James J. Snyder
Class of 1953
James Snyder graduated from Olean High in 1953 and later earned his Bachelor of Arts from Syracuse University. Mr. Snyder also attended St. Bonaventure University, where he earned a Master’s Degree in 1992. He was inducted into the Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame as a Letterwinner of Distinction, having been a member of the Syracuse basketball team during his four years at the school. Mr. Snyder was also inducted into the Olean High School Athletic Wall of Fame.
Mr. Snyder has long been active in local politics. He served two years on the Olean Common Council, representing Ward 1, and decades on the Cattaraugus County Legislature, where he served as chairman for 13 years. Mr. Snyder was inducted into the Seneca Nation of Indians as a member of the Hawk Clan, and was also past president of the OHS Alumni Association and a member of the B.P.O. Elks Club #191. He served as president of the National Association of Counties (NACo) in Washington, D.C., and was president of the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) in Albany. In 1990, Mr. Snyder was named “County Leader of the Year” by City and County Magazine, a national municipal publication. From 1991-1993, he lived in Washington, D.C. and worked in the White House as a special assistant to President George H.W. Bush.
At home, Mr. Snyder was regional vice president of AAA of Western and Central New York for 40 years. He was also president of the Cattaraugus Empire Zone Corporation and Cattaraugus County Board of Health, chairman of the City of Olean Planning Board, and served on the Board of Trustees at Jamestown Community College.
Mr. Snyder served as an active and reserve member of the United Stats Army, and is a member of the American Legion Post #530. He is married to Paula J. Snyder and has four children, two step-children and seven grandchildren.