Login | April 10, 2021

Family and colleagues remember attorney John Snoderly

Legal News Reporter

Published: April 8, 2021

A competent lawyer with an ebullient personality, whose love of the law and zest for life brought joy to his clients, colleagues and family members—that’s how those closest to John Allen Shelby Snoderly describe the longtime Summit County attorney and property owner.
On Feb. 3, Snoderly passed away peacefully at Akron City Hospital with his wife at his bedside. He was 91.
“We had a great life together,” said his wife Cathy. “We were married for 45 years. We built our home together on the property he owned. I was very fortunate that we were able to spend the last eight months together after his illness started. He was such a hard worker. It was the first time that he really had time to enjoy our home.”
“John was one of the nicest, kindest, most gentlemanly lawyers that I have ever met,” said Summit County Probate Judge Elinore Marsh Stormer.
“John was an entrepreneur and owned numerous properties in Summit County and I think he was familiar with many of the problems his clients encountered and had good solutions to help solve those issues,” said Judge Stormer. “He wasn’t a trial lawyer, but he appeared before me in every one of the courts where I served at various times. 
 “John was always prepared and had many longstanding clients, who really liked him. He was a happy man to be around and seemed to really enjoy the work he was doing. He will truly be missed.”
Born in Akron, Ohio on June 6, 1929, he was one of William E. Snoderly and Alma Shelby Snoderly Sebaugh Ostroff’s three children.
Snoderly graduated from Springfield High School. He began his undergraduate studies at Tennessee Wesleyan University, obtaining an associate’s degree before entering the U.S. Air Force as a pilot.
“John was piloting a plane when he was 18 or 19 years old,” said Cathy. “He loved flying so the Air Force was a perfect fit.”
After being honorably discharged from the Air Force, Snoderly completed his bachelor’s degree and earned a juris doctorate at The University of Akron.
Snoderly started practicing law in 1959, opening an office in the building he owned at 77 E. Mill St. During his time at Mill Street, he shared office space with a number of attorneys. He later moved to Bailey Road in Cuyahoga Falls.
“John owned a strip plaza there, so when the city took over the building on Mill Street to build a convention center he decided to set up his law practice in the plaza,” said Cathy.
“I think John really loved what he did,” she said. “He always put his clients first. When his clients were younger he handled a lot of their real estate transactions, but as his clients got older he did their probate work.
“He became friends with many of his clients.”
In fact, Cathy said it was a business relationship that led to their introduction.
“At the time I was living in Hudson,” said Cathy. “John was doing some work for my next-door neighbor’s parents. Because I was unhappy with an attorney I was using, my next-door neighbor introduced me to John.
“John initially handled some of my matters so we had more of a client-friend relationship in the beginning,” said Cathy.
They got married on May 22, 1975.
Larry Poulos, a former chief magistrate in the Summit County Probate Court first met Snoderly in the 1970s.
“John owned a lot of properties and dealt with issues related to his own properties and those of his clients,” said Poulos, of counsel at Rischitelli & Poulos and Barry M. Ward Co. “He also practiced probate law and appeared before me when I was a magistrate.
“John was a very good lawyer,” said Poulos. “He was very knowledgeable and always prepared.
“He was also an accomplished piano player and I often called upon him to play at the senior lawyers committee’s fall outings,” said Poulos. “He was a kind and gentle person. I don’t think I ever saw him angry, even when I was beating him at golf.”
Akron probate attorney Mike Kaplan described Snoderly as a “good lawyer,” who worked hard for his clients.
“John was a good guy, who always made me feel as though he was happy to see me. It was a great gift of his.
“I would see John in court and in various settings,” said Kaplan. “When we litigated against one another he was competent and prepared and advocated hard for his clients. He was well respected by the judges, who always seemed very happy to see him.”
A member of the Ohio State and Akron bar associations and the American Legion, Snoderly was active in the community throughout his life.
He was a founding member of the Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy and served as a trustee and legal advisor to Lakemore United Methodist Church, where he and his wife were members.
Snoderly often utilized his lawyering skills and knowledge of construction to help local charities, businesses, schools and individuals.
“When the Sunday school class built a pavilion in the back of the church to be used for various community activities, John advised on the legal aspects and construction,” said Cathy. “He also advised on how to build the rental properties that he owned.”
While Snoderly’s job and real estate holdings kept him very busy, his wife said he still managed to teach himself how to play multiple musical instruments and found time to golf with friends and fly with clients.
“John loved to travel both nationally and internationally,” she said. “We went to England, Scotland, Wales, Rome and Israel and sailed on the Chesapeake Bay with our friends.
“John also enjoyed camping. We camped with our Sunday school class the last weekend of every August,” said Cathy. “We had a full life and were quite blessed. It’s very hard now to spend my days alone.”
A funeral service was held for Snoderly on Feb. 8 at Hopkins Lawver Funeral Home in Akron.
Snoderly leaves behind his wife Cathy, daughters Lynn Marie, Catherine Dobyan, Elizabeth Giovagnoli (Gary) and Rebecca Lancaster (Ryan), stepdaughters Susan Davis (Dan) and Deann Moore (Jeff) as well as 14 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his loyal secretary of 31 years Teresa Shaw.
He was preceded in death by his parents, sisters Elizabeth Cameron and Joann Insalacco, son John Jr. and son-in-law Duane Dobyan.