Francis Wayne Snook

Feb. 27, 2021

On Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021, our dad, Francis Wayne Snook, passed just shy of his 96th birthday. Dad went, just as he wanted, at home, peacefully with family by his side. Dad and mom (Betty Byrd Snook passed in 2018) were married for more than 70 years and together they raised six children, Marianna Decker, Gene (Hank Castillo), Sherry Lombardi, Carmen (Todd) Pierce, Gayla (Cindy Pollard) and Jeff. Dad was grandfather to 12; great-grandfather to 18; and one great-great-grandchild. Dad, the youngest child of William Thomas and Beatrice (Charlesworth) Snook, lived his entire life in Newton.

Our dad made everyone feel welcome — and was quick to offer a cup of his famous Folgers coffee or a glass of Lambrusco (a cheap fruity wine). Sometimes both! We had kiddingly suggested having a Lambrusco fountain in honor of his 90th birthday, but settled for a traditional cake instead. 

One of dad’s greatest joys was when the whole family got together, especially at Christmas. We always considered dad a Jewish mother — taking care of others and making sure they had enough to eat before he would sit down himself. One special friend said dad had a “Gentle Sergeant’s Voice” when making sure people were eating. 

Dad sustained his passion for both nature and his Gator, spending many hours Gatoring around the neighborhood or the back pasture looking for wildlife. No trip to see dad was complete without at least one John Deere Gator ride.

Our family is well known for its sense of humor and of course, dad was no exception. We often kidded dad about wanting to be buried in the cab of his revered Gator. He finally settled on Jeff Gatoring his remains to the cemetery. 

Dad was a man of integrity and honor. As a young man, dad served his country in World War II, seeing combat in Manila, Philippines. Losing his right eye to an enemy grenade, Dad earned the Luzon Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Pacific Theater Ribbon, the Marksmanship Medal and a good conduct medal, which mom always questioned how he managed to earn.

The Army sent him to Springfield, Mo., to recover from his wounds and it was while he was awaiting discharge, he met mom — they were married a year after his release in 1946.  

When dad was in hospice, we were surprised by his love for the music of Dolly Parton. His primary caregiver and granddaughter, Lindsey, often played Dolly for dad and even if he could not communicate that well, he often tapped his foot to her music.

Dad always considered himself ”just a simple farmer.” But he was so much more! We celebrate a self-made man who knew and respected both nature and the land, a man known and respected by friends and neighbors, a man who had a clear sense of right and wrong and an amazing work ethic. In short, Dad was an example of how one should live their life. 

As radio commentator Paul Harvey said, “And on the eighth day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, I need a caretaker. So, God made a farmer.” Dad was one of those special caretakers.  His passing leaves a hole in our hearts and our family! 

Memorial services for Francis will be held at a later date. The Wallace Family Funeral Home and Crematory is handling the arrangements.