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Jean Robert Snell

March 15, 1942 ~ January 20, 2019 (age 76)

Jean Snell left a well-lived life on Sunday, January 20, at age 76.

 Jean was born March 15, 1942 in Greeley, Nebraska where he grew up before moving to Fortuna, California with his family in high school. His formal education culminated in a PhD in Educational Administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1972, but he never stopped learning.


His legacy is seen in every town where he and his wife of 51 plus years, Ellen Meyer Snell made home—Beatrice, Nebraska; Lincoln, Nebraska; Chambers, Nebraska; Shenandoah, Iowa; Weeping Water, Nebraska; Colby, Kansas and Arkansas City, Kansas. Always willing to lend a helping hand, he spent much of his life fixing things and making sure that community needs were addressed.

Jean’s natural curiosity led him to work in several different careers – small business owner, teacher, superintendent of schools, and building contractor. Much of his contracting career was in support of community development. 

A celebration of life is scheduled at the Burford Theatre in Arkansas City (118 South Summit) on Friday, January 25, 2019 at 4:00 p.m. Because Jean loves casual, please dress casual and if you have a "Jean" story, we invite you to share it.

You can remember Jean with a gift to the Burford Kitchen in lieu of flowers. He drew the plans for this project and was ready to help make it happen. These gifts may be sent to ACAAC - The Burford Project, 112 South Summit, Arkansas City, KS 67005 or dropped off at the celebration.

Jean is survived by wife Ellen, daughters Jenny Sparks (Tim Sparks), Janna Snell (Justin Zabel), and Jeannie Redrejo (Rodrigue Redrejo); grandchildren Carson Zabel, Alyssa and Mason McAlister, and Jeremy Sparks; brother Jack Snell; sisters-in-law Marguerite Snell, Sue Snell, Vivian Meyer, and Dolores Meyer; Aunt Shirley Nowak; as well as several nieces, nephews, cousins, and close family friends.

He was preceded in death by his mother and father, John and Agnes Rasschaert Snell; twin brother Orliff Snell; and many aunts and uncles.


Jean believed in community. He understood the importance of contributing. Great friendships were made in all he undertook and seeing his family, friends, and community thrive gave him great satisfaction. There will be guides for those wanting to see more of the Burford during his Celebration of Life on Friday. And if Jean could add to this he would say, “I hope you dance.”

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