Remembering Mary Margaret Snively

Remembering Mary Margaret Snively

Mary Margaret (Stouffer) Snively

September 18, 1909 - March 23, 2009

Wyndcroft teacher 1948 - 1980, and power beside the throne

Shippensburg State Teachers’ College (now Shippensburg University), 1929

 

Born in Waynesboro, PA, she was a daughter of the late Walter and Amanda Susan (Mort) Stouffer. At Shippensburg she entered into college life with enthusiasm.

SnivelyMargaretShippenburgCollege1929yearbookentry

Mrs. Snively’s 1929 Shippensburg College yearbook entry

Mrs. Snively taught English, reading, and writing at Wyndcroft from 1948 to 1980.  I had her for English in Grades 5 through 8. Fortunately for me, I was interested in these subjects, and worked hard to master them. And I certainly didn’t want her marking up my homework with checks or critical notes from her “carmine red” pencil. I well remember the little orange workbooks in the Words Are Important series. They were among my most useful vocabulary-builders, along with the witty lyrics of the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas we listened to at home. My brother Jon and I also had our mother, who, when asked what a word meant, sent us to the dictionary as soon as we were old enough to use it. Mrs. Snively, I am certain, would have done the same thing.

Mrs. Snively sometimes called upon us to stretch our capabilities in surprising ways. In the 7th grade she assigned us H.L. Mencken’s “The Sahara of the Bozart”, one of his longer and more densely reasoned essays. More accessible, and still well-remembered, was Longfellow’s Evangeline.

In her early years at Wyndcroft, according to a September 21, 1948 Pottstown Mercury article, Mrs. Snively also taught mathematics and remedial reading, although she was no longer teaching these subjects when I was her student. She retired in 1980, when Mr. Snively did.

The Snivelys were the only Wyndcroft teachers of my student days that I ever got to know as an adult, and the only ones I ever wound up addressing by their first names. The minute I graduated from Wyndcroft, Mrs. Snively, or Peg as I later came to know her, ceased to be the stern, precise, and somewhat forbidding preceptor of the classroom and suddenly turned warm and gracious. Carlisle had always been comparatively relaxed and affable, and became more so. Peg and Carlisle attended a most enjoyable party my parents gave on New Year’s Eve 1976. They were making their selections from the buffet laid out in our dining room when my brother Jonathan told them how very much we had benefited from our Wyndcroft education. I was there too, and echoed his enthusiasm. They received our praise with their characteristic modesty.

I used to pass the Snively house on my evening walks through the neighborhood, and in pleasant weather often encountered Carlisle at the end of his driveway enjoying a pipe of tobacco before bedtime. We’d always stand and chat. Sometimes he wasn’t there, and the lingering fragrance of tobacco on the still summer air told me I had just missed him.

After the death of Mr. Snively, Mrs. Snively lived on in the little white house at 501 Rosedale Drive, at the end of what was once the Wyndcroft playing field. Wyndcroft students took turns bringing her lunches from the cafeteria every school day.

Mrs. Snively was a member of the Garden Club, of which she had served as president. She continued to play bridge with my mother and other friends until she moved away in 2001. She spent her final years at the Heatherwood Retirement Community, Honey Brook, Pennsylvania. Towards the end her health grew problematic, but she was almost 100 years old when she died.

The Snivelys were members of the First Presbyterian Church of Pottstown. They were laid to rest in the Green Hill Cemetery in their home town of Waynesboro, Franklin County, Pennsylvania.

Descendants of Mr. and Mrs. Snively included one son, Thomas C. Snively II, Wyndcroft ‘55 (1941 – 2011) and his wife, Jill of Warwick, PA, two grandchildren, Thomas C. Snively III and Jennifer Pfeiffer, and three great grandchildren, Blake Pfeiffer and Katelyn and Jessica Snively

During Mr. and Mrs. Snively’s years at Wyndcroft, Pottstown Mercury coverage of local events and institutions was thorough to an extent that would astound contemporary readers accustomed to the perfunctory or nonexistent coverage of today. You can read innumerable stories covering our Commencements, Field Days, honor rolls, student plays, and even, if you go back far enough, Board of Governors meetings. The Snivelys are mentioned in many of these articles. Even the Kindergarten-1st Grade productions like our Circus Day in May 1958 were covered in detail, with full rosters of student names and roles. The Mercury for the years 1933 to 1978 has been archived at Newspapers.com, and serves as a true portal to the past.

We are always happy to add to our records of faculty members, and we encourage you to share your memories, photographs, videos, and any missing details with us.

Submitted by Robert W. Evans `65, Director of Development