Col. James E. Snowden
Sept. 28, 1928 - Feb. 6, 2015
Resident of Walnut Creek
James E. Snowden, 86 years young, passed away on Feb. 6, 2015. Born in Oakland, CA, James was the son of James E. and Hilda Josephine "Babe" Snowden.
Jim received a BA in Art from the University of California at Berkeley, CA and was a member of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. He went on to earn his Master's degree in Fine Art from San Francisco State University. As an artist, he was proficient in watercolor, pottery, woodworking, silkscreen, oils, and serigraphy. Jim also received an Advanced Special Education degree from Stanford University. He was a licensed General Contractor and designed and built homes in the San Francisco Bay area.
In addition to his educational achievements, Jim proudly served 32 years in the U.S. Army. During his active and reserve duty, he was stationed in Germany and was deployed in the Korean Conflict. He retired as a full Colonel in 1983.
Jim's professional achievements included 32 years with the Mt. Diablo Unified School District in Northern California. Eighteen of those years were spent as the Administrator of Art and Industrial Art, which included vocational training for special education students. Jim and his art students created the iconic inlaid mosaic Ram's head at Pleasant Hill High School. He coached tennis, wrestling, and basketball at school campuses, including Diablo Valley Jr. College. Broadcasting from the Claremont Hotel, he was a radio announcer for KRE in Berkeley, CA.
Jim was involved in various associations including the United States Professional Tennis Registry, Special Olympics, and the Park Shore Association Board of Directors in Naples, Florida. While on the Board of Directors, he championed the establishment of the "beautification award" for homes and condominiums within Park Shore.
Some of Jim's personal successes were inspired by his love of tennis, design, innovation, and creativity. He wrote a tennis book entitled "Practice for a Change" and consulted on the development and improvement of numerous tennis facilities in California and Florida. Jim never approached a problem without offering a solution. After retiring in 1988, he started playing golf and achieved a handicap of 9.
Previously married to the late Annette Marie Person, Jim remarried and is survived by his cherished wife of 32 years, Bette Smith Snowden. Jim and Bette, his "girl for all seasons", have enjoyed living in Naples, FL since 1992. His beloved family includes his daughters Karen Anne Snowden (Neil Brown), Julia Snowden Vistnes (Rick Vistnes); stepchildren, Deborah Smith Stackhouse (the late Edwin Stackhouse), Brian David Smith (Heather), Randall Karl Smith (Lennie); thirteen grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Remembrances in Jim's name may be made to Avow Hospice 1095 Whippoorwill Lane Naples, FL 34105. There are no local services planned at this time. Memorial and inurnment will be at Arlington National Cemetery in the spring.
Published in Contra Costa Times on Feb. 10, 2015.