Snyder, Alice (1917-2000)

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Alice Snyder: operator of the Ontario Women’s Missionary Association Cutting Room, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) volunteer, and secretary in the MCC Kitchener office. Alice Snyder was born 17 November 1917 in Berlin (now Kitchener, Ontario) to Menno (16 September 1888-7 August 1956) and Ida (Groh) Snyder (27 July 1890-12 January 1975). She was the third child in a family of two sons and three daughters, namely Clifford, Florence, Irene, and Harvey.

As a child, Alice Snyder moved with her family to a farm at Natchez, a small community now within the boundaries of Kitchener, Ontario. She was baptized at First Mennonite Church in Kitchener on 27 September 1929. She would live in the Kitchener area for most of her life, with the exception of brief stints in 1948-50, 1958-60, and 1969 where she volunteered with MCC respectively in Germany, the Middle East, and London, Ontario. While overseas, she served as matron, hostess, and cook, and she also worked in clothing distribution. Between her stints in Germany and Jordan, Alice Snyder worked in both the Ontario MCC Clothing Depot and WMSC Cutting Room. When she returned from her second assignment Harvey Taves, director of the MCC office in Ontario, invited her to work as secretary. In London, she served as cook at the Hardy Geddes Boys Home for four years. Returning to Kitchener, she cared for her mother Ida (Groh) Snyder, while employed at the Stone Crock in St. Jacobs, Ontario. After her mother's death, Alice Snyder resided in and cared for the Stirling Avenue house owned by First Mennonite Church. She died in Kitchener on 23 February 2000.

In her later years, Alice said: "I was born into a family that had a history of 'service for the church and others.' I am convinced that MCC offers a Biblical practical way of carrying out God's Commission to us." This conviction was illustrated in an earlier report that she gave on the Beirut Emergency Relief Program: "Christ gave the command to feed the hungry, not only our friends, but also our enemies. In Beirut we are feeding those who have always considered Christians as enemies, and also those who are in need of Christian fellowship. Only God knows what the harvest will be, in both of these areas. It is our task to plan and water and God will give the increase."

At MCC Ontario’s 1989 annual meeting, Alice Snyder was recognized for her years of service. For a young woman who described herself as too intimidated to attend high school, hers was remarkable service. As a young woman, she had worked with her mother in launching and running the successful Ontario Women’s Missionary Association Cutting Room, often running her Volkswagen Beetle into Toronto to pick up fabric. Her letters home, written from Germany where she was stationed distributing food and clothing, focus on the private domain, deepening our knowledge of conditions in Germany, and the motivations of Canadians who chose to go overseas to serve a people devastated by war.


Alice Snyder, First Mennonite Church (Kitchener) and WMSA collections, Mennonite Archives of Ontario.

Marr, Lucille. I guess I just won’t be able to write everything I see...: Alice Snyder’s letters from Germany, 1948-1950. Kitchener, Ontario: Pandora Press, 2009.

Marr, Lucille. "'The Time for the Distaff and Spindle': The Ontario Mennonite Women's Sewing Circles and the Mennonite Central Committee." Journal of Mennonite Studies (1999): 130-151.

Marr, Lucille. Tranforming Power of a Century: The evolution of Mennonite Central Committee in Ontario. Kitchener, Ontario : Pandora Press, 2003.

Snyder, Alice. Interview by Linda Huebert Hecht, Kitchener, Ontario (17 October 1996). Mennonite Central Committee Ontario Oral History Project Collection, Mennonite Archives of Ontario.

Author(s) Lucille Marr
Date Published March 2011

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Marr, Lucille. "Snyder, Alice (1917-2000)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. March 2011. Web. 28 May 2023.,_Alice_(1917-2000)&oldid=112343.

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Marr, Lucille. (March 2011). Snyder, Alice (1917-2000). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 28 May 2023, from,_Alice_(1917-2000)&oldid=112343.

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