Don Snavely, at 75, left us all too soon, quickly and suddenly.
Don Vincent Snavely was born March 28th, 1947 to Eleanor Ghini and Harold Snavely in Highwood, Illinois. Born into a large Chicago Italian family, he was the middle child of three boys with a big heart and generous, always the fixer in the family. Dale "Buzz" Snavely the oldest brother, Dennis Snavely the youngest, both deceased. His father Harold, had a great sense of humor, Don had that redeeming feature also. Maybe dropping a few sexual jokes now and then!
Don was admitted to St. Patrick’s hospital ER this August 27th and passed away at SPH on September 20th, 2022, never returning home, after a month of trying to stay ahead of the ravaging effects of the COVID 19. He had been advancing with Alzheimer's and serious results of back surgery. He died from a Pulmonary Embolism, Covid 19 and complications of Alzheimer's disease. Do not underestimate this terrible disease Covid, especially for the compromised and our older population.
Don was raised in Mundelein and Highwood, Illinois, graduated from Mundelein High School in 1963. Earned his B.A. degree, Magna Cum Laude, from Lake Forest College (Illinois) in 1969, and earned his J.D. degree, Cum Laude, from Arizona State University Law School in 1974. He was a member of the State Bar of Montana and California, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and U.S. Supreme Court. Don was a principal in the Snavely Law Firm in Missoula, Montana where he practiced civil litigation. He practiced law in San Diego, California from 1975 until 1979. Don married Bonnie Madigan (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) in 1971 and divorced in 1984. They moved to Missoula, Montana in 1979 where Don joined the law firm as an associate with Mulroney, Delaney and Dalby from 1979 until 1981, at which time he opened his own firm. In 1983 he became a principal of the firm, Snavely & Phillips, Missoula, Montana. He left the firm in 1986 and since has been a solo practitioner.
The most important thing in Don's life was his family. Don and Sharon Martin (Isaly) married on April 9th, 1993 in Missoula. We had returned to Montana, after a short time together in San Diego. We both agreed our happiest times for both of us, was when we lived in Missoula. He always said his children gave purpose and meaning to his life and felt Missoula was a great place to raise a family, I agreed, the BEST! He was proud to be one of the founding members of the church here in Missoula 40 years ago, Spirit of Peace. He was also President of the Board of Trustees for Missoula School Board District 1 from 1981 until 1983.
Sarah Parthemore Snavely (47) (Ted Malmros) grandchildren Evert and Maude Malmros, Jacob Donald Snavely (45) (Rebekka) grandchildren Liv and Alma. Both families live in Jarna, Sweden. Daniel Jessie Snavely, (42) Palm Beach, Florida, Benjamin Madigan Snavely Missoula, Montana deceased 2015 at 32, Jeffery Isaly (55) (Seanne divorced) grandchildren Brooke Isaly, Meagan Isaly Portland, Oregon, Bradley Isaly (52) (Denise divorced) Susan, grandchildren Conner Isaly Phoenix, Arizona. First cousin Addie Moe, Eagan, Minnesota, niece Kathy Snavely Schutz, Asheville, North Carolina, nephew Vincent Snavely, Chicago, Illinois, grandnephew Theodore Snavely Schutz, Asheville, North Carolina.
In the early years, Don could be found practicing violin with Sarah, "We can do this the easy way Sarah or the hard way"! Working on many race cars with Dan, soccer tournaments, practice and games with Jake, and many miles of hiking mountains and hockey with Ben. Don had many different interests in his life. He could work in his shop on his race car, using his body grinder, setting his jeans on fire, spilling gas all over himself and the next day be in court in a suit and tie, arguing a case or doing a brief for the Supreme Court. The fun side of Don was his love for drag racing with Dan, Lee Frank, Mike Keogh. He was truly a Renaissance Man, he could do many things well, an AMAZING MAN, we all loved. I cannot forget his love for playing solitaire on his computer.
Words that come to mind to describe our Don would be character, commitment to do the right thing, even if it wasn't his side, intelligence, honesty, fairness, integrity, generosity, gratefulness, humbleness and sense of humor. Each of us will remember Don in our own special way. Whether it be, as his wife, a child, family member, niece, nephew or friend they will feel lucky to have had him touch their lives.
I started this obituary saying he left us too soon and so suddenly. Never go to sleep without telling your loved ones you love them, kiss them, hug them, take that trip you have been putting off for so long, appreciate every moment you have with each other, you never know what tomorrow can bring.
A reception will be held Thursday evening, November 17th, 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM at the Cambium Place, 945 Wyoming Street, Missoula. In lieu of flowers the family has requested donations be made to the Missoula Art Museum, Missoula Symphony, or Partners in Home Care Hospice. The family would like to thank St. Patrick's Hospital, acknowledge the wonderful care that was given to Don from the doctors, nurses, entire staff and ER. Online condolences may be left at gardencityfh.com.