Richard L. Snyder
November 14, 2014
Richard L. Snyder died on November 14, 2014. Born in Carlisle, PA, and raised on a nearby dairy farm, Richard L. Snyder graduated from Big Spring High School in 1957 after attending a one-room schoolhouse from kindergarten through eighth grade. He received his Bachelor of Science degree as Magna Cum Laude, from Penn State in 1961. A certified public accountant, he served in various executive management positions until 1991 when he retired from Philip Morris International where he was executive vice president, Europe-Middle East-Africa.
He was universally regarded as a man of gentleness, integrity, tremendous appreciation for and love of natural beauty, generosity and an exceptional commitment to community. After his retirement, he maintained his Sutton Place apartment in New York, but lived primarily in Milford, Pennsylvania, where in 1985 he had purchased Foster Hill Farm, initially as a weekend retreat.
Dick wanted to keep the property as a working farm but wasn't interested in the usual farm livestock, noting that he had his fill of milking cows when he was a child. Instead, he became a well-known llama breeder, active in the Pennsylvania Llama & Alpaca Association, serving as its president, and a nationally prominent leader in the llama breeding industry. Many of his herd, which at one time numbered more than 100, are prize-winners; an entire wall of the llama barn at his farm is covered with scores of ribbons and awards from llama competitions. Each July, Dick sponsored an Open Barn Day when visitors can visit the farm and walk among the llamas as well as enjoy the horticulture on the 70-acre organic farm, which also supplies Milford's Hotel Fauchère, which Dick co-owns, with superior organic produce and eggs from free-roaming chickens.
Dick was active in a number of conservation, cultural, historic preservation and civic organizations. He served on the boards of the Pinchot Institute for Conservation (1998-2004), Pike County Conservation District, Historic Preservation Trust of Pike County (since 2003) and American Readers Theatre. One of his most visible community endeavors began in 1997 when he founded, and since chaired, the Milford Enhancement Committee (MEC), whose goal is to make Milford a better place in which to live, visit and do business. Over the course of 17 years, the MEC has raised and invested more than $6 million in improving Milford's streetscapes and public spaces to make them safer, more attractive and more pedestrian friendly. In the several years prior to his death, he was active in helping to launch the Greater Pike Community Foundation.
It was through the Milford Enhancement Committee work that Dick met Sean Strub and formed a partnership to acquire and improve strategic properties in Milford and to publish Milford Magazine, a monthly periodical highlighting the region. In 2001, they acquired the Hotel Fauchère, the area’s most famous hostelry, which had been closed for 25 years after having been operated for 124 by Fauchère family. After five years and a meticulous historic restoration, the landmark building reopened to wide critical acclaim, including being named by Conde Nast as one of the top five new hotels in the U.S. in 2007. Now a member of Relais & Chateaux, the hotel complex includes two restaurants, a patisserie, day spa and soon-to-open corporate meeting facility.
In addition to the Hotel Fauchère, Dick co-owns the Historic Milford Schoolhouse and owns Milford Professional Park and Sawkill Business Center, all in Pike County, Pennsylvania. He has served on numerous corporate boards, including the Norwood Financial Corp. (Wayne Bank) from 2000 to 2012, Gutenberg, Inc. since 2001 and Universal Publishing.
One of Dick's long-term philanthropic commitments was to the fight against Multiple Sclerosis, inspired by his sister Carol's struggle with the disease. He became active in MS work in 1977, served on the board of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) from 1981 to 2002 and then, until his death, served as an Honorary Life Director. At various times he served as treasurer and chairman of the Finance Committee, secretary, chairman of the Research and Medical Programs Committee and as board chair from 1994 to 1998. From 1997 to 2002 he served on the Board of the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation, London, England.
While a New York resident, Snyder served on the board of the Sutton Area Community Association, as board member and President of the Philippine-American Chamber of Commerce (1986-1987) and as a board member and Vice Chair of the New York Urban League. He was the former President of the Sutton Area Community Fund.
Most of Dick's professional career was with Philip Morris Companies, Inc., where he served in several capacities, including as VP Administration & Finance (1975), VP and Controller (1979), Sr. VP Administration, International (1981), Executive VP Asia/Australia, International (1984), Sr. VP Human Resources & Administration (1987) and as Executive VP, Europe/Middle East/Africa (1991).
Prior to joining Philip Morris, he was the Corporate Treasurer, then CFO of Wheelabrator-Frye (1970-1975), Comptroller, then Treasurer of Bell Equipment/Alcorn Combustion (1964-1970) and with Price Waterhouse Coopers (1961-1964). He was a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the N.Y. State Society of CPAs.
He was the recipient of many honors and awards, including the Penn State University Alumni Achievement Award, 1980, and just recently, the Big Spring Bulldog Foundation Award.
He is survived by a large family of loving friends, including several cousins and a brother. No funeral is planned, but a memorial service at Dick's beloved Foster Hill Farm will be held in the spring. Memorial gifts may be made to the Greater Pike Community Foundation (PO Box 992, Milford, PA 18337) or the Milford Enhancement Committee (PO Box 927, Milford, PA 18337).