Celebrating the life of Dr. Clarence Haas Snelling, Jr.
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Obituary for Dr. Clarence Haas Snelling, Jr.
Dr. Clarence Haas Snelling, Jr., age 91 of Denver, Colorado.
Clarence was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on July 12, 1926, the only son of Clarence and Virginia Snelling, and lived there with his parents and sister Mary (now deceased) throughout his formative years. Attending university at Tulane University, initially studying civil engineering, he switched to the ministry in hopes of serving as a chaplain in the Korean war. Unable to pass the medical, he joined the Louisiana Methodist Conference and served three churches across southern Louisiana and later as Pastor of Eighth Street Methodist Church and as Campus Minister at Tulane.
Having married Margret Lenora Johnson on May 14, 1953, they moved to New Jersey, where he earned a doctorate at Drew University. In 1964 they moved to Colorado, with their three children, David, Benjamin, and Claire, where Dr. Snelling was appointed to the faculty of Iliff School of Theology; taught and conducted research into intellectual and spiritual developmental theory; and retired as Professor emeritus of Taught Ministries. After Margret’s death in December 1992 and retirement in 1993, Clarence travelled to Kenya in the early 90’s where he established Kenyan Methodist University, now one of the largest universities in Africa. Later he also founded the Russian United Methodist Theological Seminary, where Clarence was the initial and sole factuality member, teaching the entire curriculum until he could appoint a full staff.
Returning to Denver, he continued his retirement teaching, working as an interim pastor, and serving as a hospice chaplain. He married former student and long-term professional associate Dr. Shirley Heckman in September 2000. They lived in Denver until her death in 2016. He is survived by his three children Dr. David Snelling, Benjamin Snelling, Rev. Claire Snelling Nord, his three step-children John Heckman, Cynthia Heckman Davis, and Anita Heckman, and half brothers, Johny Snelling and Peter Snelling.
At his core, Clarence was about people - people of all classes, races, religions, and persuasions. Defending, at some personal risk, the civil rights in the south; raising money for Dr. King in New York, opening up ecumenical seminary, cross seminary teaching in Denver; and supporting ministries for the homeless; Clarence always sought ways to make peoples’ lives better. When asked what he taught at Iliff, his answer was always, “Students”, the names of whom were always remembered. As a teacher, he excelled, with the ability to teach things which he could not do himself.
Although saintly in many ways, Clarence was not a martyr. He enjoyed quality living accommodation, old malt whiskey, symphonic concert performances, and amassed a collection of art work, including ninety-five hugely diverse, multi-cultural statues.
Clarence Snelling loved people and enjoyed life.
Clarence's Chosen Organizations: PLEASE NOTE THAT CHECKS CAN BE MADE OUT TO THE INDIVIDUAL INSTITUTION AND CAN BE MAILED DIRECTLY TO PARK HILL UNITED METHODIST CHURCH AND THEY WILL SEE THAT IT GETS TO THAT PARTICULAR ORGANIZATION.
**Note, dinner will be available after the service for purchase of gumbo, Indian food or barbecue and a portion of the monies will be given to dads institutions.
Clarence Snelling always supported organizations that helped people become more than they were before. In his memory, and at his request, the following organizations have been chosen to receive your generosity.
In lieu of flowers, please give in his name and we will ensure that your donation helps people in the way Clarence would have wished.
Kenyan Methodist University: Founded in the mid 90’s by Clarence as a seminary, it is now one of the largest universities in Africa. Kenyan Methodist University
Russian United Methodist Theological Seminary, where Clarence was the initial and sole faculty member, teaching the entire curriculum until he could appoint a full staff. Russian United Methodist Theological Seminary
Iliff School of Theology, where Clarence worked for most of his professional life, is a progressive seminary providing ecumenical education to all faiths and enabling a wider spiritual community. Iliff School of Theology
Park Hill United Methodist Church is where Clarence and Margaret reared their three children and where he served as both a dedicated lay-worker and on occasion as interim pastor. Park Hill is one of the most open and welcoming churches imaginable. Park Hill United Methodist Church
This GoFundMe campaign is operated by John Heckman and David Snelling, step-son and son of Clarence. Together, we are the Trustees for Clarence's trust and promise to deliver any donations made in his memory to these institutions.