MONTPELIER, Vt. — Hundreds of people gathered Friday at the Statehouse for a memorial service for Barbara Snelling, a former first lady, lieutenant governor and state senator who died this month.

Former Republican Gov. Jim Douglas, who served at the Statehouse with Snelling and her husband, GOP Gov. Richard Snelling, praised the couple.

“She and her husband dominated our political scene in Vermont for so many years,” Douglas said. “They were both larger than life. They left a tremendous impact on the state that they served and loved.”

Barbara Snelling died Nov. 2 at age 87.

Snelling, an Episcopal minister’s daughter from Massachusetts, graduated from Radcliffe College and lived for a time with her husband in Philadelphia before they moved to Shelburne, Vermont.

Richard Snelling served eight years as governor, leaving office in 1985. He returned to politics in 1990, winning another gubernatorial term before dying of a heart attack in 1991, eight months into his fifth term.

Barbara Snelling served as lieutenant governor from 1993 to 1997. She had announced her candidacy for governor in 1996, only to suffer a cerebral hemorrhage and have her campaign cut short. She later served two terms in the state Senate, retiring in 2002.

Douglas said that Barbara Snelling worked to improve the lives of all Vermonters.

“Barbara wasn’t an activist, per se, but she served as a role model for other women,” Douglas said.

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