Ross E. Snowden was born July 19, 1940, at Uniontown, Fayette County, Pennsylvania.
Prior to enlisting in the Pennsylvania State Police, Snowden served in the US Air Force from October 1959 to October 1965. He enlisted in the Pennsylvania State Police from Uniontown on April 9, 1970, and was assigned to Troop E, Erie. In July 1972 he transferred to the Aviation Division at Troop L, Reading.
On January 17, 1974, Trooper Snowden and Mr. Donald Glass, Superintendent of the Reading Municipal Airport, were flying an observation patrol of the approaches to the airport. The helicopter crashed and both men were killed. Trooper Snowden was the first Department pilot killed in a helicopter crash. According to a report by Captain Nicholas Pauley, director of the Aviation Division, Trooper Snowden had discussed preferred funeral arrangements with his father a few days before the crash.
Trooper Snowden was buried with full military honors at Woodlawn Cemetery, Uniontown. Over 100 Troopers formed the funeral escort and honor guard. More than 500 police officers representing 45 police agencies from 5 states attended to pay their respects. He was survived by his wife, Mrs. Shirley Ann Snowden, of Mohnton, Berks County. At 33, Trooper Snowden had completed three years and nine months of Pennsylvania State Police service.