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Gayle Snyder obituary

    Gayle Snyder always hated the term “battle” when describing people diagnosed with cancer. It insinuates that that they didn’t have the muster to win, and we know from watching her that simply isn’t true.
    She was reunited with her much-missed husband, Mike, and dog, Stella, when she passed away on July 14, 2022 of sarcoma. We won’t call it a battle, either; instead we watched her run hard towards life. Cancer caught up to her on the last lap, but Gayle’s courage throughout this grueling race was awe-inspiring.
    Gayle Ellen Steele was born in Tokyo, Japan, on January 23, 1948. Her dad worked in civil service at Camp Zama, an Army post, which fostered extraordinarily close, life-long friendships.
    Her family moved stateside when Gayle was a senior in high school, and her dad got a new job in California. After high school, she went to the University of Missouri Columbia and met her soulmate Mike Snyder. As the story goes, they were in line to register for their freshmen classes when she noticed his great soccer legs. Gayle and Mike were married in August of 1971, and that was the start of a love story with chapters in Florida, Georgia, Texas, and finally in Rochester, Minn., where they raised their family. Mike and Gayle also enjoyed living in Lake City, and sailing Lake Pepin, for several years as “empty nesters.”
    Gayle was an educator who taught in Head Start, Montessori, and at Rochester’s Jefferson Elementary.
    Being with kids gave her so much energy. At any gathering you’d find Gayle at the kids’ table, her preference. And kids sensed this and adored her, especially her grandkids Kai, Micah, Mac, Frank, Moe, Michael, Maggie, and Palmer.
    Lori, Eric, and Scott consider themselves the luckiest people in the world to have had Gayle as their mom, even though she didn’t believe in feeding them processed sugar. She was the loudest one on the soccer sidelines and somehow always knew when to advocate and when to let them figure things out themselves.
    Her other talents included playing the acoustic guitar, putting Martha Stewart to shame with her decorating skills, and writing eloquent letters to the editor as needed.
    The world was better with her in it and won’t be the same without her light.
    Gayle’s survived by her children Lori (Ryan) Melton, Eric (Meghan) Snyder, and Scott (Jessica) Snyder, and her beloved grandchildren. She’s also deeply missed by her brothers Rob (Valerie), and Mike (Kathy), and special “sister girlfriend” Kathy Steele (Jim), and several nieces and nephews.
    Gayle was preceded in death by her husband Michael Snyder, who passed away in January, 2008; her parents, Kit and Rob Steele; and her in-laws, Faye and Arthur Snyder.
    We want to extend a special thank you to her medical team, including Dr. Yan, Dr. Ho (Tawny Boo), and Seasons Hospice; as well as Gayle’s friends who were there for her throughout, and to her sister Kathy, who offered grace and humor as Gayle passed. (Kathy wistfully told Gayle that Trump “went to prison” in her sister Gayle’s final days, knowing this would bring Gayle so much joy.)
    A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, September 3 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the First Unitarian Universalist Church in Rochester, 1727 Walden Lane SW. A light reception to follow.
    In lieu of flowers, please donate to your favorite animal charity.

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