Dear Team Special Olympics:
Yesterday, we lost an extraordinary man who gave his passion, his intellect, his skill, and his character to our movement. Doug Snyder was all that and more– a central figure in the growth of the Special Olympics movement in Illinois, in the United States, and indeed around the world. It’s hard to imagine an important Special Olympics meeting or task force or initiative without him in the room. His absence will leave a huge whole in our work and in our hearts. He will not be replaced.
I join all of you in mourning and in sending my thoughts and prayers to Nancy, to the rest of his family, and to all his closest friends in Illinois. Like so many of your, I learned from Doug during his tireless service to our movement. While there were many occasions where Doug and I were on different sides of issues, we were never on different sides of the movement. Never once did I doubt his dedication to the mission and never once did we end a discussion on a sour note. He was a formidable colleague in every way because he wanted us to be better, smarter, more effective. We were lucky to have him believing so powerfully in our future and I count myself lucky to have been on the same journey with him through much of his career.
When I spoke to Doug last week, he was filled with gratitude and satisfaction. Clearly, he believed that his work had borne fruit both in Illinois and around the country: “the movement is in a strong place Tim—the plan is clear, the teamwork is strong, the potential for even greater growth and impact is before you. I’m going to take a break for a while but you know I’ll be ready to help Dave and the rest of my colleagues if I can. It’s the right time for me to step down and I’m proud of the board and the work they’re doing to keep it all going.”
That was Doug—focused on the work, dedicated to the mission, proud of his achievements as well he should have been. We will be poorer without him, but we are stronger because of him.
With sympathy and prayers for all,