In Memory of Retired Justice Bruce M. Snell, Jr.
Died: December 20, 2019
Retired Iowa Supreme Court Justice Bruce M. Snell, Jr., age 90, of Ida Grove, Iowa passed away on Friday, December 20, 2019, at the Horn Memorial Hospital of Ida Grove, Iowa.
A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, February 15, 2020, at the United Methodist Church of Ida Grove, Iowa. Rev. Chad Lierman will officiate. Committal will be held at a later date in the Ida Grove Cemetery of Ida Grove, Iowa. A visitation will be held from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., with a Masonic Service at 7:00 p.m., Friday, February 14, 2020, at the Christensen-Van Houten Funeral Home of Ida Grove, Iowa. The Christensen-Van Houten Funeral Home of Ida Grove, Iowa is in charge of the funeral arrangements.
Condolences may be sent online www.christensenvanhouten.com
Bruce M. Snell, Jr., a resident of Ida Grove, Iowa, died on December 20, 2019, marking the last surviving member in Ida Grove of a pioneer family dating to 1871. Bruce Morey Snell, Jr. was born on August 18, 1929, the son of Justice Bruce M. Snell and Donna Potter Snell. He graduated from Ida Grove High School in 1947, Grinnell College in 1951, then served two years in the United States Army during the Korean War. Following his military service, he enrolled in the University of Iowa Law School, where he was Comments Editor of the Iowa Law Review and was elected to the Order of the Coif, the top ten percent; he graduated in 1956.
Bruce married Anne Fischer in 1956. Anne had a distinguished career in nursing and, along with Bruce, was a renowned entertainer. Bruce and Anne raised two children, Rebecca and Brad, and had a wonderful marriage of 59 years. They cherished their many friends and loved their memorable travels.
Bruce’s early legal career included working as a Staff Lawyer for Union Carbide in New York City. Upon returning to Iowa, he served the public as an Iowa Assistant Attorney General and had a solo law practice in Ida Grove. In 1976, Governor Robert Ray appointed him to the inaugural Iowa Court of Appeals. In 1987, he was appointed by Governor Terry Branstad to the Iowa Supreme Court, following in his father’s footsteps.
In his hometown, Bruce enjoyed civic activities: member of Kiwanis for 50+ years, as well as American Legion, Masonic Lodge, and Abu Bekr Shrine. Past board activities included Horn Hospital Board of Directors, Administrative Board and Board of Trustees of the Methodist Church, and President of Ida Grove Country Club (he even designed the layout for the golf course). Bruce was honored in 1987 as Ida Grove “Citizen of the Year” and in 2001 as “Distinguished Alumnus” by both Grinnell College and the University of Iowa College of Law.
Bruce will be remembered for his kindness, even temperament, broad smile, subtle wit, and love of life.
He is survived by his daughter, Rebecca, and her beloved cats, Reese & Frito, of Orlando, Florida; his son, Brad, and his wife, Carol, and their devoted canine companions, Tanker Bruce, Ivory Anne, and Dave Bradley, and their cat, Suzu Joy, of Iowa City, Iowa; his brother-in-law, Robert Fischer, of Meservey, Iowa; his niece, Karen Keller, and nephew, Attorney Jim Keller, of St. Louis, Missouri; niece, Ann Snodgrass (Charles) of Knoxville, Tennessee; nephew, Paul Vickerstaff (Ann), of Birmingham, Alabama; cousins, Marilyn Potter, Dennis Potter (Trudy), and Gary Potter (Barbara), all of Minnesota. Bruce and Anne were very proud and grateful to accept the invitation to be “honorary grandparents” to Cole, Evan, and Sophia Veltri of Ida Grove, children of dear friends Dr. Al and Becky Veltri.
Bruce was preceded in death by his wife, Anne; parents, Bruce and Donna Snell; and sisters, Dorothy Vickerstaff and Virginia Keller.
Memorials may be directed to OABCIG Dollars for Scholars or Horn Memorial Hospital Foundation.
11:00 a.m., Saturday
February 15, 2020
United Methodist Church
Ida Grove, Iowa
Rev. Chad Lierman
4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Friday, February 14, 2020
Ida Grove, Iowa
"Till There Was You"
"Iowa Fight Song"
"Take My Hand, Precious Lord"
"The Very Thought of You"
He always was so kind and pleasant; genuine and loving.
I enjoyed our talks and how he made me feel important.
He would always ask you how you were doing and if he could help you with anything; always so caring and concerned about your well being.
I will miss the "good morning Deb" that I received everyday that I saw him.
Something so small; that meant the world to me.
Years later when my mother passed away, I knew they would gladly help me with my father if and when needed. They were just that wonderful couple that didn’t think twice about it.
Judge carried himself in such a way that you couldn’t help being drawn to him. I enjoyed hearing his thoughts on issues and deeply respected his well thought out insights. It didn’t take long to understand why he was such a well respected judge.
Even later in life I knew I could count on him if I ever needed his help in any way.
I will miss his enthusiasm and charismatic personality, he will be dearly missed, not just by me, but everyone’s life he had touched. May God be with you.