Richard A. Snelling, Governor

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Richard Arkwright Snelling

Birthdate: (64)
Death: 1991 (64)
Immediate Family:

Son of Walter O. Snelling and Helen Marjorie Gahring
Husband of <private> Snelling (Weil)
Father of <private> Snelling

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Immediate Family

About Richard A. Snelling, Governor

Richard Arkwright Snelling (February 18, 1927 – August 13, 1991) was the 76th and 78th Governor of Vermont from 1977 to 1985 and from January 10, 1991 until his death from heart failure.


The son of Walter O. Snelling, Snelling was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He was in the U.S. Army Infantry in Europe from 1945 to 1946. He was married, June 14, 1947, to Barbara T. Weil, and they had four children. He received his bachelor's degree in government and economics from Harvard University in 1948.


A member of the Republican Party, Snelling served in the Vermont House of Representatives from 1959 to 1960, and again from 1973 to 1976.[2] He was a delegate to Republican National Convention from Vermont, 1960, 1968, 1980, and chair of Chittenden County Republican Party from 1963 to 1966. He was a member of Vermont Republican State Executive Committee from 1963 to 1966, and a candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Vermont in 1964.

Snelling founded Shelburne Industries, Inc., and chaired several 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.

Snelling was first elected governor in 1976 and was later re-elected to three additional consecutive terms – in 1978, 1980, and 1982 – but left office in January 1985, choosing not to run in 1984. He ran for the U.S. Senate in 1986 but lost to incumbent Patrick Leahy in a landslide. In 1990 Snelling was once again elected governor, becoming the first Vermont governor to win five mandates.

Death and legacy

Snelling died of a heart attack seven months after his final inauguration, and Lieutenant Governor Howard Dean, a Democrat, was sworn in as governor. Snelling is interred at Shelburne Village Cemetery, Shelburne, Chittenden County, Vermont.

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


Governor Snelling's wife Barbara Snelling (née Weil) served as Lieutenant Governor and a member of the Vermont State Senate.

His daughter Diane B. Snelling has served in the Vermont Senate since being appointed to succeed her mother in 2002.

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

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Richard A. Snelling, Governor's Timeline

Age 64