Snyder, Douglas Noah (1941-2019)

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Doug Snyder, 1978.
Mennonite Archives of Ontario photo 1987-1-75

Douglas Noah “Doug” Snyder: church leader and businessman; born 14 April 1941 to Etril Martin Snyder (9 December 1912-2 April 1983) and Alice Alvina (Weber) Snyder (2 March 1913-1 October 1999) in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. He was the oldest of three children, brother to Donald (his twin) and renowned artist Peter Etril (28 January 1944-28 August 2017). After graduating from Goshen College, Goshen, Indiana in 1963 with a BA in Sociology, Doug went to Stratford Teacher’s College in 1964 to earn a teaching certificate. He married Doreen Bender (26 June 1941-1 March 1998), daughter of Reuben Valentine Bender (23 June 1910-21 February 1968) and Alice (Litwiller) Bender (6 February 1912-2 September 2004) at Steinmann Mennonite Church in Baden, Ontario on 1 August 1964 . They had two daughters: Julie and Jane. After Doreen's death, Doug married Dorene Katherine (Witmer) Rudy in 1999. Doug died from complications of a stroke in Kitchener, Ontario on 10 March 2019. Doug and Doreen Snyder are buried in the Erb Street Mennonite Church cemetery in Waterloo, Ontario.

Doug began his ministry in the Mennonite Church in his early 20s when he became the assistant to Bishop J. B. Martin at the Erb Street Mennonite Church. This role set the tone for Doug’s lifelong commitment to bi-vocational ministry. Doug questioned whether the professional model of church leadership was sustainable for the long term in the Mennonite Church. Such was his commitment that he volunteered his time during his decades of pastoral ministry, serving at Elmira Mennonite (interim pastor 1980-1981), Erb Street Mennonite (pastoral assistant 1963-1964, lay pastor 1982-1996, pastor 1996-2000) and St. Agatha Mennonite (2001-2016). He did not accept a salary. Doug also taught at Ontario Mennonite Bible Institute (1967-1969).

Doug and Doreen Snyder taught school for two years in Moose Factory, Ontario. Doug counselled clients for one year at London Rescue Mission in London, Ontario. Doug became Executive Director of Mennonite Central Committee Ontario at age 26, serving from Fall 1967-Spring 1975, when he briefly left for Mennonite Central Committee’s head office in Akron, Pennsylvania to serve as Assistant Executive Director during William Snyder’s sabbatical leave. Back in Ontario he served as Assistant to the President in Community Relations for Conrad Grebel College from 1976-1979. Doug served on various boards of the Mennonite Conference of Ontario and Quebec as well as boards of the Mennonite Church (MC) and Mennonite Central Committee.

Doug Snyder was a successful businessman, managing his brother’s Peter Etril Snyder Art Gallery and Doug’s related Snyder Art businesses. This success allowed him to donate his time and commit to his passion of bi-vocational ministry. He mentored many young people who later served in church leadership.

Doug lived for 50 years at 19 Willow Street, affectionately called “Willow Cottage” in the downtown core of Waterloo. He loved being able to walk to the city core, meeting over coffee to discuss issues facing the church, community and the world from Waterloo, rather than traveling to other parts of the world. Doug always had time for meeting friends and church members, listening to their concerns and helping them experience God’s presence. Every Saturday morning he met his brothers at a nearby coffee shop, later joined by his grandsons when they became teenagers. Doug was committed to his children and grandchildren, a commitment that continued with his second marriage.

Doug saw time as a gift from God. His stewardship of that time made him willing to volunteer where his gifts could make a difference. He seldom said no when asked to serve. The Mennonite Church has been enriched by Doug’s lifelong passion to bi-vocational ministry.


Marr, Lucille. The transforming power of a century: Mennonite Central Committee and its evolution in Ontario. Kitchener, Ont.: Pandora Press, 2003.

“Douglas Noah ‘Doug’ Snyder.” Waterloo Region Generations. 16 March 2020. Web. 22 March 2020.

“Douglas Snyder, 1941-2019.” Erb & Good Family Funeral Home. March 1029. Web. 22 March 2020.

Author(s) Wilmer Martin
Date Published March 2020

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Martin, Wilmer. "Snyder, Douglas Noah (1941-2019)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. March 2020. Web. 12 Apr 2024.,_Douglas_Noah_(1941-2019)&oldid=166923.

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Martin, Wilmer. (March 2020). Snyder, Douglas Noah (1941-2019). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 12 April 2024, from,_Douglas_Noah_(1941-2019)&oldid=166923.

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