When Dowagiac’s 37th annual Candle-light Christmas Parade takes to the streets Friday, a man who has given his heart and soul to this community will be honored. Former City Clerk James E. Snow, who is fondly known as “Mr. Dowagiac,” was selected by the Chamber to serve as Grand Marshal of the 130-unit holiday procession.

The former Arkansas native moved his young family to Michigan in 1959.   Jim’s service to the people of Dowagiac and the surrounding area began in 1969, when he served on the Dowagiac Police Department, later working for the Cass County Sheriff’s Department and also the City’s electric crew.

In 1983, Jim was elected to his first of six consecutive, four-year terms as City Clerk. During his tenure, Jim took great pride in being among the city’s front-line communicators with the public. Vickie Phillipson, Chamber of Commerce & DDA program director, who worked with Jim for several years, said he is one in a million, whose service to our community was priceless.

“Jim is the type of elected official who knew everyone by their first name,” Phillipson said. “When you came to Jim with a question, problem or suggestion, you knew you were talking to someone who listened to your every word. Jim is a person who cares greatly about his community and its residents.”

Prior to his retirement, in October of 2014, Jim was honored by the City of Dowagiac, which named the new professional building at Main and Front streets in his honor.  

Phillipson said Jim will be honored during pre-parade entertainment, beginning at 6:15 p.m. at the Beckwith Park. He and his wife, Lavada, will appear in the parade as Unit 3, riding in the limousine, provided by Tom Starks of Clark Chapel / Starks Family Funeral Homes.

Pre-parade entertainment features performances by the Lighthouse Chorus and Positively Dance, prior to the grand procession stepping off at 7 pm.

Presented by the Chamber and Borgess-Lee Memorial Hospital, the parade was underwritten by the Business Center of SW Michigan, Chemical Bank, Clark Chapel / Starks Family Funeral Homes, Cass County Council on Aging / Front Street Crossing, Deck the Halls, Dowagiac Area Federal Credit Union, Dowagiac Area History Museum, Edward Jones Office of Kim MacGregor, Imperial Furniture, John A. Vylonis Custom Building, Mahar Insurance, May Oberfell Lorber, The Timbers of Cass County and Vincent J. Jewelers.

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