photo courtesy of Andy Hedges
With the greatest sadness, we learned of the death of Georgia Snead in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on April 20, 2018. An obituary includes much about her impressive life.
Georgia Snead was the grandniece of S. Omar Barker and in charge of his estate. She carried on the work of her parents, Jodie and Bob Phillips, in collecting and preserving Barker’s poetry.
She was a gracious woman, who extended permission to many poets and reciters for books and recordings in which they wanted to include S. Omar Barker’s work. She gave generous permissions to the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry and CowboyPoetry.com, and she worked with the Center in its production of the recent MASTERS: VOLUME TWO CD of S. Omar Barker’s work.
Some poets and others had the opportunity to visit with her at her home, where she would share stories of S. Omar Barker, his scrapbooks, books and more.
It was a great pleasure to see her again, along with some of her family, at the Western Folklife Center’s National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in 2016, where Andy Hedges helped create a standout show, “An Evening with the Squire,” described as “… an evening of humorous tales, cow country commentary, and celebration of the ranch family through the words of Squire Omar Barker, the “Poet Lariat of New Mexico.” Those participating included Jerry Brooks, Thatch Elmer, DW Groethe, Andy Hedges, Ross Knox, Deanna Dickinson McCall, Gary McMahan, Waddie Mitchell, Andy Nelson, Joel Nelson, Rodney Nelson, Vess Quinlan, Brigid Reedy, Randy Rieman and Gail Steiger.
Andy Hedges has done much research on S. Omar Barker and was featured at an event in Las Vegas, New Mexico last fall. A future episode of his Cowboy Crossroads will focus on Barker. Andy Hedges shares this photo, with Georgia Snead, at “her beautiful family cabin on the original Barker homestead.”
Her son wrote about her death, “Georgia Norton Phillips Snead went with her ancestors early this morning. At home in Santa Fe, with her husband and sons close at hand, her cat curled up in the corner, wind in the pinons outside. Soon enough birdsong came through the window, a few raindrops pattered the terrace, and the sun came up.”
She will be greatly missed.