In Loving Memory of Kathy Starr Snyder


Albany, Oregon, and the world at large bid farewell to a beloved soul, Kathy Starr Snyder, who passed away on April 8, 2023. Born on February 9, 1949, in Salisbury, Maryland, Kathy was the fifth child of Ruth and Robert Starr, growing up in a vibrant household with eight siblings. Her family was one of love, strength, and devotion.

Kathy’s early years were filled with adventures as her father’s medical missionary work took them to Klawak, Alaska, and the Navajo Reservation in Ganado, Arizona. After his service as a doctor in the United States Navy during World War II and as a medical missionary, Dr. Starr settled into a private medical practice in Denver, Colorado, where Kathy completed her high school education.

Kathy married Bill Welter in 1969.  They moved together to Germany where Bill served in the U.S. Air Force, then to Denver, Colorado, finally settling in Albany, Oregon in 1977 where she made her home until her passing.  Along the way, they had four children together.  Kathy and Bill parted company in 1993, and she remarried, to Gary Snyder in 1995. 

Kathy had an unwavering passion for music, starting from her youth. Kathy’s talent as a pianist shone brightly as she performed the Grieg Piano Concerto accompanied by the Denver East High School orchestra at age 16.  She recounted fondly the invitation she received to study at the world-renowned Mozarteum University in Salzburg, Austria, which she declined in favor of marriage and starting a family.  Music remained an integral part of her life, and she instilled a love for it in her children as well.  For years, Kathy graced the United Presbyterian Church in Albany with her musical prowess — often playing for special occasions.  She also supported local and regional school and youth music programs with her time and talents.  She not only played but also explored the realm of composition, setting Shel Silverstein’s poems to music, and showcasing her creativity and love for expression.

Kathy was a woman of many passions, including quilting, swimming, gardening, and cherishing the company of her family and friends.  She demonstrated formidable attention to detail in every pursuit that translated into a successful career as a process operator at Hewlett Packard’s Corvallis fabrication facility after she raised her children.  She possessed a unique gift for connecting with small children, demonstrating a tender and compassionate nature. Her laughter was infectious, and her appreciation for beauty was ever-present, illuminating the lives of those around her.

With a generous heart, Kathy was always ready to lend an empathetic ear and extend a helping hand to those in need. Her kindness and care were qualities that touched the lives of many, leaving an indelible impact on all who were fortunate enough to know her.

Kathy is survived by her loving spouse, Gary Snyder, who faithfully stood beside her for nearly thirty years — In sickness and in health.  She leaves behind six of her eight siblings, her cherished children Adam, Sarah, Keith, and Rebecca, and her nine adored grandchildren.

Today, as we mourn the loss of Kathy Starr Snyder, let us celebrate her remarkable life, her devotion to music, her love for family, and her genuine spirit of compassion. May her memory live on forever in our hearts, serving as a reminder of the beauty and love she shared with the world. Rest in peace, dear Kathy.