Worthington News

1921-2014

Snouffer's roots are deep in Worthington

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Paul Snouffer has died, but his roots in the Worthington area run so deep that a person could be touched by one and not even know it.

He was an architect by trade and designed many of the schools where our children learn, the stores where we shop and a few of the houses in which we live.

He also was one of the writers of the original city charter, a founder of Cardinal Boosters (now Worthington Youth Boosters) and a longtime downtown business owner and Colonial Hills resident.

He was one of that group of high-spirited men who for years met each morning at the big corner table at Norma's Restaurant (later the Village Cupboard and P.K. O'Ryan's). He also designed and built Norma's and for a while operated his architecture business in the basement.

The roots of the Snouffer family reach so far that when he is buried at Walnut Grove Cemetery on Friday, July 11, his will be among more than 100 Snouffer headstones.

Snouffer died on his 93rd birthday, June 14. Just weeks before his death, he and his son, John Snouffer, taped an hourlong segment for WOSU-TV's series about Worthington. He talked about life in Worthington during earlier times and a bit about the family history that not only followed but also helped create the community of Worthington.

The Snouffer family immigrated to Worthington from Maryland in 1832, when Mary Magdalene Baumgartner Snouffer came to live with a relative after her husband's death. She was Paul's great, great, great-grandmother and brought with her six children.

The family settled on what is now Don Scott Field, establishing the first of many Snouffer homesteads that dotted Worthington and northwest Columbus for the next 180 years. Among notable Snouffer homes are ones that once stood on the Brookside Country Club, Whieldon Lane and, of course, Snouffer Road.

Joseph Snouffer owned 100 acres along that road and raised 10 children there, including Paul's father, Stanley.

Stanley had four boys from his first marriage, which ended with his wife's death while they were living in the big farmhouse that still stands on the rear of Whieldon Lane. He later married Mertie, and together they had Paul, who was born in 1921 in the old Griswold Inn.

Son Elmer was a master carpenter and furniture maker who worked in downtown Worthington.

Son Steve was a car dealer and gas-station owner, also in downtown Worthington. He later became the Worthington postmaster and worked out his years at Worthington Hardware.

Leslie was a tire dealer in Delaware but lived most of his life in Worthington.

Ray owned Snouffer Dry Cleaners at High Street and New England Avenue, later moving to one of brother Steve's properties at High and Worthington-Galena Road.

Once during the 1950s, the Worthington News reported that there were more Snouffers per square foot in Worthington than any other family, John Snouffer recalled.

Paul and his parents eventually moved from the Griswold Inn and lived in several houses in Worthington, including the Victorian home on Oxford Street now owned by Dave Foust. The Snouffers owned it from the early 1930s to 1970.

Paul graduated from Worthington High School in 1939 and went on to Ohio State University to study architecture. He was drafted during college and fought in World War II. Before leaving, he married Hattie, daughter of OSU athletics trainer Tucker Smith.

He returned to graduate from architecture school and lived for a few years in New Philadelphia, returning in 1953 to purchase the house at 302 Loveman Ave., where he and Hattie raised three sons and where he lived until 2007.

Paul worked at North American and Curtis Wright and then for the architecture firm of Freshwater and Harrison in Clintonville, where he met Lee Lawrence. They became partners, moved to the basement of Norma's and in 1972 remodeled the old barn that still stands on land next door. That is where they ran Lawrence and Snouffer Architects.

In later years, he worked for well-known Worthington business leader George Banning and retired in 1990.

Among the buildings he designed are the rear addition to the Worthington Inn; additions to Colonial Hills Elementary School, Kilbourne Middle School, Brookside Estates Elementary School, Worthington Hills Elementary School and Thomas Worthington High School; several schools in Columbus; an office building at High Street and Larrimer Avenue; Jack Maxton Chevrolet; and other businesses and homes in Worthington.

Son John said he didn't think his father had designed many homes, but since his death, he has been surprised to hear from several residents who said he had designed their homes in Worthington.

After Snouffer retired, he built furniture and painted watercolors of lighthouses, barns and the English countryside. He also was an avid golfer, a founding member of the Worthington Hills Country Club and a member of York Temple Country Club.

His oldest son, Dan, was born in 1944 and lived with his mother on the third floor of the Worthington Inn while his father was in the war. He lives in Gambier.

Son Stanley died in 1989 at age 42. He was a popular Worthington teacher. His image is on a mosaic at the entrance to Wilson Hill Elementary School, where he taught art.

John is a retired teacher and coach, organizer of the Worthington High School Alumni Association and a bit of a history buff. He keeps up a hand-written family tree that spreads completely across his living room in Olentangy Highlands.

John is married to Nicole Gnezda, and together they organize the annual race and charity organization formed to honor her late husband, Gary Smith.

Calling hours for Paul Snouffer will be from 5 to 8 p.m. today, July 10, at Rutherford Corbin Funeral Home and from 9 to 10 a.m. Friday, July 11, at the Worthington Methodist Church, with a service at 10 a.m.

Burial will follow at the Walnut Grove Cemetery.

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