Mary Snell loved family, travel and helping others

Monday, July 21, 2014 | 9:22 p.m. CDT; updated 7:05 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2014

COLUMBIA — Mary Snell was known for her giving nature.

Mary Elizabeth Lister SnellMrs. Snell worked in the health care industry for the last 30 years and had many grateful patients, her sister Elizabeth Lister said.

"I was very sick at University Hospital in 1981," Elizabeth Lister said. "She sat on my bed for six months, and that made her decide to be a respiratory therapist and go into health care."

Mary Elizabeth (Lister) Snell of Columbia died Sunday, July 20, 2014, at home, surrounded by her family. She was 62.

She was born May 30, 1952, in Chicago to Margaret (Aker) Lister and John Lister.

For the past five years, Mrs. Snell was the head respiratory therapist at Kilgore's Respiratory Center with owner Fred Bietsch. Bietsch said she was his right-hand person.

"She ran a respiratory department, and I couldn't have had a better friend and employee," Bietsch said. "We could joke. It was day in and day out with her. She put her all in every day."

Mrs. Snell loved spending time with her grandson, Devan, who lives in Chicago. Lister said they adored each other. They just loved being together.

Recently, Mrs. Snell visited Chicago for Devan's sixth birthday. The party was superhero themed, and both she and Devan, along with his parents, dressed up as Batman.

"She was very creative," Lister said. "She's 10 years older than I, and was always doing crafts with her son, me and her grandson."

Mrs. Snell also made jewelry, crafts for her home, teddy bears and even her own wedding dress. She was also a phenomenal cook, something Lister said she will miss.

"She was a great pie maker, but our father especially liked her chocolate one," Lister said.

Lister said she admired her sister greatly.

"She was my best friend," she said.

The sisters — Mrs. Snell, Elizabeth Lister and Polly Kleinman — often traveled together. The three visited Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, just three weeks ago. She said they lay on the beach, and it was awesome.

The family went to Las Vegas recently and have a trip booked to Mexico, Lister said. They still plan to go on the trip in Mrs. Snell's honor.

Mrs. Snell is survived by her son, Michael, of Chicago; her mother, Margaret Lister, of Columbia; two sisters, Elizabeth Lister of Chicago and Polly Kleinman of Cleveland; ; a grandson, Devan, of Chicago; and numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.

Her father, John Lister, died earlier.

Visitation will be from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Memorial Funeral Home, 1217 Business Loop 70 W.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests considering a donation to Hospice Compassus.

Supervising editor is Samuel Hardiman.

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