Mary Ann Snider, age 89, died at her home in Needham, MA on Aug. 13, 2022. For nearly a quarter century, Mary Ann and her late husband Stanley Snider, via Stanmar, Inc. and its wholly owned local subsidiary, Smugglers’ Notch Resort, were one of the largest private employers in Vermont and helped turn the town of Cambridge, where the resort was the largest taxpayer and employer, into a resort town. Mary Ann was the “mar” in Stanmar, the company they jointly formed shortly after they were married in 1954.
Raised in Springfield, MA and Beverly Hills, CA, Mary Ann graduated from Beverly Hills High School and attended both Stanford University and Wellesley College, where she majored in political science and graduated Phi Beta Kappa. She then attended the year-long Harvard-Radcliffe Program in Business Administration, described by the Harvard Business School as “the first daring experiment in ‘practical education’ for women.” Courses and professors were the same as the all-male business school, and a decade later, in 1963, the two programs would merge.
Mary Ann applied her lifelong love of art and design to both her professional and personal life. Her father had run a group of furniture stores, and she combined the practical knowledge of the furniture industry she had gained from him with her interest in art to become an interior designer. Many of her furniture vendors were based in Rutland, VT, then a national center for furniture making.
Mary Ann designed the interior of hundreds of homes and several of the restaurants at the Village at Smugglers’ Notch. Also helpful was her knack for organizing thoughtful and creative social events and putting guests at ease since, in the early years of the resort, word-of-mouth among existing homeowners was critical to home sales. These skills were most famously put to use expertly hosting Tom Watson, the CEO of IBM and Steve Jobs of his era, who visited the Sniders in 1968. Shortly after that visit, Watson, who became Stanley’s mentor, hired Stanley to develop real estate at Smugglers’ Notch Resort where Watson had just built a ski lift on Morse Mountain and wanted to develop the base so skiers could walk from a condo to the ski lift.
In addition to Smuggs, Watson owned a third of the adjacent Stowe ski resort and in 1957 launched the semiconductor manufacturing facility in nearby Essex Junction, today owned by GlobalFoundries. Skiing at Smuggs was a draw for recruiting workers to Watson’s nearby plant.
In 1973 Watson sold the resort to Stanley, excluding the 1,500-acre Sterling Forest, which covered the backside of Madonna Mountain and is now a beloved public hiking area. Stanley, in turn, would sell the resort in November 1996 to William Stritzler, the man he had hired as its manager, just as Watson had done with him.
Mary Ann was also a world traveler, repository of family memorabilia, art collector, and philanthropist. Remembering how Jewish community organization had helped her father, a first-generation immigrant, she was particularly committed to helping Jewish organizations and for many years served on the board of Boston’s Beth Israel Hospital. Mary Ann also became a docent at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) and a collector of contemporary art, including a large collection of Japanese bamboo baskets and ceramics that she and Stanley lovingly assembled during their many trips to Japan and eventually donated to the MFA. Her homes in Newton and Martha’s Vineyard felt like art museums, showcasing works of original art.
Mary Ann loved to ski, especially with Stanley. They had a ski-based honeymoon in the Alps in 1954, skied at Stowe in the following years, and instilled a love for both skiing and Vermont in their children and grandchildren. The Snider family has owned a home at Smugglers’ Notch Resort since 1969. Mary Ann’s younger son, J.H., formerly of Burlington, has spent time at the resort every year since 1968 and in the early 1990s served two terms on the Burlington School Board. One of her granddaughters, Pallas Snider Ziporyn (Christopher Ziporyn), and three of her great grandchildren, live in South Burlington.
She is survived by her two sons, Mark and his wife Gwenn of Chestnut Hill, MA; James (J.H.) and his wife Terra of Severna Park, MD; six grandchildren, Oliver (Yaoyao), Annie, Matthew, Pallas (Chris), Sage (Kevin) and Solon (Emma); four great-grandchildren; and her brother Joel Kane (Sara).
Funeral Services will be at Temple Beth Elohim, 10 Bethel Road, Wellesley on Tuesday, August 16 at 10:30 a.m. with an interment to follow at Crawford Street Memorial Park, 776 Baker Street, West Roxbury. The service can also be watched on zoom at tinyurl.com/Mary-Ann-Snider. Shiva will be held following interment at Mark and Gwenn’s home at The Farm at Chestnut Hill, 99-60 Florence Street, Apartment 2-B, Chestnut Hill, MA until 7:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to: TBE Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund at Temple Beth Elohim. 10 Bethel Road, Wellesley, MA, 02481 or The MFA Fund, 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115.
Share this Obituary:
All obituaries are independently verified by VTDigger. To submit an obituary, click here.