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Life Story / Obituary
When reflecting on the life of Jewell Snell, it is easy to see that her world revolved around building relationships with the ones she loved most. She wasn’t afraid to take matters into her own hands or stand up for what she believed in as she was fiercely independent and strong. Jewell was so proud to witness her family tree blossom to include the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren she adored alongside the love of her life. Deeply loved, she will be forever missed.
During the 1930s, the dark days of the Great Depression were upon us, which brought a high jobless rate and much economic hardship on countless American families all across our great land. The spirit of America couldn’t be broken, however, as cities, communities, and families all came together to weather the storm as best they could. Amidst this challenging time was a time of great joy in the lives of Luther and Ila Kirby as they announced the birth of their twins, Jewell Fay and Gerald Ray, on September 22, 1936, in Paragould, Arkansas. The youngest of 16 in her family, she was only two pounds when she was born. In fact, the doctor said that he didn't think she would live. However, her older sister, Maxine, said that she hadn’t lost a piggy yet! Jewell was a fighter then, and this isn't really all that surprising with her strong and independent spirit as an adult.
In many ways, Jewell was a typical young girl of her generation. She was raised on a farm, and her father was traditional in that he insisted that all the girls wear dresses. Jewell learned to cook from her mother, and as a teen she worked in the family restaurant. She was always a great cook who made countless home-cooked recipes and mouth-watering pies.
New and exciting changes were in store for Jewell when she met the young man of her dreams. His name was Oren Snell, and they met while skating at a local rink. Jewell was smitten right from the start as she was there with her mother and quickly told her mother that she would marry him when she spotted Oren from across the room. She boldly asked him to skate, and it was just six weeks later that they became husband and wife on June 30, 1954. The newlyweds enjoyed a romantic honeymoon in Michigan. Although she was unable to become a nurse because she was married, she took great pride in caring for her husband during his last days much later in life.
There was never anything that was of greater importance to Jewell than her family. Together she and Oren were blessed with two children, Oren in 1957 and Jim in 1960, into their hearts and home. While her children were growing up Jewell was able to focus her time and attention at home, but once they were older she worked as a seamstress at Kazoo Incorporated, currently Edwards Incorporated, for nearly 30 years. Jewell endeared to her co-workers with both her work ethic and her sympathetic ear as she was always available to listen. As a mother Jewell was second to none, and she was the one to host all the holidays. She was a fantastic cook who made amazing peanut butter pie, and she always said that someone comes into her home and leaves hungry, it was their own fault! Everyone knew that what made all of Jewell’s food and sweets so good is that they were made with love. As a mom she wasn’t a pushover as she got after the boys when needed, especially when they were young. It has been said that she had an uncanny ability to fling her slippers and somehow they could even go around the corners to hit the boys! When her kids were younger the family went camping and fishing, but Jewell never liked the water because one of her brothers had drowned. She also enjoyed visiting family back home in Arkansas, and she was very close to her sister-in-law, Minnie. Jewell viewed Minnie like a sister, and they frequently talked on the phone. Jewell selflessly cared for her husband until his death in 2008 after he had a stroke and was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
All who knew Jewell Snell would agree that she was such a special gift in the lives of so many. She didn’t shy away from speaking her mind, she was also one of the most loving and encouraging people one could ever meet. They greatest days of her life were when she met her soulmate and also when she held her grandchildren, and although her battle with cancer was brief Jewell was resilient and filled with grace. She will never be forgotten.
Jewell Fay Snell, age 83 of Paw Paw passed away on Thursday, December 26, 2019 at her home while being cared for by her two sons. Members of the family include her 2 sons, Oren J. Snell, Jr. of Pataskala, OH, James L. (Judi) Snell of Otsego; 4 grandchildren: Jessica and Andrew (Desarae) Snell of Columbus, OH, J.D and Jared Snell of Otsego; 5 great grandchildren: Kalysta Snell, Lilly and Damien Caldwell, Daemon Thomas, Prisni Fay Thomas, and a very dear friend Barb Tetzlaf. Besides her husband she was preceded in death by her infant daughter, Mashal in 1955, a great-granddaughter, Angel and 15 siblings. Visit with Jewell’s family and friends on Thursday (Jan 2) from 6-8 p.m. at the Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive; Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900 where services will be held 1 p.m. Friday. Burial will follow at Mt. Ever-Rest Cemetery. Please visit Jewell’s personal web page at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com , where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial donations may be made to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.