A Blessed, Holy Goodbye

Dear Friends and Family,

Our precious Lance is free.  Last night at approximately 10:00pm he passed very comfortably and peacefully while at home surrounded by his entire family.

After lying completely still and unresponsive for two days, his head began to turn.  We all looked on in astonishment as his eyes opened and he fixed his gaze on Francine, who was seated on the couch to his right, holding his hand the entire night.  He then very slowly moved his head back to a forward facing position, closed his eyes, and took his last quiet breath.

It was beautiful and gentle.  Perfectly scripted. One hundred six Virginia Avenue was Holy Ground.

We cried and we embraced as we released our beloved Lance into the arms of our Heavenly Father.

This story is not over; we are at a pause.  Thank you for meeting us here at our time and place of need to share in our sorrow and grief.  We all feel blessed indeed to be surrounded and upheld by so much love and prayer.

Please use the comment field of this post as “guest book” to share messages or sentiments with Lance’s wife, Francine,  and his parents, Mary Ann and Allen, and the rest of the Snyder and Costa families.

Thank you kindly.  On behalf of Francine and her families I close,




This Monday from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 guests will be received at McCabe Brothers Funeral Home on Walnut Street in Shadyside.  The funeral Mass will be celebrated on Tuesday at St. Raphael Catholic Church in Morningside (time to  be announced).  A private burial will follow.

Lance’s obituary will be printed in the the Sunday and Monday issues of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.


Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.  So with you:  Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.  In that day you will no longer ask me anything.  John 16:20,22-23 

57 responses to “A Blessed, Holy Goodbye

  1. I learned there is a blessing sent from God in every burden of sorrow…..
    ironically i was in LOWE’S when I got the news…..after I collapsed with tears and sorrow I quickly uplifted myself and carried on, coming home to my home project thinking of Lance …and the energy I got ……..:0
    Love and hugs to you all…………….tracy

  2. Yesterday as I was driving, thoughts of you all were pressed against my heart. So deep was the impression that I marked the time in my heart, in my mind. It was 3:38. Maybe a minute after that I passed a Snyder Street (Who knew, in Colorado Springs!)
    Now I know that you were being carried with your Lance to that thinnest of places in the veil between earth and heaven– waiting so very close.
    Holy indeed, and achingly real on both sides.
    We hold you in the pause.
    Thank you more deeply than I can say for letting us in.
    May Jesus hold you in his hope.
    Sallie and Ken Ross

  3. Colleen Gomolekoff

    Francine, Dr, and Mrs,, Ashley, Morgan, Parker and all of the family,

    We are very sorry by the loss of Lance. Walt called me earlier and told me what happened. I hope he is at peace and not suffering. There are no words I can say to take away your grief, I can send love and prayers and deepest sympathy and we will keep you all in our prayers.

    God Bless all of you,

    Colleen, Pete and Austin Gomolekoff

  4. Our deepest sympathy to all of the Snyder families. We are so sorry for your loss.
    The DeRubertis Family

  5. Jennifer Kindley

    To Lance’s Beloved Family,

    Praise God for a peaceful farewell… I pray that His peace will now surround and uplift you, comfort and console you, strengthen and sustain you until you are all together again in Paradise.

    I’m sorry I never got to meet you, Lance, but I feel as though I know you through your beautiful sister. I grieve over your untimely passing and for the loss your family is feeling. But mostly I pray that God will use this time to show His love and gentleness. This is only the beginning for you and I look forward to finally meeting you some day in heaven.

    With Love,
    Jen Kindley

  6. Stephanie Veenis

    A painful pause. We will hold you in our hearts and look to celebrate Lance’s life in many ways. His gentle soul made friendship so easy.
    The Veenis Family

  7. Sending lots of love and prayer your way. May comfort and peace be with you during this time. Deepest Sympathy to you all!

  8. Words cannot express how sorry I am for your loss. Mary Ann, I have always admired you and know you were the best Mom ever. My thoughts are with you and your amazing family. I hope you find peace.

  9. Beautiful Francine, Snyder families, Mr and Mrs Costa, Rosalynn, Nick and family,

    “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted…” Psalm 34:18
    You are in our thoughts and prayers.

    All our love,
    Anna and Derek Rhoden and family

  10. Ashley,
    Your blogs meant so much to me–having lost a brother 15 years ago, your wonderful testimonies to Lance once again reminded me of how fleeting and fragile life can be. Francine, Mary Ann, Allen, Parker, and the rest of your family–the entire Demos family sends you our heartfelt condolences on the loss of a husband, a son, a brother, a friend…our thoughts and prayers are with all of you as we share your sorrow and grief.
    I’m presently working in Bhutan, and unfortunately will not be able to attend the service. I will however share this pause with you, and I’ll ask our Bhuddist hosts and friends here to remember Lance and all of you in their daily prayer services.
    Jack Demos

  11. Beautiful Francine, Snyder families, Mr and Mrs Costa, Rosalynn, Nick and family,
    “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted….” Psalm 34:18
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
    All our love
    Anna and Derek Rhoden and family

  12. You have been in my prayers and will continue to be there! I know that Lance will be watching over all of you! With love, Dave and Terry Lloyd

  13. What a beautiful outpouring of love from an incredibly loving family! You all have been in my prayers for a very long time. God has been with you every step of the way. I will greatly miss our sweet Lance. Judy Ostrosky (Lance’s former desk mate at Hanna.)

  14. Kathy Counihan

    My dear Mary Ann,
    I can only imagine the pain Francine, you, Allen and your entire family is feeling. And I can only imagine what Lance is feeling….
    Kathy Counihan

  15. Peter A. Denne

    I’m without words.. Your loss is my loss.. Love you Guys.. my Thoughts are with you.. Ida will look out for him now..

  16. Dear Snyder Family,
    Its with a heavy heart I’m just now reading about Lance and the tremendous loss to your family. I still think of Lance as that confident yet relaxed kid with a great smile and sparkling blue eyes hanging out at Community Swim Club so many years ago. And it’s clear from these posts that you all have the same amazing attitude towards each other and in life. Truly, your family’s strength in reading these is just overwhelming. My sincerest condolences.

  17. I am so very sorry. You are all in my thoughts and I pray that God will grant you peace now that Lance is at peace. I cannot imagine the pain you all have felt but know you will take comfort in God’s love which endures forever.
    In Him,
    Danielle (Balliet) Weber

  18. God bless you all in your sorrow. The love you showed to Lance and to each other through this difficult time has been truly inspirational. What an example you have given for all who shared with you. He is in God’s care now which is the only better place than being with loving family and friends.

  19. My prayers are with each of you as you close one chapter and begin another. Lance was an inspiration to many as he faced his illness with faith and courage. The stories you have shared have been a witness to the transforming power of love and faith. You have shown what it means to be a family under the most difficult of circumstances. May God continue to grant you peace as you move through this stage of the journey.
    Mary Brand

  20. are hearts are heavy for the whole family for such a great loss. he was an awesome young man. love you all. god bless.

  21. I weep for you. I know how loss feels and the deep hurt. You will be forever changed. Your letters have been a wonderful testimony to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and I am certain that you have brought many to want to have that close relationship with our precious Father. The saving grace is His promise of the reunion that you all will have with Lance. He has overcome. He has overwhelmed the grave. I know that he is standing in awe of Jesus as I write, hearing the beat of the Angels wings above, basking in His glory. What magnificence! I will keep you all in prayer. My heart is there with you.
    Robbie Spryn

  22. Francine and family…I am so sorry for your loss. My heart goes out to you during this difficult time. Francine, throughout this process you were absolutely the strongest woman I have ever seen, met, or know in my life. I look up to you completely for balancing work and the difficulties at home. I really am amazed by your strength and pray for you during the weeks, months, and years ahead. Your blog is so encouraging and I think that the people it is inspiring is in the millions. From all the team members at Giant Eagle we are thinking about you all.

  23. Your very strong faith will help you through this most difficult time. Your words have been an amazing inspiration to so many through this journey. We thank you for sharing and wish you strength.
    I will miss Lance pounding down the stairs with those beutiful blue eyes rounding the bend at the offcie. He always made me smile.
    Heart felt sympathy to the Snyder and Costa Families
    Kim and Freddy Patterson

  24. Eileen & Charlie Hiebler

    From Bel Air, MD to Pittsburgh, PA ……….we send an abundance of thoughts and prayers………thanks for the heartfelt updates. Ashley — miss you and thinking of you and your entire family around the clock.
    Much Love,
    Eileen, Charlie
    Julia, Ryan, Colin

  25. Jason E. Bartolowits

    I met Lance about 6 years ago via some real estate transactions. He was so personable and professional…he treated me as a friend. It’s so upsetting to know this could happen to someone so kind and so young. My prays are with Francine and family…God Bless!!!

  26. Our deepest sympathy extended to each of you. You have been an inspiration and a testimony to love, family, compassion and faith. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you.
    Sandy and Jim Goldman

  27. Michele Meloy Burchfield

    My boys, Will and Andrew were quite fortunate to have known Lance as their patient and committed hockey coach. They always spoke highly of his coaching demeanor and enjoyed their time on the team with him. We will continue to hold your family in our thoughts and prayers.
    The Burchfield Family

  28. Our thoughts , prayers and love go out to all of the family and friends of Lance . He was
    a gift and blessing to all! His kind heart , bright
    mind and giving personality made him a person to cherish knowing him . May we all not only
    learn from his goodness but , enrich our own
    lives by following in his examples of charity,
    kindness and treating eachother respectfully!

  29. I’m sitting here at an open house reading Helen’s letter about Lance…although I never knew Lance personally I would see him at various company events and thought I wanted what he had….and now I know what that was….courage and love. I can’t stop crying which is not what an open house is about but as a cancer survivor myself I know and pray that the spirit and infectious smile I saw across many company events is with our Lord, waiting for that day when Lance’s loved ones will be reunited with him.

  30. Janice DeCarlo

    My heart is so sad for all of Lance’s warm loving family. Francine you are the angel sent to give Lance the best love for his life remaining. It should have been 50 more years at least. I picture him with a fly fishing pole in hand, blue eyes sparkling having found the best place to cast a fly. You are in my thoughts and in my heart.

  31. Hiebler Family

    From Bel Air, MD to Pittsburgh, PA……..we send a million hugs to one and all. Ashley — please share our thoughts and condolences with everyone. Your heartfelt blog update was so moving —– your strength is just amazing. Please know that we are thinking of you a great deal.
    Eileen, Charlie
    Julia, Ryan, Colin

  32. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you. With deepest sympothy from Colorado.
    Anthony, Melissa & Samuel Raber

  33. I think I first met Lance and Parker in Cub scouts when I was about 5-6 years old. Although after high school I never saw either of them much when I heard about Lance’s illness my prayers went out to him and you…and they still do.

  34. Colleen Gomolekoff

    I wish I could make the trip down there tomorrow if I did not have to go to meeting at work and scout meeting. God bless you all and deepest sympathies. Colleen Kalista Gomolekoff

  35. I so wish I could be there. My thoughts have been with you all for days. I’m glad Lance’s passing was peaceful and that he could give Francine (and your family) that one last gift. Even though I won’t be able to be there in person to help support you over the next few difficult days, I will be there in spirit! I have been so impressed with how you all have handled this difficult journey. My love to all (even though most of you haven’t met me personally!).

  36. Philip McCarren

    Dear Francine, Mary Ann, Allen, Ashley, Morgan, Parker and families;

    I offer my deepest sympathy to all of you. May God receive Lance Home and grant each of you His blessings, consolation and the grace of hope, always…


    “Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many mansions. If not, I would have told you: because I go to prepare a place for you. And if I shall go, and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and will take you to myself; that where I am you also may be.” – St. John 14:1-3

  37. Dear family…I am so sorry for the loss of your precious Lance. He is at peace now, and your memories of him will always be with you. It was an honor to have known him and had him in our lives. He will always be embracing you. God Bless you all.

  38. Dear Ashley and family… the prayers of the Cannon family have been offered from us, on your behalf, many times. It has been an honor and a blessing to know Lance as your loving brother, son, husband, friend…. and my former student. We pray for the peace of God upon your hearts and Lance’s soul. Benedictio Dei et Pax!

  39. Jennifer Iacurci

    Francine, Synder Family and Costa Family – May all the great memories you have experienced with Lance comfort you during this difficult time. I was blessed to have Lance as a friend, and for that, I will always be grateful. When I think of Lance, I picture his amazing smile…because he was always smiling and lighting up any room he walked into. My continued prayers and love are with you all. Lance will forever live in my thoughts and heart.

    ““Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy.”

  40. Teresa (Novacic) D'Appolonia

    My heart goes out to you Francine, and all of the Snyder family. The times that I have seen Lance since highschool are few and far between, but I can remember his kindness and warm-heartedness as if it were yesterday. Such a good man, with a good family… so happy to see that he found such a wonderful woman to love. I cannot imagine the sorrow, but remind yourself that he is in a better place, and know that he wouldn’t want anything but smiles from all of you… always warming hearts with the smile of his own. Loved by all who had the pleasure of knowing him. Keeping all of you in my thoughts and prayers. God Bless!

  41. Marie Tozzi Campbell

    To the Snyder family, I want to express my most sincere condolences to each of you. I only wish I had more eloquent words to convey these sentiments. I also want to thank you for sharing this most difficult journey with all of us. Your unwavering strength and faith has been an inspiration to us all. Although we read your posts in silence, my parents, my daughters and I all felt your pain, felt our own pain for Lance and kept you all in our prayers every single day. I hope you know how much we all care about your family.

    To Francine, you are a remarkable young lady and I believe that great things are in store for you. As a mother, I can tell you that nothing can be a greater comfort to Lance’s family than to know that he gave his heart to the right woman. There is nothing that we parents want more than to know that someone loves our children as much as we do, and you’ve certainly exhibited that. I am so sorry for your loss, honey.

    As for Lance, this handsome young man came into our lives as a young teenerager and immediately stole our hearts. He taught my entire family a love and concern for the homeless that clearly proved that not all high school boys are created equal. Lance may have entered our hearts long ago, but I can promise you that his memory will never leave. Thank you, Mary Ann and Allen for raising this wonderful young man, who leaves a beautiful legacy with all who were lucky enough to know him. I’m honored that my family and I are included in that special group.

  42. Dear Snyder Family – With deepest sympathy to all of you. I was very saddened to read of Lance’s passing. Cherish the memories of your beloved son. God Bless

  43. Heather Cullinan

    …I understand and want you to know that I am lifting you up in prayer and with love. I know through experience that God’s amazing grace is with you all like never before. For now it is your time to grieve; let all of us love you
    and strengthen you and help you through this season. We will see our beautiful boys again, Maryann…and on that day it is going to be magnificent! For now, trust and let all of us love you today and the days ahead.

  44. Colleen McKenna

    Jay and I just learned of Lance’s passing a few hours ago. We have been in Dubai for a year, but the sadness stopped us both. From the first time I met the Synder family I was struck by not only their physical beauty but the genuine kindness they all possessed. We met Lance, all grown up, a few
    years ago at an Open House. When we got in the car afterwards we both said, “What a nice, respectful young man.” Our prayers are with you all and I hope to meet beautiful Francine one day.
    Colleen and Jay McKenna

  45. Dan and Cheryl Stettmier

    Francine, Snyder and Costa family, You are in our prayers, Hold on to the Lord, let Him be your strength. I pray the Holy Spirit will surround you during this impossible time.

  46. Francine and The Snyder Family,

    So sad for your loss – our deepest sympathies to you and everyone that Lance has touched.

    Tsai Family

  47. Our deepest sympathies. I remember my grandfather telling me that “God needs Angels, too” after I had lost a friend many, many years ago. You have been so lucky to have your very own Angel in your lives.

    May Lance be at peace and may you feel some comfort in knowing that Lance is looking over a wonderful sunrise ready to cast his line.

    The Salava Family

  48. Kristen Vigrass

    My heartfelt condolences to your whole family. Lance was certainly loved and he will most definitely be missed. God Bless you all.

  49. Michael & Elizabeth Flecker Family

    To the Snyders, Ashley, Francine, and her Family — We share our deepest sympathies and condolences on the passing of Lance. We have been following this journey most of the way. While my family and I didn’t know Lance very well, we certainly know the Snyders well, and I know he was a dear friend of two of my brothers Dan and Chris. I also remember seeing him often during breaks and even growing up at the swimming pool. We are all hurting for you during this time of immense grief. We, of course, will be sending up prayers for Lance and both families as you all work through this difficult situation. God is good and God bless your families.

  50. John Nowak Jr.

    so sorry to hear about your family’s loss. Lance is now in paradise. our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

  51. Dannielle Ellington

    Dear Ashley, Bob and all of Lance’s Families-May you find strength in this very difficult time. I am keeping you and your families in my prayers. May your memories of Lance fill your hearts with joy as you face this time of great sorrow. Thanks for allowing us all to feel as though we knew Lance and what a special person he was.

  52. Fr. Thomas Miller St. Joseph Parish O'Hara Twp.

    Dear Mary Ann & Family,
    Lance’s life touched people—- and because of his goodness and love he will continue to bless others in his new life that is eternal. He made a difference in this world and will sorely be missed.
    May God give us HIS peace!!

  53. I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for the blog and showing us true love, courage and faith. I will continue to keep you in my prayers. In every memory love lives on. God Bless Lance

  54. My deepest sympathy to the Snyder family. My childhood would not have been the same if Lance, Parker and the rest of your loving family were not a part of it. I cherish the great times we had as kids and will forever hold Lance’s memory in my heart. Love and prayers from Florida,
    -Sara Vigrass

  55. Judy & Dean Kreutziger

    Our deepest sympathy is with your family. Our scripture for that day was He weeps for you and with you so you will know mourning is not disbelieving and flooded eyes do not represent a faithless heart. Your faith has sustained you and will continue to do so. We only knew Lance through Sissy’s messages from you and considered blessed to have known what a wonderful man he was. May your loving memories sustain you until you meet again on that glorious day. Prayers and love to all.

  56. So sorry for your loss. May you find the strength to carry on. The love your family has shown for each other during these hard times is an inspiration to me.

  57. Dear Snyder family,
    While having dinner with my mother at Longwood this past Saturday evening, she handed me a newspaper clipping. I opened it and gasped, realizing the unthinkable. I had known that Lance had undergone surgery; he mentioned it in an email he sent to us a month or two after we had spoken to him regarding the possibility of selling our house. But, it seemed then that everything was OK, and I thought little of it until I received another email from him some months later, which seemed to contain typos… references to the wrong holiday season, etc. I thought, well, I hope he’s OK, but maybe it was just a typo.

    The Howard Hanna emails kept coming, though, and it was an indicator to me that his business affairs were proceeding, so therefore his life was proceeding; so much like a heartbeat in this interconnected world. They faded into the background along with so many others as life moves along. Then… this news.

    I sat here this morning, reading the eulogies and weeping. If there is one word I could use to describe him, it is earnest. He seemed very quiet in the days when he would show up with Parker at FCPC Youth Group, but when I met the real estate agent a couple of years ago, I was introduced to a man who possessed a solid understanding of his profession, tempered by an unusual honesty and impressive work ethic. I was so pleased to see how this kid had turned out.

    I’m so sorry that I missed the memorial service, a chance to share my condolences with all of you. My occasional walks take me past your family homestead on Powers Run, and I will always remember the beautiful and faithful sentiments expressed on this page. I wish there were words I could tell you, having been a theology student for years, that could ease the pain, but Morgan did my work for me: you can have God or understanding, but not both. I learned something today…

    You are a delightful family, even in the midst of your grief. I can only aspire to the level of grace and peace you have exemplified in these pages.

    May God continue to bless you, even when it hurts.

    In Christian Love,
    Ken Boyer and family

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