Orville Snater

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 16, 2009

Orville W. Snater, 79, of Austin, died Saturday, Nov. 14, 2009 at St. Mark’s Lutheran Home.

Orville Wallace Snater was born Feb. 26, 1930 in Albert Lea, the son of Ben H. and Agnes (Yocom) Snater. Orv attended Austin Public Schools, graduating in 1948. He was a member of the 1948 State Championship Wrestling team.

Orv began playing bass horn in area old time bands at age 16 and after graduating, joined the Viking Accordion Band in Albert Lea, touring the five state midwest area. In 1951 Orv enlisted in the U.S. Army and played in Army bands stateside until being sent to Korea. He was sent into combat to recapture “Old Baldy” and was wounded by mortar fire. He spent the last years of his enlistment in hospitals in Japan, Hawaii and Denver, Colo., where he was awarded the Purple Heart.  Upon discharge from the Army in 1954, Orv returned to Austin.

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Orv’s employment years were spent in the car business from service and maintenance to sales. He built his own stock car and raced at area race tracks, drove OTR semi for 10 years and retired from the U.S. Postal Service. He enjoyed 50 years of professional music, playing in several area dance bands, including the Henry Charles Orchestra, Curt Wilkinson Band and his own band, Five From Dixie. He volunteered in the Riverland Theatre Orchestra and the Austin City Band.

After retirement, Orv’s hobby of fixing up used bikes and giving them away to anyone in need earned him the title of “The Bike Man.” His final giveaway included 150 bikes, boxes of parts, tires and tubes — all shipped to a mission in Haiti, sponsored by First United Methodist Church.

Orville Snater married Alice Kautzky in St. Patrick’s Church in Perry, Iowa on Sept. 17, 1955 and they made their home in Austin these past 54 years. His passions in life were his family, his music, needy children and his pets.

Survivors include his wife, Alice; sons, Mark, Mike (Sue), John (Tracey); daughters, Dianne, Theresa (Steve), Kirsten (Wayne); 15 grandchildren; four great-grandsons; sisters, Doris Hargis, Austin, Judy (Richard) Norwich, Flagstaff, Ariz.; and nieces and nephews.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Ben and Agnes Snater; brother, Duane; nephew, Greg; and an infant son.

A Memorial Mass will be celebrated 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2009 at St. Augustine Catholic Church with Father Paul Nelson and Father Joe Fogal officiating. There will be a 7 p.m. wake service on Tuesday at Mayer Funeral Home where friends may call from 4 to 8 p.m. The family will also greet friends at a luncheon following the service at the church on Wednesday. Interment will be in Calvary Cemetery with military rites by American Legion Post #91 and V.F.W. Post #1216.