It is with a deep sense of loss that we announce the sudden passing of Judith Snow on May 31st, 2015. Judith’s connection to the community living movement over the past 35 years is profound, and will form its own chapter in our history. She is truly irreplaceable.
Judith’s dreams for herself were unlimited by her disability and she committed herself utterly to them. She is the first person in Ontario to have individualized funding and the person around whom the first circle of support was created. Judith was part of a group that created an intentional community so that people with disabilities could have a home of their own. Some time later Judith left that community to realize her dream of home ownership. Though she loved her house, when she envisioned the ‘World Peace Through Inclusion Tour,’ Judith sold it and bought a specialized RV in which she travelled across the United States and Canada. When she dreamed of being an artist, Judith became a founding director of the Laser Eagles, an engagement that led to her paintings being featured in an exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum entitled “Who’s Drawing the Lines: The Journey of Judith Snow.” More recently, Judith worked on the creation and presentation of “The Book of Judith,” an interactive performance that challenged the way audiences think about disability. These are but a few of the many ways Judith expressed herself and don’t begin to touch on the relationships she built through the years and across the planet.
Though change was a common theme in Judith’s life, every endeavour was connected in one way or another to illustrate the capacity of people with disabilities to contribute to their community. Early in her career, Judith wrote What’s Really Worth Doing and How To Do It. In the years since, Judith has travelled the world consulting and conducting workshops on person-centered planning, circles of support, family support and inclusive education. Judith had a particular affinity with those who cannot speak, and she often stressed the positive impact silent people with disabilities have on the world around them.
My favourite all-time Judith quote is: “People with disabilities will only be fully included when they are so well supported that everybody wants one,” and I often think it should be our mission statement. I will miss the teacher, the leader, the visionary, the artist, and the thinker, but most of all I will miss my friend. We have suffered a great loss.
Judith’s funeral will take place on Saturday, June 6th at 1:30 pm at Metropolitan United Church, 56 Queen Street East in Toronto. A day of remembrance will be announced at a later date.
Judith is predeceased by her father Edwin (Ted) and mother Rita Snow. She leaves behind her brothers Ian (Maude), and James, and her sister Rosemary (Armand) Malo; her nephews Aidan, Owen and Stephen, her nieces Alison (Colin) Cathro and Stephanie (Ralph) Fitzgerald, and their children Annie and Hunter Fitzgerald.
– Dawn Roper