Snell was born in Olex, Oregon on July 11, 1895. He
served in the Army during the First World War,
coming back to Gilliam County at war's end. He
tried the newspaper business before entering the
automobile business in Arlington and
Snell began his political
career in 1927 when he was elected state
representative. He remained in the Legislative
Assembly until 1934, when he left his position as
Speaker of the House to take the elected
position of Secretary of State. He served as
Secretary of State from 1934 to 1942, when he was
elected Oregon's twenty-third governor
oath of office).
Governor Snell was re-elected in 1946 and served
until October 28, 1947, when he was killed in a
plane crash in the wild terrain east of Klamath
Falls along with Secretary of State Robert S.
Farrell Jr., President of the Senate Marshall E.
Cornett, and their pilot Cliff Hogue.
In addition to his
environmental legacy, Snell also campaigned for
old-age relief without increasing taxation;
post-war aid in education; home ownership; and
liberalization of unemployment compensation.
Governor Snell placed emphasis on improving winter
travel by developing and improving roads and
resorts. He wanted Oregon to become the winter
wonderland for vacationers, and expand tourism to
become more than a summer industry. A state
employees' retirement system was also adopted
during Snell's tenure as governor.