Richard A. Snelling
|76th and 78th Governor of Vermont|
January 10, 1991 – August 13, 1991
|Preceded by||Madeleine Kunin|
|Succeeded by||Howard Dean|
January 6, 1977 – January 10, 1985
|Preceded by||Thomas P. Salmon|
|Succeeded by||Madeleine Kunin|
|Chair of the National Governors Association|
August 11, 1981 – August 10, 1982
|Preceded by||George Busbee|
|Succeeded by||Scott M. Matheson|
|Majority Leader of the Vermont House of Representatives|
|Preceded by||Giles Dewey|
|Succeeded by||Jim Douglas|
|Member of the Vermont House of Representatives from the Chittenden 7 district|
Serving with David Curtis
|Preceded by||District created|
|Succeeded by||Gretchen B. Morse|
|Member of the Vermont House of Representatives from the 30th district|
Serving with Howard Lunderville
|Preceded by||Mary Thurber|
|Succeeded by||District eliminated|
|Member of the Vermont House of Representatives from Shelburne|
|Preceded by||Derick V. Webb|
|Succeeded by||Eustace Thomas|
Richard Arkwright Snelling
February 18, 1927
Allentown, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Died||August 13, 1991 (aged 64)|
Shelburne, Vermont, U.S.
|Resting place||Shelburne Village Cemetery,|
|Spouse(s)||Barbara Tuttle Weil (m. 1947-1991, his death)|
|Relations||Walter O. Snelling (father)|
Alice Lee Moqué (grandmother)
|Children||4 including Diane B. Snelling|
|Education||Harvard University (BA)|
|Branch/service||United States Army|
|Years of service||1945–1946|
|Rank||Technician fifth grade|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
Occupation of Germany
Richard Arkwright Snelling (February 18, 1927 – August 13, 1991) was a Vermont businessman and politician. He was most notable for his service as the 76th and 78th Governor of Vermont from 1977 to 1985 and from January 10, 1991 until his death.
A native of Allentown, Pennsylvania, Snelling was educated in Allentown and served in the United States Army at the end of World War II and during the post-war occupation of Germany. He graduated from Harvard University in 1948 and embarked on a business career, working for companies in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Vermont. After settling in Vermont, he founded Shelburne Industries, a maker of ski racks and other ski equipment. He also became active in politics as a Republican and served a term in the Vermont House of Representatives (1959-1961), in addition to running unsuccessful campaigns for the Vermont Senate (1956), lieutenant governor (1964), and governor (1966). In 1972, Snelling was again elected to the Vermont House. He was reelected in 1974, and served from 1973 to 1977. In his second term, Snelling was chosen to serve as the majority leader.
In 1976, Snelling was the successful Republican nominee for governor. He was reelected three times, and served from 1977 to 1985. In 1986, Snelling was the unsuccessful Republican nominee for the United States Senate, and was defeated by incumbent Democrat Patrick Leahy. In 1990, he was the successful Republican nominee for governor. He was inaugurated in January 1991, and served until his death. Snelling's family was also prominent in Vermont politics; his wife Barbara served as lieutenant governor and a member of the state senate. His daughter Diane succeeded Barbara Snelling as a state senator. In addition, his son Mark was an unsuccessful candidate for lieutenant governor in 2010.
The son of chemist Walter O. Snelling and Helen Marjorie Gahring, Snelling was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania on February 18, 1927. He was educated in public schools of Allentown and graduated from Allentown High School in 1944, completing the requirements six months ahead of his classmates as part of an accelerated program for young men intending to enter the military during World War II. During his high school years, Snelling was a member of the National Honor Society, as well as the school's track, swimming, and wrestling teams. He briefly attended the University of Havana and Lehigh University before transferring to Harvard University. While at Lehigh, Snelling played football and was a member of the wrestling team. While at Harvard, Snelling was on the dean's list, played on the varsity football team, was president of the Harvard Conservative League, and taught swimming and aquatic safety.
In October 1944, Snelling enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps Reserve. When the program was discontinued in early 1945, he transferred to the Army Enlisted Reserve Corps. In May 1945, Snelling entered Army active duty at the New Cumberland Defense Depot. He served at the end of World War II and in the post-war Occupation of Germany, and carried out assignments as an investigator and information bulletin editor. He attained the rank of technician fifth grade and was discharged at Fort Dix, New Jersey in October 1946. He then returned to Harvard, where he received a bachelor's degree in government and economics in 1948. For several years after moving to Vermont, Snelling was active in the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary.
After graduating from college, Snelling was employed at Joseph Breck & Sons, a Boston wholesaler of kitchen and garden supplies. Within a year, he had advanced from working in the company's warehouse to assistant to the company's president. He then moved to Philadelphia, where he led a venture to take over the bankrupt Henry A. Dreer, Inc., a retail and wholesale distributor of plants and seeds. Snelling, his management team, and the Dreer employees who remained soon restored the company to profitability. In 1953, Snelling moved to Vermont to take the position of assistant to the president of Colonial Motors, a Burlington car dealership. In 1955, Snelling became manager of Green Mountain Television Corporation, an early Cable television proponent, of which he became president.
A longtime resident of Shelburne, in 1957, Snelling founded Shelburne Industries, a maker of wire and metal products that later specialized in ski racks and other ski equipment. The venture proved successful and made Snelling a millionaire. In addition to heading Shelburne Industries, he served on the boards of directors for several other companies. His business affiliations include the Young Presidents' Association, the Chief Executives Organization, and the World Business Council. He was director of Ski Industries of America and Associated Industries of Vermont.
In 1956, Snelling ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the Vermont Senate. Snelling served in the Vermont House of Representatives from 1959 to 1961. He was a delegate to Republican National Conventions in 1960, 1968, 1980, and chairman of Chittenden County Republican Party Party and a member of Vermont Republican State Executive Committee from 1963 to 1966.
He was the unsuccessful Republican nominee for lieutenant governor in 1964, and for governor in 1966. In 1972, he was again elected to the Vermont House, and he served until 1977. During his final term, Snelling was the House's majority leader.
In 1976, Snelling was elected governor. He was reelected three times – in 1978, 1980, and 1982 – and served until January 1985. Snelling was not a candidate for reelection in 1984. He ran for the U.S. Senate in 1986 and lost to incumbent Patrick Leahy. In 1990 Snelling was once again elected governor.
Death and legacy
His daughter Diane B. Snelling served in the Vermont Senate after being appointed to succeed Barbara Snelling in 2002. She resigned in 2016 to accept appointment as head of the Vermont Natural Resources Board.
Snelling's son Mark was an unsuccessful candidate for the 2010 Republican nomination for Lieutenant Governor.
- Hevesi, Dennis (August 15, 1991). "Richard A. Snelling, 64, Is Dead; Governor of Vermont for 9 Years". The New York Times. New York, NY. p. D-22.
- Wittman, Bob Jr. (July 30, 1979). "Gov. Snelling; Others Dream, He Achieves". The Morning Call. Allentown, PA. pp. B1, B3 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Richard A. Snelling goes to New Cumberland for Assignment to Duty". The Morning Call. Allentown, PA. May 25, 1945. p. 6 – via Newspapers.com.
- Sobel, Robert; Raimo, John W. (1978). Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978. Volume 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books. p. 1618.
- Hand, Samuel B.; Marro, Anthony; Terry, Stephen C. Philip Hoff: How Red Turned Blue in the Green Mountain State. Lebanon, NH: University Press of New England. p. 98. ISBN 978-1-61168-207-6.
- "89 More Freed from Military Duty". The Morning Call. Allentown, PA. October 25, 1946. p. 14 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Richard A. Snelling". National Governors Association. Retrieved November 19, 2012.
- The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives: 1991-1993. New York, NY: Charles Scribner's Sons. 1998. p. 504.
- "Coast Guard Auxiliary Seats New Officers". Burlington Free Press. Burlington, VT. January 5, 1956. p. 5 – via Newspapers.com.
- Michael, Donoghue (August 14, 1991). "Snelling Dead at 64 While Serving 5th Term". Burlington Free Press. Burlington, VT. p. 1 – via Newspapers.com.
- Liley, Betsy (August 14, 1991). "Democrat Dean Takes Top Post". Burlington Free Press. Burlington, VT. p. 1 – via Newspapers.com.
- The Snelling Center, About the Snelling Center, accessed March 17, 2013
- "Newlyweds: Mr. and Mrs. Richard Arkwright Snelling". Sunday Call-Chronicle. Allentown, PA. July 20, 1947. p. 11 – via Newspapers.com.
- Shay Totten, Seven Days, Snelling Mulls Bid for Governor, September 1, 2009
- Vermont Historical Society, Vermont Women's History Project, Profile, Diane B. Snelling, accessed January 17, 2013
- "Governor Shumlin appoints Diane Snelling as Natural Resources Board Chair". Vermont Business Magazine. Off Grid Media Lab. March 29, 2016. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
- Associated Press, For Lt. Gov., Scott Wins GOP Nod; Howard Wins Dem Nomination, published by Vermont Public Radio, August 25, 2010
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Richard A. Snelling.|
- National Governors Association
- The Political Graveyard
- Richard A. Snelling at Find a Grave
- Appearances on C-SPAN
|Party political offices|
Ralph A. Foote
| Republican nominee for Lieutenant Governor of Vermont
Perry H. Merrill
Ralph A. Foote
| Republican nominee for Governor of Vermont
Deane C. Davis
Walter L. Kennedy
| Republican nominee for Governor of Vermont
1976, 1978, 1980, 1982
| Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Vermont
| Republican nominee Governor of Vermont
Otis R. Bowen
| Chair of the Republican Governors Association
John N. Dalton
Thomas P. Salmon
| Governor of Vermont
| Governor of Vermont
| Chair of the National Governors Association
Scott M. Matheson