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Chester J. Snedden Sr., retired custodian Sept. 20, 1921 -- Jan. 30, 2006

Chester J. Snedden Sr., a retired custodian who played Santa Claus at Christmas time, died Monday in Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Amherst, after a long illness. He was 84.

The Buffalo native attended Kensington High School and served in the Army in Germany during World War II.

He was a longtime custodian in the Kenmore-Tonawanda School District, including head custodian at Lindbergh School, until retiring in 1984.

During the early 1990s, Mr. Snedden enjoyed his role as Santa Claus during the Christmas season at Kelly's Country Store on Grand Island.

Mr. Snedden also was well known in his Kenmore neighborhood as the "Mayor of Argonne Drive" and was grand marshal of informal annual Independence Day parades that were part of the neighborhood's block parties.

His wife of 54 years, Florence M. Hanford Snedden, died in 1996.

Surviving are a daughter, Jewel of Buffalo; three sons, David of Amherst, Thomas of Clarence and Chester J. Jr. of Dallas; six grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

A memorial service was held Wednesday in Kenmore Baptist Church.


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