William Wordsworth wrote, “The best portion of a good man’s life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love.” For Tony Snow, those acts of kindness and love were numerous, and many of us recall those acts with grateful remembrance.
Over and over again since his death on Sunday, we have heard friends and colleagues — even strangers — describe Tony Snow as a decent and good man. Colleagues like Chris Wallace and Brit Hume sang his praises; so, too, did political opponents like David Gregory and Susan Estrich.
Yes, he was multi-talented. Roger Ailes described him as a modern-day Renaissance man. He was an affable intellectual who engaged in and loved such diverse interests as music, films and politics. Tony wrote penetrating columns, gave in-depth analyses of current issues, entertained with televised political commentary, and he presided at the White House Press Secretary’s podium with aplomb we are unlikely to see again soon. Rather than relying on his good looks and charming personality for a meteoric climb to stardom, he earned his success the hard way, through dedicated service and a consistent commitment to excellence. He was a person of substance who could package depth of scholarship and intellect in everyday language. He could deliver criticism and pointed political attacks followed by a smile that took the sting out. In short, he excelled at everything (except, according to friends’ accounts, being a handyman around the house). He was a devoted family man who loved his wife, Jill, and his son, Robbie; he doted on his two daughters, Kendall and Kristi.
I learned some very important career and life lessons from my interactions with Tony Snow.