Ross Leroy Snodgrass

1936 - 2012

Ross LeRoy Snodgrass, 75, of Athena, passed away at his home on Nov. 6, 2012, from esophageal cancer. Waiting to greet him are his wife Bonnie, his identical twin brother Russell, his parents William and Mildred and his brother and sister, Bill and Barbara.

Ross is survived by his daughter and grandson, Holly and Wyatt Mays of Weston, and his son, Forrest Snodgrass of Portland.

Graveside services will be held on Friday, Nov. 16, 3:30 p.m. in the Athena Cemetery. A time for visitation will also be on Friday at the Athena First Baptist Church from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Memorial services will be on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012, at the Athena First Baptist Church at 1 p.m. followed by a time of fellowship and refreshments. We would love for you to share a story or memory of Ross at any of the services. To leave a condolence online visit

Ross was born Dec. 13, 1936, one of identical twin sons, in LaGrande. He grew up in the Grande Ronde Valley, graduating from LaGrande High School in 1955. After graduating Ross joined the U.S. Navy and served for more than 22 years, obtaining the rank of Chief Petty Officer. Before his honorable discharge in July of 1977, Ross served on a destroyer in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in administration in New Orleans, and then with Mobile Construction Five (Sea Bees) in Ventura, Calif. While stationed in Seattle, he met his wife Bonnie and they were married in April of 1963. Their daughter was born in Seattle in December of 1964 and their son in March of 1967 while they were stationed in Japan. At his Seattle duty station, Ross’s primary job at the time and for the years to come was with the Naval Investigative Service Office (NISO, now known as NCIS). He attended Naval Justice/Intel Schools in Washington, D.C., and was stationed at NIS Offices in Japan and San Francisco, Calif. After more schooling, Ross was then assigned to the Defense Attache Offices at the American Embassies in Ankara, Turkey, and then Copenhagen, Denmark.
After his retirement in 1977, Ross and family moved briefly back to LaGrande and Pendleton before settling in Athena. While in Athena he was employed as the city recorder for more than 10 years and at one time was the mayor for two years. During this time, Ross attended Blue Mountain Community College, studying for what he would be best known for in the future, emergency medical technician and later obtaining paramedic. While studying, he worked on the Athena-Weston ambulance, now known as the East Umatilla Health District. With the help of many before him and since, Ross with the driving force for helping to establish the Health District as well as increased the designation of the ambulance to advanced life support, which includes advanced cardiac, pediatric and trauma life support a designations it still holds today.
Ross and Bonnie, also an EMT, taught First Aid, CPR and EMT classes during their time with the ambulance. For all of his service, Ross, along with others, was Athena Citizen of the Year in 2004. He reluctantly retired from the ambulance in February of 2009 after almost 30 years of compassionate and dedicated service. He was 72 at the time. Ross and Bonnie enjoyed 48 years of marriage and traveled before her passing in January of 2012. Ross enjoyed hunting with his twin brother and son, fishing and especially running. He walked up to five miles a day before his diagnosis. Although he never played himself, he loved golf. He also enjoyed music and was one of his daughter’s biggest fans.

Thank you does not seem enough to say to the many of you who were a part of his journey. He will be well remembered and so greatly missed.

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