Friends remember Hilda Mae Snoops

June 09, 1999|By Dan Thanh Dang and Dennis O'Brien | Dan Thanh Dang and Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

Hilda Mae Snoops' role as the state's official hostess was celebrated by about 150 friends and relatives yesterday at ceremonies that included a police motorcade, a helicopter flyover and a touching eulogy by her best friend and longtime companion.

"She was a tough lady. Strong-willed," said Maryland Comptroller William Donald Schaefer.

Mrs. Snoops, who died at age 74 last week, was recalled as a hostess who decorated the governor's mansion and a mother who shuttled her children to Scout meetings and Little League games.

"We wanted more of her time, as you can understand, because we also shared her with all of you," said Dorothy L. Levi, one of Mrs. Snoops' three children. "Those we hold most dear never truly leave us. Mom, Grandmom, we will always love and remember you."

Numerous elected officials and members of Mr. Schaefer's gubernatorial Cabinet attended the service at Ruck Funeral Home in Towson. Mourners included former Gov. Marvin Mandel, former Baltimore Mayor Thomas J. D'Alesandro III, former City Council President Walter Orlinsky, former city police commissioner and state Cabinet member Bishop L. Robinson, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr.

It was a fitting send-off for a woman who was at Mr. Schaefer's side for most of his public career. She attended public events with the bachelor governor, vacationed with him in Ocean City and was present in January when he was sworn in as Maryland comptroller.

In recent years, she used a wheelchair and suffered from emphysema.

Standing beside her cherry-wood casket amid arrangements of roses, orchids and Maryland black-eyed Susans, Mr. Schaefer recalled Mrs. Snoops' final moments at a Columbia retirement home.

"I knew she was going to leave us," Mr. Schaefer said in a voice choked with emotion. "I talked to her a little bit and I said, `I'm not going to cry. I'm not going to cry.' "

A police motorcade escorted the casket to Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens in Timonium, where a brief service was held. A state police MedEvac helicopter flew over the ceremony, to the strains of bagpipes playing "Amazing Grace."

Mrs. Snoops was interred in a crypt alongside a space reserved for Mr. Schaefer.

Pub Date: 6/09/99

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