Posted By: Alden German

A fire late Wednesday night claimed the life of an elderly Lincoln man and a prominent lawyer. 84–year–old Jerry L. Snyder died after a fire broke out in his home near 44th and Franklin.

Snyder was a lawyer in Lincoln, specializing in elder law. He attended UNL for both his undergraduate and his law degree. He practiced for decades starting in 1958. Those who knew Jerry remember him as incredibly helpful and an icon.

"He was an institution. As long as I've practiced law and way before that he was an active lawyer in Lincoln and helped my generation of lawyers to understand how things worked here," said Kirk Naylor, 72, a retired lawyer who worked with Snyder for years. "He basically was a mentor to a whole generation of lawyers.”

Naylor said Snyder was around for as long as he can remember.

He made sure young lawyers were familiar with the justice system and never turned down someone who needed help. Described as a man with a great personality, always upbeat and approachable, Snyder taught people like Naylor important lessons.

"To share genuine concern about the issues your clients have and understand how the system works and he was a master at that."

A neighbor called 911 around 11:15 p.m. Wednesday after noticing flames coming from Snyder’s home. That neighbor also said that someone may be trapped inside.

After the flames were contained, LFR entered the home to look for Snyder. They found him, but soon realized that he had died.

Unfortunately, he was not the only fatality.

"There were also two dogs that were fatalities in the fire, so we're just waiting on the investigation to conclude, determine what the cause was, and then what the dollar loss was," said Battalion Chief Dave Engler.

While the fire is still being investigated, LFR says that there were no smoke detectors inside the home.

Snyder held an annual Christmas party. Plans for that party were recently announced, and while Snyder will no longer be there, friends like Naylor say that it shouldn’t be too somber as that’s not the person Snyder was.