Optometrist remembered as ‘great guy’

Family, friends mourn Dr. Snyder

Optometrist Donald G. Snyder Jr. was well respected by his colleagues.

Dr. Snyder, 63, died Saturday following a heart attack at his Hollidaysburg home.

“He was just a great guy; he was truly a nice person,” Dr. Richard Centar of Duncansville said. “I would see him at a lot of seminars. He was a very respected colleague and very dedicated to his profession and his patients. He was a dedicated family man. I never heard anyone say anything negative about him.”

Dr. Fred Petrunak of Mountain View Eye Associates called Snyder “brilliant.”

“We took some tough courses. He heard it once and understood it,” Petrunak, who met Snyder while they were students at Penn State Altoona in the early 1970s, said. “He was very humble but in his own way brilliant.”

A graduate of Hollidaysburg Area High School, Snyder received his bachelor’s and optometry degrees from Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind.

Both Centar and Petrunak called Snyder, who also had been battling cancer, a very dedicated man.

“It is hard to find people that can stay dedicated to what they are doing as long as he did. He loved doing his job today as much as he did when he first began. He really cared about what he was doing. It is a testimony to stay dedicated for that long,” Centar said.

Snyder opened his practice in 1976.

“He’s always been a dedicated professional who was very capable clinically but very humble about his abilities. He helped thousands of people over the years,” Petrunak said. “He was gentle and had a quirky sense of humor. He was an unassuming type of person who didn’t bring attention to himself because he didn’t need to.”

Longtime friend and patient Jim Biss of Hollidaysburg said Snyder had a special touch with people.

“He was a very professional person, very thoughtful,” Biss said. “We always kept in touch with each other. He always took care of me. He was just a great guy, a very sincere person. He was well liked in the community and made a great name for himself. He was one of the most compassionate people. He was very caring; he would go out of his way for anybody.”

Jim Hartman knew Snyder as a student at Hollidaysburg Area High School.

“He was a top-notch student, the kind of kid every parent would be proud of. He was a humble man. He came from a Bible-toting Christian home. He exemplified that in his demeanor,” said Hartman, a retired guidance counselor. “My mother went to him for glasses when she was in her 90s, he was so nice to her. This is a loss to the medical profession and to the community.”

Friends will be received from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday and from 10 a.m. until the noon funeral service Friday at First Baptist Church, Altoona.

Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.