2023 Graduate of Distinction
Col. (Retired) Kenneth Snyder
Class of 1937
Col. (Retired) Kenneth Snyder graduated from Lehighton Area High School in 1937. He continued his education at the California Polytechnic State University and was nearing his degree requirements when he decided that he wanted to serve his country and enlisted in the US Army. After enlisting, he was selected to attend officer training school and then received his commission in the Army. As an Army Air Corps officer, he completed pilot training and was assigned to fly the P-47 Thunderbolt. He flew more than 100 missions over Europe during World War II, including missions in support of D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge. For his participation in flight operations during WWII, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and 17 Air Medals.
After WWII, Kenneth returned home to Lehighton and served in the 165th Military Police Battalion of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. His leadership skills were recognized as he moved through the ranks and eventually, he became the Commanding Officer of the 165th. Under his command, the 165th was activated and stationed for over a year in Louisiana in response to the Cuban Missile Crisis. Col Snyder continued to be recognized for his outstanding service and was named the Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Commander which consisted of five battalions. Col Snyder remained in this position until he retired as a Colonel in 1972 after 30 years of military service.
Kenneth embodied the true essence of being a citizen soldier. In his civilian profession, he was employed as a salesman by the Joseph Miorelli and Sons Industrial Construction Company in Hazleton, PA until his death in 1979. He travelled all over the tri-state area overseeing construction sites, ordering steel and concrete for various projects. Kenneth was a representative for Stran Steel and US Steel for building projects. He was recognized as the top regional salesman in both 1978 and 1979.
Kenneth was always involved in the Lehighton community, especially at Trinity Lutheran Church where he was a very active member. He served as a youth group leader, Couples of Trinity president and a member of the Property, Building and Church Council. During the early 1970s, he was an important member of this group as they approved the planning for the congregation’s new building.
Kenneth was married to Pauline (O’Brian) Snyder from 1944 until his death in 1979. The couple resided at their residence on South 3rd Street in Lehighton and Pauline remains there to this day after her husband’s death in 1979. They raised six children, all graduates of Lehighton Area High School. The family now includes 8 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren.