John Snyder was born to Nickolas Constantine Kokinakos and Dorothy Hood, Feb. 17, 1923, in Vancouver, B.C. Nick immigrated to Canada from Sparta, Greece, and Dorothy was of English heritage. Nicholas ran a few small cafes (like all good Greeks!)and Dorothy raised the kids. According to John, his mother canceled Greek traditions for their new family and he raised him as a Canadian English. To honor his mother's choice, he changed his surname to Snyder. Many years later his daughter, Tiffany, asked him why he chooses Snyder and he just said that it sounded good. John was politely asked to leave high school after the ninth grade as he was...a high spirited young man. They thought he’d be better off just getting a job. He went to work at a bakery and hated it. It was the most boring repetitive work. He told to his children that a door would open in the ceiling and a ball of dough would fall through onto a table and then he had to break it into prices put it in pans and by the time he was done another ball of dough would fall and over and over and over. He hated it. He also worked in a sugar refinery. His mother Dorothy died about that time, from nasal surgery. He lived in a two-story house and grew up during the Great Depression supervised mostly by his older brother Conn Kokinakos, who passed in 2008. Growing up in the Great Depression his shoes never fit and he only had one pair that his mom was always mending. He remembered that he’d collect bottles for money and when he’d get 10 cents he’d spend the day at the beach and buy a soda and a hot dog. Finally, when they asked for soldiers he jumped at the chance and somehow he managed to become an aviation cadet in Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). Those days....
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