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The sweet life of Jeannine Snook

By: Rachel Zirin, Senior Reporter
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Jeannine Snook was a Folsom icon and will be remembered by so many. Jeannine was diagnosed with lymphoma in September of last year and passed away at the age of 84 on Dec. 27. She will be missed by her husband John, six children, 11 grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.

Born on April 4, 1932, in Williston, North Dakota and was always a loving and caring person to every soul she met, good or bad.

John met his wife on a rainy Sunday night. Three of his friends decided to go to downtown Sacramento and while they were walking on the street by the cathedral, they heard ping pong being played, so they went down to join.

“I had the car, so I ended up taking everyone home. You can imagine eight of us in a car without seat belts,” John laughed. “Jeannine was so talkative. The other guys were getting the gals phone numbers and I couldn’t wait to get her out of the care. She was non-stop talking.”

About two to three months later they met again and after they danced, they went to have a hamburger. Later, he went to her home and her mother said she was taking inventory at her job so John went to go help her. It was then that he realized she was a special person.

The two married on March 20, 1954 and would have been married for 63 years this March, John said. 

The couple opened up Country Candies in the food circus in the Arden Fair Mall just as it was opening. The owner of the building was Jeannine’s cousin. 

Later John and Jeannine moved to Tahoe City and there they owned and operated Snooks Candies. After birthing six children, Jeff, Joe, Jerry, Jon, Jim and Julie and living in Tahoe for 30 years, the Snooks moved to the little town of Folsom where they continued the business.

“When we were in Tahoe, our store was on the second story,” John said. “We had many friends coming up to vacation in the summer time and we made many friends while up there. When they would come visit, Jeannine would come out and give them a big hug and when they would leave, they would come to the shop and she would give them a hug goodbye. Next thing I know, she is downstairs walking them to their car and saying goodbye again. She made friends so easily.”

Kathy DeMaria was Jeannine’s best friend for 20 years. They met in Tahoe when Kathy worked right below the store.

“Jeannine and I became very close, especially when John sold the store in Tahoe,” she said. “There was some attraction to her and I have always told her that she had my mother’s eyes. My mother passed away, so I became instantly connected to her in a mother/daughter way, but she also became my best friend.”

When John was moving the store to Folsom, they were looking for a place to live in Roseville. Jeannine started working with Kathy and wanted to work for another month while they were moving, so Kathy told her to move in for 30 days, while John found a home in Roseville.

“We worked together, lived together and partied together,” Kathy said. “We had so much fun and I have so many pictures of her and I going out and dancing. She loved to sing and dance, even at work.”

Kathy said Jeannine never said anything bad about anyone. Even when Kathy wanted to, Jeannine would tell her, ‘Come on, look at the positive side of things.’

“She was always there for me in my times of trouble and helped me through them. I miss her very much and I love her. She was like a guardian angel sent down,” Kathy said. “She made everyone feel good and she was just a wonderful lady. I think about you everyday Jeannine. You will always be in my heart.”

Last week, the Telegraph sat down with four of the six children. They reminisced in great stories in memory of their mother.

Julie Snook-Kelly, the only daughter, said she remembered watching her mother work and she would learn from her work ethics.

“She was always so happy and she was very good at teaching us. She really got to know people and made everyone feel special,” Julie said. “All of us kids grew up in the business and we were all involved. I remember my mom would work here and then she would come pick us up from school and she would always be at least an hour late.”

Jeff said once he was a straight A student.

“Because she was always late, I always had my homework done,” he said. “She was very good at reaching out to people. She didn’t discriminate against anyone. She didn’t acre is someone was a bad person, she was sweet and kind to everyone.” 

Jeff said he never heard her say a bad word about anyone and she was never rude.

Joe told a story about when she would cook in the kitchen.

“She would have her back to you from where the stove was, and she would just talk and talk and talk about anything,” Joe said. “As a joke, I would have friends over and I would say, ‘Watch this.’ I would take them all the way in the back of the house to my room and they would say, ‘What are you doing?’ and I would say, ‘Don’y worry about it. When we go back there, she will still be talking. She won’t even know we left.’ It is a true story. When we went back in she would still be talking and cooking.”

Julie said she would non-stop talk until the very end.

Jim, current owner of Snooks Candies, said her nickname was the energizer bunny, because she never stopped, she was always going.

“One of my memories, to stretch the budget, she would buy these giant boxes of powdered milk and then she would buy a gallon of regular milk,” Jim said. “She had this giant pitcher and she would dump the real milk in and then make more with the powder.”

John laughed when he said that her family would always come for a 10 minute visit and then it would talk them an hour to say goodbye.

Karen, Jeff’s wife, said she remembers when she told Jeannine that she was going to be a grandmother she said, “Oh! I am too young to be a grandmother!”

“She was very young, but it was funny because when I was told I was going to be a grandmother, I said the same thing,” she said. “She was so pretty and young looking. She was a typical 50s mom. She stayed at home and worked very hard. She would always cook, clean, make beds and she worked around the clock.”

Jeannine’s funeral will be held at 10:15 a.m. on Jan. 28 at St. Joseph Marello Catholic Church, 7200 Auburn Folsom Road in Granite Bay. 

John said that after church on Sundays, he would go sit in the car because everyone had left, but Jeannine made sure she would say hello to any one in a wheel chair who wasn’t doing well.

“She would make everyone feel so special,” Jeff said.