Evelyn Ann Sneeden
Born Garfield, N.J. December 1, 1927,
died Hyannis April 20, 2022.
Evelyn Sneeden was the only child of George and Pauline Fromberger. Growing up in a close-knit second-generation community of Czech, German, and Polish immigrants in Garfield, New Jersey where her father owned and ran an automotive service station, she became a passionate tap dancer, continued her education under Fred Kelly (Gene’s brother) and pursued a brief career in NYC after graduating from Garfield High in 1945. She recalled vividly the day she hitched a ride on the tailgate of a vegetable delivery truck when she was late to one audition on Broadway, but also skipping school to see Frank Sinatra perform at the Passaic Theater in 1942. She spent the summers of her teenage years at her parents’ cottage in Seaside Heights at the Jersey Shore, where she worked (through the War) on the boardwalk. After high school, she moved with her parents to Clifton, N.J., working at Botany Mills (Passaic), establishing a dance studio, (some of her students went on to be Rockettes) and attending Fairleigh Dickinson’s secretarial training program. She met her lifelong love Ralph J. Sneeden (d. 1999) of Flushing, N.Y. (a WWII B-17 bomber pilot, ex-POW, and Olympic athlete) at Camp Sagamore after the War; they married in 1951. Her husband’s career as an aeronautical engineer took the family across the country from Old Tappan, N.J. to Stonybrook, New York, then to Burbank, Calif., where they lived with their three children until the summer of 1961. After moving back east to Woodcliff Lake, N.J., Evelyn and her family relocated to Boxford in 1967, where she was finally able to put her administrative and secretarial prowess to the test as the assistant to the Dean of Sociology at Merrimack College (North Andover). She and her husband moved to Rockport in 1979, and then retired on the Cape, landing in North Chatham in 1986, where they settled into a life of exploring Pleasant Bay, Nauset, and environs in their evolving fleet of small boats. Through her involvement with the Newcomers Club, Bowling League, pétanque group, Women’s Club and Garden Club in Chatham, she garnered many friendships. With her warmth, openness, personability and gift of conversation, she could find and make lifelong friends anywhere, in any situation, and of any age (especially babies); she was magnetic. Whether traveling across England, Italy, or New Zealand, or walking into a local restaurant, she seemed to know everybody. An avid Red Sox fan, she was also a talented watercolorist who printed coveted notecards with images of Cape landscapes. She possessed a freakishly magical green thumb, toiling behind a wheelbarrow twice her size, transforming her little corner of Ryder’s Cove into an Eden of hydrangeas, irises, lilies, and dense beds of annuals. In 2016, she moved to Park Place in Chatham, where she remained independent, artistically productive, and fiercely liberal while enjoying a vibrant social life, especially with her posse of “Swim Gals” at the (recently closed) Chatham Health and Swim Club.
She is survived by her daughters Patricia A. Sylvia (husband Stephen) of Narragansett, R.I., Evelyn M. Church (husband David) of Portsmouth, N.H., and her son Ralph G. Sneeden (wife Gwenllyn Evans-Sneeden) of Exeter, N.H. In addition, she is survived by nine grandchildren: Alec McShane, Evan Sylvia, Daniel Church, Peter Church, Jillian Church, Rebecca Church Lewnes, Jacob Sneeden, Madeleine Page, Eliza Sneeden, and four great grandsons (Finley, Jackson, Kilian and Arthur).
A Mass will be held at Holy Redeemer Church in Chatham @ 10:00, June 16th followed by a gathering at Park Place.
Donations: Chatham Fire Department Association: https://www.chathamfiredepartmentassociation.org
or Chatham Fire Department Association, 135 Depot Road, Chatham MA 02633
For online condolences please visit: www.nickersonfunerals.com
Evelyn Ann Sneeden