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Michael Snyder

Feb 24, 1950 - Dec 2, 2018
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Michael James Snyder was born on February 24, 1950 to James and Colleen Snyder in Yakima, Washington. The oldest of three brothers, Mike, Steve, and Brad enjoyed time spent fishing with their granddad Horace Snyder in Neah Bay. The entire family had a love of fishing and boating, spending family summers at Alderbrook in Allen, WA. Michael, his parents and brothers spent summers and holidays with their grandparents, they loved their special time with them in Seattle. Michael spent most of his young life and into his adult life on the water. Sadly, Michael lost his mother at a young age of 20, leaving a huge void in their lives, as she was well loved. Her vivacious spirit and commitment to her children are attributes that could always be seen in Michael throughout his life. He spent his early childhood attending Yakima schools and graduated from Eisenhower High School in 1968. Mike excelled in basketball during his High School time. Standing at nearly 6 foot 6, it was no surprise to anyone he was known as Mr. Basketball. To this day it was a title he was proud of and just recently had reconnected with his coach Keith Farnum. During his childhood and high school years he helped out with the family’s business, Snyder's Bakery for his father Jim, who passed away in 2002, running vacation routes for employees. He went on to attend the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington where he graduated with a degree in Business Administration in 1972.

Mike married Nadine Callow in 1974, and together they had their son, Graham Michael Snyder. In 1984 Mike met his wife Lisa Deccio, and together they moved to Colorado in 1991 to further the development of his restaurant career. In 1998 they were married in Positano, Italy.

In 1979 Michael and his brothers became the first franchisees of the Red Robin restaurant, officially turning the restaurant into a chain. In 1989 he then opened the first out of state restaurant in Boise, Idaho. The brothers would then open 14 restaurants in Colorado, Idaho, and Washington over the years, with annual revenues of over $40 million per year by the mid-1990s. The restaurants are operated by an organization called The Snyder Group. The franchisor company had been sold by its original owners to a Japanese company previously, however the company had not been doing well. Michael, with his wife Lisa, traveled to Tokyo to present the parent company with a new business plan, and returned as the new COO and president of the company in 1998. Next, Michael was promoted to CEO. In 1994 he moved the company's headquarters from California to Denver, Colorado. In 2009 Michael merged his franchise company with the franchisor Red Robin company, forming the Red Robin Gourmet Burgers company. Since Michael took the reins in 1996, the company experienced twenty-four consecutive quarters of growth. During this period, he grew the number of restaurants, with average sales per restaurant increasing by over 50%. He then took the company public in 2002. About half the company's restaurants at this point were company owned, with the other half being franchised. He developed the company's business model of what the company and the press called "unbridled service", which encourages employees to act beyond their scope in bringing enjoyment to customer experiences and take advantage of situations to go beyond their usual job in making diners happy. That is how Michael lived his life, always. Red Robin was named the restaurant chain of the year in 2005 by Restaurant Hospitality, which had previously written that the success of Red Robin was due directly to his leadership. Michael left his positions with the company late that year, leaving Red Robin as a billion-dollar company. At that time Mike and Lisa moved to their home in Sun Valley, Idaho, where they resided until 2014, when they returned to their birthplace of Yakima, Washington. They opened two restaurants with his son, Graham, Cowiche Canyon Kitchen and Ice House Bar and EZ Tiger.

Mike’s greatest passions were his wife and his dogs, his son and daughter-in-law, his two grandchildren, his family and many close friends. If you ever drove down Scenic Dr, you couldn’t miss seeing Mike and his dogs driving his Gator down to his sons home daily to see and run around with his precious grandchildren, Wheeler and Waylon. Something that was near and dear to his heart was his love of philanthropy. He donated generously to many charitable organizations as well as individuals in need. His love of the sea and being with nature was truly who Michael was! He found peace and solitude in Alaska where he spent most of his summers fishing with family and longtime friends. Michael had a sense of humor that could draw the laughter and love out of anyone who had the privilege of knowing him. With a childlike spirit, Michael attracted children who developed strong bonds that would carry out his love for his family and friends throughout his lifetime. He mentored many young entrepreneurs, who would come to him for his guidance and intuition. Many knew Michael as a successful businessman, but for Michael that was what he did, not truly who he was. He made everyone feel important and invincible. No one could make you feel better about yourself than Mike Snyder.

He is loved by his wife, Lisa, son Graham and daughter-in-law Kaulin. Grandchildren Wheeler and Waylon, Graham's mother, Nadine McWilliams, his three Belgian Tervurens, Shane, Annabel, and Neka Bay. His brother Steve (Jeannie) and his sons James (Brianna) Snyder, John (Sarah) Snyder, and thier mother, Louise Snyder, youngest brother Brad his son Chase and daughter Arielle.His step mother, Karen Snyder Scott and father and mother-in-law Robert and Joanne Deccio. Brother- in-laws Brad (Cindy) and sons Robert (Marsha), Tyler Deccio. Craig Deccio and sons Brett, Cody (Jace), Keenan (Lindsey) and Paul Deccio.

A Celebration of Michael’s life will be held at the Yakima Convention Center (10 N 8th St., Yakima) on Sunday, January 13, 2019 at 11:00AM. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Underground Cat/Kitten Rescue of Yakima and send checks payable to Lisa Snyder in care of Brookside Funeral Home (PO Box 1267, Moxee, WA, 98936) or purchase gift cards from Cowiche Canyon Kitchen and give them to all your friends. Memorial contributions may also be given to the charity of your choice. Brookside Funeral Home is caring for the family. 


Funeral Information

Funeral service

Jan 13, 2019:11:00AM

Yakima Convention Center

10 N 8th St, Yakima