained that the son of [the] Chief he was staying with had slept with the other tribe's [Chief's?] daughter and they had captured him and killed him and sent his head down stream. Jay was not worried. He was more interested to see what would happen.

Another fond memory of Brazil was that he was looking for his tent to sleep in. He couldn't find it anywhere. The tribe member explained to him that they had just finished preparing it for them. Jay soon realized that it was 20-30 feet in the air. It was in the air so that rising water would not reach their tents.

Jay is a man whom I had never met before until one day at the nursing home. It was suggested to me that I should talk to him, and I'm glad I did. Jay has made an impact on his family and friends and has a lot of good stories to tell. Jay is a very dedicated man to everything he does. I asked Jay if he could go anywhere else in the world where would he go? Jay responded very quickly, "South Africa, but I would never go without my wife. She and I started this and I don't want to do anything without her by my side."

Jay is a man who I would never have met if I did no reach out to him. Jay is thedefinition of dedication. Jay Snyder is a man who everyone should look up to, because after talking to him, I do.

Photograph courtesy of Mount Ayr Record-News
Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, August of 2016


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