Moonlight Rollerway is memorializing a longtime patron who had a big pair of roller skates and an even bigger passion for the sport.
David Snowden’s size 14 custom Riedell skates, valued at more than $700, are on display at the rink’s front counter, along with a photo of him as a remembrance of someone who paid a visit almost every week for more than 20 years.
The 68-year-old died of a sudden heart attack at his Redondo Beach home on Feb. 10
“He liked coming to Moonlight. He felt like this was his home rink,” said business owner Dominic Cangelosi, who’s known Snowden since the 1980s. “He always came in and was cheerful. He would help out once in a while if we needed it. He’s supervised the floor and he’d help skaters with their dancing.”
Originally from Johnston, R.I., Snowden served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. He later landed a job as a student services specialist at El Camino College, where he worked for the remainder of his life.
He made the trek to Moonlight Rollerway about twice a week, and skated about two to three hours a night, Cangelosi said.
Well over 6 feet tall, Snowden’s choice of wardrobe made him stand out even more in the rink.
“He loved to wear Hawaiian shirts, so you always knew David was here,” Cangelosi said.
Snowden was a competitive dance skater and transferred many popular styles such as the foxtrot and the waltz to the rink.
And the size of someone’s build doesn’t really affect how well they can maneuver on skates, Cangelosi said.
“[Snowden] was very good at roller skating,” he said. “He could do all the turns and everything.”
When he wasn’t participating in hundreds of competitions across the country, he was judging them. He was scheduled to judge one this weekend at Moonlight, Cangelosi said.
Kate Beley, Snowden’s co-worker at El Camino College, said he got her to try roller-skating for the first time and despite a rough start, his positive attitude inspired improvement.
“After he said ‘why don’t you just come out and watch me skate,’ which I could do,” Beley said. “I have no athletic ability, at first I could walk back and forth a little bit on skates a little, but before I knew it I was enjoying it and I learned to skate.”
Snowden’s high-end skates have Douglas-Snyder steel plates, which make them so expensive, Cangelosi added.
They’ll likely stay on display until after his memorial service at El Camino College on April 1.
It was members of Snowden’s extended family back on the East Coast who asked the skates be on placed on display, a first-time request that Cangelosi happily honored.
The roller skates will likely be shipped to his relatives, Cangelosi said.
Snowden didn’t have any immediate family in Southern California, but he did make many friends while out on the rink.
“He was very social,” he said. “He talked to everybody and everyone liked him.”
Follow Arin Mikailian on Twitter: @ArinMikailian.