Fritz Snideman passed away on April 14, 2014 at age 75. Fritz was a loving husband, a great father, and dear friend to many and will be missed enormously.
He began his life's adventures as Richard Lawrence Snideman II in Elkhart, Ind., in 1938. As a boy in Chicago he discovered a passion for sailing. By the time he was a teenager, he was racing regularly. On one of his favorite sailboats, the all-German crew insisted that "Richard" or "Larry" wasn't a proper German name, so the crew named him "Fritz." He has been Fritz ever since.
After attending Lawrenceville School in New Jersey, Fritz headed west to Fountain Valley School in Colorado and immediately fell in love with the vastness and beauty of the mountains and rivers. Fritz was a man of the outdoors. His love of the natural world guided him both personally and professionally.
From Colorado, Fritz headed to Boston and received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University. Having served in high school and college in the ROTC, Fritz entered the U.S. Navy as an officer on a submarine. After leading undersea submarine patrols during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Fritz rose in rank but left the Navy when he heard the Navy was "getting rid of all those wonderful diesel boats." Fritz again headed west and earned his MBA from Stanford University.
In keeping with his love of the natural world, Fritz served the U.S. on the President's Commission on Marine Science, Engineering and Resources and helped author "Our Nation and The Sea: a Plan for National Action." This work was the foundation of what today is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). As the president and CEO of an international weather technology corporation, Fritz traveled the globe meeting with ocean shipping executives to demonstrate his company's pioneering weather and ship routing technology. Additional career ventures ranged from aquaculture to viticulture to agriculture.
Fritz was an avid hunter and fisherman. On a business trip to western Montana in the mid-1980s, Fritz immediately fell in love with the area. It wasn't long before he and one of his closest friends were building a solar-powered cabin along the banks of the Blackfoot River. Fritz was most happy in Montana while hunting elk on a cold, snowy November morning or while floating the Blackfoot River on a hot, July day.
Fritz had an unmatched wit and was an excellent storyteller. Often this was on fine display in the field with his hunting buddies, on a river while fishing or, as was often the case, as he held court among friends many evenings around his barbecue.
He generously shared his many passions, including flying, sailing, hunting, fishing and hiking, with Nancy, his loving wife of 47 years; his daughter, Laura; his son; and many relatives and friends.
A memorial service held on Saturday, May 10, 2014, at 11 a.m. at the St. Helena Catholic Church. Memorial contributions may be sent to The Big Blackfoot Chapter of Trout Unlimited, PO Box 1, Ovando, MT 59854; or to Bothe Napa Valley State Park through napavalleystateparks.org/about-us.
by Charles D'Souza - White Plains Daily Voice - 3/18/14