Dennis  Snider

Obituary of Dennis Snider

Dennis Andrew Snider

June 11, 1942 - March 19, 2024

It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Dennis Snider, 81, after a four-year battle with cancer, one he fought with the quiet stoicism and strength for which he was known. Dennis died at his home in Port Hope, Ont., surrounded by those who loved him. He will be deeply missed by his soulmate and loving wife of 58 years, Susan; his devoted children, David (pre-deceased) (Audrey), Michael (Tammy), and Christopher (Lesa); sisters Susan (pre-deceased), Ruth (Fred); brother- and sisters-in-law, David Robertson, Jane Roberton and Nancy Griffin (Wayne). As well, Dennis will be greatly missed by his grandchildren, Madeline (Noah), Chloe, Ryan, Jay, Maya, Daniel, and nieces and nephews, Kathie, Adam, Julia, Katrina, Christopher and Jessie and by his just-about son, Britt (Stefanie) and adoring dog, Sadie (Bandit).

Dennis was born in Goderich, Ont., to Stanley and Kathleen, the eldest of three, and spent most of his youth growing up in Weston, Ont. An avid athlete, he played baseball, hockey and football – passions and skills he would pass on to his children. In 1964, he attended Lakeshore Teachers' College where he met and fell in love with Susan. They were married a year later in 1965 and became a team, devoted to each other and inseparable for nearly six decades.

Dennis became a teacher of the deaf in 1964, first in Belleville, Ont. and then in Milton, Ont. and completed his bachelors by extension from Waterloo Lutheran University. While as a coach of Canada's men's volleyball team at the 1969 World Silent Games for the deaf in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, he was so impressed with the Canadian Embassy representatives he sought to become a diplomat. He wrote the foreign service exam in 1971 and shortly thereafter commenced upon a 33-year career with the then-named Department of External Affairs that would take him, Susan, and his three boys around the world – Belgrade, Yugoslavia (1973-1975), Bridgetown, Barbados (1977-78), Budapest, Hungary (1979-1981/Charge d'Affaire), Brussels, Belgium (1984-1988), Belgrade, Serbia (1994-1997/Head of Mission/Ambassador) and Zagreb, Croatia (2000-2004/Ambassador).

Dennis became an Eastern European expert and, consequently, spent most of his time in that part of the world. He became fluent in Serbo-Croatian during the family's first posting to Belgrade, thanks largely to being the only expat family in the neighbourhood. Eastern Europe during the height of the Cold War was not an easy life, especially with three boys in tow.

In 1984, he became Political Councilor at the Canadian delegation to NATO. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Dennis was part of a Canadian delegation advising former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney in meetings in Brussels with world leaders to discuss the reunified Germany and their place within NATO. Subsequently, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, he represented Canada in a delegation of G7 countries who traveled to former Soviet republics as part of nuclear disarmament efforts. He was asked to return to Belgrade as Head of Mission during the breakup of Yugoslavia, eventually becoming Canada's Ambassador to Serbia. In 1998 he became Director of the DFAIT's Bureau of Security and Intelligence, and then returned once again to the Balkans in 2000 as Canadian Ambassador to Croatia. Dennis retired in 2004, first to Napanee, Ont. and then to Port Hope, just in time to enjoy the benefits of being a dedicated grandfather; his proud grin appearing in countless birthday and graduation pictures, and an avid bridge player.

While Dennis enjoyed a tremendous career, his family remained the centre of his life. Always home for dinner, always at the rink or the field or the pool, Dennis was a devoted husband and an infallible role model for his children. He was always there. He took great pride in the success of his children and remained a constant counselor and advisor. With his sharp, analytical mind, his very measured and deliberate way of speaking and his infinite patience, he was the perfect compliment for Susan's "let's go!" personality. Dennis accepted being the brunt of the family jokes, after which he'd sigh deeply, mockingly pout and then accept the family's loud and playful affection. And you'd know you got off a good one when he'd throw his head back, mouth wide like a baby bird waiting for food, and belly laugh.

Dennis' light may have dimmed, but his family and friends will remember a lovely, kind and intelligent man (though not above crowing over his sons after beating them at golf well into his 70s). We will be holding a memorial service to celebrate his life at Dalewood Golf Club, 7465 Dale Rd, Cobourg, ON K9A 4J7, on April 20, 2024 from 1-4pm, with tributes at 2pm. Notice of your intent to attend is appreciated, though not mandatory. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Northumberland Hills Hospital in Coburg, Ont., or Bladder Cancer Canada, or a charity of your choice.

Share Your Memory of