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Donald Snyder, 86, of Valencia passed away peacefully on Jan 1, 2023 at Butler Memorial Hospital. He is survived by his loving wife of 65 years, Thelma Jean Snyder; his son Donald Andrew Snyder and wife Deborah, and their two children, Thomas, 17; and Summer, 15; and his daughter, Susan Darlene Iverson, husband Robert Iverson and their three children, daughter Shannon Zamora, 34; and husband Steven Zamora, 35; and their son Ethan Robert Zamora, 5 months; son Matthew Iverson, 29; and son Jonathan Iverson, 21; and his daughter Diane Marie Snyder of Gibsonia.
Donald was born Jan 26, 1936, to Louis and Emily Snyder of Carnegie, PA. His brother Louis Snyder and sister Betty Berlingeri preceded him in death.
Donald attended Carnegie High School and graduated Valedictorian. He is a 1957 graduate of Penn State University where he earned a degree in engineering. Donald also enrolled in the Air Force's Reserve Officer Training Program and was selected for Undergraduate Pilot Training. He married the former Thelma Jean Bradley of Oakdale, PA on June 15, 1957, at the Federal United Methodist Church.
Donald completed pilot training in 1959 with an initial duty assignment to Kadena, AB on Okinawa, Japan, flying the F-100 Super Sabre. His distinguished military career ended 35 years later when he retired as the Vice Commander of Tactical Air Command as a Lieutenant General in the United States Air Force. Numerous other duty postings included Cannon AFB, New Mexico; Luke AFB, Arizona, three combat tours in Vietnam; Montgomery, Alabama; Nellis AFB, Nevada; the Defense Special Projects Group in Washington DC; Ankara, Turkey; Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania; Clark AB, Republic of the Philippines; Hickam AFB, Hawaii; Kunsan AB, South Korea; Bergstrom AFB, Texas; McDill AFB, Florida; and Langley AFB, Virginia, as well as countless deployments away from home. He is a Fighter Weapons School distinguished graduate, has a master’s degree in public administration and commanded at all levels in the Air Force.
General Snyder is a command pilot with more than 4,500 flying hours and has flown F-4, F-5, F-15, F-16, F-100, F-104, O-1 and T-33 aircraft. His military awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart and Air Medal. He is a member of the Premier Fellowship for Military Aviators, the Air & Space Forces Association, and the Super Sabre Society.
In his retirement years, Donald enjoyed community service through his church, teaching Sunday school, gardening, reading, occasional travel and spending more time with his beloved “TJ”. Donald was a devout Christian, dedicated family man, patriot, and loyal friend. He was very proud of his children and grandchildren and was blessed to meet his great grandson Ethan last fall. Donald’s legacy is his family who loved him immensely and will greatly miss the example he set, his smiling face, his sense of humor and warm heart.
Friends will be received on Friday, January 6, 2023 from 2-4 & 6-8 pm at the Fox Funeral Home, Inc. in Saxonburg. Funeral services will be held on Saturday, January 7 at 11:00 a.m. at the funeral home with Rev. Denny Krajacic officiating. Interment will follow in the Butler County Memorial Park with military honors performed by the Saxonburg American Legion.
Please consider making a donation the American Red Cross in Don's memory.