Mabel Snider, 97, of Beachwood, passed away Feb. 15, 2021. Mabel was born Oct. 27, 1923, in Cleveland.
Mabel Snider (nee Fenster), who left us at 97, played second fiddle to nobody – unless you count her conductors at the Suburban and Euclid Symphony orchestras, where she was faithfully at her rehearsal and performance chairs well into her 90s. Sharing classical music wasn’t enough, so she also brought her violin to the Workmen’s Circle Klezmer Orchestra, to share her heritage.
Culture was in her genes. Her parents came from Galicia. Sam started two Yiddish theaters in Cleveland, the Globe and the Duchess, and what she heard in the orchestra pit as a child drew her to the violin. Her mother, Jennie, did not let being a girl in a patriarchal East Europe keep her from learning and being an equal partner in dialog with boys. Jennie’s example may be part of why Mabel saw nothing unusual in learning baseball and boxing from her older brothers. Being a tomboy was just run-of-the-mill.
Mabel never tired of explaining how her different brothers worked in tandem to transmit knowledge, to make her search answers for herself and to use her head and hands to analyze and to fix what was broken. From the last, a broken Chinese fireplace vase in her home launched her on her second artistic path. It later led to several decades in her home workshop known as Mabel’s China Repair Shoppe, eventually the only place in the region for getting one’s porcelain back to new, and now orphaned. Mabel was indifferent to whether she was working on a priceless work of art, a sentimental heirloom or a 25-cent souvenir. What was most important was that it be badly enough broken to be a new challenge. She loved to tell the story of the customer who sued her for repairing an object so flawlessly that the invisible break concealed the history of the piece.
Mabel’s third art was cuisine, but there was a difference. She shared her music, she was willing to make apprentices of her sons for restoring china, but nobody was allowed in the kitchen – before, during or to “help with the cleaning up.” She also came close to violent if anybody suggested a shortcut to excellence, like a microwave. That’s not the way it’s done.
Her food was tasty, but never spicy. She expected the heat to be added at the table, by guests involved in animated discussion, whether disagreeing over politics or over the rendering of a theater performance. Jousting without quarter over ideas and laughing about it afterwards was her fondest memory of childhood.
One can’t remember Mabel without Mike. They began marriage during the war at a U.S. Army base, just far enough south to see “white” and “colored” only signs, a wrong Mabel never digested or forgot.
Post-war, Les and Randy arrived. Mike put food on the table with his grueling schedule at the gas station he owned, before taking the courageous step of studying to be a court reporter on top of that. Court reporting schools’ drop-out rates are 85% to 90%, but with determination and Mabel’s support, Mike not only succeeded but became one of the best, a teacher of the subject, a narrator of the human comedy he observed.
This household gave Les people skills to become a corporate “head hunter” while Randy chose sculpture as his artistic outlet.
If Mabel were asked how people could best remember her, she might implore they triple their efforts toward universal health care. It was her passion, her demand of every candidate, an absence she saw as an injustice to be rectified. Without health, nothing else is possible. L’chaim!
Beloved wife of the late Meyer “Mike” Snider; devoted mother of Les (Sharon) Snider and Randal Snider; loving grandmother of Stacey (Craig) Cohen and Matthew Snider; cherished great-grandmother of Dylan and Kaylie; dear sister of Isadore, Joseph and Leo Fenster (all deceased); dearly loved aunt.
Private funeral services will be held for family only with burial at Mount Olive Cemetery in Solon. A video of the funeral service will be posted at a later date. No visitation.
Contributions in memory of Mabel are suggested to the American Stroke Association.
Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at bkbmc.com for the Snider family. Arrangements under the direction of Berkowitz-Kumin-Bookatz Memorial Chapel, 216-932-7900.