“Dick,” as he was known by his family and many friends, was born in Towanda on Sept. 21, 1925 the youngest of four children of Paul and Daisy Sill Snell. He grew up in Towanda’s First Ward, served as quarterback for the Towanda football team, and as student council president and junior class vicepresident.
He graduated from Towanda High School in 1943 and subsequently joined the U.S. Army where he served first in the Army Specialized Training Program. In 1945, he shipped to Austria where he served as a radioman in K Company, 431st Infantry, 86th Division and later served in the Philippines at the end of World War II. Dick was the recipient of the Bronze Star Medal for bravery. Following completion of his military service in April of 1946, Dick returned home to Towanda and was employed for two years at his father’s store Lazarus Electric.
In June of 1948, Dick started work part-time at the Towanda Post Office as a clerk/carrier and served as city carrier for 10 years. On Nov. 26, 1948 he married the former Catherine Hoffman. On June 28, 1958, he began serving as Towanda Postmaster and continued for over 29 years until his retirement in September of 1987. He served for one year on Towanda Borough Council as vice-president and also chaired the Recreation Board and served on the Finance and Administration Committees. He was elected Mayor of Towanda in 1989 holding the office for 20 years until his retirement in 2009.
Dick was always active in community affairs and during the 1950’s was instrumental in establishing the Towanda Ambulance Association. He served as the association’s first President, for 16 years as an ambulance board member and many years as a volunteer/driver. He was the recipient of the Ambulance Association’s Meritorious Award in 1975 and was recognized for making 500 trips with the ambulance.
Mr. Snell served as a trustee of Memorial Hospital, Towanda for 30 years (1959-1989), holding positions of secretary (1959- 1982) and treasurer (1982-1985). He served three terms as National President of the Postmasters Credit Union, vicepresident for two years and chairman of the promotion and education committee for three years. Dick served as president of the Tri-County Postmaster Association (Bradford, Sullivan and Wyoming Counties) for two years. He served the Pennsylvania Chapter of NAPUS as county director for three years, as regional director for 3 years, and as Pennsylvania chapter secretary treasurer for three years. Dick assisted in forming the local Bradford-Sullivan
Counties AARP Chapter and served as chapter treasurer.
He was a past commander and post adjutant of Towanda American Legion Post No. 42, past president of the WW II Last Man’s Club, member and past director of the Towanda Country Club, charter member of Towanda Elks Lodge No. 2191, and was a member of Beirne-Webster VFW Post No. 1568, Towanda, Quarry Glen Club, Bridge Street Hill Rod and Gun Club, Towanda Gun Club and the Industrial Management Council.
Surviving are his wife of 63 years, Catherine “Kate” Snell, at home; children, John R. Snell and wife, Michele of Towanda, Linda K. Watkins and husband, Stephen of Athens, Joseph A. Snell and wife, Sacha of Towanda, James P. Snell of Towanda; eight grandchildren, Emily Baer, Helen Santiago, Carrie Watkins-Smith, Casey Watkins, Jacob, Dustin; five great-grandchildren: Mila Santiago, Brady Smith, Carson Smith, Griffin Smith and Ryan Watkins; numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a brother and sister-in-law, David and Marie Snell; sisters and brothers-in-law, Gladys and Russell Scott and Pauline and Lester Hawbaker.
The family received friends Tuesday from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. at the Maryott-Bowen Funeral Home 217 York Ave. Towanda. The funeral service was held Wednesday, May 30, at 11 a.m. at the funeral home with Rev. Edward Michelini, pastor of SS Peter & Paul Catholic Church, Towanda, officiating.
Interment followed in Oak Hill Cemetery, Towanda, with Towanda American Legion Post No. 42 according full military honors.
The family provided their own flowers and requests that contributions be directed to Memorial Emergency Medical Services, 1 Hospital Drive, Towanda, PA 18848 in Richard E. Snell’s memory.
Memories and condolences may be expressed and shared by visiting our website at www.bowenfuneralhomes.com.