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Kenneth Miller Snyder

Staff Writer
The Shawnee News-Star

Born March 18, 1918, in a small town named Galt in Southern California, Kenneth Miller Snyder was the youngest of five children. Although it was in the middle of a blinding rainstorm in the dark of night, the doctor had to come by horse and buggy to make the delivery. A little later on, Kenneth rode his trick pony named Peanut to a one-room schoolhouse in Seminole, not having any idea in his later years he would be operating oil wells in that very area.

He tried body building and some boxing in his youth and was known as the “Push-Up King” in junior college because he could do over 150 push-ups at a pop. As a young man, he briefly pursued an acting career during the golden era of Hollywood after studying cinematography at University of Southern California. He was actually under contract with MGM for a time and did some screen tests while studying under Max Rhinehart to be groomed for stardom.

Then World War II came along, and he joined the Coast Guard. He was asked to join the precision Ceremonial Honor Guard because he was exactly 6 feet tall. Not only was he on the rifle drill team, where he was required to perform at many events, but he was also a sharpshooter. President Franklin D. Roosevelt hired his team to do some work on getting running water to the president’s cabin up in the mountains. Fortunately, the timing of these things caused him to miss landing on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day where so many perished; all who joined with him were gone.

He was born to be an oil man and a family man. His dad and grandfather and uncles had drilled in Pennsylvania. They cut the trees to build the rigs, truly the beginning of the oil business. After the war, Kenneth moved to Oklahoma and successfully drilled and operated small family oil leases. He taught himself how to get oil out of the ground and grew to love the oil business with its booms and busts. When oil prices crashed and times were tough, he was able to transition into selling Tandy Homes and Capp Homes and helped hundreds of Oklahoma families as they finished their own dream homes.

As oil prices came back, he too came back to his life’s work in the oil fields. He really enjoyed studying the oil logs and deciding exactly what to do next to boost production. He had the knack to fine tune an oil well, and he did that with grace and precision. He had amazing stamina. Even after his 100th birthday, he was still overseeing his oil wells and using a daughter here or there to do the fine tuning, at his direction, of course!

His mind stayed so amazingly sharp. He read the newspaper every day, watched the stock markets, watched the news. He kept up with all the changing times. His three daughters, besides all the wonderful memories, will certainly miss not being able to call their daddy to ask him a question. He always had an answer, and he was always right!

Kenneth and his wartime bride, Anita Loraine, were happily married for over 70 years and were cherished and adored by three daughters and husbands, Charly and Maria Snyder Birkhead, Robert and Teresa Snyder St. Clair, Danny and Jennifer Snyder Dodd, nine grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, and two great-greats. Daddy left this world and his oil wells and all of us who loved him so dearly to be with his Lord and his beloved Anita on April 16, 2020.

Services will be held at John M. Ireland Funeral Home in Moore on Monday, May 18, at 10 a.m. Interment will follow at Resthaven Memory Gardens, Oklahoma City.

Services are under the direction of John M. Ireland Funeral Home, Moore.