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Snelling Murder-Suicide in National Spotlight

The love story and deaths of a Fogelsville couple are making headlines across the country.

The 60-year love story and deaths of prominent GOP activist Charles Snelling and his ailing wife, Adrienne, are making headlines from Tampa to Seattle for many reasons.

in their Fogelsville home at 1280 Church St. on Thursday morning. Charles Snelling , the Lehigh County coroner has ruled. His wife's cause of death is still under investigation.

The college sweethearts were each 81. They are survived by five children and 11 grandchildren.

The murder-suicide follows the deteriorating health of Adrienne, an accomplished fine arts photographer diagnosed with Alzheimer's six years ago. Charles Snelling wrote a poignant biographical column for the New York Times in 2011 describing the couple's caregiver role reversal during his wife's illness.

The Snelling family issued a statement saying it believes Charles acted out of "deep devotion and profound love."

The Snelling case is drawing attention to the anguish faced by families of Alzheimer's patients - even those, like Snelling, who are wealthy enough to afford private nursing care and who have a well-established support system of family and friends, the Morning Call reports.

The death of Charles Snelling is being noted in the greater Washington, D.C., area because of his powerful role as former chairman of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. President George H.W. Bush nominated Snelling to the post. The authority controls both Dulles International Airport and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

And in Vermont, Snelling's passing is news because his late brother, Richard, was governor of the state in the mid 1970s.

Snelling was born into a successful family, graduated from Lehigh University and became an inventor and entrepreneur.

Reflecting on the couple's tragic end, some friends of the Snellings now think an anniversary dinner they attended recently may have been a farewell celebration.

Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.

Thomas Rubell April 02, 2012 at 02:48 PM
thank you for reporting what this actually was, "Murder- Suicide", far too many news agencies are calling it everything but the truth, a murder. I do not understand why for several days the newspapers and TV never said "Murder"
Pat Breininger April 02, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Yes it was a murder! You don't kill the one you love. He had all the money and resources to get his love lots of help. In home or a facility. There has to be more to this story then the media is reporting.
Patti Stollbs April 03, 2012 at 02:23 PM
Maybe his wife requested some peace. Until you walk in their shoes and knew what they were going though, walk in your own shoes Patti
Carl Coleman April 08, 2012 at 01:37 AM
It's not that simple. I really think my (relative) was quietly euthanized. I loved the relative very much, and know they were suffering - couldn't remember anything about their life, more & more the closest relatives, & barely the nursing home nurse they were very close to. Relative lived in severe confusion, and was really,REALLY suffering in major fear & insecurity. One night, put to sleep by very caring relatives, and staff. I'm happy that was done. (I really loved this older relative dearly. Snelling? Had to be really hard, but I'm sure he felt the same. I only wish he had a source to turn to for a peaceful way. Suicide? Shooting, and permanently losing his dearly-loved lifetime wife, is MORE than enough to deal with. Then, he'd have to deal with that, the courts, & public scrutiny, etc, etc. God be with you, MR. Snelling (& thy wife).
Florence Silversmith April 09, 2012 at 01:02 PM
I know so many who take CARE of aging sick relatives, my Mother being one. She took care of several aging, very ill relatives in our home while raising 4 children on Father's teachers salary. It was not always easy but still an enriching experience for the whole family, a lesson in Compassion for children. "Quiet Euthanazia" was not a legal or moral option for her. Political leaders, such as Mr.Snelling, have railed against changing laws saying it against God's Law (we hear alot of this from Republicans now days) So I'm wondering if this 'quiet euthanazia' IS morally accepted for those with Power & Money only? Or Wealthy Republicans only? MOST who kill a sick love one would be in jail if they did not have the forthought to kill themselves. That sounds like murder according to our laws and the "Means" might not have been so compassionate as it seemed to be 'very evident' to whole family that Mr Snelling had killed his Wife.
Ronald Weaver May 20, 2012 at 02:00 PM
Here we go again, bringing politics into a very unfortunately situation. I work with Mr. Snelling years ago at Standard Plastics and have only good things to say about him. He may have made a mistake, why don't we let that judgment up to God out creator. How about most liberals supporting by Party affiliation, abortion, the MURDERING of the innocent unborn as a form of birth control? If you are sinless then cast the first stone.
Florence Silversmith May 21, 2012 at 11:42 PM
as I said an interesting conversation. The point I was making had to do with an open and honest conversation on HealthCare. I heard much praise for an elderly husband putting his wife out of 'misery'. Having seen Mrs.Snelling just months before she was murdered ,the fact she did know my name just tells me there could be care given and if people such as the Snelling's,who had more then the average worker, could not deal with sickness without a gun who else can? I would hate to have anyone feel they have to shoot & kill the "Love of their Life" because there was no alternative, cause lets face it some 'mistakes' have serious concequences for others. The only reason the Republican party comes into this conversation is they are the party who refuses to work toward affordable Healthcare for all not just those that can 'afford it' Being a Woman the arguement against Birth Control is ludicrous. I dare say anyone who wants to plan a good life for themselves and their family to be denied birth control is counterproductive to their life, their families well being and also a productive society as a whole.
Tim Killimaji May 22, 2012 at 01:15 AM
good riddance, sadly every couple of weeks someone is compelled to add a comment to a story no one cares about anymore.
Ronald Weaver May 22, 2012 at 01:32 AM
Florence, you have the right to your opinions even if they are wrong in other peoples eyes. Affordable Healthcare in Obama's plan? Good parts but will financially never work as is. Those that passed it never read it but it is suppose to work? No one is denying access to birth control just don't want to pay for it, get your facts straight stop being a Demo robot.
Florence Silversmith May 22, 2012 at 01:56 AM
As I said we need a good conversation, about Real Healthcare problems that aid ALL. Affordable Healthcare or Insurance Co. based care was a Republican plan until they were against it. I personally think we can do better.
Ronald Weaver May 22, 2012 at 02:21 AM
yes ,we can do better, however, this is not the place to discuss it in respect for the family and regardless of ones opinion on what happened with this loving couple.
Daryl Nerl (Editor) May 22, 2012 at 03:18 AM
Interesting that you would raise abortion as an issue here to attack Democrats, since Mr. Snelling -- as a Republican -- was a well-known supporter of abortion rights for women.
Ronald Weaver May 22, 2012 at 12:23 PM
Daryl..If you read carefully without bias, I said leave judgment up to God our creator including judgment of Mr. Snelling, you and I. It is a known fact that most liberals support abortion and most conservatives do not. I did not bring politics into this Florence did, but I am sorry I responded, it is a total waste of time I am sure you can agree.

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