Quin, I’ve got to say a hearty “Amen” to your “finest human being” characterization of Tony Snow. I don’t really know him, but a couple of personal experiences I’ve had will back up your viewpoint.
Back in the mid-1990s when I was trying to make my career transition from accounting-type work to journalism, I was writing to a lot of established writers — some you’ve heard of and some you haven’t — to ask their advice about breaking into the field, how to write well, becoming successful, etc. I didn’t really expect to hear back from the famous ones, but I did from a couple, including Tony. He offered some good advice but more importantly, encouragement to keep at it.
A few years later I got my first full-time job as sole editor for a newly-established Christian newspaper in Greensboro, N.C. Being an ignoramus and thinking someone talented and established like Tony would give a hoot, I mailed him copies of our first two issues. This was when he was near the peak of his popularity with Fox, hosting “Fox News Sunday.” A little time afterward I received a kind, handwritten note of congratulations from him with praise for the paper’s quality. Talk about floating on air.
Several months later, still in ignorance-land, I was headed to Washington for interviews with a few of our North Carolina congressmen for our Q&A interview feature in the paper. Tony has some roots in N.C. so I thought I’d ask him if he had 30 minutes or so to talk to me for the feature. At most I thought I might get a brief e-mail, politely declining.
What did I get? My phone rang at the office one day, and it wasn’t a secretary. It wasn’t an assistant. It wasn’t a producer. It was Tony. He was super-apologetic (for no reason) but said his heavy schedule would not allow him time to meet with me when I’d be in Washington, but he said to “please keep trying” for an interview with him when I came to D.C. again. Obviously it was something he did not have to do, but he cared enough about somebody he didn’t even know, whom he knew had aspirations.
So, I echo you Quin when you wish him Godspeed. He will be continually in my prayers.