A long-time Anglican priest in the territory is being remembered as a man of faith who had a deep love for the North and its people.
Ken Snider died Tuesday in his home in Dawson City. He was 80.
Snider ministered across the North for decades. He worked in communities including Cambridge Bay, Hay River, Clinton Creek, Whitehorse, Inuvik, Elsa, Mayo, Pelly Crossing, Carmacks, Keno, Stewart Crossing and Dawson City.
“I have never known a Dawson without Ken Snider,” Mayor Wayne Potoroka said.
“He was an incredibly thoughtful and friendly individual. He was a faithful servant to his church and his community.”
Snider was born on a farm near Toronto in 1933. He was the youngest of three children.
Bishop Larry Robertson said he always felt inspired by the work his friend of 30 years did in the community.
“He loved people so much, he wanted them to be strong. He wanted to share God’s love,” he said.
Robertson said Snider was always there to support people but never looked for the limelight himself. “He wanted others to shine.”
About 10 years ago – after he had retired – Snider found out about a group of eight or 10 people from Fort McPherson who wanted to come up to Whitehorse for Bible study and a leadership conference.
Using mostly his own money, he rented a 15-person van and drove them himself.
“On the way they got three flats,” Robertson remembered.
When asked why he would spend more than $1,000 of his own money, Snider replied: “That’s just what you do. They needed a ride,” Robertson said.
Trond’ek Hwech’in Chief Eddie Taylor was one of many people who connected with the priest.
“He was our hockey coach, he used to always take us over to Clinton Creek, when Clinton Creek was a community,” Taylor said. “On the weekends we’d head over and it didn’t matter what the weather was on The Top of the World, he’d get us all home safely.”
“Hockey was definitely the way he would engage with youth in our community,” the chief said.
Canada’s favourite winter sport appears to have been part of Snider from a very early age.
In a eulogy prepared for the upcoming funeral, his family talks about their dad as a boy.
“As a child, Dad played hockey with his friends, using Sears catalogues as shin pads because his family couldn’t afford to buy him proper equipment,” his daughter Grace writes.
The hockey team in Dawson was Snider’s idea, his family says. He coached the group of boys, spending long hours at the community’s unheated rink and driving the team to tournaments in other communities.
Taylor said the First Nation always had respect for the church’s leader.
“The First Nation community had nothing but respect for Rev. Ken Snider. He has shown nothing but care and compassion to our people.”
While in Dawson, Snider began the St. Paul’s Restoration Fund to restore the more than 100-year-old church structure. He also secured funding to purchase and restore Bishop Stringer’s Residence.
As an adult Snider raised six children, mostly in the North alongside his wife Aldene.
Funeral services for Snider will be held Saturday at 2 p.m. at St. Paul’s Church in Dawson City followed by a feast at the Trond’ek Hwech’in Community Hall.
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