Legal 06

Honorable William (Bill) Campbell Snouffer

October 14, 1939 ~ October 20, 2021 (age 82)


*****************************I M P O R T A N T   N O T E *********************************


                          ***IT WILL BE RESCHEDULED AT A LATER DATE***









Live honorably, harm nobody, and give everyone his due.  Utopian, c. 215 A.D.

Bill died October 20, 2021 in Portland, Oregon at St. Vincent Hospital, after several falls and a seizure.  He never complained of any pain, and his final weeks of life and 82nd birthday week were golden.

A 25-year Oregon trial judge, known for his efficiency and fairness, Snouffer was also an author, teacher, and world traveler.  He was one of few judges ever appointed to the bench by governors of both political parties, and was the only Oregon court judge to be named in the First Edition of Who's Who in American Law.

Judge Snouffer was born Oct. 14, 1939 at Ft. Monmouth, New Jersey, to his parents  Col. William Noel and Corinne Campbell Snouffer.  Because his father was a career military officer, Bill lived for short periods of time in all parts of the United States, and even for a while in Japan after the end of the Korean War.  He frequently referred to himself as "a military brat", and graduated from high school in Biloxi, Miss.

Prior to his legal career, Snouffer was employed in various capacities, including working as a copy boy for the Associated Press in the House of Representatives Press Gallery in Washington, D.C. In that capacity he appeared (along with perhaps 1,000 others) in Life magazine, which displayed President Eisenhower's State of the Union address to Congress. Life, vol. 46, pp. 16-17 (19 Jan 1959).  His second appearance in Life was in 1976, in his capacity as a Multnomah County judge, when, as part of its Bicentennial Issue, the magazine did a feature on the criminal justice system in Portland, Oregon. Life, vol. 14, p. 70 (Fall Special: 1991).

Bill attended Antioch College, Ohio, and the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, graduating from Antioch in 1962.  He worked with the U.S. Peace Corps during its formative years, and was in charge of delivering the first group of Peace Corps volunteers to the countries then known as North Borneo and Sarawak (now parts of Malaysia).  While there he traveled into equatorial jungles with Sargent Shriver on long boats piloted by former Dyack headhunters. Bill was even present for Martin Luther Kings's famous "I Have a Dream" speech.

After college he attended the University of Chicago Law School, graduating with a J.D. in 1965.  Immediately upon completing law school, Snouffer came to Oregon and began his career as a law clerk for Hon. Ralph M. Holman at the Oregon Supreme Court in Salem.  Bill moved to Portland in 1966 for a two-year stint as a deputy district attorney under Hon. George Van Hoomissen.  After his career as a prosecutor, Snouffer joined the law firm of Lindsay, Nahstoll, Hart, Duncan, Dafoe and Krause, and spent four years as a trial lawyer in private practice.  It was during this time that he served as one of the first volunteers for the Multnomah Bar Association's Albina Legal Clinic.  He also became involved with environmental issues, both as a charter member of 1000 Friends of Oregon and as a member and then chair of the Sandy River Gorge Committee of the Nature Conservancy of Oregon.  In 1970, along with renowned mountain climber Carmie Dafoe and fellow lawyer Jeff Kilmer, he Climbed Mt. St. Helens (before it blew), and thereafter was a member of Mazamas for many years.

Snouffer joined the faculty of Northwestern School of Law of Lewis & Clark College in 1972.  He, along with Prof. Jay Folberg, founded the clinical program of the school, under which law students learned to try real cases in the state courts.  He was involved in the 1973 revision of the Oregon criminal procedure code and subsequently wrote a definitive law review article on the abolition of Oregon bail bondsmen.  He also served on the board of directors during the early years of the Metropolitan Public Defenders Office, and was an executive director of the Oregon Judicial Fitness Commission.

During the 1970s and 1980s Judge Snouffer was a leader in the Oregon State Bar's criminal law legal education efforts.  He wrote, revised, and edited a number of books and numerous articles dealing with Oregon criminal law and criminal trial procedure.  Additionally he supervised a two-year study of Oregon's criminal trial processes, and published Criminal Justice Standards in Oregon in 1975.

In 1976 Governor Bob Straub appointed Snouffer to the Multnomah County District Court where he began work on the same day he was sworn into office.  After an election defeat in 1978, which led to a change in Oregon's judicial election laws, Snouffer became a circuit judge pro-tem, "circuit riding" as a judge in several Oregon counties.  In 1980 Gov. Vic Atiyeh appointed Snouffer to return to the Multnomah County bench.  In 1984 he won election to the circuit court, serving as a full time circuit judge until he retired at the end of 2001.  At various times in his judicial career he received some of the highest ratings in polls conducted by the Oregon State Bar and by The Oregonian.  He also served on numerous committees aimed at improving the legal and judicial professions, and was a member of many civic organizations.  He was known for his  legal knowledge, fairness, and control of court decorum and procedure.

Snouffer's rulings set precedents in many areas.  In the Coors Beer case (1985), he ruled that laws prohibiting unpasteurized beer from being sold in Oregon were unconstitutional;  as a result, the Oregon legislature repealed the statutes, and the Oregon micro- or craft-brewery industry was born and flourished.  In the Loyd Lions case (1986) he ordered Oregon Lions clubs to open their memberships to women.  In State v. Brown 1986 he ruled that police may search a car without a warrant if they have probable cause to believe the vehicle contains crime evidence, a ruling that established Oregon constitutional law when it was affirmed by Oregon Supreme Court.  Also, he presided over the Bocci case (1999) - a personal injury and product liability trial that resulted in the largest punitive damage award at that time by an Oregon state jury in a non-tobbaco contested case;  on appeal, the Court of Appeals said that Snouffer did "a masterful job".

Bill first married Katharine Diack in 1968.  After they divorced in 1989, he married Katharine (Kathi) Iliinsky Winterholler.  In addition to supporting each other's careers and interests, skiing, tennis, and a love for the arts, they shared equally. She indulged his many wine purchases;  He indulged her lust for exotic adventure travel and love of gardening.  They traveled the world extensively, focusing on Archaeology, anthropology, flora and fauna, art and history.  Their expeditions took them to all seven continents, both polar regions twice, and to nearly 100 countries, often in rugged and remote areas, always in small boats and many, many Zodiacs. 

Their last years of of life together were spent in beautiful Arranmore, with the best neighbors anyone could wish for.  Memberships in three different wine groups assured a full cellar and many friends who helped Kathi through the days folloing the loss of her dear Bill.  Other affiliations were Portland Art Museum, Oregon Symphony, Multnomah Arts Center, Oregon Historical Society, High Desert Museum, Lang Syne Society of Portland, and most especially BodyVox dance company. 

In addition to his wife, Kathi, Bill is survived by his sister Anne (Robert) Cochran of Campton, NH, brother Richard Kent Snouffer & Lark Ireland Snouffer, of Aiken, South Carolina, and many nieces and nephews around the country.d  (His long-time interest in genealogy found predecessors dating back to the 1500s.)  Bill was a generous and helpful step-parent to  Kathi's children Mardi Katharine *Brook" Winterholler, Mitchell Robert Winterholler and Morgan Campbell Winterholler, grand-daughter, Taryn (Cado Allred) Winterholler, Great- Grandson Cayden Wiley Allred, and grandson Cory Winterholler. 

A celebration of Bill's love of music and the arts will be held at a future date. The previously scheduled memorial has been canceled due to weather and covid issues. 

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