Richard A. Snelling

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Richard Snelling
Richard A Snelling.jpg
76th and 78th Governor of Vermont
In office
January 10, 1991 – August 13, 1991
LieutenantHoward Dean
Preceded byMadeleine Kunin
Succeeded byHoward Dean
In office
January 6, 1977 – January 10, 1985
LieutenantGarry Buckley
Madeleine Kunin
Peter Smith
Preceded byThomas P. Salmon
Succeeded byMadeleine Kunin
Chair of the National Governors Association
In office
August 11, 1981 – August 10, 1982
Preceded byGeorge Busbee
Succeeded byScott M. Matheson
Majority Leader of the Vermont House of Representatives
In office
1975–1977
Preceded byGiles Dewey
Succeeded byJim Douglas
Member of the Vermont House of Representatives from the Chittenden 7 district
In office
1975–1977
Serving with David Curtis
Preceded byDistrict created
Succeeded byGretchen B. Morse
Sallie Soule
Member of the Vermont House of Representatives from the 30th district
In office
1973–1975
Serving with Howard Lunderville
Preceded byMary Thurber
Succeeded byDistrict eliminated
Member of the Vermont House of Representatives from Shelburne
In office
1959–1961
Preceded byDerick V. Webb
Succeeded byEustace Thomas
Personal details
Born
Richard Arkwright Snelling

(1927-02-18)February 18, 1927
Allentown, Pennsylvania, U.S.
DiedAugust 13, 1991(1991-08-13) (aged 64)
Shelburne, Vermont, U.S.
Resting placeShelburne Village Cemetery,
Shelburne, Vermont
NationalityAmerican
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Barbara Tuttle Weil (m. 1947-1991, his death)
RelationsWalter O. Snelling (father)
Alice Lee Moqué (grandmother)
Children4 including Diane B. Snelling
EducationHarvard University (BA)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Army
Years of service1945–1946
RankTechnician fifth grade
Battles/warsWorld 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.

Early life[edit]

The son of chemist Walter O. Snelling and Helen Marjorie Gahring, Snelling was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania on February 18, 1927.[1] 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.[2] 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.[3] He briefly attended the University of Havana and Lehigh University before transferring to Harvard University.[1] While at Lehigh, Snelling played football and was a member of the wrestling team.[3] 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.[3]

Military service[edit]

In October 1944, Snelling enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps Reserve.[3] When the program was discontinued in early 1945, he transferred to the Army Enlisted Reserve Corps.[3] In May 1945, Snelling entered Army active duty at the New Cumberland Defense Depot.[3] 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.[4][5] He attained the rank of technician fifth grade and was discharged at Fort Dix, New Jersey in October 1946.[6] He then returned to Harvard, where he received a bachelor's degree in government and economics in 1948.[7][8] For several years after moving to Vermont, Snelling was active in the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary.[9]

Career[edit]

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.[1] The venture proved successful and made Snelling a millionaire.[1] 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.[1] 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[edit]

Snelling died of a heart attack at his home in Shelburne on August 13, 1991.[10] He was succeeded by Howard Dean.[11] Snelling was interred at Shelburne Village Cemetery.

The Snelling Center for Government at the University of Vermont was named in honor of Richard and Barbara Snelling.[12]

Family[edit]

On June 14, 1947, he married Barbara Tuttle Weil.[13] They were the parents of four children -- Jacqueline, Mark, Andrew, and Diane.[1]

After Snelling's death, his wife served as lieutenant governor and as a member of the Vermont Senate.[14]

His daughter Diane B. Snelling served in the Vermont Senate after being appointed to succeed Barbara Snelling in 2002.[15] She resigned in 2016 to accept appointment as head of the Vermont Natural Resources Board.[16]

Snelling's son Mark was an unsuccessful candidate for the 2010 Republican nomination for Lieutenant Governor.[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f 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.
  2. ^ Wittman, Bob Jr. (July 30, 1979). "Gov. Snelling; Others Dream, He Achieves". The Morning Call. Allentown, PA. pp. B1, B3 – via Newspapers.com.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Richard A. Snelling goes to New Cumberland for Assignment to Duty". The Morning Call. Allentown, PA. May 25, 1945. p. 6 – via Newspapers.com.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ "89 More Freed from Military Duty". The Morning Call. Allentown, PA. October 25, 1946. p. 14 – via Newspapers.com.
  7. ^ "Richard A. Snelling". National Governors Association. Retrieved November 19, 2012.
  8. ^ The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives: 1991-1993. New York, NY: Charles Scribner's Sons. 1998. p. 504.
  9. ^ "Coast Guard Auxiliary Seats New Officers". Burlington Free Press. Burlington, VT. January 5, 1956. p. 5 – via Newspapers.com.
  10. ^ Michael, Donoghue (August 14, 1991). "Snelling Dead at 64 While Serving 5th Term". Burlington Free Press. Burlington, VT. p. 1 – via Newspapers.com.
  11. ^ Liley, Betsy (August 14, 1991). "Democrat Dean Takes Top Post". Burlington Free Press. Burlington, VT. p. 1 – via Newspapers.com.
  12. ^ The Snelling Center, About the Snelling Center, accessed March 17, 2013
  13. ^ "Newlyweds: Mr. and Mrs. Richard Arkwright Snelling". Sunday Call-Chronicle. Allentown, PA. July 20, 1947. p. 11 – via Newspapers.com.
  14. ^ Shay Totten, Seven Days, Snelling Mulls Bid for Governor, September 1, 2009
  15. ^ Vermont Historical Society, Vermont Women's History Project, Profile, Diane B. Snelling, accessed January 17, 2013
  16. ^ "Governor Shumlin appoints Diane Snelling as Natural Resources Board Chair". Vermont Business Magazine. Off Grid Media Lab. March 29, 2016. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  17. ^ Associated Press, For Lt. Gov., Scott Wins GOP Nod; Howard Wins Dem Nomination, published by Vermont Public Radio, August 25, 2010

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Ralph A. Foote
Republican nominee for Lieutenant Governor of Vermont
1964
Succeeded by
Perry H. Merrill
Preceded by
Ralph A. Foote
Republican nominee for Governor of Vermont
1966
Succeeded by
Deane C. Davis
Preceded by
Walter L. Kennedy
Republican nominee for Governor of Vermont
1976, 1978, 1980, 1982
Succeeded by
John Easton
Preceded by
Stewart Ledbetter
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Vermont
(Class 3)

1986
Succeeded by
Jim Douglas
Preceded by
Michael Bernhardt
Republican nominee Governor of Vermont
1990
Succeeded by
John McClaughry
Preceded by
Otis R. Bowen
Chair of the Republican Governors Association
1979–1980
Succeeded by
John N. Dalton
Political offices
Preceded by
Thomas P. Salmon
Governor of Vermont
1977–1985
Succeeded by
Madeleine Kunin
Preceded by
Madeleine Kunin
Governor of Vermont
1991
Succeeded by
Howard Dean
Preceded by
George Busbee
Chair of the National Governors Association
1981–1982
Succeeded by
Scott M. Matheson