A TRIBUTE TO DR. HARRY SNEIDER
Harry Sneider was an amazing man,” larger than life”. His life story is one of overcoming. He was always incredibly positive, cheerful, faith filled, an inspiration and encouragement. He was a God centered individual and always trusted God to direct his steps. Most of all he was a CHAMPION PERSON! Touching the lives of many around the world with his positive attitude, he made the world a better place. Coach Sneider was always eager to help others achieve their ultimate human potential. He lived his life to the fullest with integrity, generosity, and an abiding faith in God and a deep conviction to encourage others. To his family and friends he was a larger than life hero and although he will be deeply missed, his smile will live in our hearts forever. His was a life well lived. He was a WINNER!
Harry was born in Riga, Latvia on March 19, 1941. When the Russians arrived in 1944 he and his family escaped going through Krakow, Poland, then into Czechoslovakia, and eventually a Displaced Persons camp in Germany. While in Germany he developed osteomyelitis in his leg and almost died at age 6. He basically became handicapped for the rest of his life. In 1949 he and his family came to the United States and settled in Minneapolis, MN. It was there that Harry underwent another surgery, this one requiring a nine-inch plate near his hip joint.
Never considering himself “handicapped” he played football throwing better than the pros, softball, basketball, and won racquetball championships. He was a world record holder in the bench press, pressing 450 lbs at age 61! As a professional fitness trainer he trained many actors including Susan Anton for her role in Golden Girl. He trained and was a good friend with Tony Dow, Wally in “Leave it to Beaver”. Coach Sneider trained many Olympic athletes, including Dwight Stones, 2 time Olympic bronze medalist and 3 time world record holder in the high jump; James Butts, Olympic silver medalist in the triple jump; Mark Gorski, Olympic gold medalist in cycling. Harry was nominated Track and Field Coach for the 1980 Olympics.
One of Coach Sneider’s memorable trainees was Bob Wieland, who had had his legs blown off from the hip down while serving in the Vietnam War. Harry completed four marathons with Bob and encouraged Bob on his walk across the United States on his knuckles to The White House. Harry also trained long-time friend Wayne Grimditch, winner of Superstars. Lee Brandon, a graduate of Ambassador College and 2-time World Long Drive Champion was mentored by Harry. As a trainer of champions he was a longtime friend of Jack LaLanne and Arnold Schwarzenegger. He developed a revolutionary fitness program and authored the best selling book, Harry and Sarah Sneiders’ Olympic Trainer. He created fitness videos Sneiders 20 Minute Workout DVD and Sneiders Resistive Rebounding DVD helping many thousands to better health around the world. He participated in The Great American Workout at The White House, Washington D.C. in 1992.
He went to the University of Minnesota for his A.A. degree. In 1967 he came to California to attend Ambassador College and earned his B.A. degree and eventually his doctorate from Pacific Western University. He was on the faculty at Ambassador College and was Executive Fitness Director until the college closed in 1990. He then along with his wife, Sarah, and son Rob, continued to train Olympians, champion athletes in tennis, track and field, basketball, volleyball, soccer, baseball and more at Sneiders Family Fitness in Arcadia. He was very involved in the Senior Olympics and hosted the annual Senior Games Powerlifting Championships for 21 years. He also trained many families, couples, as well as high school athletes to achieve college scholarships which he continued up until his death. His son Rob and wife Sarah continue the family business.
Hundreds of articles were written about Harry, including Sports Illustrated, USA Today, and the L.A. Times. He wrote many articles for the local papers and recently completed a manuscript about his 36 years as trainer and friend to world chess champion Bobby Fischer which is being looked at by a movie producer. He was filmed in the movie Pumping Iron starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and more recently had a major role in the documentary Bobby Fischer Against the World. He is also featured in the TV series The Leading Gen. What will you do with the rest of your life?
His family was always the center of his world and he leaves behind his loving wife of over 45 years, Sarah, and his three children, Deborah Morris, Karl Sneider and Rob Sneider, son-in-law Tom Morris, daughter-in-law Leticia Sneider, four grandchildren, Madison Morris, Mason Morris, William Sneider and Julian Sneider, his mother Elsa Sneider, brother Karl Peter Sneider, sister Ilse Sneider and many nieces and nephews.