Rebecca H. Snyder
Renowned pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson performed surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital on Becky to remove a spinal tumor in October 1988. They are shown together in this 1989 photo. (Submitted photo / May 26, 2012)
Marshall had known Becky since 1971, when he started dating Laura in high school.
“She was an incredible girl,” Marshall said, wiping away tears.
Becky was Katie’s godmother, a special bond Katie wears in the form of a tattoo on her wrist with a “K” and a “B” linked with a skeleton key, designed by Paige’s son, Christian Hafer. Katie said they had all been together for Mother’s Day and that it turned into a Godmother’s Day celebration for Becky.
“I basically grew up with her until my junior year of college,” Katie said.
Becky first lived in a medical group home through ARC of Washington County, but was the only one in the home who could speak. Social by nature, Becky loved going to a day program where she had the social interaction she craved, Laura said.
“Becky wanted to be on her own like everyone else,” Laura said.
Following her cancer surgery in February 2010, she was on a ventilator and eventually was placed at Western Maryland Hospital Center. It was expected to be a longer recovery, but Becky was off the ventilator in three days.
The family was thrilled when Laura got the call from Western Maryland Hospital Center that a permanent placement was available for Becky, who moved in on her birthday, March 15, 2010.
“She was so happy at Western Maryland. She loved it there,” Laura said.
The center’s van for residents allowed Becky to make Sunday visits to Laura’s house, which she always looked forward to. Laura visited most days of the week and would go with Becky on outings with other center residents such as to Valley Mall and Charles Town, W.Va.
“She liked the slots,” Laura said.
Another highlight for Becky was her job through ARC from 1980 to 1988. The job involved assembling small pieces, stuffing envelopes and doing linens for local restaurants.
Becky worked near the Broad Axe and Monday paydays meant Becky’s ritual of taking a friend to lunch at the restaurant. One of her first tasks after work on Mondays, in addition to starting to pack her lunch and prepare her medications for the next day, was to line up her lunch date for the next week, Laura said.
Karl said Becky was a “hands-on aunt.” He moved back to the area after college in 2006 and said in the past year, got to see her on most Sunday visits to Laura’s house.
“I got to see how much she enjoyed life,” Karl said.
When Paige, who lived in Sarasota, Fla., died in November 2011, her twin had had a feeling something was wrong. Becky woke up about 4 a.m. and was inconsolable and the staff couldn’t figure out why, Laura said.
“Becky said she had a funny feeling that something had happened to Paige,” Laura said.
Despite an early May hospitalization, Becky had seemed fine when the family gathered for Mother’s Day, four days before she died. Most likely, Becky probably hadn’t shared with the family that she was having pain, Laura said.
“She got up every day to live. She fought every day from the time she was six months on,” Laura said.
Editor’s note: Each Sunday, The Herald-Mail runs “A Life Remembered.” Each story in this continuing series takes a look back — through the eyes of family, friends, co-workers and others — at a member of the community who died recently. Today’s “A Life Remembered” is about Rebecca H. Snyder who died May 17 at the age of 53. Her obituary was published in the May 20 edition of The Herald-Mail.