Obituary of Robert Snetsinger
Robert John Snetsinger "Butterfly Bob", 88, of State College, passed away April 16, 2016 at home after battling cancer for four years.
Born on March 6, 1928, in Diamond Lake, IL, he was the son of the late Clarence and Helen Mills Snetsinger. He was married for more than 55 years beginning in 1960 in Chicago to the love of his life, Wendy Dawn Rigler, who survives him at home.
He is also survived by his daughter, Laurel T. Allen & husband Richard of Burlington, NJ; brother, Donald Snetsinger & wife Darlene of Plymouth, WI. He was predeceased in death by his daughter, Clare Dahlia Snetsinger, 1989; brother, David Snetsinger, of Webster Grove, MO, 2014 and David's wife Phoebe Snetsinger, 1999.
Bob was a 1946 graduate of Ela-Vernon High School, Lake Zurich, IL. He received three degrees from the University of Illinois in Entomology graduating with a PhD in 1960. After their marriage, Bob and Wendy moved to State College, PA.
He was a professor for Penn State University in the Dept. of Entomology for 38 years and retired in 1999 as Professor Emeritus. During his academic career, he mentored many students and directed 40 theses. In 1996 he was co-recipient of the Provost's Collaborative Innovations Special Recognition Program for teaching.
As a specialist in insect pests, he was part of a four-person interdisciplinary team (1969–1998) that developed the Mushroom Test Demonstration Facility at Penn State. Their research led to major innovations for the mushroom industry. In 1993 he initiated and co-chaired the First Great Insect Fair at Penn State, a fun learning event attracting thousands of people annually.
After the death of his daughter Clare, Bob became interested in butterflies because of their beauty and ability to transform. He co-directed (1995-2000), a butterfly therapy/outreach project for the Hollidaysburg Veterans' Home. He started developing a 3-acre butterfly garden (1996) at Tom Tudek Memorial Park in State College, which was dedicated by the Tudek Foundation, as the Snetsinger Butterfly Garden at Tom Tudek Memorial Park in State College (2011). With the help of the Master Gardeners (2006 – present) the garden continued to improve and satellite Snetsinger Butterfly Gardens have been established at more than 30 schools, churches and other public places.
Bob served on the Patton Township Planning Commission (1964-1977) and Centre Regional Planning Commission (1970-1977) and was Patton Township Supervisor (1978). He enjoyed writing, and wrote six books on historical topics, including family histories.
A celebration of his life will be held at 2:00 pm on Sat., May 14, 2016 at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 780 Waupelani Dr. Ext., State College, with Rev. Mark Hayes and Rev. Gabi Parks officiating.
A butterfly release will take place in Tudek Park Sat., July 23, 2016 during Wings in the Park festivities. At a later date some of his cremated remains will be buried at Evergreen Cemetery, Barrington, IL and the remainder scattered in butterfly gardens.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed to the Tom Tudek Memorial Trust on behalf of the Snetsinger Butterfly Garden, c/o Mark Kunkle, 3147 Research Dr, State College, PA 16801 in memory of Robert Snetsinger, or Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (UUFCC). on behalf of the Snetsinger Satellite Butterfly Garden, 780 Waupelani Dr. Ext., State College, PA 16801.
Arrangements are under the care of Koch Funeral Home, State College. Online condolences and signing of the guest book may be entered at www.kochfuneralhome.com.
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