RIP, Marion Snider

Not sure how I missed this, but Marion Snider, the original pianist for the Stamps Quartet, died last week (h/t, RW). He was 96. Thus a Dallas blog:

An era in Southern gospel music was celebrated today, when services for piano legend/songwriter Marion Snider were held at Dallas’ Northway Christian Church. Called “the greatest pianist to ever play in a gospel quartet,” the longtime Oak Cliff resident died Sunday at 96, after performing for more than 80 years. His wife, Belle, died in 2008.

At today’s remembrance–whose hymns and speakers Snider selected himself–the Stamps Quartet mainstay was recalled as “bigger than life,” as someone who wouldn’t compromise his music, even for his friend W.A. Criswell. But the most affecting tribute came from Snider’s granddaughter, Ashley Erickson. Ashley said her fondest memory of Snider came when she was a little girl, ”driving with him to the farm, singing ‘You Are My Sunshine’ at the top of our lungs.”

The Cult of James Vaughan in southern gospel these days often tends inadvertently to obscure the Stamps flank of professional southern gospel’s formative years in general, and in particular, the contributions of the early Stamps Quartet in the era before J.D. Sumner bought the name and made it world famous. Can I blame this dynamic for being tardy in memorializing Snider? In any case, may he rest in peace.

If anyone is able to find some clips of Snider at the piano, feel free to share.

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  1. Jonathan Sawrie wrote:

    “The Cult of James Vaughan in southern gospel these days often tends inadvertently to obscure the Stamps flank of professional southern gospel’s formative years…”


    But those of us on the west side of the river have not forgotten. Mr. Snider will be missed.

  2. rr wrote:

    I was about to say a similar thing to what Jonathan Sawrie said. For people west of the Mississippi, the prominent names were Stamps Quartet Music Company and Stamps-Baxter. Vaughan was very little known there. And look how much gospel music talent has come from Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, etc. The multi-talented Sawrie is one fine example.

  3. Extra Ink wrote:

    Marion Snider appeared on one of the Gaither videos from the mid-’90s, so that clip should be available somewhere.

  4. Irishlad wrote:

    #3 yes i’m sure it was the Blackwood Bros one JD, James and Bill Shaw round the piano with Marion.

  5. David J. Stuart wrote:

    4. Irishlad, i think that was Hilton Griswold on that particular video you are thinking of.
    But i do remember another one Mr. Snider was on , maybe the Texas Homecoming?

  6. quartet-man wrote:

    I believe he was on the Texas Homecoming video.

  7. Irishlad wrote:

    #5 yes David i do believe you’re right.

  8. John wrote:

    It is sad that those of us on the east side of the Mississippi missed out on so much of the talent and history of gospel music on the other side of the river.

    I’m fortunate to have seen Mr. Snider “in action” once at the Will Rogers Auditorium when I was a teenager.

    Gospel music will indeed miss this talented gentleman.

  9. Marion Snider York wrote:

    Marion is surely a man that will be missed. I was named after Marion back in 1937 and have always tried to carry that name with pride. I live on the coast of Texas but the last few years have tried to drive to Dallas as often as possible to visit this great man and great piano player. I had the honor a few years ago to sit on the bench next to him in his home while he played Give The World A Smile. That is a high point of my life. Marion, I hope you rest in peace in heaven and have a great white grand piano all your own. For many years we have said Give They World A Smile. We can now change that to say HE GAVE THE WORLD A SMILE.
    Marion Snider York, Orange, TX

  10. Clara Tatsch wrote:

    For some reason I had never looked on the internet to see what was said about Mr. Snider. When my family moved from Beaumont to the Dallas area with our family in 1966, we were lucky to find out that Mr. Snider lived here and taught piano lessons. When I was a child in San Angelo, TX., my parents and I went to singing conventions every chance we got. As a child I was so impressed that he could play the piano backward. Of course, everyone else was impressed also. My Dad played organ and we all loved to sing–especially southern gospel music. We were so privileged to be able to have Mr. Snider teach all four of our childen piano lessons for a few years. After that we went to see him and others every time we heard of a local gospel singing. We all loved him and his wonderful talent and still miss him.

  11. AshleySniderErickson wrote:

    I miss my grandad, Marion Snider, each and every day. I am thankful for the aforementioned memories of him and mention of my tribute to him at his funeral. I told my grandfather that I would be honored to speak at his funeral and, in true Marion fashion, he wanted to critique my eulogy. He never did, but this is what I had to say about an incredible and irreplaceable man of God:
    Marion Snider was many things to many people: a gospel pianist, a composer, a life-long Lion, a teacher, a friend, but I am the only one who had the privilege and honor to call him “Grandad”.
    As a child, I spent countless days and nights with my grandparents, Grammy & Grandad. My granddad, in particular, taught me a love of animals, music and life. My favorite memories of Grandad include driving to the farm with him, signing “You are My Sunshine” at the top of our lungs and playing “20 Questions”.
    In 1983, when my teacher asked to us to write a story about someone famous, I naturally chose my grandfather. My paper, which I have kept for these past 27 years, was titled, “My Grandfather, the Pianist.” It began, “My grandfather and I have more than just a granddaughter-grandfather relationship. We are great friends! We do fun and exciting things together. My grandfather is a very outgoing person. He lives life in the same way.”
    I can’t begin to tell you how many times Grandad read this 5 page, single-spaced handwritten story to his friends. As you know, he loved to be the center of attention, which was my fine by me as my Grandad was always larger than life in my eyes.
    Marion, in his many accomplishments, took greatest pride in his family. He would always say, “I have 1 life with 1 wife, 1 son, 1 daughter, 1 daughter –in-law; 1 grand daughter, 1 grandson-in-law, 1 –great grandosn and 1 greatgrandaughter. My family may be small, but my life is full.” Marion couldn’t have been more proud of his family unless we had formed our own family Gospel group called the “Marionettes”.
    In closing, I would like to thank you all for being a part of today, joing us in celebrating the incredible life of Marion Snider. I know he is up in Heaven, looking down at us all, and taking note of who all showed-up today. I would also like to recognize Marianne, Jigger, for dedictaing her life to taking care of Grammy & Grandad. I know it wasn’t always easy, but you never waivered and you never left their side. To my mom & dad, I thank you for the opportunity to spend as much time with Grammy and Grandad as I did. I don’t know many pepole who had the kind of relationship with their grandparents like I did. And I am thankful that my children now have the opprtunity to grow up with you as I did with them. To my husband, Wade, I know you loved Grandad as if he were your own. He loved you, too, even though you were a Catholic AND a Yankee. And to my chidlren, John Charles & Emma Kate, Grandad loved you more than life. He recently told me his greatest regret in life was not being able to watch you grow into adults. But take comfort in knowing he is watching you from above. The Snider DNA runs through you both… it is an integral part of who you are, so go and do great things. You are a Snider afterall!
    Ashley Snider Erickson,
    17 November 10

  12. Will Stamps wrote:

    If you are STILL interested in a picture or two of Marion Snider, let me know. I have several pictures of Belle and Marion as well as one of him at the piano - from the tape cover of “Over Eighty”. I wish I had known him earlier. My last visit with Marion was several weeks before he passed away, while at a hospital near his home. Marion gave me a smile -as I handed him a cd of his “greatest hits” that I put together - the cd had a picture of Marion on it, which pleased him the most. / Will Stamps, family historian for the Stamps family.

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