Pioneering politician Sarah Snow, KC’s first woman candidate for mayor, dies at age 91

12/09/2013 7:39 PM

12/09/2013 7:39 PM

Sarah Snow, a former Kansas City councilwoman and the city’s first woman candidate for mayor, has died at age 91.

“I admired her so much,” longtime civic leader Anita Gorman said Monday of Snow, who died in her sleep Saturday.

Snow ventured into politics at a time when few women did and was a passionate advocate for the Northland and for all of Kansas City, Gorman said. The Northland at the time was still semirural but was starting to grow.

Snow was born Aug. 9, 1922, in St. Joseph and married Roy C. Snow on her birthday in 1941. The couple lived briefly in Kansas City south of the river before moving to North Kansas City in 1951. Snow was a wife and mother and involved in lots of volunteer activities, but she decided to run for the City Council in North Kansas City in the early 1950s. She lost by just 18 votes, according to her daughter, Michele Janson of Overland Park.

The Snows moved to Kansas City in Clay County in 1956. Sarah Snow was elected to the Kansas City Council and represented the 1st District from 1967 through 1975.

Gorman recalled how Snow and 1st District at-large Councilman Harold Hamil helped residents beat back a proposal for a used-car lot at the southeast corner of North Oak Trafficway and Vivion Road. Their advocacy helped win the day and preserved the land where the Northland Fountain now stands.

“That was one of her proudest moments,” Janson said.

Snow became the first woman to run for mayor in Kansas City in 1975. She survived the primary but lost in the general election to incumbent Mayor Charles Wheeler.

She then campaigned for and was elected Western District Judge for the Clay County Court (the equivalent of today’s Clay County Commission). She served in that post in 1977 and 1978.

Janson said her mother got involved in politics because she had a great love for her city and “thought she could make a difference.”

A visitation will be from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Mount Moriah Terrace Park Funeral Home, 801 N.W. 108th St. A celebration of life will be at 10:30 a.m. Friday at the First United Methodist Church of North Kansas City,2100 Howell St.

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