Douglas W. Holtschneider, 67, owned Snyder's Drugs, Pine Valley athletic club

May 21, 2001|By Andrea Siegel | Andrea Siegel,SUN STAFF

Douglas Wayne Holtschneider, founder of Pine Valley Swim & Tennis Club and the now-closed Snyder's Drugs, died Friday of bone cancer at home. The longtime Perry Hall resident was 67.

He owned and operated the drugstore in Bowleys Quarters for 20 years before combining his love of tennis with entrepreneurial experience to open the sports facility in Perry Hall in 1977.

"He liked trying new things," said a son, Mark Holtschneider of Perry Hall. "His mind was always working -- he was always thinking of something new to do, to add to the club. He was a great organizer and entrepreneur and doer."

Always active, he played tennis, platform tennis, bocce and petanque. He also enjoyed card games including pinochle and hearts. He coached junior football and basketball for the Middlesex Recreation Council in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

He was born in Cumberland in 1933, a son of Henry and Nellie Holtschneider. The family moved to Middle River when he was 6.

A graduate of Kenwood High School, he earned a bachelor of science degree in pharmacy in 1956 from the University of Maryland.

He married Mary Swindler that year, and in 1957 they opened Snyder's Drugs behind a gas station on Middleborough Road in Bowleys Quarters, where she worked at the cash register and he behind the counter. When the gas station closed a year later, the successful drugstore took over the space.

"Snyder was short for Holtschneider," said Mark Holtschneider, noting that his father was concerned that the family name would be too difficult for customers to remember and spell.

The family was so identified with the drugstore, which sold groceries and snacks in addition to medications and included a soda fountain, that many people called him "Doug Snyder" and believed Snyder was the family's name, said Mark Holtschneider.

They moved to Perry Hall in 1961. They had five sons; one, Jeffrey, died in childhood.

Mark Holtschneider said his father "worked a lot of seven-day weeks" at the drugstore. His father semiretired in 1972 and closed the drugstore in 1976.

The next year he opened Pine Valley Swim & Tennis Club on White Marsh Road, where he played and taught tennis, organized tournaments, and ran bocce and petanque leagues.

In 1990, as the tennis boom faded, he began adding something new to the club each year -- platform tennis courts, swimming pools and playgrounds, including a pool with a 150-foot triple-loop slide.

A memorial service was held yesterday.

In addition to his wife of 44 years and his son Mark, he is survived by three other sons, Raymond Holtschneider of Catonsville, Frank Holtschneider of Perry Hall and Wayne Holtschneider of Bel Air; a brother, David Holtschneider of Middle River; three sisters, Maxine Morgan and Harriet Humphrey, both of Middle River, and Ramona Gobble of Mountain City, Tenn.; and nine grandchildren.

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