In Memoriam – Judith Snow


October 29, 1949 – May 31, 2015


With profound sorrow the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) informs you of the death of our dear comrade Judith Snow on the evening of May 31, 2015. The Party sends heartfelt condolences to Judith’s family, comrades and friends at this time of great loss and sorrow.

Judith Snow was born in Oshawa, Ontario. Diagnosed as a baby with spinal muscular atrophy type 2, Judith and her parents defied all the predictions of the medical establishment. Judith vehemently rejected being pathologized and labelled “disabled.” She fought for all to be permitted to fully develop their gifts and make their contribution to society.

Her focus was on ensuring that everyone’s right to have a full life is recognized. She opposed the lack of respect afforded to people with special needs who are treated as a drain on society, not treasured for their gifts and contributions. She taught others to look at people’s different abilities and limitations as gifts to the society that build social solidarity and to create practical solutions that benefit everyone based on how society can meet people’s needs.

Judith’s achievements are the stuff stories are written about. Her exploits were legendary, winning the affection and tremendous admiration of all who knew her.

In 1980, with the help of family and friends in her Joshua Committee, she defied the fate Canadian institutions had in store for her and she became the first person in Canada to receive individualized funding from the government so that she could live independently, not in an institution. She had to fight to maintain that support year after year but this opened the door for more than 600 people in Ontario and countless others across Canada to demand and receive state funding to cover their needs.

Academically Judith excelled, first getting a BA in mathematics, then a Master’s in clinical psychology to then enroll in a PhD program at the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education.

She travelled extensively throughout North America and Europe and lectured to promote the integration of people with special needs in all aspects of life.

She was the author of numerous articles published worldwide and the books What’s Really Worth Doing and How To Do It, and Who’s Drawing the Lines. She also contributed to the play The Book of Judith. The book From Behind the Piano: The Building of Judith Snow’s Unique Circle of Friends was written by Jack Pearpoint with much input from Judith. 

Describing herself as a social inventor and advocate, Judith was also an artist who founded the Laser Eagles Art Guild, a group of painters who have exhibited widely including at the Royal Ontario Museum.

Judith was a treasured member of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada and represented the Party in its work for renewal as a candidate three times federally and once provincially. She profoundly understood that the rights of people can only be guaranteed with the renewal of the political system in Canada. She joined many causes dear to her heart and made friends everywhere she went.

Nothing would stymie her. Nothing would stop her. Judith, you will be sorely missed.

Judith’s funeral will be held on Saturday, June 6 from 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm at Metropolitan United Church, 56 Queen Street East in Toronto.


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