BADGE 257& 731, ID 1904 & 2892 *
SDPD 09/14/1965 - 10/26/1966 **
SDPD 03/01/1969 - 09/01/1979 & 09/10/1979 - 01/07/1993
01/07/1938 - 04/04/2023
* Issued ID number 2892 for 3 months

** Reserve Officer

Husband of WPO Shelia Snyder
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Greth David Snyder, ID 1904, Badge 731
SDPD (already established)
DOB – DOD:  01/07/1938 – 04/04/2023

Greth was born in Chicago IL to parents Anton Richard and Phyllis Ann (Graham) Snyder.  He was their only child, as his father died of heart disease when Greth was only 7.

Greth graduated from James Monroe HS, St. Paul MN, 1955. During and after his high school, he had been part of the US Naval Reserve, and then went into the US Navy in 1957.  He was stationed on both the USS Alamo and then the USS Sanctuary, where he served as 1st class Navy Corpsman during Vietnam, honorably discharged in 1968.  While stationed on the Sanctuary, he and his then family lived in Taipei, Taiwan where he was stationed.

Greth had also been part of the SDPD Reserves, before taking the sworn oath to be part of San Diego Police Department March 7, 1969.  He retired in January 1993, just after his 55th birthday.  He was extremely proud of his career, his associates and everyone he met throughout the USA when he incorporated his medical background into the Traffic Investigations Unit for his experiences.

During his tenure at SDPD, he was involved in many accident investigations, having gained status as a national accident reconstruction/biomechanic and biodynamic expert, and joined the AAAM organization as the 1st active police officer and soon to be speaker/guest lecturer to physicians, engineers, and similar professions.  Greth also spent time at the Medical Examiner’s office doing autopsies as they related to his accident investigations and reports.  He earned the nicknames of “Dr. Doom” or “Dr. Death” from his vast visits working on accidents, stating that a road, vehicle or a deceased person never lied to him as to the events leading up to the incident.

He also taught his biomechanic/biodynamic accident reconstruction courses at March AFB, Riverside, helping the security teams there understand all there is to know (minus books) on reconstruction of accident scenes.  He was also a guest speaker at a conference in the Seattle, WA area and warmly welcomed into that group.

Greth was one of the 1st police units at the scene of PSA Flight 182, and rarely talked about the incident to Sheila, only stating ‘body parts were everywhere.”

Greth also received a lifesaving medal after preventing a stranger from committing suicide off the Washington Street bridge over Hwy 163 in June 1988.  He received his life saving medal and pin during October 1988, and coincided with Sheila’s birthday a few days later, so it was a double celebration for both of us.
Greth was an avid golf fanatic, having been a fan of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and other notables in his life.  Greth also assisted as a bodyguard for other dignitaries who were in the San Diego area.  He was an avid collector of porcelain/vintage teacups and anything to do with tigers. (His Chinese zodiac symbol).

Greth became active in the Veterans of Foreign Wars based on his tenure with the US Navy (1957-1968) and helped wherever he was needed at his Post 9578 (Alpine) from 2010 and about 2 years prior to his death.

The love of his life was his ‘charmed’ (#3) wife, Sheila (Toor) Snyder, who he met while working at SDPD while she was a non-sworn civilian employee in another division.  They were engaged in 1985, married in 1986 and had 37 years together, living in El Cajon with all their dogs.  Sheila was his supporter and advocate, his soul mate and best friend, being there for him on everything police, VFW and outside investigations related.

Greth passed away on April 4, 2023, age 85, at home hospice with Sheila by his side as caregiver, having suffered numerous health issues over the years.  He was cremated while wearing his tan police uniform and interred at Miramar National Cemetery, buried in a First Responder urn, with the collars and tags of our numerous predeceased dogs, and given a beautiful send off with our police friends and associates, VFW Auxiliary and Comrades as well as the Patriot Guard Riders Motorcycle Group.  He will be forever loved and missed by those he worked with, became friends with and of course, Sheila, as he spent the rest of his life with her.

Additional thanks to Mark Shaffer, part of the Patriot Guard Riders, who led the processional at Miramar National Cemetery behind the Final Honor horse and carriage, carrying Greth’s urn, USA Flags, and the bag of the dogs’ items.

A celebration of life will be held at a future date/time. 

Basic information is provided as a courtesy and is obtained from a variety of sources including public data, museum files and or other mediums.  While the San Diego Police Historical Association strives for accuracy, there can be issues beyond our control which renders us unable to attest to the veracity of what is presented. More specific information may be available if research is conducted.  Research is done at a cost of $50 per hour with no assurances of the outcome.  For additional info please contact us.