Daughters and DMC Foundation Surprise Centenarian Maxine Snapka with $25,000 Endowed Scholarship Honoring Parents, Founders of Snapka’s Drive Inn Restaurants
Gift establishes Method and Maxine Snapka Endowed Scholarship to celebrate matriarch’s 100th birthday and financially assist Culinary Arts and Restaurant Management students
Article by Melinda Eddleman
She’s now part of a special group called Centenarians after celebrating her 100th birthday recently. And, the burger joint that her late husband Method and brother-in-law Rudy first started in Robstown in 1948 and then expanded into Corpus Christi in 1953 became and still is an iconic destination for locals and out-of-towners wanting that famous Dixieburger, specially-seasoned tacos or down-home fried chicken and onion rings.
Snapka’s Drive Inn has been synonymous with quality fast food for almost 75 years in the Coastal Bend, and Maxine Snapka has been a part of that family dream and business when she married Method Snapka in 1949.
To honor the family business matriarch, daughters Kathryn Snapka and Marlene Carper––along with the Del Mar College Foundation and other College representatives, friends and guests––continued Maxine’s birthday celebration with a surprise announcement on Jan. 26, which was a $25,000 gift to establish the Method and Maxine Snapka Endowed Scholarship that honors both parents and their deep-seated beliefs about education.
Maxine thought she was just taking a tour of the Hospitality & Culinary Arts Institute on the College’s new Oso Creek Campus. Instead, her daughters made the announcement and handed her a plaque to inaugurate the new source of financial assistance for DMC Culinary Arts and Restaurant Management students.
The Foundation is honored to participate in the celebration of Maxine’s 100th birthday and extremely grateful the Snapka family chose to honor their parents’ legacy in the restaurant industry by supporting Del Mar College students who are pursuing the same field. Not only will this permanent scholarship benefit aspiring chefs and future restaurateurs for years to come, it celebrates an iconic restaurant and the beloved founders in our community. The Method and Maxine Snapka Endowed Scholarship is truly a meaningful gift!
During the announcement, Maxine said that the College was an excellent opportunity to start higher education. “Both my daughters went to Del Mar,” she noted, adding, “And, I would have anyone go there first as a good starter school to prepare you for [further education].”
Maxine’s own story isn’t just about the family business. Not only did her daughters Kathryn and Marlene as well as her late husband attend the College, the Snapka’s Drive Inn owner is also a member of DMC’s alumni family, graduating in 1941 as Valedictorian from Corpus Christi Junior College (now Del Mar College) with fond memories of the friends she made and the classes for which she excelled.
Prior to attending the College, Maxine Winkler moved with her family to Corpus Christi and attended high school at what is now Roy Miller High School, graduating Valedictorian in 1939. Upon completing her studies at DMC, Mary Hardin-Baylor College offered Maxine a scholarship; but the second world war loomed, and her older brother was drafted. Maxine was needed at home.
As part of the war effort, Maxine went to work at the new Naval Air Station in Corpus Christi. In 1948, she met Method Snapka, who was buying military surplus where she worked.
Education became a top priority for both Method and Maxine Snapka, and they took courses at Del Mar College throughout their lives. They also impressed the importance of education on their two daughters.
When Marlene graduated from high school, she began DMC courses that same summer, got her basic courses out of the way and then earned her bachelor’s degree at Texas A&I University (now Texas A&M University-Kingsville).
Her sister Kathryn wanted to “go off” to college, but Maxine and Method insisted she stay home for the first year after high school graduation.
“I became involved in clubs and student government,” Kathryn Snapka says. “And in the spring of my freshman year, I ran for chairman of the Student Advisory Committee (now the Student Government Association) and won the election. So, I also finished my second year at DMC.”
In fact, her campus involvement and success earned Kathryn an induction into the College’s prestigious Hall of Fame in 1976, and the local attorney’s photo can be found among all the other inductees in the upper hallway of the Harvin Student Center on the Heritage Campus.
Kathryn noted that she and Marlene recalled how their father supported his employees who wanted to attend college by arranging their work schedules to accommodate classes. “There were also more than a few loans to help them pay for college expenses,” she added.
Our parents both strongly believed in the value of education, so Marlene and I agreed that the best way to honor them was to establish an endowed scholarship to help further students’ education in the industry that was the focus of their life’s work. We couldn’t think of a better birthday gift for someone who is 100-years-old than this scholarship.
Happy Birthday, Maxine! The Method and Maxine Snapka Endowed Scholarship is a gift that will keep giving for years to come.
To learn more about Del Mar College’s Culinary Arts and Restaurant Management Programs visit the Business Administration and Entrepreneurship Pathways page at www.delmar.edu/degrees/index.html.
To learn more about all scholarships available at Del Mar College, visit the DMC Foundation’s web page s at www.delmar.edu/scholarships. Each spring, the DMC Foundation accepts applications Feb. 1 through April 30 for the following academic year, which begins with the fall semester.
Del Mar College empowers students to achieve their dreams. We offer quality programs, individual attention, outstanding instruction through faculty with real-world experience and affordable costs to credit and noncredit students in Corpus Christi and the South Texas Coastal Bend area. Nationally recognized while locally focused, we’re ranked in the top two percent of community colleges in the country granting associate degrees to Hispanic students (Community College Week). Del Mar College focuses on offering our students programs that match current or emerging career opportunities. Whether students are interested in the fine arts, sciences, business, occupational or technical areas, students get the education they need for the future they want at Del Mar College.