Grace Nelson

 

March 21, 2024

Grace L. Snyder-Nelson went home to her Jesus on March 14, 2024, after many years of sharing her special love, acceptance, sweet smile and "I love you's" in sign language.

Grace was born in Worland, Wyoming on July 12, 1960, to Henry Lincoln "Hank" and Anella Rae (Currence) Snyder. She spent her early years in Worland. The family moved to Casper where Grace and her brother, Ralph, could receive special schooling for children with disabilities at Wood's School. Both Ralph and Grace were born with Down's Syndrome. Hank and Anella gave each of them every opportunity to learn, grow and excel. Grace and Ralph both participated in gymnastics, performing in events and exhibitions all around the Casper area.

Grace was the poster child for Easter Seals and was one of the very first Special Olympic Athletes, when the program started in Wyoming. She actively participated in track, bowling, swimming, basketball and horseback riding and has a massive collection of medals to show for it. The highlight of her Olympic career was in 1991, when she was chosen to represent Wyoming in the Eighth Special Olympics World Summer Games in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

When Ralph and Grace were born, it was traditional to commit an individual with Down Syndrome to an institution. In fact, the doctor recommended that for Ralph, saying he would not likely be able to walk or lead a "normal" life. Hank and Anella were adamant that NO ONE could predict the future success of their children and committed to keeping them at home and providing them EVERY opportunity possible for them to succeed to whatever level they were capable. When Grace was born, the next year, as a second child in the family with Downs, it just reinforced their philosophy and commitment. They gave up so much to follow this philosophy. They were very instrumental in forming advocacy groups for all individuals with special needs. The fact that Grace lived to be 63 years old and was able to participate in so many community activities, even living semi-independently in her "own" mobile home is a testament to the opportunities that Hank and Anella fought for.

Hank and Anella purchased the Circle S Motel in Ten Sleep in 1978. This provided an opportunity to teach their children to have a good work ethic. The repeated chores of maintaining the motel taught Ralph and Grace basic housekeeping skills which Grace used throughout her life. She took pride in having a clean "T-house" (her mobile home) and doing her part in keeping the Day Hab at O.W.L or B.H.E. tidy.

Grace was married to Bob Nelson for a short while. The wedding color was Pepto Bismol Pink, of course! In the 1990's, she returned to Ten Sleep to work with her parents at the motel. She also started participating in Big Horn Enterprises (B.H.E.) program in Worland, later transferring to Opportunities Without Limits (O.W.L). In 2014 she began working at the Ten Sleep Senior Center where she brought joy and happiness to everyone who entered! She was also very proud to say she helped keep her church (Mt. View Assembly of God) clean and tidy!

2014 brough the need for a heart valve replacement, this very successful operation provided another ten wonderful years for Grace...years we will be forever grateful for!

She loved her hobbies! One could often find her doing word searches, writing letters or bowling on Wii. She literally made thousands of dishrags, yarn-covered hangers, and latch-hooks. Her crafts have been spread far and wide, as people purchased them and gave them as gifts, touching lives world-wide. Her favorite color was pink! Her "T-House" was pink with many pink accessories, her wardrobe included all shades of pink and she bowled many games with her bright pink bowling ball! Her favorite shows were, "Little House on the Prairie", "Walker, Texas Ranger", and "Karate Kid". But her biggest priority was "her Jesus". Her church and her faith were of utmost importance.

She was preceded in death by her parents, and brother, Ralph Snyder.

Survivors include her siblings, Cheryl (Bill) Bjornsrud of Ten Sleep, Wyoming, Alvin Snyder of Mondovi, Wisconsin, Dan (Judy) Snyder of Ten Sleep; many other family members, nieces, nephews and a loving community and Special Olympians and coaches worldwide, that have been an important part of her life.

Funeral services were held Wednesday, March 20, 2024, at the Mountain View Assembly of God Church in Ten Sleep with Pastor Jimmy Phelps officiating.

Memorial donations may be made to the Mountain View Assembly of God Church, Ten Sleep Senior Center, Washakie County Special Olympics, and OWL Unlimited, in care of Bryant Funeral Home, PO Box 524, Worland, WY 82401. Online condolences may be made at http://www.bryantfuneralhomeonline.com.

 
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