Margaret Elizabeth Nicholas Snellgrove Obituary

Published 2:33 pm Tuesday, October 31, 2023

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Margaret Elizabeth Nicholas Snellgrove, 92, of Greenville, passed away peacefully on Thursday, Oct. 26 at home surrounded by her family. 

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 4, at the First Baptist Church of Greenville with the Reverend John Girdley officiating and Dunklin Funeral Home directing. The family will greet friends at the church from 10 a.m. until service time. Interment will follow at Magnolia Cemetery.

Margaret was born Dec. 18, 1930, in Excel, to Walter Cleveland Nicholas and Bessie Dees Nicholas. She was the younger of two children.

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Margaret was preceded in death by her husband, Dr. Louis LaDon (Don) Snellgrove; brother, Dr. Walter Clay Nicholas; nephew, Thomas H. Nicholas; and beloved cousins, Ernestine E. Kelly and Riley N. Kelly. 

She is survived by her daughter, Margaret Elizabeth “Beth” Snellgrove Chastain; son, John Nicholas Snellgrove (Annette), all of Greenville; three grandchildren: Elizabeth Chastain Johnson (David) of Fairhope; Dock Chastain (Eileen) of Springfield, Oregon; Caroline Snellgrove of Birmingham; four great grandsons: Owen, Collin, Reid, and Sawyer Johnson of Fairhope; and several special nieces and nephews. 

Pallbearers will be James H. Dunklin IV, Dr. Caleb Gardner, Dr. David Johnson, Adam Nicholas, Clay Nicholas, and Joe Nicholas. 

Margaret’s life was a true reflection of unconditional love, unquestionable acceptance, unfaltering devotion, and endless generosity to her family, friends, and many others who either crossed her path or walked beside her for only a brief time. 

After completing requirements for early high school graduation at the end of her junior year in 1948, Margaret enrolled at Huntingdon College in Montgomery.  A year later after completing her freshman year in college, she returned to Excel High School to participate in her graduation commencement activities.

Margaret graduated from Huntingdon College in 1952, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and English. In her senior year, she served as editor of the college yearbook Bells and Pomegranates, a responsibility and privilege she was very honored to have had. 

On Aug. 31, 1952, Margaret married Don and they began their 64-year journey together, traveling far from her small-town roots of Excel and Greenville, Alabama, to San Antonio, Texas, and later to New York, where Don served as an optometry officer with the U.S. Army. 

In 1955, she and Don returned to Greenville and settled into building a life together based on commitment, devotion, service, and faith. 

Margaret was by occupation a homemaker, but she was also her family’s greatest encourager and a true example of unconditional love.  She was an avid gardener, a lover of books, a true southern hostess and an amazing cook (a trait shared by many in her generation), and the family’s #1 genealogist.  Her greatest legacy was the reflection of a Christ-centered life and one that she unhesitatingly shared with all who knew and met her, especially the many six-year-olds whom she had the privilege of teaching in Sunday school for many years. 

In the many cards and letters, she wrote throughout her lifetime, and inscriptions included in the many bookmarkers, books, and children’s bibles she gifted, she always reminded her recipients of how much they were loved and most importantly—by whom they were loved: “…Jesus loves you, too!” 

The family would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the countless people who touched Margaret’s life throughout the years and a special thank you to those who helped the family care for Margaret over the last few months and loved her so well.  

The family requests that anyone wishing to make a memorial contribution to please consider the Dr. L. Don Snellgrove Endowed Scholarship in Optometry, UAB School of Optometry, ATTN:  Sarah Gulledge, Henry Peter’s Building 124D, 1720 2nd Ave. S, Birmingham AL 35294-0010, or one’s favorite children’s charity.

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