Snelling, John Garrison


April 23, 1869 - 1965
John Garrison Snelling was horn in Cheneyville, Louisiana on April 23, 1869. He died ninety six years, six months and twenty eight days later in Denham Springs, Louisiana. It was this writer’s privilege to know him twenty four of those years, and it was his honor to conduct the funeral service at David Haas Memorial Methodist Church in Bunkie, Louisiana. Cannon Alfred Christy of the Episcopal Church assisted with the service.
John Snelling grew up in the vicinity of Cheneyville and in Avoyelles Parish. One of his boyhood friends was the late Rev. C. C. Wier whose memoir he was to write. A personal note in that memoir reveals that these friends went to college in Keatchie, Louisiana.
John C. Snelling was married to Miss Susan Elizabeth Murph at Bunkie on October 17, 1894, and to diem were born four children. In 1908, fourteen years after their marriage, John G. and Susan Elizabeth Snelling, who had been members of the Protestant Episcopal Church, became a parsonage family, for in that year he was received on trial as a minister by the Louisiana Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. His first appointment was Creswell Avenue (now Noel Memorial) in Shreveport. Other appointments were Carrolton in New Orleans, Homer, Ruston (Trinity), and the Superintendency of New Orleans District.
In 1921 he became Superintendent of Memorial Mercy Home, the insti-tution now known as Methodist Home Hospital, in New Orleans. He was to continue in this office even after the calendar dictated that he join the retired ranks. His retirement came in 1942, but a new superintendent was not ap-pointed until 1946. For the next three years, or until 1949, he served as the Financial Secretary of the Memorial Mercy Home Building Project.
When he finally and fully retired he and Mrs. Snelling returned to their home near Bunkie. She died on March 27, 1951. His death came fourteen years later and his body was buried next to that of his wife in Pythian Cemetery in Bunkie. Only one of their children, Clarence H. Snelling, survives them. A grandson, Clarence H. Snelling, Jr., is an ordained minister of The Methodist Church.
Dr. Snelling’s energies and abilities were given to a variety of interests in the Conference. He was president of the Board of Missions, and Director of the 1926 Million Dollar Campaign for Missions. He was a trustee of Centenary College, a member of the Legal Conference, chairman of the Commission on Evangelism, and a member of the Committee on Rural Work. In 1930 he served on a committee to redistrict the Conference, and in 1934 he was on a committee to study the possibility of merging the work of the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South in Louisiana and Texas.
His most notable work, however, was as the Superintendent of Methodist Home Hospital. In this capacity, he, like his Master, was to show Christian compassion to sinful human beings, especially un-wed mothers and their innocent babies, when they most needed compassion. It must have been to such as he that Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to Me.”

Servant of God, well done!
Rest from thy loved employ,
The battle’s fought, the victory won,
Enter thy Master’s joy.

The pains of death are past,
Labor and sorrow cease,
And life’s long warfare’s closed at last,
Thy soul is found in peace.

Servant of God, well done!
Thy glorious warfare’s past:
The battle’s fought, the race is won,
And thou art crowned at last

Source: Journal of the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Church, Pages 234-235, 1966 by Eskel L. Tatum.

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