Dr. Willis E. Snowbarger, son of Edward and Mary Snowbarger, was born in Sylvia, Kan., on Aug. 24, 1921. On Aug. 1, 2008, Dr. Snowbarger passed away in Bethany, Okla., after a short illness and hospitalization.
After graduation from Bethany-Peniel College (Southern Nazarene University) in Bethany, he joined the U.S. Navy in 1942. He attended MidShipman School at Notre Dame, became a lieutenant and served in the Pacific Theater during World War II. Following the war, Dr. Snowbarger attained his master's degree in history at the University of Oklahoma and his Ph.D in history from the University of California at Berkley. In the fall of 1949, he joined the faculty at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, as an assistant professor in the history department. In 1953 he was named academic dean and continued to serve as the chairman of the history department. In 1965 Dr. Snowbarger accepted the position of Secretary of Education for the Church of the Nazarene headquartered in Kansas City, Mo. Five years later he returned to Olivet Nazarene University as Academic Dean and later became the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean. He retired to Olathe, Kan., in 1986.
Dr. Snowbarger was the author of numerous academic and spiritual articles. He also published a two-volume family history, "The Snowbarger Family in Kansas," and an autobiography, "By the Way -- A Farm Boy from Kansas, to Berkley, to Bourbonnais." Dr. Snowbarger served on the Church of the Nazarene Chicago Central District Advisory Committee for 22 years, and the boards of his local churches most of his life. He was a Paul Harris Fellow in Rotary International and was a volunteer with Meals on Wheels. While living in Bethany, he was a member of the Association of Retired Ministers and the Association of Senior Professionals.
Dr. Snowbarger is survived by his wife, Ruby J. Snowbarger, his son, Vincent K. Snowbarger and his daughter, Dr. Delia M. Pittman, and their spouses, Carolyn Snowbarger and Garry Pittman. He is survived by five grandchildren, Angie Sears, Jeff Snowbarger, Scott Pittman, Matt Snowbarger and Jessica Johnson; and two great-grandchildren, Isabella and Bianca Pittman. His brother, Marion Snowbarger, and his sister, Katherine Emmert, also survive him.
He was preceded in death by his mother and father and his sister, Velma Stroman. He is also preceded in death by his wife, Wahnona R. Snowbarger.
Services will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Bethany First Church of the Nazarene. Family visitation will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. today at the Mercer-Adams Funeral Home in Bethany.
Burial will be in Kankakee Memorial Gardens, Aroma Township, at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Church of the Nazarene Foundation, Kansas City, Mo., or to the Hawkins Chapel, Olivet Nazarene University, Bourbonnais. (Pd.)
Source: Kankakee Daily Journal.
Wahnona Ruth Horger Snowbarger
1923–2000 (m. 1943)
Velma Lucille Snowbarger Stroman
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