Oh, the Places You Can Go-With a Little Help from your Friends
Snyder credits his adventurous career to influences of the trampoline, Larry Griswold, and the UI.
Larry Snyder (BSPE ’63) recognized a lifelong friend and mentor when he received his fall 2007 issue of Education@Iowa. Snyder met Larry Griswold, world-famous trampoline performer and the topic of the magazine’s cover feature, as a teenager. The meeting would change the path of Snyder’s life—sending him first to The University of Iowa and then all over the world.
Snyder was drawn to a trampoline in Griswold’s Cedar Rapids backyard and was “wandering” into the yard to bounce from then on.
“We became close friends and he was an excellent teacher,” Snyder said.
Snyder’s friendship with Griswold and shared interest in the trampoline proved fruitful. He received a gymnastics scholarship to attend the UI, where he majored in physical education.
Synder and two other members of the gymnastics team traveled to the Middle East in 1961 as part of a State Department goodwill tour. The men performed in Turkey , Cyprus , Lebanon , Syria , Jordan , Kuwait , Bangladesh , and West Pakistan .
Snyder said observing Griswold’s world travels as a performer encouraged him to expand his horizons as well.
“He was always coming back from somewhere and it made me think outside of Cedar Rapids because we were birds of a feather,” Snyder said. “It did make a difference to me that he was such a traveler and so dedicated to his profession.”
When Snyder was graduating, he contacted Beirut ’s International College president, whom he had met on his gymnastics tour, to see if he could return to Beirut as a teacher.
Snyder took a post there as a P.E. teacher and later became athletic director. Snyder’s wife, Jeanne (BA ’63), taught kindergarten in Beirut at the American Community School .
The Snyders left the Middle East in 1967, but their international adventures continued. They worked everywhere from Nigeria to Switzerland before moving to Florida, where Snyder is semi-retired from his corporate merchandizing company, Caymad, Inc. Jeanne retired from teaching at the University of Miami and now works in the children’s section at a local bookstore.
Snyder still thinks of his old friend Larry Griswold often.
“He was a fine example for a teenager to try and emulate—not only in his professionalism, but in his life,” he said. “He was more than just a trampoline performer. He was deeper than that.”