Donna J. Snyder, 70, of Salamanca, died Wednes-day, April 18, 2012, in Buffalo General Hospital, fol-lowing a short illness.
She was born April 28, 1941, in Salamanca, the daughter of Salamanca Common Council President, Charles E. Hen-sel and Dorothy E. (Marks) Hensel who predeceased her.
Mrs. Snyder was a 1959 graduate of Salamanca Central High School, and for many years served as treasurer of the family-owned commercial real estate business, Hensel En-terprises. She was married to Daniel T. Snyder, who died April 4, 2003.
She began her journalism career as Cattaraugus County bureau chief for the Buffalo Courier Express, and then later served as county editor for the Sala-manca Press, before joining the news. She was well known as a tenacious report-er of the courts and crimi-nal justice system, as well as her ability to report on government finance and political issues.
In April of 2004, she en-tered a nursing home for an extended rehabilitation from illness, but continued to cover stories through phone contacts and a lap-top computer. In 2007, she returned to work from her home office through March 2012.
In 2002, she was present-ed with a community service award from the Cat-taraugus County Bar Association at the Law Day Pro-gram held on April 24. As senior correspondent of the Cattaraugus County Bureau of the Buffalo News, the award was presented to Mrs. Snyder in recognition for her part in law making in New York State. After enactment of the Operation Recognition legislation, which made high school diplomas available to World War II veterans who were unable to complete their secondary education, Mrs. Snyder sought assistance of the late New York State Sena-tor Patricia K. McGee to in-clude Korean War veterans in the legislation. As a result, the law was amend-ed. It was signed into law by Gov. George Pataki on Sept. 5, 2001. Mrs. Snyder's husband, Daniel was a Korean War veteran and the first to receive such an honorary degree.
Active in community af-fairs, Mrs. Snyder served as president of the Salamanca Area Chamber of Com-merce from 1995 to 1997, and was chairman of the city's annual Falling Leaves Festival.
Angry that each year the county's male politicians from both parties in the county gathered together at an election day luncheon with no women allowed, she organized the Women's Achiever's Luncheon, an annual event in which women active in politics gather for their own elec-tion day luncheon. The luncheons were attended by many women in local and state politics, who enjoyed the variety of themes, including recipes from the White House.
Mrs. Snyder was a member of the Cattaraugus County Arson Task Force, and active in volunteer fire company activities, serving for many years as head of the Kill Buck Volunteer Fire Department's Ladies Auxiliary. For many years, she raised Bassett Hound show dogs, winning numerous awards.
She is survived by a brother, Rodney C. Hensel of Buffalo; a close friend and helper, Mark S. Willi-ams of Hinsdale; a son, Donnald G. Hensel of Sala-manca; two grandchildren: Charles and Ginna Hensel; five aunts: Irene Fidurko of Salamanca, and Velma Hensel, Clara Merrill, Inez Domes and Viola Hogan, all of Florida; several cousins; a sister-in-law, Jeanne Haines of Salaman-ca; a brother-in-law, Eral Crouse; a sister-in-law, Joanne Snyder; stepchildren: Richard Snyder, Den-ise Porter, Patricia Luna and Barbara Snyder; and several step grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, April 28, 2012, at 1 p.m., in the O'Rourke & O'Rourke Inc. Funeral Home, 25 River St., Salamanca, N.Y.
Interment will be in Crawford Cemetery, Salamanca.
Memorial may be made to the Salamanca Rail Museum or the Salamanca Historical Society.