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Passenger: Christine Snyder

Sunday, October 28, 2001

With her long blonde hair and a deep beach tan honed from a lifetime in Hawaii, Christine Snyder often was underestimated by the people she came up against in her job as a certified arborist with the islands' oldest nonprofit environmental group.

Christine Snyder
dot.gif Arborist, The Outdoor Circle, 32, Kailua, Hawaii
Husband, Ian Pescaia
She was returning home after attending the American Forestry Conference in Washington, D.C. and visiting New York City for the first time

But time and again during her 6 1/2 years with The Outdoor Circle, Snyder would convince developers, builders and state officials of the need to preserve and replant native trees across the Hawaiian islands.

As project manager for landscape and planting, "she had a very strong opinion and very good ideas," said Mary Steiner, chief executive officer of The Outdoor Circle. "She was vibrant and caring, and forceful in seeing things through.

"There is a lot of red tape and a lot of coordination that was required. I think she really knew her stuff."

A native Hawaiian, Snyder, 32, lived a half hour's drive east of Honolulu in Kailua in a three-bedroom townhouse with her husband, Ian Pescaia, their cat, Horace, and pointer-red nose pit bull named Zeus. The townhouse was Snyder's pride and joy, decorated with Hawaiian prints bursting with pastel renderings of women garlanded with flowers.

The couple first met in 1984, when Snyder was a high-school freshman and Pescaia a senior. They began dating in 1993 and were married in June in a casual ceremony near the water.

By then, Snyder already was ensconced with The Outdoor Circle, founded 89 years earlier by civic-minded women who wanted to beautify Honolulu when it was in the midst of a commercial boom from whaling and pineapple and sugar plantations. The three-person staff was supplemented by 11 branches across the state, and Snyder's job required her to manage scattered groups of volunteers.

A year ago, Snyder and her volunteers planted 50 coconut, palm, claw-blossomed wiliwili and beach heliotrope trees on Magic Island, part of Ala Moana Beach Park in Oahu.

In Waikiki, she argued for developers to save several large old banyan trees at a building site. In the end, after a protracted struggle with the developer, Snyder prevailed.

At her memorial service in September, the same developers sent flowers.

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