William P. Snider

Physician, adored father, uncle, grandfather, father-in-law

Former Claremont Manor resident William Paxton “Bill” Snider, Sr., MD, died on May 29, 2012 in Chula Vista due to vascular disease.

Dr. Snider was born on October 7, 1922 in Socorro, New Mexico, the only son of D’Arcy Ensign Snider from Ontario, Canada and Lucinda Ann Paxton from Falls City, Nebraska. Dr. Snider’s father served as manager of Socorro’s now-historic Val Verde Inn.

Mere months before Dr. Snider was born into the family where he would have 3 sisters, his father died of pneumonia, but not before asking his wife not to name the newborn “D’Arcy” if it was a boy. However, a son—the future Dr. Snider—was born and named “D’Arcy,” but everyone called him “Sonny.” In his youth, Dr. Snider adopted the name “Bill” after a beloved train engineer in his hometown and, at 18, he legally changed his name to William Paxton.

In 1928, Dr. Snider’s mother moved the family to southern California. The children dispersed to various schools, and Dr. Snider attended the newly established Voorhis School for Boys in San Dimas. His exceptional abilities allowed him to skip 2 grade levels and transfer to The Webb Schools in Claremont.

In 1938, at age 15, Dr. Snider began studies at Occidental College where he lettered in swimming, worked part-time icing boxcars and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1942.

After college, Dr. Snider enlisted in the US Navy, first serving aboard the destroyer USS Meade. In 1943, he attended submarine school followed by service as a commissioned officer on the USS Sandlance until it was decommissioned in 1946. Upon discharging from the Navy, he worked on a tuna boat, traveling the coastal waters of California and Mexico and saving money in hopes of attending medical school.

Dr. Snider met his future wife, Bernice Ramona Wood, a 1943 graduate of Smith College, at Victoria Beach in 1947. They were married on June 11, 1949.

In September 1948, Dr. Snider began medical school at USC. After graduating in 1953, he completed his internship and residency at Los Angeles County General Hospital in 1957 and subsequently took his clinical pathology boards. With pride, his family shared that he achieved the highest score in the nation that year.

Dr. Snider began his pathology practice at Intercommunity Hospital in West Covina and also at the newly opened Queen of the Valley Hospital (QVH) in 1962. He worked as chief pathologist at QVH until retiring in 1996. Over the years there, Dr. Snider served as hospital chief of staff, on the executive board and as a member of the board of trustees. After retiring, he continued serving as a trustee, dedicating his efforts to the merger of Intercommunity and Queen of the Valley hospitals, which formed Citrus Valley Health Partners. He was also a clinical professor of pathology at USC.

In 1961, the Sniders became members of South Hills Country Club, which allowed Dr. Snider to indulge in his favorite pastime: golf. After relocating to San Diego in 2009, he continued golfing, enjoying the greens at the San Diego Country Club. Dr. Snider also loved the beach and was an avid body surfer. He enjoyed daily 5-mile runs, which later became long walks, and loved watching UCLA basketball.

“He was an amazing man who was down-to-earth, easygoing, witty and very caring,” said his daughter, Elizabeth Snider. “He was adored, admired and loved by many. He will be sorely missed but never forgotten.”

Dr. Snider is survived by his daughters and sons-in-law, Susan and Erick Nelson and Elizabeth Snider and James Rodriguez; his son, Bill Snider, Jr.; his grandchildren, Tara, Chris and Sarah; his great-granddaughter, Aubrey Iris; his nephews, Patrick Melton and Rick Neace; and his niece, Anne Gallardo.

A private burial-at-sea will take place in July.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Salvation Army or a favorite charity.


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