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Former Fox 21 meteorologist Chris Snider dies of cancer

Chris Snider, a popular former Fox 21-TV meteorologist, died Friday morning after battling an aggressive form of bone cancer. The Support Chris Snider Facebook page, hosted by his sister Tabatha Snider, posted about his death on Friday afternoon:...

Chris Snider
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Chris Snider, a popular former Fox 21-TV meteorologist, died Friday morning after battling an aggressive form of bone cancer.

The Support Chris Snider Facebook page, hosted by his sister Tabatha Snider, posted about his death on Friday afternoon:

"He fought a long battle with grace, humor, compassion and absolute dignity. I was and forever will be proud to say he is my brother. On behalf of my family, we would like to personally thank everyone who donated or took the time to send a message or video of support."

Snider was hired as a weekend weathercaster for KQDS in September 2008. He became chief meteorologist a little more than a year later. He left Duluth in the summer of 2011 to perform missionary work in the South. Friends remembered him as being health-conscious and captivated by weather.

Snider, who turned 29 on Tuesday, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma of the mandible, or lower jaw, last summer while living in Biloxi, Miss. He went through three rounds of chemotherapy and two blood transfusions, but none of it slowed the cancer.

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When it was determined in January that his illness was terminal, his sister traveled to Biloxi to bring him to her home in Floodwood.

Julie Moravchik, who hired Snider at Fox 21, visited Snider on Tuesday for his birthday. There was a small group, cake and singing, she said. Snider was surrounded by photographs of friends and Christian music.

"He was shutting down," Moravchik said. "He raised the one arm he had that was working and he gave me a hug. He reached out and just held my hand. I could see in his eyes he had a lot to tell me. I just knew."

Dan Hanger, news anchor at Fox 21, became friends with Snider when they were working at KBJR-TV in the mid-2000s. Hanger visited him on Tuesday and delivered the vanilla shake his friend requested.

"The most amazing thing with him -- everything he was going through the whole time -- he had such strength," Hanger said. "He was a strong, athletic guy; he would run all the time. That heart was pounding, he had a fight to live. He wanted everyone to feel calm and at ease."

Hanger took the time to remind Snider of all the great things he had accomplished.

"I told him, 'You did everything you wanted to do in your short time,' " Hanger said.

After a few bites of the shake, Hanger said, Snider smiled.

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Moravchik had what she called a "miracle moment" with Snider about two weeks ago when he was in Duluth for an appointment.

She met with him and his sister at the Olive Garden, his favorite restaurant. Though he was mostly using a wheelchair, Snider walked into the restaurant on his own. They had a table by the fireplace, and Snider ordered soup and salad, a milk shake, an entrée and cheesecake. They talked about the past and the future, but not about his illness.

"Seeing him walk in, it was just amazing," she said. "It was one of the best memories I'll have of my life."

Moravchik said that, though it was hard to hear that Snider had died, it was hard to see him suffer so much.

"I'm glad the suffering is over," she said. "There is no doubt in my mind that God took him home. He's unlike anyone I've known. His faith was inspirational. I'm glad for him he's home with God."

Christa Lawler is a former reporter for the Duluth News Tribune.
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