By Bill Tamburrino
Joan (Thomsen) Snelling, a June 1953 graduate of Downey High School, moved to Ramona in July of the same year and has been serving Ramona ever since.
She attended San Diego State for one year before going to work for Pac Bell. She worked for Ma Bell for 31 years.
Snelling has been a member of every Ramona High School boosters club since 1953.
“Since 1984 there have been four boosters clubs. Before that there were too many to count,” she said.
In high school, Snelling was a member of Girls Athletic Association (GAA). Interscholastic sports for girls didn’t exist until the 1970s, and the GAA was one of the only organizations that allowed young women to compete in athletics. Snelling was also a member of the school’s service club. She would use both of those experiences in her years of service in our community.
In 1986, Snelling started coaching Lady Bulldog soccer as Val Nelson’s assistant.
“We went to the CIF playoffs all 10 years and made it to the semifinals twice," she said. "Bill Pittsford (now an assistant soccer coach at Ramona High) was the boys coach, and he helped us a lot. We had some talented and motivated athletes who wanted to win.”
Snelling, Nelson and a group of other Ramona women played in adult women’s soccer leagues.
“We had a lot of fun and it helped us learn the game to be better coaches,” noted Snelling.
In those days there were only two CIF divisions. What are now Divisions I, II, III and IV were all one division for playoff purposes. To make it to the playoffs, a team had to do well in league. The Lady Bulldogs had winning records overall and in league. They earned the right to go to the playoffs.
Besides supporting Ramona High School, Snelling also has given back to the community by supporting the Ramona Outdoor Community Center (ROCC), Ramona Chamber of Commerce, PTSA, Michael’s House and Ramona Rodeo. Her entire family is involved in community service. Her brother, Art, and his wife, Linda, were charter members in ROCC. Their children and grandchildren have continued the family tradition.
Snelling’s daughter, Andrea, was the coach and adviser for the nationally-acclaimed Ramona High School Drill Team. Husband Bob coached football and baseball for approximately 20 years. He also served as the varsity basketball scorekeeper for about 20 seasons. Son Aaron has helped in all of the family’s altruistic endeavors.
Community service is a family affair for the Snelling/Thomsen clan.
In all of her endeavors, Snelling gets things done with a positive attitude and an infectious smile. Eternal optimist doesn’t quite describe Snelling. Service with a smile is a lot closer.
Snelling has been selling season tickets for Bulldog football since the team played at Wilson Field. From August until the team’s season is over, Snelling can be found every Tuesday and Thursday from 2 to 4:30 p.m. in the ticket booth at The Dawg Pound. The ticket booth has no AC, TV or computers, so Snelling does it the old-fashioned way with a smile.
“I don’t have the superlatives to describe the job that Snelling has done for Bulldog football," said Damon Baldwin, Ramona High's head football coach. "I have been told that she has been doing this for almost four decades and I am truly amazed.”
“If a job needs to be done, big or small, just give it to Snelling and it will get done and done right,” said Mel Galli, former Ramona High head football coach, athletic director and assistant principal.
Snelling has battled some serious health issues since last football season, but she is fired up and ready for the 2014 football season.
There are still great seats available, and Snelling is the person to go to to get those seats.