By Lindsay Lansing
BYU political science professor Reuben Joseph Snow died unexpectedly in a car accident Tuesday (June 6, 2006) evening when his car crashed into a utility pole on 2230 North in Provo. He was 69.
Snow was a former director of the Robert H. Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah, a member of the Dixie State College Board of Trustees and a current professor of political science at BYU.
"Three Utah institutions of higher learning are mourning a great leader," said BYU President Cecil O. Samuelson. "R.J. changed the lives of generations of students, both in the class room and through his thoughtful decisions as an administrator."
Although Snow served in many capacities at BYU, such as student life vice present and advancement vice president, he was currently a professor in the political science department when the accident happened.
"We were honored to have him be a part of our department," said Donna Lee Bowen, a friend and a political science professor at BYU. "He was a man of great understanding and broad outlook. He was unafraid to try new initiative."
In addition to his involvement within government and other organizations, Snow also took part in contributing to many departments on BYU campus. He was a director of the Jerusalem Center, helped run Washington Seminar, and was signed up to teach an African politics class this summer.
"R.J. was an extraordinary academic leader who helped build multiple universities," said David Magleby, dean of BYU's College of Family, Home and Social Sciences. "All of us call him a model colleague."
Not only was Snow a strong supporter of women's athletics, but he also helped pave the way in opening opportunities for females on campus.
"He was one of the key figures in the administration in terms of opening opportunities for women students," Bowen said. "He had a great deal of experience in administration and a good sense of what could and needed to be done."
From 1987 to 1990, Snow served as president of the South Africa Johannesburg Mission, and from 2001 to 2002, he was the director of public affairs and manager of Nauvoo Restoration Incorporated.
Snow's contributions to the Hinckley institute is "where he had the biggest impact," said Vice Chair of the Democratic Party, Rob Miller. "He taught correct principles and let the students choose for themselves."
This past year, he was asked by several chairs in government to run for a Democratic chair in congress, but Snow always turned them down.
"We asked him to run for congress, but his missionary work and responsibilities within the church and in his family have always taken priority," Miller said. "He was an LDS man who, because of his beliefs, was a Democrat."
Snow had an impact on his friends and colleagues wherever he lived or worked, and was observed by all to be a loving husband and father.
"He showed us how to love one another," said Miller. "He was truly a disciple of Christ. He has been a delegate, an educator, a friend, and above all else, a husband and a father to his children."
Miller said while he was in high school, he would often go to Snow's house and observed how their family interacted. After seeing something different in the way that Snow raised his family and the love that was there, he desired the same thing.
"R.J. planted a seed in me," said Miller. "As I watched how his family reacted in the home, I knew that I wanted what they had. That example is something that I have always carried with me in my life."
His memorial service will be held Monday, June 12 2006 at Provo Oak Hills Stake Center (925E North Temple Drive) at 12:00 pm.