On Wednesday, 13 February 2019, the Libertarian Party lost an active and loved member of its Boulder County, Colorado branch, the chairman, Ralph Shnelvar. He was a well-known leader in the Libertarian community and a beloved activist for liberty. He was known for keeping the libertarian community in Boulder active and strong by holding weekly gatherings and challenging the beliefs of the party’s members in a productive way. His presence will be greatly missed.
A friend of Shnelvar’s, Liberty Bill, said:
“Ralph worked to advance liberty literally every week, for many years. He maintained Thursday Lunches as a reliable place for civil dialogue on the interaction of libertarian ideas and the real world. Ralph exposed many thousands to libertarian ideas and brought in guest speakers that often challenged conventional libertarian thinking. He will be sorely missed.”
He thought it was important that people challenged their own thinking, and by doing so either learned something new or solidified their own beliefs. Open and respectful dialogue is something that is severely lacking in most political conversations, and his contribution to civil dialogue in the Libertarian Party will be something that is greatly missed and hopefully will be continued in his absence.
He had a passion for electoral integrity. Ethics and politics are not something that typically goes hand in hand, but Shnelvar spent a great deal of his time working toward making elections more transparent and fairer. Mary Eberle recalls:
“His personal history led him to value fair elections as the foundation of democracy. He gave many hours working on increasing election integrity. He was a plaintiff in election-related lawsuits against Boulder County, and even ran for county clerk and recorder, because his experience as a watcher and canvass board member caused him to want a more open accounting of how elections were handled in Boulder County. I will miss his advocacy, and his friendship even more.”
His countless hours of activism were an inspiration for many members of the Boulder community. His dedication to the movement led others to want to get more involved. Communications Director of the Libertarian Party of Colorado, Lance Cayko, recalled the influence Shnelvar had on his life:
“If not for Ralph I wouldn’t be working tireless hours desperately trying to spread the message of freedom and liberty in Boulder County. Ralph was always kind and gratuitous to me and I am so saddened by this loss. His absence will be visible for an undetermined amount of time to come.”
While his death was tragic, his memory and influence on the Libertarian Party will live on.