GERALDINE MARY MCGIRL"COOTIE" SNEEGeraldine Mary McGirl (Cootie) Snee, 69, of Duluth, Minn. died peacefully and unexpectedly in her sleep at her home on Sunday, May 5.
Geraldine Mary McGirl (Cootie) Snee, 69, of Duluth, Minn., and Lake Wales, Fla., died peacefully and unexpectedly in her sleep at her home on Sunday, May 5.
She was born Nov. 13, 1943 in St. Mary’s Hospital in Duluth to Thomas and Marjorie Miller McGirl.
She was educated at Holy Rosary School, graduated from the former Stanbrook Hall High School in 1961 and attended the University of Minnesota-Duluth. She was a member of St. Michael’s Catholic parish in Duluth and St. Matthew in Winter Haven, Fla.
She married John Russell Snee of Wadena, Minn., on Oct. 3, 1964, and they did pretty much everything together for the rest of her life, showing by example how a successful marriage works for their two sons, Thomas, now 47, and Michael, 44. She worked at Bridgeman’s restaurant, the downtown Sears store and Norwest Bank before retiring as credit manager from Advanstar Communications in 2000.
She never took to the snow and cold and long dark winters of Duluth. From November to March, she mostly cocooned in the house, bundled up in a comforter reading novels and spy thrillers and ventured outside only when necessary—for work, Mass, shopping, and to spend Christmas Eve with her extended family. Before retiring, she started taking annual spring vacations in Florida—Sanibel Island was her favorite—until finally, in 2005, she could endure Minnesota winters no longer and she moved to Florida to spend her final eight years basking in the sun and heat she loved.
She still spent her summers in Duluth, the lake-cooled weather providing the same kind of relief from the torrid Florida summer that Florida provided from a Minnesota winter. And since Duluth is where she was from, she could not cut the cord permanently. The lake, the hills, the woods drew her back, along with her many friends who still lived there, and it’s where she wished to have her final resting place.
She was known to most of her Duluth friends as Cootie, a childhood nickname she was never particularly fond of but that she came to accept because she liked it better than her given name. It came about when she was a toddler and an uncle called her “cutie,” which she mispronounced.
She enjoyed reading, and her home was filled with paperbacks, although she had recently made the transition to a Kindle. She started off each day by reading newspapers. In Florida, three of them.
She had no particular fondness for sports, although she paid attention to it to humor her husband and sons and was pleased as anyone when the Twins won the World Series.
She found happiness in little things—a good book, a golf cart ride around her neighborhood in the evening, shopping at Publix and providing for her family. She loved bridge and played regularly. She enjoyed a clean, well-ordered home, tastefully decorated. She liked to walk on the beach and the Lakewalk in Duluth, sit on the lanai of her Florida home and exercise in the pool while talking with friends.
Mostly she loved her grandchildren and would plan for their visits far in advance to make sure she had the right cereal, the right soda and the ingredients to make a cherry pie. She bought a Wii video game for them to play and even tried it out herself a few times, and she bought a fold-out couch so her grandchildren could sleep together.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Thomas and Marjorie McGirl, and a daughter, Mary Patricia, infant.
She is survived by her husband, John; sons Thomas (Julia) of Iowa City, Iowa, and Michael (Katy) of Minneapolis; four grandchildren, Louis, Eleanor and Peter Snee of Minneapolis and Ethan of Iowa City; sisters Patricia (Ron) Day of Bloomington, Minn., Susan (Tom) Gehlsen of St. Paul and Mari of Columbus, Ohio; and brother Tom (known as Tim) of Coral Gables, Fla.
FUNERAL MASS: was held Friday, May 10 in St. Matthew Catholic Church, 1991 Overlook Dr., Winter Haven, Fla. A memorial service will be held on a TBD date this summer in Duluth, Minn.. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Holy Rosary School; 2802 East 4th St.; Duluth, MN 55812.
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