Dorothy Snouffer

[ Age 84 ] Avid reader worked to get a library built in Lansdowne in the 1960s. When it closed, she fought to reopen it.

October 13, 2006|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,sun reporter

Dorothy L. Snouffer, a book lover who with her husband worked diligently to get a library built in their Lansdowne community - and after its closing 27 years later fought successfully for its reopening - died Monday at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center after being injured in an automobile accident. She was 84.

Born Dorothy Lavern Manns in Baltimore and raised near Patterson Park, she was a 1940 graduate of Patterson High School and earned her nursing degree from the old Church Home and Hospital School of Nursing.

She worked briefly as a nurse before marrying lawyer Elroy J. Snouffer in 1942. The couple established Snouffer Properties, a property management and real estate investment company, in Lansdowne in 1950.

Mrs. Snouffer was the company's president until the business was closed in 1990, and the couple retired. Her husband died in 1996.

In 1961, the Lansdowne couple envisioned the need for a library in their community and founded the Library Committee of Riverview-Baltimore Highlands-Lansdowne.

"She and her husband played pivotal roles in getting the library established," said Gail Ross, the Arbutus library branch manager who also supervises the Lansdowne branch.

Baltimore County purchased the property at 500 Third Ave., and construction began on the one-story brick building in 1966. It was the first library branch to be built by the county under the aid provisions of the Federal Library Services and Construction Act.

"She really was the person who was responsible for getting the library built that has served thousands of people in the community through so many years," Mrs. Ross said.

"Some people scream and holler and don't get anything done. She worked quietly and got things done," said Ruth Slemp, a circulation assistant at the library and longtime friend. "She wanted to help people and make things better for her community."

The library was among seven closed by the county in 1993 because of budget cuts. Mrs. Snouffer joined with other residents in protesting its closing, but it took 13 years before they had it back.

On April 8, after a $389,000 renovation, the Lansdowne library reopened, with Mrs. Snouffer attending the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

"I'm really glad to see it reopening," Mrs. Snouffer said in an interview with the Arbutus Times. "I'm a fan of the Arbutus library, but it will be nice to have a branch closer to home."

Mrs. Snouffer enjoyed spending summers at a second home in Anne Arundel County's Sherwood Forest community, and swimming at the YWCA in Catonsville. She was a member of the Lansdowne-Baltimore Highlands Senior Center.

She was a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Our Savior in Lansdowne, and its Altar Guild and choir. Her memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow at the church, 41 Lavern Ave.

Surviving are a son, Joseph E. "Jay" Snouffer of Roland Park; two daughters, Susan S. Miller of Garrett Park and Deborah S. Winchester of Sherwood Forest; a sister, Norma Philpot of Wilmington, N.C.; and six grandchildren.

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