Chip Snyder featured in FIG Stories 2017
Chip Snyder has never been far from work. At 10, he scoured Lancaster City, towing a wagon he’d fill with bottles, newspapers, and metal he could turn in for money. “If I collected two dollars, it was a good day,” he says. Chip, the oldest of six siblings, and his family lived above his father’s business, the Charles F. Snyder Funeral Home, on East King Street. At 13, he had his first real job—two paper routes, one he completed before school and later changed to an evening route, plus the Sunday paper. It gave him an early appreciation for running a business.
“Every week I had to go and collect money from the customers,” Chip recalls. ”Saturday mornings I had to go to the newspaper office and pay off my account. Whatever was left over was profit.” It also helped him get to know his customers. “To this day, people still remember me from when I was their paperboy,” he says. He also worked with his father at the funeral home, cleaning the grounds and the car fleet, and helping in the parking lot during funerals. “It gave me a foundation to better understand the many responsibilities of what it would be like to run a family company,” he says.
It wasn’t all work growing up, though. “Playing in of Mortuary Science. He did his internship with his father and received his funeral directors license in 1976.
“One thing I’ll never forget is soon after I started to work for my father, he called me into his office and sat me down,” Chip says. “He started discussing what it takes to be a funeral director. He said, ‘this is a very hard profession and you are with people at the worst time in their lives. Always remember your job is to take care of them.’ This is still our philosophy.’”
He and Doreen were married in 1979 and moved into a place on West Orange. In 1985, the family moved back to Chip’s childhood home over the business on East King. “One of our favorite pastimes was walking to Central Market,” Chip says. “It’s a real gem in this community.”
Chip is active with many volunteer and charitable organizations. “Lancaster City and County are a truly giving community and I’m grateful to be a part of it,” he says. Still, one in particular stands out for him. Share of Lancaster provides support to grieving families through the loss of an infant. “I hold that one a little closer to my heart,” he says.
In his business, too, he provides the community with a valuable service, at times when it’s needed most. “Being a funeral director has been a blessing—I enjoy meeting so many different people and the opportunity to serve them humbles me,” Chip says. “This is more than a job, it’s a life ministry.”
While Chip says he’ll never officially retire, the family business is in good hands. Chad is poised to “pick up the city was awesome—we were always outside in the parks, school yards or the Boys Club,” Chip says. Sports were a way of life for him, he reports playing just about everything, though baseball and golf were favorites. That love for sports and the outdoors has continued through his life, and he has shared it with his family—wife Doreen, son Chad, daughter Christina. “I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to coach both of my children,” he says. “Chad with ice hockey, golf, and soccer, and Christina with golf and soccer.”
A city kid, Chip walked to grade school every day at St. Anthony Parochial School, and graduated from Lancaster Catholic High School. He went to college in Wisconsin, then a year at the Pittsburgh Institute baton,” Chip says. “I know the future of Charles F. Snyder Funeral Homes & Crematory will be well taken care of.”
In work and in life, the family is close-knit and all live close by. Chip loves spending time with Doreen, Christina and her husband Mike and their daughter Scarlett, and Chad and his wife Lee. Chip’s quick to point out that Chad’s dog Otis and Christina’s dog Reef are also counted in the family.
“I consider myself a lucky guy,” Chip says. “God has blessed me with a wonderful family, friends, coworkers, and a life of service to the best community in the USA.”