Herald Journal Columns
August 7, 2006 Herald Journal

Remembering JoAnn

By DALE KOVAR

Many of us were saddened last week to hear of the passing of JoAnn Sneer.

JoAnn and Floyd, of course, were owners and publishers of the Winsted Journal from 1961 to 1986. They started the Lester Prairie Journal in 1980, and purchased the neighboring Howard Lake Herald in 1983.

Since then, those papers have evolved into what is now the Herald Journal.

I came to work for the Sneers in October 1978. The Journal was then located in an old bank building, which is now the site of the parking lot just west of what is now Keaveny Thrifty White Pharmacy.

Although I had worked for larger newspapers, my years with the Sneers are among my favorite memories.

I learned lessons from every boss I’ve worked for, but the Sneers created some special memories for me.

The first one I think of with JoAnn is the “groomal shower” she surprised me with shortly before Linda and I got married.

After all, the bride got a bridal shower, so I got one, too.

One day, I think after the paper was put together, people started showing up in the production shop and the gala event took place.

JoAnn was also the ultimate proofreader. Before every paper went to press, she would meticulously go through every item on every page to check it one more time.

Another highlight was when I had earned enough trust so Floyd and JoAnn were able to take their first vacation together in years.

When a husband and wife run a small business together, it’s not too often they can both get away at the same time.

So I actually got to run the place for a week.

Both Floyd and JoAnn were dedicated to their community, with efforts that went beyond the newspaper.

JoAnn was a major supporter of the Winsted Public Library and in fact, was the driving force in getting a library in Winsted at all, a task that took years to accomplish.

It took her getting elected to the city council to finally get the city to make the commitment to supporting a library.

In her last few years, Alzheimer’s disease took her away from the people and community she loved to be part of.

But Winsted is a better place because of people like JoAnn and Floyd Sneer.

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