Teresa Stewart Snyder, 61, admired for capable, compassionate care of patients as NHRMC nurse

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Teresa Stewart Snyder
Teresa Stewart Snyder

Teresa Stewart Snyder, of Wilmington, put her heroic battle against cancer behind her and left this world on July 17, 2015, surrounded by her family at the home where she nurtured them. She was 61.

Teresa was born in Charlotte on Feb. 25, 1954. Her early years were spent in Charlotte and Goldsboro until her parents moved to Wilmington, where her father commanded the local highway patrol. She graduated from New Hanover High School, where she served as yearbook editor her senior year.

Her love of people and her desire to serve them led her to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where she received a Bachelor of Science in nursing. Teresa began her nursing career on the night shift in the Coronary Care Unit (CCU) at New Hanover Regional Medical Center. She quickly became greatly admired for her very capable and compassionate care of patients and her interactions with coworkers who came to value her friendship and loving care—always delivered with a beautiful smile.

Teresa’s beauty and wit were quite overpowering to a young cardiologist and she and James William Snyder were married on Oct. 5, 1980. As they began their life together, Teresa served as a public health nurse until she began her homemaking career, embarking on a lifelong commitment to her family and community.

She became an active member of the Medical Auxiliary where she served in many capacities through the years, including several terms as treasurer; spearheading a project to assist family members of patients who had no accommodations while caring for hospitalized loved ones; and forming a committee which led to the formation of the Founding Board of Hospitality House (now the SECU Family House) for which she served as the first chairman of the board (as her organizational skills were already becoming legendary).

Her years as a CCU nurse led Teresa to become a champion for the American Heart Association where she co-chaired the first annual Heart Ball and the next eight Heart Balls before handing the reigns to others. In support of breast cancer research, Teresa also co-chaired several Pink Ribbon events and worked as a committee member on many others.

She served several terms as a board member of The Friends of University of North Carolina at Wilmington as she admired the contributions of the University to our community. She was also a member of the Cape Fear Garden Club and the Junior League of Wilmington.

Most important to Teresa, though, was her family and her personal efforts on behalf of them were unceasing. Her support of her husband, Jim, was the most significant influence in his practice of medicine, enabling him—and her indirectly—to contribute to the welfare of his patients.

Teresa was a wonderful and nurturing mother. Her greatest joys in life were her three children, her example imbuing in each of them a spirit of compassion and curiosity and a deep-seeded value to cherish family and friends above all else. For the last nine months, her children have demonstrated to her how well they learned the value of family as they helped her cope with a terrible disease. Their love for one another and Teresa reflects the deep commitment to family that she molded into them from an early age.

Likewise, her many wonderful friends supported her and her family through many trying months as they reflected the tireless energy she so often demonstrated in her care of support of others. Teresa’s family will forever treasure their support and loving presence.

Teresa has been an inspiration in her fight against a rare and aggressive cancer. She met her diagnosis heroically, never complaining and characteristically profuse in her gratitude for those who cared for her. Her family greatly appreciated the care she received from Dr. Walter Gajewski and the dedicated nursing and support staff of the Zimmer Cancer Center as well as the entire staff of the second floor of the Betty H. Cameron Women’s and Children’s Hospital and the NHRMC Coastal Rehabilitation Hospital.

Teresa will always be remembered for her ability to light up a room, turn strangers into fast friends and for her grace, wit and charm.

Teresa is survived by her husband, James; children, Ashley, Matthew and Joshua; mother, Fannie Stewart; and siblings, James Stewart, Brenda Garrison and Barbara Stephens.

She was preceded in death by her father, James Britton Stewart.

A memorial service celebrating Teresa’s life will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, July 21, 2015, at St. Andrews-Covenant Presbyterian Church, 1416 Market St., Wilmington, NC 28401. A reception in her honor will be held immediately afterward at the Cape Fear Country Club.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to St. Andrews-Covenant Presbyterian Church and the SECU Family House at New Hanover Regional Medical Center, 1523 Physicians Drive, Wilmington, North Carolina 28401.

Please leave online condolences for the family at Andrews Mortuary.

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