Samuel A. Snyder, a certified public accountant and partner at an Owings Mills firm, died Jan. 21 of Pick's disease, a rare neurological disorder, at Arden Court in Pikesville. The longtime Owings Mills resident was 56.
The son of a certified public accountant and a homemaker, Mr. Snyder was born in Baltimore and raised in Pikesville.
After graduating from Pikesville High School in 1972, Mr. Snyder earned a bachelor's degree in 1976 in accounting from the University of Baltimore.
He began his professional career in 1976 with Berman, Goldman and Ribakow, an Ellicott City accounting firm, where he eventually was named a partner.
Since 1990, Mr. Snyder had been a partner with Glass Jacobson and Associates in Owings Mills, where he directed the marketing department and specialized in construction accounting.
Mr. Snyder also worked in the field of business growth management, financing, mergers and acquisitions, partner issue resolution and the sale of businesses.
"He especially enjoyed bringing in new clients," said his wife of 31 years, the former Mary Jane Schloss, a portrait artist. "He considered his clients as members of his family, as he always had time and an ear for business growth opportunities."
Mr. Snyder's professional memberships included the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Maryland Association of Certified Public Accountants, National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts and Association of Builders and Contractors.
In 2003, Mr. Snyder introduced his firm to Integra, an international accounting organization. He was awarded Smart CEO magazine's Smart Certified Public Accountant Award in 2004.
"When Sam was in his late 40s, he began questioning his memory loss," Mrs. Snyder said. "He was finally diagnosed with Pick's disease in 2005."
Pick's disease is a particularly aggressive form of dementia that affects one in 110,000 people, Mrs. Snyder said.
"I got to know Sam in 2005. I was his neurologist and worked with his primary care physician," said Dr. Argye E. Hillis, a Johns Hopkins Hospital cognitive neurologist.
"Pick's disease is less common than Alzheimer's disease but is increasingly being recognized as a more common dementia in people under 65," Dr. Hillis said. "And at this time, there is no cure for Pick's disease, but there is a lot of research being done."
Dr. Hillis said that people suffering from Pick's disease experience problems with behavior, comportment, self-control and inhibitions. They can be apathetic and are not self-motivated.
"But Sam didn't show all of these symptoms," she said. "He was a very conversant and a very pleasant person."
Gradually, Mr. Snyder began to experience clarity and speaking issues.
"Some days when all the neurons were firing, he was very conversant, but that eventually changed and he began experiencing confusion," Mrs. Snyder said.
It was Mr. Snyder's lifelong dream to visit Israel, which became a reality when he traveled there in 2006 with Michael J. Kandel, a close friend who is a Baltimore lawyer.
"Sam was a devoted husband, father and a real mensch in every sense of the word," said Mr. Kandel.
"I knew he had always wanted to go to Israel, so after he was diagnosed with Pick's disease, I took him there for two weeks," Mr. Kandel said. "The trip was strictly a vacation for him, and he was able to experience firsthand what Israel had to offer and had the time of his life. He loved the history and the scenery."
Mr. Kandel described his friend as being a "quiet guy who was not showy or ostentatious, even though he came from a privileged background. You'd never know that about him."
"Sam placed a great value on hard work. He was dedicated to his family, clients and community. He was a man who always did the right thing both personally and professionally," Mr. Kandel said.
Mr. Snyder had served on the board of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Maryland and had volunteered at many of the organization's fundraising events.
He was an avid golfer and was a former member of the old Bonnie View Country Club in Mount Washington. He was a Ravens fan and enjoyed gardening.
"He combined his people skills and business acumen to make golf an integral part of his recreation and business schedule," his wife said.
He was a member of Beth El Congregation.
Services were Jan. 21 at Baltimore Hebrew Cemetery.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Snyder is survived by a daughter, Adina M. Kent of Linthicum; his father, Sigmund Snyder of Boca-Raton, Fla.; a sister, Faye Adler of Pikesville; and a grandson. Another daughter, Lara Jae Snyder, died of cystic fibrosis in 2007.