Jon Snyder's Site


Personal Information

Jon Snyder's Life Story

Hi, my name is Jon Snyder and here is my story. My parents are natives of Hutchison, Kansas, they married in 1954. They proceeded to start a family of five. Being the third, I am the middle child. As a Navy family, we moved all over the country.

My older brother was born in Hawaii and my older sister was born in California. I was born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1960. Thankfully, our family lived on the correct side of the Missouri/Kansas border (A Missourian by birth, a Jayhawk by the grace of God).

In 1961, we moved to Monterey, California, where my father attended the U.S. Navy Language school to learn Albanian. My earliest memories are from Monterey.

In 1962 the five of us set sail for Turkey (right next door to those Godless Commies in Albania). We lived in the town of Digiramende on the Sea of Marmara. We had a pet donkey, which our father named Francis. It was about this time that Grandma Francis disinherited Pop. 😉

In Turkey, I was diagnosed as being mentally retarded. In actuality, I was deaf, the result of an ear infection and fluid in my ears. The doctors did not realize this yet. My younger brother was born in Istanbul, Turkey, in 1964. I understand this had something to do with a lack of television in Turkey.

In 1964, we moved back to the states. Before settling in at my father's next duty station, we visited relatives in Kansas. An aunt suggested that I might be deaf. When we moved to Bethesda, Maryland, a Navy doctor checked my hearing and found that was indeed the case. A simple operation restored my hearing, but It was many years before I overcame the affects of this pre-lingual deafness.

In 1965, we made a short move to Silver Springs, Maryland, where I attended Kindergarten. Childhood Memory: One day my brother, sister, and I went to visit the older children of my kindergarten teacher. I remember being stunned when I heard her own children talk back to her. GASP!!! Nothing much in life surprised me after that.

Marshfield, Massachusetts became our home in 1966. I loved the snowy winters, exploring the woods, and going camping. I also developed a love history in Massachusetts. My youngest sister was born in Boston in 1968.

In the summer of 1969, we returned to Maryland to live in Columbia. There's not much to say about Columbia, nice town though.

We moved across the country to Chula Vista, California in 1970. There we had a pet boa constrictor. Every two weeks, my friends and I would hold a memorial service for some unfortunate mouse, which we would proceed to feed to the snake.

In 1972, we moved to Navy housing in Garden City New York. This was about two miles from where Lindberg started his solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean.

My father retired from the Navy in 1975. Then we moved to Brevard, North Carolina, surrounded by the Smoky Mountains. During the summers I worked at a summer camp. At camp, I mastered the art of cracking four eggs simultaneously. We stayed in Brevard for two years.

Then we moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, just in time for my Senior year of high school at East Mecklenburg H.S. (Hey hey we're great, we're the class of '78).

I went to the University of Kansas on a Navy ROTC scholarship. At K.U., excellence in seamanship and losing football teams are traditions. At K.U. I was involved in tons of activities: rifle team, color guard, intramural football, dungeons and dragons, student politics, KU Conservative Forum, Young Americans for Freedom, and more. In my spare time, I studied Engineering-Physics.

In August 1983 I was commissioned in the Navy. My first duty station was in Virginia Beach, Va (stashed prior to flight school).

Flight school was in 1984, I was attrited fairly promptly. I knew it was a bad sign when my instructor yelled, "ARRRGGGGHHHHH YOU ARE GOING TO KILL US!!!"

Next station was in Newport, Rhode Island for ship training. Once again, I had the opportunity to enjoy the snowy New England winters. In Newport, our daughter was born.

At the end of 1985, we moved to Norfolk, VA for my tour on the Good Ship GLOVER (FF-1098) where I was Communications Officer and 1st Lieutenant.

In 1988, I left the Navy and we returned to Kansas where I took a year of pre-requisites, then entered graduate school in Chemical Engineering. After two more years I had my Master's, and after four more, I had my Ph.D. in 1995.

After graduating, I took a post-doc at the University of Kansas, where I had my own drug lab. Now, my students say I should use Breaking Bad as my business model.

In 1998, I took a post-doc with the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Fresno, CA. They are a really great bunch to work with. By the way, everyone should know that the USDA works very hard for farmers and the agricultural industry.

After that postdoc, I returned to Kansas in 2000 to teach the senior Unit Operations Laboratory. If any former students see this, write me a line. Also, thank you for the two outstanding teaching awards: the first in 2002, and the second in 2014. That first one really helped boost my self confidence after a shaky first year.

This discussion has mostly been about where I've lived. Let's change track a little. My daughter is the nicest kid you could meet. I enjoyed helping her with her math, chemistry, and biology homework. I also helped her study in medical school, and now we have two doctors in the family: me and the real doctor.

I also love the outdoors and the countryside. It's fun to go hiking up a small mountain and see the view for miles and miles. I enjoy gardening - especially vegetables. It seems that if one spends time working on a garden, there ought to be more reward than just having something to look at (flowers), you ought to be able to eat what you grow also.

I also like to do art-work. I'm a fair artist (see some of my pottery), but I have more pieces from other people than from myself. For me, art is a reminder of places I've been and people I've known. I'm generally not that good at drawing, but I do have a picture of a caravel that is creditable. I combined my math and artistry to draw it. I took a print of picture by Pierter Brueghel the elder (my favorite artist), photocopied it, drew grid lines, then transposed the drawing.

Also, I like to read. I enjoy a wide variety of books, but my favorite topics are history related - western civilization, the Revolutionary War, the world wars, the cold war, espionage, biographies, and so on. I also like philosphy a bit.

In the words of Porky Pig, "Th-th-th-that's all folks!"

"There is no error more common than that of thinking that those who are the causes or occasions of great tragedies share in the feelings suitable to the tragic mood."

- Oscar Wilde