George Snyder honored for 50 years of service to the Masons

GeorgeSnyder03Central City Lodge #6 notes the red-letter occasion with a special ceremony

by Patty Unruh

Loyalty, commitment, and selfless service are rare qualities these days. Therefore, it was with great pleasure and pride that Central City’s Masonic Lodge #6 honored member George Snyder for 50 years of service on Wednesday evening, September 9, 2015. Snyder was awarded with a pin and a certificate as tokens of his dedication. A large group of friends and fellow Masons turned out to celebrate the achievement and to give their sincere best wishes to Snyder and his wife Cindy. The brief ceremony was preceded by a dinner and meeting of Lodge members.

Claud E. Dutro, Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge AF & AM of Colorado, presented the award. He noted George’s many years of commitment to the Masonic community. “To remain a loyal participant for 50 years is an accomplishment. George Snyder is unique – he was raised here in Central City #6,” Dutro said. He expressed hope that the Masons had blessed George with their ideals and encouraged him to counsel the younger members.

In addition to receiving the pin and certificate, Snyder was presented with a very special and appropriate gift – a painting by Dumont artist Larrice Sell that included a montage of scenes from the Lodge. Together, Cindy Snyder and the artist designed the painting, which includes a central image of the Lodge surrounded by meaningful scenes, including the ceremonial chair occupied by Snyder when he served as worshipful master, the Lodge’s valuable portrait of President George Washington, and the altar where Snyder became an apprentice Mason. The last scene, one of Snyder’s favorite items in the Lodge, is the “ghost horse” painting, originally begun by artist John Glendenning of a knight on horseback, which was left unfinished. Another artist, George Brewer, painted over the horse, but after 150 years the paint has flaked off, making the horse faintly visible. The Lodge painting was presented to Snyder as a surprise the week before the ceremony and was made available during the event for the attendees to view.

Snyder became a Mason in 1965 at the age of 27, in the same Central City Lodge where he received his award last week. Joining the Masons had appealed to him because his father was a Mason before him, and Snyder liked what he saw and heard about the organization.

Over the years, Snyder either coordinated or assisted with many Masonic projects. Among the ones that are particularly important to him are the cherry pie festival and celebration of George Washington’s birthday that the Masons hold annually for school children, which was begun in the 1940’s and continued till the early 1960’s; Snyder resurrected the tradition in about 2006. He has also been instrumental in operating the child ID program booth at the Gilpin County Fair and has kept the Lodge open for summer tours.

Snyder has held every office in the Lodge: tyler, chaplain, secretary, treasurer, junior and senior steward, junior and senior deacon, junior and senior warden, and worshipful master.

He was born in California in 1938 and moved to Colorado with his family when he was eight years old, living in Lakewood until his marriage to Cindy. The couple lived for a time in Denver and also spent 20 years in Georgetown. Snyder holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism and a master’s degree in secondary administration and also has his teaching certificate. He served for a time as a school principal in Arickaree, Colorado. He taught English, history, and PE at Gilpin County School from 1963 through 1965. For many years, Snyder has helped with the Gilpin’s boys’ basketball program and has covered the team’s games for the Weekly Register-Call.

Cindy assists by preparing meals for events and helping with the cherry pie festival. She serves with the Lady Elks.

As he explained what it meant to him to be a part of Central City’s Masonic Lodge, Snyder said, “I am very lucky. A year ago, I was on my death bed. Thanks to the prayers of the Masons, the Elks, and others, and especially of my wife, I was able to get out of it and get back home. Tonight is even more special because of all I went through.”

Last year, Snyder contracted sepsis following knee replacement surgery and spent ten days in intensive care. He then came down with pneumonia. Doctors told Cindy, “George may not make it.” Thankfully, he proved the doctors wrong, but spent seven months recovering.

“That represents something to me that the brothers have practiced. I had less than a ten percent chance to live. But tonight, I’m here and able to accept this award, and you have all helped me earn it. The reason I’ve been here for 50 years is that it’s a community of loving people who come to your aid. I’m proud to call Central City my home.”

Snyder briefly recounted the history of the Lodge’s construction, noting that it was built above the Weekly Register-Call office in 1859 by residents of Gregory Gulch. He finished by thanking everyone for coming and expressing special thanks to his wife and to fellow Mason Kaiser Holbird and his wife Atidah for preparing the evening’s meal.

Snyder’s many contributions helped make Central City’s Masonic Lodge what it is today. He is wished continued blessings in his membership!

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