In Memoriam – TOM SNELSON – Musician, Teacher And Friend

Tom Snelson in 1998Tom Snelson, member of the Anaheim, California Savanna High School Class of 1964 – a friend, a son, a brother, a superb musician, and a great American patriot, has died after a long battle with cancer.

I first became aware of Tom’s great musical talent in 1961.  I was an 8th grader.  He was on the stage at Fremont Jr. High School in Anaheim, California.  Even as a 9th grader his playing stood out among the other members of the Trident Jr. High School Concert Band.  My friends in the audience and I didn’t know his name, but we quickly recognized that Tom Snelson was something special.

I had the good fortune to perform for two years with Tom in the Savanna High School Band in Anaheim, California.

From 1965 through 1967 we sat next to each other in what is now the University of Northern Colorado Symphonic Band.  Tom was the lead trumpet player and I was first chair trombone.  We toured the middle western states and performed more concerts than I can recall.  Tom was a featured soloist during our tours.  He was a virtuoso the likes of which I have heard only once or twice in my lifetime.  I never heard him miss a note.

Following his graduation from UNC Tom served in the United States Army.  He performed and toured with the Glenn Miller Band and was featured on two Platinum Christmas albums which the Miller Band recorded.  For years he played lead trumpet in Las Vegas  hotel shows, accompanying many world-famous artists and performers.  He gave trumpet lessons to countless Las Vegas high school students.

We kept in touch over the years, especially after he became ill.  His doctors were amazed that he lived as long as he did.  Tom was a fighter and a brave man.

Goodbye, Tom.  You were one of the greats.  I know your sisters, your friends and your students will miss you.  Rest in peace.Tom Snelson 2


About John L. Work

John Lloyd Work has taken the detective thriller genre and woven an occasional political thread throughout his books, morphing what was once considered an arena reserved for pure fiction into believable, terrifying, futuristic, true-to-life “faction”. He traveled the uniformed patrolman’s path, answering brutal domestic violence calls, high speed chases, homicides, suicides, armed robberies, breaking up bar fights, and the accompanying sporadic unpredictable moments of terror - which eventually come to all police officers, sometimes when least expected. He gradually absorbed the hard fact that the greatest danger a cop faces comes in the form of day-to-day encounters with emotionally disturbed, highly intoxicated people. Those experiences can wear a cop down, grinding on his own emotions and psyche. Prolonged exposure to the worst of people and people at their worst can soon make him believe that the world is a sewer. That police officer’s reality is a common thread throughout Work’s crime fiction books. Following his graduation from high school, Work studied music and became a professional performer, conductor and teacher. Life made a sudden, unexpected turn when, one afternoon in 1976, his cousin, who eventually became the Chief of the Ontario, California, Police Department, talked him into riding along during a patrol shift. The musician was hooked into becoming a police officer. After working for two years as a reserve officer in Southern California and in Boulder, Colorado, he joined the Longmont, Colorado Police Department. Work served there for seven years, investigating crimes as a patrolman, detective and patrol sergeant. In 1989 he joined the Adams County, Colorado Sheriff’s Office, where he soon learned that locking a criminal up inside a jail or prison does not put him out of business. As a sheriff’s detective he investigated hundreds of crimes, including eleven contract murder conspiracies which originated “inside the walls”. While serving on the Adams County North Metro Gang Task Force and as a member of the Colorado Security Threat Intelligence Network Group (STING), Work designed a seminar on how a criminal’s mind formulates his victim selection strategy. Over a period of six years he taught that class in sheriff’s academies and colleges throughout Colorado. He saw the world of crime both inside the walls and out on the streets. His final experiences in the criminal law field were with the Colorado State Public Defender’s Office, where for nearly two years he investigated felonies from the defense side of the Courtroom. Twenty-two years of observing human nature at its worst, combined with watching some profound changes in America’s culture and political institutions, provided plenty of material for his first three books. A self-published author, he just finished writing his tenth thriller.
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