Dennis J. Snyder

Oct. 11, 1960 - March 10, 2019
Dennis J. Snyder, Oct. 11, 1960 - March 10, 2019

The life of Dennis James Snyder will be celebrated with a 10:30 a.m. Mass at St. Therese of Lisieux Catholic Church in Montauk on Sunday, a year after his death of heart failure in Florida. A gathering will follow at the Montauk Fire Department on Flamingo Avenue, and all will be welcomed, Mr. Snyder’s family said.

Mr. Snyder, who was 57, died of heart failure on March 10, 2018, at the Wuesthoff Medical Center in Rockledge, Fla. He was cremated. 

Mr. Snyder was a diesel mechanic and heavy-equipment operator by trade. He loved to go to the Riverhead Raceway to watch the stock cars roar around the track or race his No. 38 car himself, just as his father had raced before him. But Mr. Snyder’s greatest passions, besides his family, were the Montauk Fire Department and striking up conversations with whomever he met.

“Dennis never met a stranger,” Maureen Mooney, his younger sister by two years, said with a laugh this week. “When he still lived in Montauk he used to say to me, ‘C’mon, let’s go to the deli and grab a cup of coffee real quick.’ And it would be two and half hours before we were heading back home. He’d be asking everybody, ‘How is your father doing? What can I do? What can I do to help you?’ ”

“We used to call him the mayor of Montauk. It was the same after he moved to Florida. I lived there 30 years and he knew more people in the two years he was there.” 

Ms. Mooney said because of other illnesses and losses in their extended family, her brother’s memorial service in Montauk was delayed until this week because “I wanted to give him a proper service there. He loved being part of the Montauk community.”

Mr. Snyder was born in Far Rockaway on Oct. 11, 1960, to Harry Peter Snyder Jr. and the former Marilyn Ann Walsh. He attended St. Mary Star of the Sea School and Far Rockaway High School, where he was chosen football captain. 

He married Nancy Ann McMahon, who survives him, on July 14, 1985, and they moved to her native Montauk, where they spent the next 32 years. He eventually rose from firefighter to chief at the Fire Department. Late in his life he used to joke that he always carried a set of rosary beads as “insurance.”

In addition to his wife and sister, who lives in Pawtucket, R.I., he is survived by a daughter, Jennifer Lynn Snyder, also of Pawtucket, a son, David James Snyder of Montville, Ohio, and his mother, Marilyn Hutchison. He is also survived by two brothers, Richard Snyder of Inwood and Thomas Snyder of East Hampton, and another sister, Elizabeth Gruen of Palm Bay, Fla.