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Niagara Falls
Monday, February 26, 2024
Centenarian Mary Snider draws a crowd for birthday party
Lida Kowal brought Mary Snider some flowers for her 100th birthday. Kowal said Snider was the first person to welcome her when helping out with the stampede. DAVE VAN DE LAAR
Liz Frank had lots to laugh about with Snider, who has been her longtime neighbour. DAVE VAN DE LAAR

When Mary Snider was born a century ago, the first digital camera was still 51 years away. 

Now, on her 100th birthday, a long lineup of guests waited their turn to offer well wishes, have a chat and capture a photo all on their cellular phones. 

In her 100 years, Snider has made countless friends, many of whom came out to the St. Davids Lions Club on Sunday.

She’s well-known in town and has been active in numerous community endeavours. Starting in 1966, Snider helped run the Virgil Stampede every year for 46 years and sat as chair for 29. 

Dave Dick, longtime owner of Niagara Motors, said that he still remembers how Snider reacted when she was first asked to help out with the stampede for $300. 

“She said, ‘I’m not taking any money and I’ll only do it for one year,’ ” he said. 

He added that she kept half of that promise – in her 46 years helping run the stampede she never took a dime. 

Liz Frank was Snider’s neighbour growing up and remembers the times fondly.

“She was just always there. My grandma lived on one side and she lived on the other. There were always some shenanigans going on between the two houses,” she said.

Frank said they lived beside each other for so long that their phone numbers were in order. 

“It was my grandmother, my aunt, hers and my uncles, 7029, 7019 …” she said. 

Frank recalled that Snider recently sold her house to developer Rainer Hummel, who said she could live in the home for the rest of her life. She still lives there today. 

Terry Dick visits her from time to time and says that she keeps active, still crocheting and doing puzzles.

“Even when I go visit her now she’s so fun to visit. She can’t hear as well, she can’t walk as well but she still laughs at all my jokes,” she said. 

Among other visitors was MPP Wayne Gates, who stopped in to wish Snider a happy birthday and remarked, “You’ve done something right if you can fill a hall.”

Snider herself was smiling and happy to see everyone. She was especially pleased with her childhood photos on display at the entrance to the hall.

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