Snelling Robinson Brainard, 83, died July 13, 2010, at Westgate Manor, after several years spent battling Parkinson’s disease.  Snelling had most recently lived in Lincolnville.

Snelling was a visionary in two areas: real estate and commercial fishing. He was the developer of a number of housing projects in the first wave of condominium ownership. Glover Landing, an award-winning development in Marblehead, Mass., was built as a rental property in the mid-’60s. Snelling learned about and saw the advantages of the newly created ownership model allowing for condominium rights. He was instrumental in bringing the law to Massachusetts and the rentals were soon able to be sold as condos. The 114-unit project overlooking Marblehead Harbor is a thriving community today.

Other condo projects include Lindenhurst, on Belleview Avenue in Newport, R.I., and Chateau Clare in Woonsocket, R.I. In the ‘70s, Snelling began a project called The James Estate in Newport. It was designed in the manner of an Italian hill village to be perched on the highest ground in Newport with views of the ocean. The project was beset with legal battles, primarily zoning issues launched by Janet Auchincloss, mother of Jackie Kennedy. While Snelling won the case in the state Supreme Court, the delay cost the financing and the project was lost.

Snelling shifted his vision to the commercial fishing industry, bringing the Scandinavian concept of automated longlining to New England. He formed a company called SeaBank to develop the idea. The process, which replaced the environmentally disastrous dragging method, not only protected the environment, but also produced the highest quality of fresh fish available. The first fleet of longliners was built in Maine and fished the Gulf of Maine from Rockland.

Snelling spent his final years pursuing the dream of bringing longline fishing to foreign nations, like India, Kenya, Papua New Guinea and Tobago. The projects frequently fell victim to revolutionary changes in government and did not come to fruition. Many people believe the demise of stocks due to overfishing could have been prevented had Snelling’s SeaBank concept been adopted worldwide.

Snelling was born May 28, 1927, in Lake Forest, Ill., to Millar and Katherine (Robinson) Brainard. The family moved to Boston several years later. He attended The Fenn School in Concord, Mass., and Tabor Academy in Marion, Mass., where the family spent summers. He entered Harvard University, but was called into the Navy during World War II. He returned to graduate from Harvard with honors in 1948. The Navy called him back into the Korean War, during which he served as an officer.

Snelling was a consultant for McKinsey & Company in New York during the late ‘50s. He left to pursue a career as an entrepreneur, with Glover Landing as his first landmark success.

Snelling had a lifelong love of sailing now carried on by his children and stepchildren. For many years, he sailed a wooden sloop called the Dreadnaught from the Ida Lewis Yacht Club in Newport to destinations such as Nantucket and Cuddyhunk islands. He was affectionately called the Commodore by family and friends.

Snelling is survived by his wife of 36 years, Caroline Perkins, of New York City. He also leaves five children and five stepchildren. His children are John Brainard of Haines, Alaska, and Newport, R.I., Barbara Brainard of New Orleans, Cecily Brainard McAfee of Chicago; Rebecca Brainard of New York City and Jessica Brainard of Sausalito, Calif.

His stepchildren, Caroline’s sons, are David Lobley of Rochester, Ind., Joe Lobley of Waldoboro, John Lobley of New York City, Susie Hubbard of Lynn, Mass., and Wendy Hubbard of Marblehead, Mass.

His grandchildren are Alexandra and Berry Fairchild, Wyatt Brainard, William Alexander McAfee, Charlotte Elizabeth McAfee, Isabelle Lobley, J.P. Lobley and Sahkara Dream.

Snelling is also survived by two brothers, Millar Brainard of Sarasota, Fla., and Ted Brainard of Marion, Mass., as well as a number of nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by a sister, Katherine, of New York City.

A memorial service will be held at a date to be announced. I

n lieu of flowers, donations in Snelling’s memory (Snelling R. Brainard) may be made to the National Parkinson’s Foundation at or at the National Parkinson’s Foundation Gift Processing Center, P.O. Box 5018, Hagerstown, MD, 21741-5018.

Online condolences may be offered to the family at