Father “Chuck” Snopek, priest and poet, dies at 83

CASTLE HAYNE—Father Charles “Chuck” J. Snopek, a retired priest of the Diocese of Charleston and avid writer of poetry, died Sept. 8 in Castle Hayne, N.C. He was 83.

The Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Sept. 13 in Precious Blood of Christ Church on Pawleys Island. Interment was in the church columbarium.

He was born Jan. 9, 1930, in Cresco, Iowa, a son of Dr. Charles F. and Mary Loretta Snopek. He was raised in New York City and graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Holy Cross College in Worcester, Mass., and earned a master’s degree from Columbia University. He moved with his parents to Greenville in 1971 and worked as a photographer and picture framer until 1981. He entered seminary at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Md., where he earned his Master’s of Divinity.

Father Snopek was ordained by Bishop Ernest L. Unterkoefler on Dec. 21, 1986, in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.

His assignments in the diocese included: parochial vicar at Blessed Sacrament Church in Charleston (1987); parochial vicar at St. John Neumann in Columbia (1987-88); parochial vicar at St. Mary Church in Greenville (1988-90); and pastor of Precious Blood of Christ Church (1990-99). He officially retired in 1999 but later accepted an assignment as administrator of Jesus, Our Risen Savior Church in Spartanburg (2003-2006).

Father Snopek was a veteran of the U.S. Army, serving as an intelligence sergeant in Trieste, Italy, from 1952-54. He taught in the English department at Adelphi University from 1958-64, and interned in continuing education at the University of Chicago from 1964-65. He later became a research assistant in adult education from 1965-66 and an associate from 1966-68. He returned to New York as dean of Dowling College School of General Studies in Oakdale, N.Y., from 1968-69.

He is survived by his sister, Maryanne Austin of Rocky Point, N.C.; three nieces, Marguerite Austin-Gore, Mary Jo Austin and Patti Palmer; a nephew, A.C. Austin; and a great-nephew and great-niece, Ryland and Mallory Austin.

Memorial donations may be made to: Precious Blood of Christ Church, 1633 Waverly Road, Pawleys Island, SC 29585 or Priests Retirement Fund, Diocese of Charleston, 1662 Ingram Road, Charleston, SC 29407-4242.