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Ruth R. Snead, 91

The Baltimore Sun

Ruth R. Snead, a native of Germany who fled Nazism in her youth and later moved to Baltimore, died Saturday of complications from surgery at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. The longtime Homeland resident was 91.

Anna Ruth Reiche was born in Magdeburg, Germany, and raised in the Tiergarten in Berlin.

Her father, Arthur Reiche, was married to an American, Catherine "Flirty" Garvin. After his death, she married Hermann Marks, a prominent banker and finance minister who served during the administration of Paul von Hindenburg, president of Germany from 1925 to 1934.

At an early age, Mrs. Snead showed an interest in drama, studying at the Hohenzollern Lyceum in Berlin and with Max Reinhardt, a renowned Austrian director.

With the rise of Adolf Hitler and the death of her stepfather in the 1930s, Mrs. Snead and her family began shuttling between Berlin and Pittsburgh, her mother's hometown.

They finally left Berlin in 1936 and settled in Richmond, Va., where an older sister had moved.

"They were only able to take one container of goods and had to leave most of their processions behind," said a son, James A. Snead, a Baltimore architect.

After graduating from high school, Mrs. Snead studied theater at what is now Carnegie Mellon University.

She later returned to Richmond, where she was an executive secretary to a vice president of Virginia Electric and Power Co., before her 1939 marriage to John Elwood Snead.

Since 1952, the couple had lived in Homeland. Mr. Snead, an executive of American Credit Indemnity Co., a subsidiary of Commercial Credit Inc., died in 1995.

Mrs. Snead was an avid duckpin bowler and took up tennis when she was in her 70s. She continued to enjoy the sport until last autumn.

"She was a very bright, vibrant and positive personality. She was truly a lovely person," said Harriet H. Flynn, a girlhood friend from Berlin who lives in Princeton, N.J. "When we were living in Berlin, we loved going to picnics, putting on plays and going to the American Club. Of course, that was before Hitler."

She was a member of the Baltimore Country Club, which presented her with the Ruth Snead Spirit Award in 2006.

A memorial service for Mrs. Snead will be held at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Brown Memorial Woodbrook Presbyterian Church, 6200 N. Charles St.

Also surviving are another son, John E. Snead Jr. of Homeland; a daughter, Catherine Garvin MacMurray of Severna Park; three grandsons; and two great-grandsons.

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