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Capt. Frank M. Snyder U.S.N. (Retired)

March 28, 1926 — October 21, 2017

Capt. Frank M. Snyder, U.S.N (Retired), age 91, died October 21, 2017.  He was a career naval officer, and later a member of the faculty of the U.S. Naval War College. He was the husband of Margaret Mary (Kelly) Snyder (deceased 2013), whom he married in 1950.           He was born on March 28, 1926, son of Abraham F. and Mildred (Harrington) Snyder of Dushore, PA. He graduated from St. Basil’s High School in Dushore, a member of the class of 1943, and was an Eagle Scout.  His mother Mildred and her brother Maurice Harrington founded Harrington Dairy, which was the largest employer in Sullivan County.           Frank holds a bachelor’s degree from the U.S. Naval Academy (Class of 1948), and a master's degree from Stanford University.   He and Maggie moved to Newport in 1979.   On active duty in the navy, Frank's specialty was surface warfare; his sub-specialty was command and control. Afloat he served in nine ships and on the staff of Commander Sixth Fleet; he was twice an executive officer and twice in command. Ashore he served at the Bureau of Naval Personnel, on the staffs of Commander, Telecommunications Command, Commander-in-Chief U.S. Naval Forces Europe (twice), the Chief of Naval Operations (three times, ultimately as Naval Command-and-Control-System Architect), and in the office of the Secretary of Defense, as Military Assistant to the Assistant Secretary (Telecommunications).           Following retirement from active duty in 1976, he spent the next three years in Washington at the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, on the staff of its Committee on Telecommunications and Computer Applications. After Frank and Maggie moved to Newport, Frank joined the faculty of the Naval War College as a member of its Operations Department, and, in 1985, he became head of its Planning and Decision Making Division. He prepared a lengthy introduction for the U.S. Naval Institute's republication of Sound Military Decision, the planning manual that had been used by the Navy in World War II. Frank created and first taught an elective course on ‘command and control’ at the U.S. Naval War College in 1980, and continued to offer the course annually for 14 years. In 1987, he developed--at the request of the President, National Defense University--an elective course on command and control that could be used at all U.S. war colleges and staff colleges. It was first published in 1988 by the Center for Information Policy Research, Harvard University, and in 1993, after some revisions, was republished by the National Defense University.           He received five personal decorations while on active duty, and one as a civilian professor at the Naval War College. As the Raymond A. Spruance Professor Emeritus of Command and Control, he lectured on command and control, on the planning process, and on naval battles, principally those of World War II. He also wrote articles, which appeared in the Naval War College Review.           He was a parishioner of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Newport, for over 30 years, where he was also a lector for many years. Frank created anthologies of poems about railroad trains, the odes of Horace, the aphorisms of the novelist H. H. Munro (Saki), the historical poems of the Greek poet Constantine Cavafy, and of poems written about the Battle of Trafalgar. He also created scripts of 19th century court-martials for reenactment by the Victorian Military Society.           He was a subscriber of the Clambake Club of Newport, a member of the Newport Reading Room and of the Army-Navy Club, Washington, D.C. Locally, he had been an officer and director of Seaport ‘76, an officer and governor of the Newport Reading Room, presiding archon of the Quindecim Club, president of the Rhode Island Chapter of the Naval Academy Alumni Association, a director of the Newport Historical Society, a trustee of the Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection, a director of the local chapter of the English Speaking Union, an organizer of the Victorian Military Society, an officer of the local chapter of the Armed Forces Communications-Electronics Association, a Patron of the Newport Music Festival, an Associate of the John Carter Brown Library, an associate partner of the Naval War College Foundation, and a lector at St. Mary’s Church, Newport.   Frank is survived by his daughter, Annie Snyder, of Middletown, his sister, Mary (Bill) Riefsteck, of Medford, NJ, nephew James Donahue, of Whitchurch, England, nephew Jon Donahue, of Davidson, NC, niece Karen Donahue Alden, of Atherton, CA, and god-daughter, Eva Kisevalter, of Los Angeles, CA.  He was predeceased by his brother, James H. Snyder of Dushore, on December 22, 1957.   Frank’s family would like to thank the staff at Royal Middletown, as well as the staff at John Clarke Nursing Center, to where Frank had recently relocated. The staff at John Clarke provided extraordinary and loving care to both Frank and Annie until the end, and it is greatly appreciated.   Memorial donations in his memory may be made to the Naval War College Foundation,, or to the John Clarke Retirement Center, Patient Activities Fund, 600 Valley Road, Middletown, RI 02842. Calling hours will be held on Friday, October 27, 2017, from 4:00-7:00 p.m., at the Hambly “Brick House,” 30 Red Cross Avenue, Newport.   His funeral will be held on Saturday, October, 28, 2017, at 10:00 a.m., at St Mary’s Catholic Church, Spring Street and Memorial Blvd., Newport. Condolences and information available at To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Capt. Frank M. Snyder U.S.N. (Retired), please visit our flower store.


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