Longtime Casa Grande and Pinal County leader David Snider was serving as president of the Casa Grande Elementary School District board and a leader on water conservation issues when he died suddenly of an aortic dissection Jan. 22, 2021.
He served two terms on the Pinal County Board of Supervisors from 2005 to 2012 and began his second stint on the CGESD board in 2014, having served for 12 years before he was elected supervisor.
He was also vice-chairman of the County’s Groundwater Users Advisory Council, chairman of the Pinal County Water Augmentation Authority (since 1996), and a City of Casa Grande planning and zoning commissioner at the time of his death. He also was on the boards of Latino Familia Initiative, Central Arizona College Foundation, Pinal County Water Augmentation Authority, Against Abuse, and the Arizona Commission on Judicial Performance Review.
Snider attended American University in Beirut and earned a master’s degree in library science at Wayne State University before coming to Casa Grande in 1977 to become its library director. He held the job for 26 years during its rapid expansion while establishing himself as an expert on education and water policy.
He launched a consulting service for resource conservation, government, and infrastructure issues after retiring from the City. Other groups he’d led in the past included Central Arizona Regional Economic Development Foundation board and Pinal County’s Local Drought Impact Group.
CGESD Superintendent Jo Etta Gonzales says Snider inspired all of the other current members of the school board to run for their seats and was “so passionate about public education, literacy, social and emotional learning, and ensuring our schools had a focus on equality and diversity.”
He brought that same commitment to everything from water rights to recognizing military veterans, but most of all to community, Gonzales says: “I think everybody felt like David was their friend.”
The school board had voted to name the district office in his honor, Gonzales says, likely becoming the David Snider Leadership Center.
“I think it’s very appropriate.”
He always pushed for his community to maintain control of its destiny as it worked within the context of Arizona and its location between its two largest cities, as he did in a candidate statement to Golden Corridor LIVING when he ran for Casa Grande City Council in 2016.
“Casa Grande needs to continue to be an active ‘player’ at all levels in the areas of transportation, natural resources (especially water), land use, economic development, regional infrastructure, etc. That means having the strongest possible presence at the tables where critical decisions are being made that will impact our future. We cannot allow others to determine where and how we will grow in the future,” he wrote.
Many people paid tribute to Snider after his passing including Rep. Tom O’Halleran, who tweeted a video of himself reading a statement about Snider into the Congressional Record:
“In every role, he dedicated himself tirelessly and selflessly to his community. I was honored to spend years working together on our state’s water conservation and management issues. Water is the lifeblood of the Southwest, and David helped ensure that families across our great state had access to clean drinking water.”