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Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016

The passing of a hero

Posted Monday, April 21, 2008, at 11:32 AM

William R. Snodgrass, 1922-2008.
In 1961 I went to work for William R. Snodgrass, Tennessee's Comptroller of the Treasury, in the State Capitol in Nashville. At that time I was the second secretary in his office. Five years later I became his personal executive secretary.

Mr. Snodgrass died around midnight last night. He had severe back pain for several years and was in Centennial Medical Center last week. On Monday I went to see him. When I got to his room he was sitting up in bed, watching CNN, and talking to Secretary of State Riley Darnell on the phone. It was as if we were back in the office. I found out that was the first day during his hospital stay that he had talked on the phone or watched his favorite TV channel.

Mr. Snodgrass served as Tennessee's Comptroller for 44 years. He retired in 1999 because of health problems. Primarily it was due to glaucoma, which caused the loss of vision in one eye and severely limited his sight in the other. After he retired the General Assembly renamed the Tennessee Tower (originally the National Life & Accident Building and then the Life & Casualty Building) as the William R. Snodgrass Tennessee Tower and honored him with the title Comptroller Emeritus. Mr. Snodgrass was given an office on the 27th floor of the Tower, and he continued to work on a limited basis.

After his retirement, I continued to work for the Comptroller and also spent part of my days working with Mr. Snodgrass. I have greatly missed him since I retired in December of 2004.

There are so many things I could say about Mr. Snodgrass. I always respected him, his ability, his knowledge, and especially his fairness. Members of the legislature always had great respect and admiration for him. It was because of him that the Comptroller's position is involved in so many phases of state government.

He will always be a hero to me.

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I hope we all have someone who can say kind words when we pass on Betty. I fear that many bosses would not get the accolades you have bestowed on Mr. Snodgrass.

He sounds like a true merit to our society.

-- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Apr 21, 2008, at 1:45 PM

Betty, we all live our lives (or at least most of us) and can only hope that at least someONE holds us in regards like you hold Mr. Snodgrass. I'm sure he was an amazing man!

-- Posted by LauraSFT on Mon, Apr 21, 2008, at 2:58 PM

I was saddened to hear of Mr Snodgrass' passing. I remember visiting you in your office in the state capital when I was very young, and I've always been struck with the esteem in which everyone has held Mr Snodgrass for so many years--a level of respect sadly rare for those in government. His memory will continue to inspire.

-- Posted by ajhoover on Tue, Apr 22, 2008, at 8:07 AM

Thank you, Andy.

-- Posted by bettyhbrown on Tue, Apr 22, 2008, at 10:55 AM

He sounds like he was a wonderful man..I really enjoyed reading about him..I also lost someone in my life last Tuesday that was a wonderful man. I feel very blessed in knowing him also. He was a friend and a landlord. John A Walker from Warrace..I still can not believe he will never pull up in the driveway or see him on one of his tractors...Now there are 2 wonderful men in heaven...

-- Posted by rebelrose on Tue, Apr 22, 2008, at 1:47 PM

Both of these men had more power and renown from being wise and decent to people than all the self-promoters with all their schemes could ever dream of having.

The users are lucky if they die before people start removing every sign that they lived and erasing their memory.

The people with horse sense and integrity have a more lasting legacy and their memorials are erected in the minds and hearts of those who loved them.

Who could be richer than he who gave of himself and earned the respect of those he chose to serve?

-- Posted by quantumcat on Tue, Apr 22, 2008, at 4:56 PM

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