Lea R. Sneider, 94, Lake Dunmore summer resident
NEW YORK CITY — Lea Ruth Sneider, 94, passed away peacefully at her home on the West Side of Manhattan, in the company of her husband Rutherford Poats and her daughter, Dena. Born in 1925 in Jersey City, N.J., she was the daughter of Samuel and Deborah Tartalsky.
While studying music and philosophy at the University of Michigan, Lea met Richard Sneider, then an officer in the U.S. Army being trained as a Japanese language officer. They were married in the midst of World War II, in 1944, before he went off to combat in the Pacific. He joined the State Department in 1948, going on to a distinguished career as a diplomat and Lea served the semi-official role in the Foreign Service of a diplomat’s wife, recognized by the State Department as a significant contributor to the promotion of the United States abroad. They served twice in Japan and once in Pakistan and she concluded her service as the wife of the Ambassador of the U.S. to the Republic of Korea.
After Amb. Sneider passed away in 1986, Lea married the Honorable Rutherford Poats, a distinguished foreign correspondent, development aid official and international financial specialist, in 1990.
Earlier in her life, Lea Sneider had a long career as a music teacher for pre-school and elementary children, developing a curriculum for teaching music in the Head Start program in Washington, D.C. During her time in the Foreign Service, she performed as a concert pianist, presenting concerts in Japan, Taiwan, Korea and Washington, D.C.
She developed a deep interest in Japanese and Korean art during her residence overseas and after moving to New York in 1979, became a recognized dealer in and expert on Japanese and Korean folk art. She also curated acclaimed exhibitions on Japanese antique shop signs and Korean folk art, with accompanying book publications. In New York, Lea served on the Board of Directors of The Korea Society, which hosted an exhibition in 2014 of her collection of Korean art.
Lea was the vibrant and adoring mother of three children, Dena, Daniel and David; and beloved by seven grandchildren, Miranda, Adam, Noah, Benjamin, Eli, Abigail and Eve; and two great-grandchildren, Eliana and Ezra; her husband, Rutherford Poats; and her brother, Jeremiah Tarr of Rutland, Vt. She enjoyed spending time at her summer home on Lake Dunmore.
She will be buried in Rutland, Vt., and her family had scheduled a shiva service on Feb. 3 at her residence.
Arrangements are by Tossing Funeral Home.◊
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