Featured Resident – Les Snodgrass
Les Snodgrass was born in Kansas City, Kansas, to Phil and Nellie Snodgrass. He had two brother and one sister, who died when she was eight years old. Les loved bicycling. Though he attended school, he was bored with being taught the same thing year after year. During his sophomore year in high school, he decided he’d had enough and quit school.
Les went to work for Mac’s Jones, at 11th and Minnesota, driving a truck and delivering furnaces. After two years, his parents relocated to Carthage, MO, Les moved with them and went to work for Carthage Marble. He’d set the blades that cut the marble slabs.
In 1949, Les enlisted in the Navy, He went to San Diego for aviation school. However, the school was closed and he was reassigned to the mess camp. This happened once again and he ended up in Memphis assigned to mess cooking. He finally was assigned to the USS Roanoke out of Norfolk, VA. He was a Boatswains Mate. Boatswain’s mates train, direct, and supervise deck personnel in ship’s maintenance duties in all activities relating to marlinspike, deck, boat seamanship, painting, upkeep of ship’s external structure, rigging, deck equipment, and boats. Or as Les says – Organize, Supervise and Criticize. Les was deployed to the Mediterranean every six months for six months then back to Norfolk for six months. He was discharged in December of 1953.
Les returned to KCK and got his GED. He went to work for the phone company. In August of 1953, he was with friends at NuWay when he met JoAnn Spindler. He asked her out and married her in December. The couple settled in an apartment in KCK. They welcomed their first child, Susan, in 1954. Les Jr came along in 1955, followed by Tony in 1960 and Phillip in 1963. JoAnn stayed home with the kids and sold Tupperware. She was a great cook. She loved to cook and bake and Les loved eating.
The family moved to a house in 1955 and then built a house in 1972 and then built another in 1986. They remained in KCK the entire time. Les coached basketball and football with CYO. JoAnn was active at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church and Les was involved with the Green Club, a men’s club that provided dinners for various activities. He began actively attending church in 1985.
Les left the phone company after a year and a half and went to work for the Board of Public Utilities. He started out reading water meters and eventually moved to repairing meters. To make extra money, Les worked on washers and dryers as well as moving furniture. After 17 years, he had to quit the water department due to back issues. He went to work in Real Estate as an agent in 1972 and in 1977, he opened his own business. During his time as an agent, he was President, Vice President and Treasurer of Wyandotte County Board of Realtors. He helped create the Heartland MLS serving Wyandotte County, Johnson County and Kansas City, Missouri.
Les retired in 1999 and started fishing at Wyandotte County Lake. He would fish almost daily. JoAnn was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2002 and Les took care of her until her death in 2005.
He sold their house and moved in with his son in Kearney. He started fishing daily at Smithville Lake. He met a group a guys at the docks. There were six or seven of them that would meet up – just whoever was available. If someone didn’t show up for a couple of days, they would call and check on them. Les got his own apartment in the Eastwood Apartments in Kearney before he decided to move in with his other son down on Pomme deTerre Lake in April of 2017.
Les moved to Westbrook in November of 2017 from Pomme de Terre. He likes having his own apartment and that it’s nice and clean, He enjoys doing the community jigsaw puzzles and says it’s good to have friendly help available.
When asked about a valuable life lesson he has learned, Les said he’d never forget what his mother told him. She said to “Grow Old Gracefully”. That means to not fight it. If you’re going gray, go gray. If your back hurts, learn to accept and live with it. It’s going to happen and it’s easier to accept it than to fight against it. Both of his parents were chiropractors.
Besides his love for fishing, Les likes his church and loves his children. Susan is married to Dennis, Les, Jr to Marsha, Phillip to Chris and on May 5th, Tony is marrying Jeane. Les also has six grandchildren and four great grandchildren.