Snyder, Roy Gingrich (1915-2015)

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Roy and Clara Snyder's family, when Roy retired from the Waterloo Cattle Breeding Association and began with the Ontario Animal Breeders Association. Back row from left: Clara, Nancy, Jean, Donna. Seated: Roy and Laura.
Mennonite Archives of Ontario Digital 109

Roy G. Snyder: church lay leader and agriculture developer: born 23 October 1915 in Waterloo County, Ontario, Canada to Edwin Snyder (31 October 1887-27 April 1947) and Leah (Gingrich) Snyder (5 May 1891-10 June 1950). He was the third child in a family of eight children. On 27 May 1944 he married Clara Weber (14 June 1919-21 May 2005). They had four daughters: Jean, Nancy, Donna and Laura. Roy died 11 February 2015 in Kitchener, Ontario. Roy and Clara Snyder are interred in the Erb Street Mennonite Church cemetery.

When Roy was 11 years old his family left the Old Order Mennonite church and began to attend the St. Jacobs Mennonite Church where Roy was baptized at age 16 following a series of evangelistic meetings. Upon his marriage to Clara, he joined the Erb Street Mennonite Church in Waterloo.

During the World War II Roy Snyder did alternate peace service by working on a farm, and then in 1946 began to work in the field of artificial insemination with the Waterloo Holstein Breeders Association. This pioneering agricultural association was the first in the world to use 100 percent frozen semen, which allowed for cattle semen to be exported throughout the world and help breed livestock that fed many people. In 1974 Snyder became one of the founders of Semen Exports Canada, later Semex Alliance.

Snyder’s work with cattle breeding took him to over 80 countries. Although Snyder was firm in his Anabaptist-Mennonite Christian faith, he was very tolerant of people of other faiths and made close friendships with people of other religions. He would comment on the many times he had changed his thinking about a variety of issues over the years, and expected to continue to change.

Roy Snyder was an extremely competent congregational lay leader, serving as Sunday School superintendent, church treasurer, and church council chair at Erb Street Mennonite Church. Snyder also served on the boards of Mennonite Economic Development Associates, Conrad Grebel University College, and the Mennonite Central Committee Heifer Sale. Snyder wrote two books: Fifty years of artificial insemination in Canada 1934-1984 and It was all worthwhile: The life and times of Roy and Clara Snyder, dedicating the latter book to Clara.

Snyder is known to have stressed the vital importance of the virtues of Ambition, Ability and Attitude, with attitude being the most important attribute. Roy completed grade eight, but continued to be a lifelong learner and an avid reader. His irenic spirit, kindness and gentle sense of humor were much appreciated as he helped his congregation and the church agencies with which he served make good decisions and negotiate changes. At the same time he was never afraid to ask the hard but necessary questions, share his position openly, and voice his concerns. As he grew older his mind remained alert right to the last week of his 99 years. Roy Snyder stated in his last years that he did not want to be a burden on anyone. That was an amazing statement from a man who used his intelligence and abilities to benefit many people throughout his life.


Harder-Gissing, Laureen. “Roy Snyder.” Mennonite Archives of Ontario. 25 August 2015. Web. 27 October 2016.

Kroeker, Wally. “A giant has passed.” The Marketplace 45, no. 2 (March-April 2015): 2. Web. 27 October 2016.

Snyder, Roy G. It Was all worthwhile: the life and times of Roy and Clara Snyder. Markham, Ont. : Pennsylvania German Folklore Society of Ontario, 2010.

Snyder, Roy G. Fifty years of artificial insemination in Canada: 1934-1984. Toronto, Ont.? : Canadian Association of Animal Breeders, 1984?

Author(s) Gary Knarr
Date Published October 2016

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MLA style

Knarr, Gary. "Snyder, Roy Gingrich (1915-2015)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. October 2016. Web. 16 May 2022.,_Roy_Gingrich_(1915-2015)&oldid=139666.

APA style

Knarr, Gary. (October 2016). Snyder, Roy Gingrich (1915-2015). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 16 May 2022, from,_Roy_Gingrich_(1915-2015)&oldid=139666.

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