James Gordon Snyder 1937 – 2017

James Gordon Snyder, 79, passed away Jan. 1, 2017, at home, surrounded by his family, who had been his caregivers the last few months.

James Gordon Snyder was born on Oct. 23, 1937, in North Platte, to Miles William and Hollis Elizabeth (Blackstone) Snyder.

Jim spent his entire life on the Ten Bar Ranch, which was homesteaded by his grandparents, Bert and Grace (McCance) Snyder. Besides ranching, he spent many hours restoring collectible Dodge pickups and vintage tractors.

Jim was baptized into the Methodist Church at any early age. He faithfully attended the Ringgold Free Methodist Church in later years.

Jim collected Dodge pickups, making his last purchase just two weeks ago. He had a full-time job, just making sure they all stayed driven. He was an excellent mechanic, often troubleshooting problems over the phone. He was very generous sharing his time and his extensive collection of tools.

Jim was a great historian and master storyteller, often getting the giggles in the telling. He enjoyed air shows, car shows, parades and working puzzles of all kinds. He taught himself to play the mandolin, and had a great love of music.

He served in the National Guard for eight years, earning Guardsman of the Year. He served on the Board of Regents for McPherson County High School for eighteen years, and also District No. 28 school board for 18 years.

Jim’s passion was flying, holding his pilot’s license for over 50 years. He started early, flying with Miles in the Taylorcraft the 11 miles to school before they had a highway. Many hours were also spent checking on cattle and wells, buzzing coyotes and cutting holes in the sky. He attended first grade in Sutherland and thereafter school in Tryon, graduating with the class of ’55.

Jim purchased his only plane in 1963, a Cessna 170B, 3584 Charlie. He was most often accompanied by Joyce, his wife, co-pilot and navigator.

Jim and Joyce visited 49 states, eight Canadian provinces, the Arctic Circle and the Bahamas.

Jim attended his first Cessna 170 convention in West Memphis, Tennessee, in 1975. Jim and Joyce enjoyed many conventions, collecting many friends along the way.

He was preceded in death by his parents; a grandson, Brandon Lee Blake; mother- and father-in-law, Wayne and Eva (Bassett) Connell.

He is survived by his wife of nearly 58 years, Kathryn Joyce (Connell) Snyder; three daughters, Janelle (Kim) Blake, Jill McNutt and Jacquie (Mark) Glaubitz; three granddaughters, Micki Schmidt, Megan (Casey Renner) Krein and Margo (Frank) Morton; three grandsons, Arlis (Andrea) Blake, Nathan McNutt and Nicholas Gifford; six great-grandsons, Zachary Schmidt, Brandon Blake, Ethan Schmidt, Kaden Blake, Wyatt Krein and Lincoln Renner; two step-great-granddaughters, Michelle Lopez and Ashley Lopez; brother, Jerry (Carolyn) Snyder; sister, Jean (Gary) Kemp; numerous nieces, nephews, other relatives; and a host of friends.

The air is smooth, all runways are open and the pattern is clear.

So long, Jim.

A memorial has been established. Online condolences may be shared at

Services will be at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 5, at the Ringgold Free Methodist Church with the Rev. James Paine officiating. Dinner for all will follow the service. Burial to follow at the Eclipse Cemetery. Visitation will be from 9 a.m. to service time at the Ringgold Free Methodist Church. Carpenter Memorial Chapel is in charge of arrangements.