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GOP Activist and His Beloved Wife Found Dead

GOP stalwart Charles Snelling and his wife were found dead Thursday in their Fogelsville home

Prominent GOP activist and businessman Charles Snelling and his wife, Adrienne, were found dead in their Fogelsville home on Thursday morning in what family members say was a murder-suicide.

Both were 81.

Adrienne suffered from Alzheimer's disease.

In a statement family members released to local media, they said Mr. Snelling "could no longer bear to see the love of his life deteriorate further," choosing to end her life and then his own.

Timothy Hennessey, aide to state Sen. Bob Mensch, called Charles Snelling  "a visionary, an entrepreneur and a friend to us all."

"Their legacy will endure through their generous commitment to Lehigh Valley Hospital, Cedar Crest College, and many other organizations. My thoughts and prayers are with the Snelling family and all those who know Charlie and Adrienne," he told Patch.

Police and the Lehigh County coroner's office have so far declined to identify the victims pending notification of next of kin. The bodies were found around 9 a.m.

Snelling took part in the "Life Report" project of New York Times writer David Brooks. A Dec. 7, 2011 entry titled "A Love Story and Redemption," told how the Snellings came to terms with Adrienne's Alzheimer's diagnosis six years ago.

Their romance of more than 60 years began when Charles was a sophomore at and Adrienne was a student at Cedar Crest College. Snelling graduated from Lehigh in 1954.

The Times article quoted Charles as saying, "Although (Adrienne) is a very, very sick puppy, she remains to this day a sweet, happy, loving and generous person. How lucky for both of us. To have such an affliction in the household is a very learning experience... After all, this lady rescued me from a fate worse than death, and for a long, long time. What I am doing for her pales beside all that she has done for me for more than half a century."

The Snellings are survived by five children and 11 grandchildren.

Charles Snelling was chairman of the board of the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority since 2003. President George W. Bush nominated him to serve on the authority board of directors.

Snelling founded a company called Cryotherm and held 20 patents.

He served four years as president of Allentown City Council.

Amanda Huggenkiss April 01, 2012 at 10:01 PM
executing a spouse is murder, a crime and a moral sin
Fred April 02, 2012 at 12:19 AM
Very well said, Jan.
Lorie April 19, 2012 at 05:50 PM
I could only hope that my husband would love me and our family enough to "murder me" if I became that much of an mental, emotional, and physical burden on my family.
Fred April 20, 2012 at 06:06 PM
Lorie, well then let's all "love" the members of our families who may be physically handicapped and need total assistance from others, who have Down's Syndrome and need constant supervision, who are literally tortured by severe mental illness, and on and on. Let's show this love to the suffering veterans from severe trauma from all our crazy wars...... Euthanize all the burdens we, the people, can't cope with. Life always has burdens, and there is always help out there. I do not call that action - to murder through euthanizing - to be love even in the narrowest or broadest definition of the word!
Jaded1 April 20, 2012 at 09:23 PM
Ok Lorie.... be careful what you wish for, it just may come true.

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