| print this
S., Cleveland, Ohio.
(OM, p. 274
in 1st edition, p. 297 in 2nd and
originator of Cleveland's Group No.
3, this one fought Prohibition in
had his last drink on February 11, 1938,
according to the article he wrote for
the A.A. Grapevine November 1968 issue.
Fifteen months later he organized the
first Cleveland group.
was born on December 26, 1902, in Cleveland,
Ohio, the youngest of three brothers.
He dropped out of high school at fourteen,
after his father's death, and went to
work. He later took many night courses
studying economics, business, credits,
and collections. This prepared him for
later employment at the City National
Bank in Cleveland, from which he was
fired for alcoholism at the age of thirty-two.
It was not the only job from which he
had been fired.
holding good positions, making better
than average income for over ten years,
he was bankrupt in every way. He was
in debt, he had no clothes to speak
of, no money, no friends, and no one
any longer tolerated him except his
wife, not even his son or the saloonkeepers.
He was unemployable. He said in a talk
he gave in 1965 that he couldn't even
get a job with the WPA. His wife, Dorothy,
who worked for an employment agency,
couldn't even get him a job.
Dorothy heard of a doctor in Akron who
had been successful in treating alcoholics.
She offered him the alternative of going
to see Dr. Bob or her leaving for good.
He agreed and that was the turning point
in his life. He entered the hospital
(after first going on a three-day drunk).
While in the hospital a plan for living
was explained to him, a simple plan
that he found great joy and happiness
became an enthusiastic 12th stepper,
literally dragging prospects for A.A.
off bar stools.
started the first A.A. group in Cleveland
in 1939, in part because some Roman
Catholic priests in Cleveland were refusing
to let Catholics attend the Oxford Group
meeting in Akron.
was the first group to use the name
Alcoholics Anonymous. Nell Wing, Bill
W.'s long-time secretary, said that
Bill had been using the name since 1938
in letters and a pamphlet, but on this
slender basis, Clarence forever claimed
to have founded A.A.
also was very active and did much to
help A.A. in Cleveland. They were divorced
before Clarence was drafted into the
Army in 1942. Dorothy and their son
moved to California.
Clarence had an abrasive personality,
and as one of his friends said, you
either loved him or hated him. According
to Nell Wing, had he not been so abrasive
he probably would have been considered
a co-founder of A.A.
Clarence left Cleveland for military
service a farewell party was held for
him and he was presented with a wristwatch
as a gift from all the West Side groups
who acclaimed him for his pioneer work
in Cleveland and particularly on the
West Side. In a letter from basic training,
Private Clarence S. said the going was
rough, and he wished he were fifteen
or twenty years younger. He supplied
his address at Fort Knox, Kentucky,
for anyone who wished to write him,
and said he missed the association of
the groups and was looking for other
A.A. members in Kentucky.
became very hostile toward Bill W. He
opposed the traditions and continued
to use his full name in public. He led
a small group to oppose the Conference
and the General Service Office.
the war he married his second wife,
Selma, who worked at the Deaconess Hospital,
where her father was the director. Clarence
often took alcoholics there to sober
them up. Clarence and Selma moved to
St. Petersburg, Florida. Eventually
then married his third wife, Grace (also
an A.A. member), and joined her as a
member of the Assembly of God Church
in Winter Park. They did much A.A. work
together and conducted many religious
retreats. Unlike Bill W., he always
used his full name in public, and was
honored with several prestigious awards
for public service during his life,
which he did not hesitate to accept.
remained very active in A.A., and his
A.A. work became increasingly Christian
fundamentalist in nature. He and Grace
lived at 142 S. Lake Triplet Drive in
Casselberry, Florida, until his death
on March 22, 1984.
was buried in Cameron Cemetery in Cameron,
North Carolina, in Grace's family plot.
for some of the information about Clarence's
later years are: "How It Worked, the
Story of Clarence H. Snyder," a book
by Mitchell K., privately published,
and "That Amazing Grace, the Role of
Clarence and Grace S. in Alcoholics
Anonymous," by Dick B., Paradise Research
Publications, San Rafael, California.