SILVER CREEK — Hundreds of relatives, friends and associates bid final farewell Friday to influential Seneca Nation leader Barry E. Snyder Sr., who died Tuesday after a brief illness.

After services at Addison Funeral Home, the procession moved to Glenwood Cemetery in Silver Creek. Many friends and supporters lined the funeral route along Route 20, with members of the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation Volunteer Fire Department flying a large Seneca Nation flag over the bridge crossing Cattaraugus Creek, just past the roundabout at the intersction of Routes 5, 20 and 438.

A sign outside Seneca Hawk, the business Snyder opened in 1983, read, “We love and miss you Barry.” Flags outside the Seneca Gaming & Entertainment facility, as well as the flags in the traffic roundabout, flew at half-staff.

Speakers at the funeral for Snyder, who was 79, were Maurice A. John Sr., longtime friend and former Seneca Nation president, treasurer and member of the Tribal Council; Michael R. Militello, close friend and vice chairman of the Seneca Diabetes Foundation board of directors; Richard Seneca, lifelong friend and fellow member of American Legion Iroquois Post #1587; Stephen Gordon, longtime friend and former member of the Tribal Council; and Seneca Nation President Rickey Armstrong Sr.

Snyder’s service included five terms as Seneca Nation president. Under his leadership, the Seneca Nation opened three casinos in Western New York.

Assemblyman Joseph M. Giglio, R-Gowanda, whose 148th Assembly District includes Seneca territory, and Assemblyman Andy Goodell, the Chautauqua County Republican, paid their respects Friday.

“It is with great sadness that we note the passing of Barry E. Snyder, Sr., former president of the Seneca Nation of Indians.

“We, as members of the New York State Assembly, are fortunate to have worked with (Snyder) on many of the very complex issues facing the Seneca Nation and the state of New York,” that said in a joint statement. “His vision, work ethic and congeniality proved invaluable when we addressed these problems.

“When you read his life story and recognize the adversity he faced and the long road he traveled to lead his beloved Seneca Nation, the narrative illustrates very clearly that it is not where you start life’s race but where you finish that makes all the difference.

“His efforts will live on in the legacy he has left all of us in Western New York, and we will forever remember the spirit with which he advocated for the people of the Seneca Nation.”

Survivors include Snyder’s wife, Deanna; two of their three sons; 12 grandchildren; 24 great-grandchildren and a great-great-grandchild.

Jim Eckstrom is executive editor of the Olean Times Herald and Bradford Publishing Co. His email is