(Photos Courtesy of University of Calgary)
Joan Snyder was born in Eatonia, Saskatchewan, on February 20, 1932, to parents Calvin Snyder and Phoebe Wilson Snyder.
Joan’s father endured hard times but ultimately became one of the largest individual holders of mineral rights in Western Canada. The family moved to Saskatoon and then Calgary in the early 1950s, where Calvin continued his business endeavours. Calvin died in 1961 and it was left to Joan and her mother Phoebe to manage the family businesses and build value. Phoebe passed away in 1991 and it was then left to Joan to continue managing the family businesses that included real estate, oil and gas holdings and farming operations in Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Although Joan never wished to advertise her generosity, she was widely respected for her philanthropic involvements. In 2000, she funded the creation of the Snyder Chair in Critical Care Research at the University of Calgary. A few years later she helped fund the creation of the Snyder Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation – now called the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases – at the University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine.
Joan was an ardent supporter of Women’s hockey and her generosity included a substantial contribution to the Dino’s Women’s Hockey team at the University of Calgary, which helped the team to go on and win the national championship in 2012. She also supported the University of Saskatchewan Huskies women’s team.
Beyond the University of Calgary, Joan’s support was extensive and included the Salvation Army, the SPCA, Agape Hospice, the Glenbow Museum, Fort Calgary, the Calgary Zoo, Heritage Park, Meals on Wheels, Wood’s Homes, the University of Saskatchewan and Mount Royal University. In 2011, she made a substantial contribution to WinSport Canada in support of women’s hockey development at the local, national and international levels.
Joan was also benevolent in her everyday life, for example by supporting the Calgary Flames and the Calgary Stampeders through the purchase of ‘numerous’ seasons tickets that enabled others to attend professional sporting events who might not otherwise have the opportunity.
Although Joan was a diehard Calgarian, she was very proud of her Saskatchewan roots and retained the wonderful values that her parents instilled in her.
For her caring, kindness and benevolence Joan was awarded The Order of Canada and an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Calgary.
Joan Snyder passed away in the early morning hours of Thursday, April 7, 2022. She was proud to have achieved the wonderful age of 90 just prior to her passing.
With Joan’s passing, Calgary lost one of its staunchest boosters, an ardent sports fan, a fierce animal rights advocate and a person who cared about others and did something about it.