- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Is there another like Tony Snow? We think not. Tony passed away too early over the weekend at the age of 53, succumbing to cancer but managing, via his reflections and interviews on the subject, to think of others first. How fitting. All who knew Tony Snow can attest that the man was so much more than a fine journalist and the White House press secretary who raised the bar of that office.

This newspaper hired Tony as editorial page editor in 1987, lured from the Detroit News for four fine years before he left to write speeches for the first Bush White House. Wes Pruden, editor emeritus of the Times, yesterday described a man whose “wit and humor made his editorial page sparkle.” But that’s just the start of it.

“He relished the rowdy reputation of The Times, a reputation he delighted in helping make,” Mr. Pruden recounts. “I remember that once in a marketing meeting, which he attended reluctantly but with good grace, he suggested that the newspaper adopt a slogan to adorn billboards: ‘We bad.´ And we certainly were, and his editorial page was maybe the baddest of all.

“When the late Woody West, the executive editor at the time, recruited Tony he told me: ‘We got a gem.´ And so we did. I´ll remember Tony as a Christian and a gentleman who took his job but not himself seriously, rare in these precincts, who succeeded in Washington - and never forgot that his wife, Jill, and their children were what his success in life was really all about.”

About that “rarity,” and about being “a Christian and a gentleman.” It would be harder to devise an apter description of Tony Snow. The man married civility with conviction each day with gestures small and large, treating alike the weak and powerful while challenging and provoking, in a city where merely to have either real civility or strong and lasting conviction is uncommon enough. Away from the camera, and away from print, the real man was revealed. Tony lived witness to his Christian conviction that each of us is touched by God and worthy of God’s grace.

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