A memorial poem for Sam Snobelen

Sam Snobelen, in memoriam

Sam Snobelen passed away in late November. Sam was the heart and soul of the Carnegie Centre in the Downtown Eastside. He worked at DERA (Downtown Eastside Residents Association) for years and was president of the End Legislated Poverty in the 1990’s. He was on the Board of Carnegie several times. Although he had a paralyzing stroke when he was 29, he never complained about that or anything else except right wing governments.

the Chinatown cowboy
who loved horses and cowboy shirts
and also harris tweed jackets and
Lisa’s pies;

who never complained about having a stroke at age 29
who was paralyzed on one side
but did everything himself
without any help;

whose middle name could have been social justice;
who chuckled about having a right wing uncle,
who worked at the Downtown Eastside Residents’ Association
who was president of End Legislated Poverty
who came on all our marches for justice
walking as far as he could
then hopping a bus and beating us to our destination;

who helped take over the board of the Carnegie Centre
to get rid of a board that wanted to turn in mothers to welfare when their children ate free food
and to make it into the board it is today,
that fights for the rights of low income people
in the Downtown Eastside community.

who never got angry,
a fixture on the second floor of Carnegie,
with a musical voice that always said ‘hello’
as though he was really glad to see you,
but didn’t bug you when you were busy;
and gave me a beautiful red thimble one time when he came to dinner;

we’re missing you already
and hoping if there is anything after death
that Bud Osborn and Sandy Cameron
and some of your other friends are showing you the way.

RIP, Sam Snobelen, 1951-2015

You might also like