Celebrating a Life – Dema by Dr. Scott Bryant

My grandmother (a.k.a. Dema or Dorothy Mae Snarr) died this past August. She would have been 91 years old on Oct. 2nd. She was an amazing woman, and we miss her much. Below is a picture of Dema and her 5 great grandkids.

My brother and I spoke at her funeral. Here are my brother’s thoughts:

“My grandmother is a historian’s dream.  She was ridiculously organized kept unbelievable records.  You think I’m just saying that as a proud Grandson but I would put her organizational ability and her record keeping skills up against anyone.  For example,
Dorothy dutifully recorded the following pieces of information:
In 1945 she earned $2717.84 and paid $284 in taxes.
Sept 21/1963 they purchased a Kenmore Automatic washer from Sears for $188.
In 1967 their average monthly utility bill was $14.25.
In 1979-1980, during Howie’s third year of college, his roommates were Pat Gardner and Flint Bourgeois.
Their April 1992 water bill was 15.36.
July 7, 1983, She took me, Eric, & Howie bowling and we bowled three games. In the first game Eric bowled a 65, Scott 75, Dot 131, & Howie 121 notice who won the game.  Dema with a 131.  Don’t worry Howie you did win the final two games that day.
From 1983-1989 Dema and Eric bowled 21 games and she and I bowled 24.  Dema was a great record keeper but she was also very competitive.  She wanted to know how she stacked up against others.  Since this is a day in which we celebrate Dema’s life, I am glad to inform you that from 1983-1989 Dema beat Eric 16 of the 21 games.  In full disclosure, in the same period, Dema beat me 18 of 24 times.
Eric and I did not know that other people had grandmother’s who would let them win at games.  In going through some of her files, I found a card dated 1950-1951 which stated, “this is to certify that Dorothy Snarr is affiliated with the Woman’s International Bowling Congress.”  Eric, we had no chance.  She set us up.
Most of you know that Dorothy enjoyed sports and some of you know that before the games each week she would pick the winners of all the games.  During the 2007 NFL regular Season, at the age of 85, Dema was 168-88 in picking games. That is a ridiculous winning percentage of 66%.  For those of you who think it was a fluke, the following year she slightly improved her performance as she was 168-87-1 as there was one tie.  Again a 66% winning percentage.  For those not familiar with this industry, professional gamblers are thrilled if they have a winning percentage of 55% or above and my grandmother in 2 years in a row, in her mid 80’s had a winning percentage of 66%.  Now I know why Howie was always trying to take her to Vegas.
The most important treasure I found was her church membership certificate which noted that on Dec 19, 1943, at the age of 22 Dorothy was baptized into membership at the Travis Park Methodist Church in San Antonio and her life was changed forever.
She became a follower of Christ and she began to follow His example.
There are many words that can be used to describe Jesus, the Son of God, Messiah, the Christ, the Anointed One, but also servant.  When Jesus decided to put the needs of humanity before his own and willingly went to the cross to die for the sins of humanity he was indeed a servant to all.
Mark 10:43 “ Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be a slave of all.  For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many.”  For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve.
A follower of Jesus should strive to be like Jesus.  If Jesus came to serve others and show love to others so should his followers.
Believe me I could amaze you with statistics and details on expenses and medical insurance claims that Dorothy dutifully recorded, and while that is amazing, what is more meaningful to us in this room and was far more important to Dorothy were the following pieces of information:
June 10/1960, her nephew John Snarr graduated from Richwoods community HS in Peoria, Illinois.
November 1/1961 William Joseph Oppelt III born to Irene and Bill in Houston, 9 lbs 6 oz.
June 11/1966 Mary Ellen Briscoe married Charles A. Bremer @ Kingshighway Methodist Church in St. Louis, Mo.
July 8/1972 she hosted Sandy Heep’s Bride’s Maid Luncheon at the Turtle Creek Country Club.
May, 27/1975 Danny Heep graduated from Robert E. Lee HS and she mailed $12.00.
August 21/1982 Sheila Dawn Karpienski was born @ 3:10 am and was 8 lbs 3.5 ozs.
June 2/1989 Jill Dee Wagner high school graduation was celebrated at St. Mary’s hall.
June 4/1993 Jeff Emerson graduated from Madison H.S.
She mailed a Christmas card to Carolyn & James Powell in Houston, TX in 1992 and in every year since.
If you are in this room today, I am certain that your name has been recorded on some piece of paper at her house on Lively street.  And you have experienced what I am talking about as you have been loved by Dorothy Snarr.  She loved to serve others and did that through her encouragement and love.  It was demonstrated through her thoughtfulness and her attention to detail.
She followed the example of Jesus and poured out love to others.  Yes, many in her family, but so many that were friends, that Dema treated like family.
She demonstrated unwavering love for her husband and she loved her children, unconditionally.
In going through her things we found a card that made it clear that Philippians 1:3 was her favorite verse because she wrote on the top of the note card “this is my favorite verse.”
Dorothy’s favorite verse Philippians 1:3 “I thank my God in all of my remembrance of you.”  She lived that out.  She was so thankful for the people in her life and you could tell by the way she treated people.  It is also a fitting verse for us to consider today because we can all agree that it expresses each of our thoughts for Dorothy Snarr, “I thank my God in all of my remembrance of you.”
The good news is that our sadness is temporary.
In john 14 Jesus told his disciples:
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God;believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.”5  Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
I am certain that right now Dorothy is getting settled in to her new room.  A few days ago, Jesus welcomed her home and she reunited with family and friends.  And right now she is probably trying to figure out how the mail service works so she can send people cards.
Dorothy served others through her love and encouragement and she did it to so many, as evident by the presence of so many today.
In the same way that Dorothy indicated what her favorite verse was she also clearly indicated what her favorite song was.  Probably to no one’s surprise she had a file that included all of this information and one of the pieces of papers “I will dance in the morning” was circled and she wrote next to it, “This is my favorite song.”
So in her honor this morning as we conclude our time of celebration together we will listen to this song and you will have your last opportunity to pay your final respects to Dorothy.”
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