Rosie Magnuson Niles (Snyder): March 14, 1934 – March 1, 2020

It is with heavy hearts that we announce that, at 7:56 a.m. on Sunday, March 1, 2020, Rosie Magnuson Niles (Snyder) of Clinton, Wash., passed away, just two weeks shy of her 86th birthday.

Rosie Marion Snyder was born on March 14, 1934 in Washington, D.C. to Myrtle Mae Dovel Hensley Starkie and Benjamin Franklin Snyder Sr.

Rosie grew up in Arlington County, Va., and Washington, D.C., but her family heritage has strong roots in the Shenandoah Valley. As a child, she spent many summers visiting relatives in Elkton. She cherished her memories of family, the historical and ancestral sites, the awesome fall colors, and all of the breathtaking natural landscapes of Virginia.

Rosie’s ancestry can be traced back hundreds of years in this area to Colonial America and the original settlers of Rockingham County. Her third great grandfather, Jacob Smith, was a well-known Revolutionary War patriot who crossed the Delaware with General George Washington and fought alongside him in the pivotal battles of Trenton and Princeton.

Rosie has countless cousins still living in the Rockingham County area of Virginia. She would often brag about the fact that she was related to the famous country singer, Patsy Cline, her third cousin on the Hensley side.

On Aug. 1, 1950, at age 16, Rosie married her first husband, John Darrel Magnuson. Together with their children they moved to Indiana, and later to Washington state. They first came to Whidbey Island in 1960 to serve as caretakers at the Lakeside Bible Camp in Clinton.

As a Christian, Rosie felt the calling to open her heart and her home to foster children. She maintained loyal support to several charities, and she was a devout member of local churches such as the CMA church in Langley, and later the San de Fuca Community Chapel.

On Nov. 21, 1980, Rosie married her late husband, Bill Niles, the love of her life. Together, they enjoyed many years of happiness at their home on Stillwaters Farm in Clinton.

For many years, Rosie and Bill provided a loving second home for their grandchildren. The grandkids could always count on homemade buns, pickled beets, farm fresh chicken eggs and, if they were lucky, Rosie’s iconic no-bake chocolate cookies.

Rosie was a pioneer woman at heart, spending countless hours canning, baking, sewing and prepping to provide for any needs of her extended family. Her hands were always busy and her wit always sharp.

For the past many years, Rosie could be found in the company of her friend and companion, Roland Chambers. Many locals will remember Rosie from Neil’s Clover Patch Café, where she and Roland spent many mornings laughing and bantering, much to the amusement of the staff and guests alike.

In the end, Rosie’s faith was stronger than ever. She welcomed the reunion with her Heavenly Father and the family that preceded her including her “Momma” and “Daddy;” her loving husband, Bill Niles; and her siblings, Evelyn Haggard, James Franklyn “Sonny” Snyder and Benjamin Franklin “Frankie” Snyder.

Rosie is survived by her children, Marelee Thorneberry, John Magnuson (Ilene), Melanie Thiessen (Al), Ross Magnuson, Kimberly Thomas (Gordon), and Paul Magnuson; stepchildren, Les Niles (Camilla), and Karen Cave; grandchildren, Tim Koop, Heather Gill, Dawn Plain, Holly Magnuson, Zachary Magnuson, Lani Zastre, Carl Thiessen, Caspian Kuschnereit, Dustin Kuschnereit, Adrian Kuschnereit, Brandon Kuschnereit and Chelsea Dunlap; and 18 great-grandchildren.

Rosie’s kindness, her love, and her sense of humor will be remembered fondly by all of those who have had the pleasure of knowing her. She will be deeply missed.

At Rosie’s request, a private memorial will be held for immediate family. No donations are being requested at this time. All those who wish to share memories and condolences are encouraged to do so online at

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