July 14, 1926 – Dec. 7, 2013
Jack D. Snyder, 87, of Forsyth, Mont., died Dec. 7, 2013, surrounded by his family and the caring staff of St. Vincent’s Healthcare.
Jack was born July 14, 1926, in Lovell to William Blain Snyder and Mildred Ruth Dahl Snyder. As a young man, Jack, along with his family, operated a sheep ranch known as Snyder Bros. Sheep Co.
Jack graduated from Lovell High School in 1944 as valedictorian of his class. He then attended the University of Wyoming for a short time, returning home to help with the war effort. The family produced wool for blankets and clothing during World War II. The Snyder Bros. Sheep Co. later became Montana Wyoming Sheep Co., then became the Big Timber Livestock Co. Jack’s ranching skills would raise pure bloodlines and breeding that produced unique wool blends. Jack became one of the most respected sheep men in Wyoming and Montana.
In 1952 Jack married Elizabeth (Betty) Kelley, a ranch girl from Helmville, Mont. Together they had three children.
Since 1965 and after Betty’s death in 1968 Jack became a single father, raising his children on the sheep ranches of Lovell and Ingomar, Mont. Late in 1968 Jack moved to Forsyth, sold his interest in the sheep business and purchased Buff’s Bar. For the next 40 years he would become president of the Montana Tavern Association for 12 of those years, lobbied and became instrumental in instituting Montana’s gaming laws. Along that journey he cultivated many wonderful friendships throughout the state that still remain today. He will be remembered for his wiry sense of humor and his knowledge of ranching, politics, economics, world history and current events. He was an avid reader, had a kind heart and a certain humility that quietly motivated him to help many in need. Jack never met a dog or a horse that he didn’t love.
Jack enjoyed traveling to the family cabin in the Big Horn Mountains, spending time with his family, his mother, siblings and all their kids. He especially enjoyed flying to California and Laughlin, Nev., to visit his sister.
Jack was preceded in death by his wife Betty, and his father and mother, William B. Snyder and Mildred R. Richardson of Lovell.
He is survived by his brother Bob Snyder of Cody; sister Sylvia Batenhorst of Basin; sister Helen Snyder of Ajai, Calif.; his children Robby (Patti) Snyder of Billings, Gary Snyder of Phoenix, Nancy (Curt) Sample of Forsyth; six grandchildren; four great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews that were very fond of their uncle Jack.
Funeral services were Monday, Dec. 16, in the Chapel of Stevenson and Sons Funeral Home of Forsyth. Burial followed in the Forsyth Cemetery.
Stevenson and Sons Funeral Home of Forsyth was in charge of the arrangements. Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.stevensonandsons.com.