Mary Louise Snowden

October 13, 1936 - December 31, 2012
Mary Louise Snowden

Mary Louise (Mary Lou) Snowden, age 76, of Wilmington, NC, passed peacefully at home on Monday, December 31, 2012, with her daughters by her side.

She was born October 13, 1936, in Onarga, Illinois, to the late Dora May Wallace and Willi Edward Schulz.

She is survived by her brother, William Whitlow, of San Diego, CA., her two daughters, Jennifer Caiafa, of Port Jervis, NY and Melissa Snowden of Wilmington, NC,and her six grandchildren, Brent, Rachel and Sarah Caiafa, Eddie and Damian LiBassi, and Kensi Snowden.

Many people across the globe have had the pleasure of sharing a piece of Mary Lou’s well-intentioned life. She was passionate in her service to others, and dedicated most of her life to volunteer work and to a career in non-profit organizations. She served as a Camp Director for the YMCA at Camp Florida for several years, managed the Goodwill Foundation in Austin, TX, volunteered as a Chaplain for Unity Church of Austin, where she also held the position of Business Manager, and then served three years as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Fiji Islands. Following her volunteer service, Mary Lou was appointed as an Administrative Officer in Slovakia, then as a Country Director in Kathmandu, Nepal. Upon her return to the states, she served as Acting Director and Chief Administrative Officer for the Europe, Mediterranean and Asia regions at the Peace Corps headquarters in Washington, DC.

Mary Lou selected Wilmington, NC, as her retirement destination. She continued along her path of service to others, as a recruiter for the Peace Corps, a literacy volunteer, a volunteer tax consultant for the VIDA tax program, a volunteer for the Spanish program at Cape Fear Center for Inquiry, and served on the Obama campaign. She was a member of Mensa, an avid reader, and enjoyed leading water aerobics with the ladies in her community.

The family will be holding a private celebration of Mary Lou’s life.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Peace Corps, Office of Gifts and Grants Management, 1111 20th St. NW, Washington, DC 20526, or to any of the other organizations that Mary Lou volunteered for.

Please share memories and condolences with the family by clicking on the “Sign Guest Book” tab above.

Wilmington Funeral & Cremation, 1535 S. 41st Street, Wilmington, NC 28403 910.791.9099


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  • February 01, 2013
    Kay Taylor Zirkle says:
    We want to offer our deepest Sympathy to Jennifer & Melissa in the loss of their mother and my very best friend. We just found out today 2/01/13 about Mary Lou--we received a note from her brother Bill. I was more than a classmate, we were more like sisters in Onarga and college growing up together. Love Kay

  • January 08, 2013
    Becky Joffrion says:
    Your mother is truly one of my heros. She has always been one of my favorite people and I know you will miss her. I can't image how you really feel. So, so sorry . . .

  • February 07, 2013
    Bob Zirkle Jr. says:
    I am so sorry to hear about the passing of your mom.I do know that our moms were best friends growing up.As a boy, I can remember our trip to Garland, Tx and your mom and dad's kindness to let three Zirkle boys attend Camp Martin Johnson to get a "real" education with the Chicago kids. I have always admired your mom's kindness to others during her lifetime, whether it be the Peace Corp, the YMCA,and the other volunteer work that I found out about after her death.Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Bob and Karen Zirkle

  • January 12, 2013
    Andry says:
    thanks for commenting dad! glad to hear you had a wet n' wild time today. i do rmeember that incident at ft. cobb lake. i didn't know you gave that guy a bunch of vegetables and fruit though. chris and i practiced for our gig tomorrow night at homer's. we're gonna use a borrowed keyboard that has drum and bass patterns on it and play blue bayou' and maybe under the boardwalk.' wish you could be there.

  • June 11, 2013
    Brett Johnson says:
    I remember Mary Lou as a very supportive and sincere Country Director during my Peace Corps service in Nepal. She was a sweet lady who took the time to listen, and she understood integrity. She also set high expectations for PCVs as to their conduct and commitment. I'll never forget sitting next to her at a dinner with Senators and dignitaries in Kathmandu. She was one hip lady!