Cover photo for Jewel  LaFay Snow's Obituary
Jewel  LaFay Snow Profile Photo

Jewel LaFay Snow

June 29, 2018 — June 25, 2018

Jewel LaFay Snow

May 18, 1934 -- June 25, 2018

Jewel LaFay Snow died peacefully in her home on June 25th, 2018 due to natural causes. She was born in Bradenton, Florida on May 18, 1934 to Virginia Hammond and Melvin Snow.

She spent childhood summers in Salisbury Beach, Massachusetts, and winters in St. Petersburg, Florida with her mother and step-father, Jimmy Natowich. She received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics at Florida State University, where she met and married Ralph R. Hathaway in 1956. They divorced in 1977. She and Ralph had two children, J’nelle and Julia.

Jewel would travel the world as a young mother of two with Ralph, who worked as a researcher and professor of biology. They lived in Istanbul Turkey, Cambridge England, Gloucester Point, Virginia, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and the San Juan Islands, Washington. The family spent many weekends camping and travelling in Southern Utah. The family’s home-base was Salt Lake City, Utah, where Jewel would spend 20 years as a health inspector in water quality for the Salt Lake County Health Department. While in Salt Lake City, Jewel helped found one of the first co-housing communities in that region. After her retirement, Jewel moved to Ithaca, New York, in 2000, where her daughter J’nelle lives with her family, fitting right in to the vibrant community of the Fall Creek Neighborhood.

Jewel was born before her time. Progressively minded, she accepted everyone exactly as they were, and embraced her own unconventional life with curiosity and passion. She was an active member of the Naturist Society, attending camps and festivals throughout the northeast region and often taking road trips for gatherings several states away. A true humanist at heart, she participated in the Human Awareness Institute and always worked to deepen her connections to others. She was also a breast cancer survivor.

A nature lover and gardener, Jewel created thriving, beautiful gardens wherever she lived, often applying permaculture practices. As a voracious reader, she participated in book clubs. She was an active environmentalist, living lightly and walking everywhere (her 2015 Subaru had only 8,700 miles!). She had a distinctive sense of style, wearing richly-colored dresses, scarves and hats, often accessorizing with a sparkling broach or colorful beaded necklace.

Jewel was a humble, thoughtful, and independent woman, whose quiet grace, beauty and wisdom drew people in—while her wry humor kept them on their toes. Friends and family remember her as a remarkable human being that defied convention and bravely pursued her dreams. She will be deeply missed.

Jewel is survived by daughters J’nelle Hathaway Cahoon (Richard) and Julia Hathaway Nelson (Christopher); grandchildren Lauren Cahoon Roberts (Jake), Lindsey and Lochlan Cahoon, Caroline, Sid, and Ethan Nelson; and two great-grandchildren Miles and Harriet Roberts.

Burial and brief service will take place at Greensprings Natural Cemetery Preserve, 293 Irish Hill Road, Newfield, New York ( or call 607.564.7577 for directions) in Newfield, New York, on Friday, June 29, 2018 at 11:00 a.m.; Open House for friends and family on Saturday, June 30, 2018, from 2:00-4:00pm, 615 North Cayuga Street, Apt 1, Ithaca.
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