Jacob Randolph Snell

  • "Thinking of you and your Mom. You continue to be in our..."
    - Lorri Medford
  • "Rand and Mrs. Marvis we have you in our prayers. Mr...."
    - Michael and Lydia Yarbrough
  • "To the family I felt part of for those special moments long..."
    - Sharon Mercer
  • "Marvis my prayers and sympathy are with you and your son,..."
  • "We are sadden by Bro. Randolf's passing and are praying for..."
    - Lomax & Annette Kelly

Jacob Randolph Snell, 91, was born in the Mt. Enon Community in Dale County Alabama on January 7, 1923 to Harvey Snell and Helen Phillips Snell. He died July 13, 2014 at his home in Bradenton. He married Marvis Virginia Reeder, of Palmetto, on January 5, 1947, at the First Baptist Church of Palmetto. The two had met as freshmen at Alabama Polytechnic Institute, now Auburn University, in 1941, and they celebrated their 67th wedding anniversary this past January. She survives him, as does their son, Randolph Reeder Snell of St. Petersburg. As a high school student, Randolph was inspired to improve the lot of Alabama farmers, which led him to studies at Auburn and later to an adult life deeply involved in issues of production, commercial opportunities and regulatory policies affecting Florida agriculture. As a young man he felt God's call, and responded with a life-long interest in developing new missions and churches. Throughout his life he had a passion for work, both for its intrinsic value and for the opportunities it provided him, as a successful businessman, to support and actively engage in religious, charitable and civic activities. At Auburn, Randolph held offices in the Collegiate Chapter of Future Farmers of America and the Agriculture Club; was business manager of the Alabama Farmer when publication resumed after World War II; and was a member of Alpha Zeta, Gamma Sigma Delta, Omicron Delta Kappa and Spades, Auburn's most prestigious honor for men. Randolph entered the Army after Pearl Harbor; served in the 102nd Infantry Division; was wounded near Gereonsweiler, Germany on November 29, 1944, for which he received the Purple Heart; and returned to Auburn in 1945. He received his B.S. in Agricultural Education in 1946 and was then admitted to graduate studies in animal nutrition at Iowa State University. He and Marvis later moved to Madison, Wisconsin, where he had a fellowship for graduate studies in biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin. In 1948 they moved back to Florida and made their home in the Gillette community in northern Manatee County. He worked in the family agricultural enterprises, Reeder Ranch & Dairy, Inc., of which he was Vice President, and Reeder Farms. He also found the opportunities for leadership in his community and church that would continue over his long lifetime. For over 50 years Randolph served on advisory committees for the Cooperative Extension Service, supporting Manatee County agricultural development. He was Supervisor of the Manatee River Soil and Water Conservation District; member of the Manasota Basin Board; member of the Board of Directors of the Tampa Independent Dairy Farmers Association and the Florida Dairy Farmers Federation; and dairy representative to the Florida Agricultural Tax Council, serving two years as President. He received numerous awards for his agricultural work, including the 1976 T. J. Carter Award for Outstanding Conservationist; the 1995 Director's Award for Outstanding Service to the Manatee County Extension Service; and recognition by the Florida Dairy Federation for his work on the Florida Agricultural Tax Council. In 1985 he was named Manatee County's Outstanding Agriculturalist. Randolph was the first Chairman of the Manatee County Pollution Control Board, and was instrumental in establishing Manatee County's environmental protection program in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He was a respected voice in civic affairs, working closely with local, state and national elected officials. Gov. Lawton Chiles appointed him to the Judah P. Benjamin Memorial Advisory Committee, where he served a term as Chairman. Randolph first taught a Sunday School class at age 17 and taught many youth and adult classes over the coming decades. He was involved in the establishment of five new churches through the years. Ordained a Deacon by the First Baptist Church of Palmetto, he served as Deacon for over 50 years at three different churches. He was Chairman of the Steering Committee that led to establishment of the Manatee Southern Baptist Association and served on the denomination's Florida State Mission Board from 1979-1981. He was a Gideon. Randolph and Marvis were local historians who researched and wrote ten years to complete The Gillette Cemetery, published in 2002. This book portrayed the origins and development of this pioneer community from the 1840s to the present day through the lives of people buried in the historic graveyard. They subsequently took the same approach in writing the history of the Mount Enon, Alabama community, where Randolph grew up, publishing The Mount Enon Cemetery in 2009. At the time of his death, Randolph and Marvis were working on a memoir of his war years, based on letters he wrote almost daily to her during his time in service and early return to civilian life. Randolph was a pilot who enjoyed giving rides in his Piper Tri-Pacer, based at the family's Airport Manatee, until his vision faltered due to glaucoma. He took his 2007 Parkinson's diagnosis bravely, and did all he could to maintain independence as it progressed. He is at peace, after an earthly life well lived, in service to his family, friends, community, country and his Lord. There will be a private visitation for family and friends Saturday July 19, 2014 at Griffith-Cline Funeral Home in Bradenton, followed by burial at the Gillette Cemetery.

Funeral Home
Griffith Cline Funeral Home
720 Manatee Ave. W. Bradenton, FL 34205
(941) 748-1011
Funeral Home Details
Published in The Bradenton Herald on July 17, 2014
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