Rick Sneary

(July 6, 1927 - November 30, 1990)

Rick Sneary, a fan active in the 1940s and '50s, contributed much to fandom. He remains well known for originating the catchphrase “It is a proud and lonely thing to be a fan” and popularizing the South Gate in '58 Worldcon bid.

Organizations he belonged to included the N3F, SFI, SFL (he was member #4495!), ISFCC, FAPA (served as President), SAPS, LASFS (multiple offices), the ISL and OS, and he held office in most of them. (During 1948 Sneary was Chairman of N3F’s Board of Directors and was president of N3F in 1950-1951). He also helped to start Young Fandom, The Petards, and The Outlanders. He was also one of the founders of CAPA.

He won the Evans-Freehafer Award in 1960 and was made a Knight of St. Fantony at a LASFS meeting in 1961.

Severe asthma kept Sneary out of school as a child and he never learned to spell. He did not let that keep him from contributing to many fanzines and apae, where fans adopted his inadvertent neologisms as avidly as they did the deliberate ones of 4E and others.

Some of his writing was published in 1957 in the Selected Writings of Rick Sneary edited by Len and Anna Moffatt. His collection (including many responses to his thousands of letters) was donated to the Eaton Collection in 1993. After his death, Len Moffatt, June Moffatt and John Hertz published Button-Tack -- the Rick Sneary Memorial Fanzine.

Fanzines included Fanzine Readers Review, Gripes & Growns, Mi Skribas, Moonshade (for Shadow with Len Moffatt), Moonshine (for FAPA with Len Moffatt, June Moffatt, and Stan Woolston), The Outlander, Sine Nomen (with John Van Couvering and Gilbert Ayale), Spiane as well as some issues of Shangri-LA.

He described himself in Quandry 15 in 1951:

It would seem that most fans when writing about themself eather try to be funny,or to fill up space with out saying much about their subject. I feel that if anyone is interested at all, they want to know as much as possible, and I shall try to follow that line.

I was born Richard Monroe Sneary on July 6, 1927, of rather average upper middle class parents. My Father is a Union Pacific Railway Engineer, and my Mother is an ex-Harvy Girl, from the days when it was staffed from some of the better Eastern families. I have one sister, who marryed when I was 11, and thus left me vertually an only child.

In appearance I am told I resemble Ray Palmer some what. A fact that has not prevented me from feuding with that worthy gentalman at times in the past. I'm 5'3", and weigh 100 lbs, with blue eyes and brown hair and, at the moment, mustache. Do to the fact that asthma left me without lungs, I do not smoke, and while not averged to beer, still find it a bitter draft.

My spelling, my apparent greatest clame to fame is soully the result of the asthma which bothered me tell about two years ago. I was unable to attend school, and not being an abnormally bright lad was not overly interested in learning. I had hoped that by writing a great deal that it would improve. But after calqulation the other day that I had written in the neighborhood of a million words, I see there is still much room to improve.

As with most shut-ins, I was an omnifarious reader, but we neather had, nor like so many fan, did I have access to a good library, so I was limited mainly to magazines. I didn't discover science-fiction tell 1944, but be came an ardent reader at once. I read all I could up untell about a year ago, when after finishing most of the good stories that ever appeared in ASF, I turned to other feilds of writing, inwhich I am now exploring deeper and deeper. S-F is now only the frosting.

At the present I am attending a business college learning to be an accountent. Perhaps some day I will be able to get a job taking care of all the money my friends are planning to make as great writers. At the moment though it is taking most of my time, and fandom and friends are finding it quite possable to survive without my guieding hand. I'm still active in clubs, but that will also have to end, except at a local level. I doubt that I'll ever leve it compleetly though, to many nice people.

SOUTH GATE IN '58

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