It is with heavy heart that I inform you of the passing of Dr. Wallace McClure Snyder at age 96.
He is survived by his wife Vilma Snyder, son Rod Snyder, & daughter Marlene Peters.
He was a good husband and provider for the family. As his son, I lost both a father & friend.
Wallace McClure Snyder was born on July 6th 1925 & raised in San Antonio TX. to parents McClure Wilson Snyder & Johnnie Catherine Snyder.
He attended Breckenridge High School in San Antonio & graduated from Garfield High School in Seattle Washington, where his family moved his junior year.
Wallace enlisted in the military May of 1943 during his senior year at age 17. He missed his graduation ceremony returning to San Antonio for active duty on July of 1943.
Inducted to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, then sent to camp Fannin, TX. for basic training. Within two weeks of basic training, he became ill & was diagnosed with Rheumatic Fever. Due to his illness, he could not return to the field, but he qualified to enter military college for the engineering program at Dahlonega, Georgia. He completed his basic studies & the program was closed so he was transferred to the 10th Armored Division at Camp Gordon, Georgia. Again, due to his illness, he was transferred to the Station Hospital for OTJ training to become a medical technician in a laboratory. He became an expert in the diagnosis of Malaria & was promoted to Corporal, but was honorably discharged on May of 1946 due to his medical condition, ending the years of military service on active duty.
Still tied to the military in the reserves, he enrolled in the University of Texas at Austin. On his 3rd year of college, he entered in the ROTC program for Corp of Military Police, placing him on Military Police Reserves. On July of 1950 he was commissioned as a 2nd Lt after completing a course back at Ft. Gordon Georgia. He returned to duty at Ft. Sam Houston as a military police Lt. for two weeks, but he received admission into Medical School at UTMB in Galveston. He chose to leave the military police assignment to attend medical school in September of 1950. Entering his 3rd year of medical school, he attempted to enter the Advanced Medical ROTC program, but was rejected again due to his medical history. Because of this rejection, they transferred his status from military police reserves to the honorary reserves. Wallace graduated from medical school at UTMB in Galveston, TX. in June of 1954. When the time came to do his internship, he chose the Canal Zone from a list of available locations. On July of 1954 he began his internship at Gorgas Hospital. In March of 1955, he accepted a job at Coco Solo Hospital as a General Practitioner. He was still in the military as an honorary reserve.
At the end of 1956 he met Vilma Sofia Higuero & courted her until they married in March of 1958. In January of 1959, Wally & Vilma welcomed their son Roderick to the family. Then in January of 1960 he was honorably discharged from the reserves. His ties with the military ended at that point, he was now a civilian working for the US Government.
His medical condition altered his course in life multiple times while in the military, through his college years, and during the early years of his medical career.
In 1960 Wallace chose to pursue the practice of radiology & returned to Dallas, TX. to further his career. He chose to drive to the US from Panama. Doc & Vilma took one month to travel and see sites along the way. They left Rod with his grandma in Panama because they traveled this trip in an open jeep. Upon reaching the US, Doc began his 3-year internship for radiology at a veterans hospital in Dallas, TX.
In 1961 Wally & Vilma welcomed their daughter, Marlene, to the family.
In March of 1963, Wallace completed his internship & was assigned to a veterans hospital in Fort Bayard, New Mexico. Wallace worked at Fort Bayard Hospital for 2 years until his assignment was complete. He then returned to the Canal Zone to complete the rest of his career as a radiologist. He rose to the level of Chief of Radiology & retired from government service in 1979.
During his life in the Canal Zone, he was known to most as Doc or Wally. He embarked on many adventures & there wasn't a place you could go in Panama that he hadn't already been.
He also traveled to every country in Central America except Belize, & all of the countries in South America except Bolivia, Chile, & Paraguay. He also traveled most of Europe. The only place he visited in Africa was Egypt, there was never any mention of Asia or Australia. Maybe 96 years isn't enough time.
He loved exploring & always owned a 4-wheel drive vehicle to reach remote locations to camp & hunt. He was a member of the gun club & was an excellent marksman receiving a merit badge for shooting 50 of 50 clay pigeons. He also enjoyed the occasional deep sea fishing trips & did some lake fishing for bass.
He took up archaeology & anthropology as a hobby & went on many digs in the Madden Dam area & various other locations in Panama. He also was an avid bird watcher & was a member of the Audubon Society. Hopefully they didn't know he also liked hunting them.
He bought Rod & Marlene mini bikes at ages 11 & 9. So, to participate he also bought himself a motorcycle & got the bug for riding. He bought 5 different motorcycles through the years.
Another hobby was a ranch he owned in the interior of Panama near San Carlos, which he named El Encanto. It was 750 hectares & on it he had 100 head of cattle and a few horses. He went there just about every other weekend. He also owned a property in Valle Chiquito where the cattle were taken when the dry season came. Then, there was the beach front property in El Palmar.
Wallace retired from government service in the Canal Zone in 1979. He returned to the US shortly after. He went back to work in private practice as a Radiologist in McAllen, TX. until age 65. After his 2nd retirement Wally & Vilma sold their home in McAllen, Tx. & bought a motor home. He took on another job referred to as Locum Tenens. In this capacity, he would work for doctors who had their own private practice. He would negotiate how long he would take over their practice so they could take time off. This was usually from 2 weeks to a month. He would have to have his medical license certified in each state that he practiced in. They traveled to all states including Alaska. They did not drive to Rhode Island or Hawaii, but had traveled to both states...covering them all, Canada as well. Doc & Vilma did this for 7 years.
At age 72 he had his fill of the motor home life, so they sold it & moved to Fort Myers for a couple of years. Later they realized they missed Panama & moved back in 1996. They bought a condo in Panama City. He was back to enjoying the Panama life style, visiting with the in-laws, & traveling to the interior to the various locations he had come to love. San Carlos, El Valle, Santa Clara, Azuero Peninsula, Santa
Fe, Chiriquí Grande, David, Boquete, & Volcan amongst others. He at some point bought 2 parakeets, Sharky & Buzzard and they became his prized possessions & went everywhere they traveled. If a hotel or restaurant would not let him in with the birds, he would leave & look for another place.
He became a member of every society you could imagine. To name a few: the Elks, American Society, Navy League, & got a late start as a Mason & made it to the 32th level. He was very proud of that achievement as the 33rd level is the highest achievable. Wally & Vilma spent 20 years roaming Panama in their retirement years. In early 2015 he had a mini stroke & they decide to move back stateside to live with Marlene who was a nurse. They remained with Marlene until he reached his final days.
Doc fought the good fight of life, outlasting all his doctors' claims that he would not live to age 35 & would not have children. His life was a great adventure & his time on earth was well spent. May he find great adventure in the afterlife.