The Reno People Project is a way to tell 150 stories about some of the people that make up our unique community history. 150 Reno People will be honored from May 9, 2017 through May 9, 2018, Reno's 150th birthday.
Special thanks to those who nominated these Reno People and helped contribute to the bio information contained herein.
Eighth Round of Honorees - April 27, 2018 and May 9, 2018
Krys T. Bart
Krys T. Bart was the President/CEO for the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority, and was responsible for leading and directing the Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO), and the Reno Stead Airport, with an operating budget of $46 million. In 2010, Krys Bart, was named one of Nevada’s Most Influential Citizens by the Nevada Business Journal, joining a distinguished group of prominent Nevadans who are recognized as “far-thinking, clear-sighted and pro-Nevada.” Under Ms. Bart’s leadership, the Reno-Tahoe International Airport has been recognized by the Air Transport Research Society as one of the top five most efficient airports in North America, twice in the past three years. Ms. Bart took over as Reno-Tahoe Airport Director in December of 1998, and was named the 2007 Airport Director of the Year by Airport Revenue News Magazine due to her success in increasing airport revenues and enhancing customer service and community outreach. Bart continued to maintain passenger counts and flights, with seventeen new flights announced between December 2009 and June 2010, helping to put Reno, Nevada on the flight map.
Mary Elizabeth Conover Booth
Mary Elizabeth Conover Booth was an early Reno educator for whom Libby Booth Elementary School was named. Most evidence points to a birth date of April 12, 1856 in the Monterey, California area. In 1888, she and her husband George Booth moved to Reno and she began her career as a teacher. Reno had only one school and a staff of nine teachers at the time where Libby taught for 20 years. In 1904, she left the Central School to become the first principle of the new Southside School.
Hannah Keziah Clapp
Hannah Keziah Clapp was born in up-state New York in 1824 and at the age of 25 began her teaching career in a private seminary in Michigan. She soon became a principal of the Lansing Female Seminary, and later taught at Michigan Female College. Like many other Midwesterners, she answered the beckoning call of the American West and joined her brother’s family on a wagon train going to California. She was 35 years old when she passed through the Truckee Meadows on her way to a teaching position in Vacaville, near Sacramento. But within a year she returned to Nevada, where she spent the next 41 years. Hannah Clapp is remembered today as one of Carson City’s most interesting figures, but she also was the co-founder of Reno’s first kindergarten, and, being an ardent feminist and suffragette, was one of the founders of the Twentieth Century Club, a progressive women’s organization that planted the trees along Riverside Drive. She worked tirelessly to make Reno a safer and cleaner city and among her many accomplishments she was responsible for outlawing spitting in the streets.
Felice Cohn was one of Nevada’s first female lawyers, an author of suffragist legislation in Nevada, and one of the first women admitted to the United States Supreme Court. She was born May 14, 1884, in Carson City, Nevada, the daughter of pioneers Morris and Pauline. Felice taught school at age fifteen and then attended Nevada State University and Stanford University, and graduated from Washington Law School. She was admitted to the Nevada Bar in 1902 and started to practice law at age eighteen. She entered private practice in Reno in 1922, where she handled thousands of divorces. She practiced in Nevada, California, Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado and was appointed a United States referee in bankruptcy in 1926, one of the first women in that position. Due to political infighting, she was removed in 1934 and was appointed national chair of the committee on ethics of the National Association of Referees in Bankruptcy. In 1931, she was the only practicing woman attorney in Nevada.
Ben Felix is a person who has impacted the success, core, and lifeblood of Reno, but you probably haven't heard of him. Ben has dedicated the last 12 years of his life to helping people who are victims of sexual assault and sexual violence through his work pioneering a Sexual Assault Support Services program through the Crisis Call center. Ben has personally seen to the well being of over 2,000 victims of sexual assault from Eastern California and across all of Northern Nevada. He has personally trained dozens of volunteers, struggled and fought for grant funding, and selflessly aided victims. Ben has been critical in creating a database off of anonymous reporting that has informed local police like SPD and RPD of best-practices. His training and guidance has resulted in a more welcoming environment for victims and the treatment of victims. He has been a pioneer and planner for Nevada's own Victim Assistance Academy of Northern Nevada, a nationally recognized instructional program for advocates.
Patrick Flanagan began his legal career after graduation from California Western School of Law in 1978 and moved to Reno after graduation to work as a Washoe County Appellate Public Defender. As a Federal Public Defender he appeared in front of the US Supreme Court in Sumner v. Shuman (1987) and numerous Ninth Circuit court appearances. He was the lead council in the "Company" trial, the nations second longest criminal trial, US v. Baker (1991). He entered private practice with Beckley Singleton and then to Hale Lane before suffering a paralyzing bicycle accident in 2001. Patrick never let his loss of mobility impede him and, in fact, earned his 3rd degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do while in a wheelchair. He was certain God presented him the opportunity to achieve his life-long dream of becoming a judge. With the unwavering support of his wife, Caroline, they ran a successful campaign for District Court Judge in 2006. He was extremely proud of his legal work and his legal team as district court judge that culminated in his unanimous election to Chief Judge in 2016.
Max Fleischmann was the son of successful Austro-Hungarian immigrants. Fleischmann was a multifaceted, multi talented philanthropist, manufacturer, explorer, naturalist, parachutist, conservationist, investor, aviator, yachtsman, hunter, author, banker and outdoorsman. Much of his success was attributed to owning Fleischmann's Yeast (founded by his father and uncle). He was also a principal stockholder of General Foods. Fleischmann is credited with being the first observation balloon school commander for US forces in Europe, and mayor of Santa Barbara, CA and was even one time part owner of the Cincinnati Reds baseball team. He had many philanthropic activities in Nevada and in his will he designated almost his entire estate to the Fleischmann Foundation in Nevada.
Dorothy Nash Holmes
Dorothy Nash Holmes is a native Nevadan, born in 1950 when her father, Bill Nash, was football coach at Stewart Indian School in Carson City. Her mother, Vicki Nash, a long-time news reporter and political writer, opened Nevada’s first woman-owned public relations firm in Reno in the 1950s. A lawyer for more than 33 years, Dorothy was the 75th woman to be licensed to practice law in Nevada. She spent more than half of her career as a local, state and federal prosecutor. She began her career in the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office then returned there 14 years later as the elected District Attorney, serving from 1991-1994, the only woman ever to occupy that post. She also was an Assistant United States Attorney in San Francisco and Reno, investigating and prosecuting international narcotics traffickers. Dorothy did civil litigation with San Francisco and Reno law firms, including Fahrendorf, Viloria, Oliphant & Oster, L.L.P. She also served as a Special Prosecutor for Nevada’s Judicial Discipline Commission.
Reno’s founding father, Myron Lake was Reno’s first Robber Baron and is often referred to as “the Father of Reno”. He was a Nevada pioneer with a very controversial legacy. In 1861, Lake created Reno’s first toll bridge and hostelry along the Truckee River. In doing so he guided commercial traffic between the northern Sierra and the Comstock. Later, he also worked to attract the Central Pacific region to establish a station at his crossing. This led to the birth of Reno. Myron Lake died in Reno on June 20, 1884, at the age of 56, a wealthy and prominent man.
Mills Lane hails from a prominent Georgia family: his grandfather founded the largest bank in Georgia, and his uncle was the president of Citizens & Southern National Bank. Mills, however, had other aspirations, and joined the United States Marine Corps in 1956, after his graduation from Middlesex School. He became a boxer while serving as a Marine, becoming the All-Far East welterweight champ. After leaving the Marine Corps, he enrolled at the University of Nevada, Reno and became the NCAA boxing champion. He turned pro while in college, eventually earning a 10–1 record as a pro. In the U.S. Olympic Trials in San Francisco for the 1960 Summer Olympics, Mills was defeated by Phil Baldwin in the boxing semifinals. Lane graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a business degree in 1963, then attended the University of Utah's S.J. Quinney College of Law, graduating with the class of 1970. In 1979, he became Chief Deputy Sheriff of Investigative Services at the Washoe County Sheriff's Office. He was elected District Attorney in 1982 and District Judge in 1990.
Moya Lear was an American businesswoman and the wife of aviation pioneer Bill Lear. Her father was vaudeville genius John "Ole" Olsen, whose Depression-era show Hellzapoppin' was the longest running Broadway hit in history. Though famous by both marriage and birth, she was considered down-to-earth by those close to her. Lear received a bachelor's degree from Ohio State University and earned a total of six honorary doctoral degrees, and devoted a substantial amount of time to philanthropy in Reno. envisioned a community space that could host anything from a children’s dance recital to a world-renowned string quartet. In 1997 she worked to make that vision a reality by pledging $1.1 million to the project with the caveat that it be matched by the community. $1.3 million was raised and matched and The Lear was purchased in 1998.
Pat Hardy Lewis
Pat Hardy Lewis was born in Chicago, Illinois. She attended Grinnell College in Iowa and received her B.A. in Social Psychology from the University of Nevada, Reno. She also holds a masters degree from the University of Nevada, Reno in Counseling and Guidance, and a E.D.S. in Marriage and Family Counseling. She was elected the the Reno City Council in 1973 and served until 1977. This was an important period in Reno history as it was a time when the City was beginning to grow and an increasing rate. While a City Councilmen Ms. Lewis was most interested in planning and the use of land for Reno's future. She was a strong proponent of involving citizens in the decision process through the use of ad hoc committees. She is currently a counselor at the University of Nevada, Reno.
Charles Mathewson was leader of one of the world's most successful gaming companies, overseeing a dramatic period of growth and innovation. Mathewson found success as a broker and, in the early 1980s, began investing in International Game Technology, a Nevada slot machine manufacturer. He slowly began to increase his involvement with the company, becoming a director in 1985. The following year, IGT founder Si Redd asked Mathewson to chair the company's board, and Mathewson obliged. Under his leadership, IGT became an industry pioneer in several fields, including wide area progressives, microprocessor-driven reel slots, and continued its innovation in video poker. Creating popular slot themes like Double Diamonds and Red, White, and Blue and licensing existing brands such as Wheel of Fortune, Mathewson helped make IGT the slot industry leader. In 2000, Mathewson stepped down as chief executive officer, and in 2003 he retired as chairman of the board, but his legacy with the company, guaranteed by years of success, remains secure. Charles is also founder of the Charles Mathewson Foundation, a philanthropic organization that gives generously to the arts, education, medical research, and social services.
Stacie Mathewson is the founder and Executive Director of the Stacie Mathewson Foundation, and organization dedicated to reducing the nation’s growing substance abuse rate. In addition to her professional experience, she is personally connected to the cause, witnessing since childhood how addiction disease can tear families apart and span generations. With the loss of a son who first faced the challenge of chemical dependency in his early adolescence, Stacie’s commitment to preventing addiction and protecting the health of our youth is relentless. Stacie is uniquely qualified to create change in the field of youth recovery by bringing a wealth of business experience to the effort with more than 15 years of entrepreneurial and management experience in the real estate industry. Stacie has received 29 awards for her innovative efforts from national, state, and local organizations in the areas of recovery advocacy, education and evidence-based research. Stacie’s vision and dedication to prevention and recovery support for our youth continues to make a significant impact on Northern Nevada and the nation.
Theresa began her activism at a very young age and has been very passionate about improving her community since childhood. From 1991 to 1997, she ran Community to Aid Abused Women (CAAW), the largest domestic violence shelter in Northern Nevada. She was also a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) and a rape crisis counselor. In 1994, Theresa became the very first advocate to assist a victim in a courtroom. She was elected Vice-Chair of the Washoe County Democratic Party where she served until 2007 when she became the political director for the Nevada Bill Richardson for President Team. In 2008, she became the Nevada State Director of Health Care for America Now. Theresa now serves on the National Immigration Caucus and works part-time with the Catholic Diocese for a project called “Justice for Immigrants.” She speaks in churches across Nevada educating Catholics on the status of our immigration process and the need for reform. She has doing extensive work with DREAMers and the Deferred Action program. Additionally, she is serving her second terms as a member of the Nevada Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. She is currently working on a project that evaluates the effects of placing youth under the age of 18 in the prison system. She is Board President of Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada. She is the second vice-chair of the Nevada State Democratic Party. Oh, and she’s putting together a People of Color Caucus for the state of Nevada. In her spare time she works with a number of universities as a speaker on the importance of voting. She also talks to international students about American politics.
William Pennington was a pioneer in Nevada’s casino industry who helped build the Circus Circus empire. Listed for years on Forbes magazine’s list of the 400 richest people in America, Pennington gave millions of dollars to education, medicine and other charities through the William N. Pennington Foundation. Pennington moved to Reno in 1962 to work in the oil drilling business. He soon turned his attention to the gambling industry. He started by designing and building electronic gambling devices in the late 1960s. Circus Circus began producing large profits in the 1970s. A decade later, Circus Circus became one of the first gambling companies to offer shares on the New York Stock Exchange.
Dr. Rupert Grant Seals
Dr. Rupert Grant Seals has had an esteemed career in higher education, rising through the ranks from instructor to professor and dean. He has given much to agriculture through exemplary academic leadership, and his advocacy and action in creating a national awareness of the vital need for increased economic support and opportunities for African-Americans at land-grant universities. During his career, Seals taught at Washington State, Tennessee State University, Iowa State University and the University of Nevada. He was professor and dean of the School of Agriculture and Home Economics at Florida A&M from 1969 to 1974. He was associate dean of the College of Agriculture and professor of animal nutrition at the University of Nevada from 1976 to 1987.
Governor Brian Sandoval
Brian Sandoval was elected the 30th Governor of Nevada in 2010 and re-elected in 2014. Prior to serving as Governor, he served as a United States District Judge for the District of Nevada. Governor Sandoval has also served as Attorney General of Nevada, Chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission and in the Nevada Legislature. He was the first Latino to be elected to a statewide office in Nevada. Sandoval’s accomplishments as Governor include working to make Nevada the most veteran and military-friendly state in the nation, reconstructing Nevada’s approach to economic development, expanding health care coverage, implementing new, innovative gaming policy and, one of his most prized accomplishments, leading the effort for an unprecedented investment in and modernization of Nevada’s public education system. In 2015, Governor Sandoval enacted an unprecedented investment to reform Nevada’s education system. The changes have delivered targeted programs to boost student achievement and equip students and teachers with the tools for success as innovators, job creators, and leaders in the new Nevada economy. Governor Sandoval actively serves as Chairman of several Boards and Commissions for the State of Nevada, including the Boards of Finance, Examiners, Prison Commissioners, Pardon Commissioners, Transportation, Economic Development as well as the Commission on Homeland Security and the Gaming Policy Committee. Governor Sandoval received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Nevada in 1986 and his law degree from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law in 1989. He has three children, James, Maddy, and Marisa.
Pete Sferrazza currently serves as a Judge in Reno Justice Court having been elected in November of 2008. Prior to becoming a judge, Pete served as the elected Reno Mayor from 1981 to 1995 serving an unprecedented 14 years. Pete has also served in the Peace Corps in Bahia, Brazil from 1969 to 1971, as a Marathon County Supervisor and Wausau, Wisconsin City Councilmen from 1974 to 1976, as Director of Nevada Indian Legal Services from 1976 to 1978, Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Washoe County Commissioner from 1998 to 2007, a Deputy Attorney for Injured workers, and was in private practice. In addition Pete served as Tribal Judge for the Moapa Paiute, Yerington Paiute, Ely Shoshone, Intertribal Court of Appeals, Fallon Paiute-Shoshone, Pyramid Lake Paiute, Walker River Paiute, and the Washoe Tribe.
Debbie Smith was born on January 14, 1956, in Tucson, Arizona. Her family moved to Battle Mountain when she was in the fourth grade, and she quickly grew to love Nevada, with its beauty and traditions. At only 22, Debbie was elected to a rural school board, and as a parent of three children, she was a lifelong advocate for our public education system. In 2000, Debbie decided to run for the Nevada Assembly. It did not take her long to climb to its highest ranks: Chair of its most prestigious Ways & Means Committee, Majority Whip, Speaker Pro Tempore. In 2012, she was elected to the Nevada Senate and served as the Assistant Majority Leader, Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, and Assistant Minority Leader. Though she had many legislative accomplishments, one of her biggest successes was pioneering a bill to provide funding to schools. Debbie was respected and is remembered by individuals in all parties, regions of the state and ideologies because of her work ethic, perseverance, resolve, intelligence, and the genuine respect she showed to all.
Rabbi Emerita Myra Soifer served as Temple Sinai's rabbi for 25 years (from August 1984 through June 2009). She has now retired but remains active in the Community. Prior to coming to Reno, Rabbi Soifer served as the Assistant Rabbi at Temple Sinai in New Orleans, Louisiana. She was ordained in 1978, by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio. Rabbi Soifer's activities at Temple Sinai in Reno included services of worship and life cycle, teaching, home and hospital visits, community lectures, and private counseling. She is the author of numerous published articles on a variety of Jewish topics. Retired on June 30, 2009, Rabbi Soifer retains the title "Rabbi Emerita. She has been granted life-time membership at our Temple.Rabbi Soifer also came back to Sinai for nine months (September 2012 through June 2013) and provided full rabbinic services during the search for a permanent rabbi. She re-entered retirement on June 30, 2013. Women Rabbi's remain rare.
Dr. Barbara Thornton is an Emeritus Professor of the School of Public Health at the University of Nevada, Reno where she worked with the Center for Ethics and Health Policy. She was co-founder of this organization which dealt with ethical issues throughout the State of Nevada. Dr. Thornton has specialized in end of life care for the last 10 years. She has taught communication, bioethics and health policy to students for 30 years at the University. She has also written in the areas of ethics and communication and is the co-author of three books on those subjects. She served for seven years on the Board of the Hastings Center, and international think tank for bio-ethical issues and was Vice President of that organization. Dr. Thornton co-founded the Nevada Women's Fund in Reno. Nevada which serves women and children. She was the University-wide winner of the Distinguished Professor Award at the University of Nevada in 2005 and was named a Distinguished Nevadan by the University of Nevada in 1996.
Ollie and Helen Westbrook
George Wingfield was born in 1876 to a small family in Arkansas and was raised in southern Oregon. Wingfield was considered one of Nevada’s most powerful economic and political figures during the early 20th century, he rose from faro dealer to the position of the richest man in Nevada in less than five years. By age thirty, he had moved to Reno and become a mining multi-millionaire and the business partner of a U.S. Senator. After his partner’s death, he was offered an appointment to the Senate. Wingfield declined this offer, and in doing so, instantly became a national celebrity. Wingfield was an extraordinary businessman and soon came to own an international mining company, most of the Nevada’s banks and many major Reno hotels, including the Riverside hotel. He also owned a thoroughbred horse racing stable that was nationally famous. He was often referred to as “the King of Nevada” by contemporary media sources. He was responsible for financing numerous industries that allowed Reno to prosper. He also donated to the City of Reno the land where Wingfield park is today.
Seventh Round of Honorees - April 22, 2018
Cynthia Albright, AICP-CUD, GISP is Principal with Stantec Consulting, an engineering and design company with 22,000 employees globally that has had a local office since 1952. Like many others, Cynthia moved to Reno nearly three decades ago to enjoy the sense of community, small town, and abundant outdoor recreation opportunities. She graduated from UCLA with a Master of Arts degree in Urban Planning and Architecture and advanced certifications as an Urban Designer and Geographic Information Systems Professional. As a land development consultant, she works for public, private and non-profit entities. One of her many passions is serving the city of Reno as a volunteer on the Ward 2 Neighborhood Advisory Board where her knowledge of land planning and design is shared with the development community in hopes of achieving a better outcome for current and future residents. Cynthia’s time on the NAB spans over 20 years. She volunteered on the Reno Recreation and Parks Commission from 1993 to 2002; served two terms on the Charter Committee and currently chairs the Urban Forestry Commission. Cynthia cares deeply about enhancing the beauty of our community and making sure residential development integrates adequate public parks and walkability to commercial opportunities. The Urban Forestry Commission intends to raise awareness of the importance of preserving our diminishing tree inventory and planting appropriate trees along streetscapes and civic spaces to create inviting places for residents and visitors to enjoy.
Christopher Ault is a former American football player, coach and athletic director. He served three stints as the head football coach at the University of Nevada, Reno leading the Nevada Wolf Pack to a record of 234–108–1 over 28 seasons and guiding the program from the NCAA's Division II to Division I-AA in 1978 and then to Division I-A in 1992. Ault was also the athletic director at Nevada from 1986 to 2004. He was the school's starting quarterback from 1965 to 1968. He is a former consultant for the Kansas City Chiefs of the National Football League (NFL). Ault was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 2002, seven years after his first retirement from coaching in 1995.
John Champion was known as the best friend of the Truckee River. He was an avid fly fisherman, planted countless trees to provide shade for fish, and created pools for spawning. He was an early advocate of the river, working to keep the river clean the the banks stable to create and ecosystem and habitat for many species of animals. John Champion Park, located on Kuenzli St. just west of Kietzke, was named in his honor for these contributions.
Crissie Caughlin was one of the founding names of the Reno area. She and her husband William Henry owned what was originally called the Andrews Ranch, an expansive property that was one of the area’s earliest and largest ranches, consisting at its peak of a reported 6,000 acres of land that stretched all the way from the Truckee River to today’s Skyline Boulevard. This ranch soon came to be known as Caughlin Ranch. The Caughlin Ranch House, along with its outbuildings and pastoral setting, provides a rare and enduring link to Reno’s rich ranching heritage, right in the heart of the city. Since the early 1900s, this lovely Italianate home, one of the area’s last surviving historic ranch houses, has stood in the same location, surrounded by undeveloped land. The property is surrounded by Betsy Caughlin Donnelly Park, which Donnelly donated to Washoe County in 1990 in order to preserve the 30-acre parcel as a refuge of open space and a buffer between the historic ranch house and rapidly encroaching urban development.
Bishop Luther James Dupree Jr.
Bishop Luther DuPree Jr. moved to Reno when he received a message from a family friend, Olin Crick, a construction worker who had expanded his business to the state of Nevada. Olin offered Luther a job, so in March 1965 at the age of 19, Luther moved west to Reno. While getting ready to go out on a Saturday night, Luther’s body became paralyzed and he could not move. At that moment, he made a promise to God: “Lord, if you get me out of this I will serve you.” As soon as he thought those words, he felt a push in his back and he was able to move again. The following Sunday he attended the only church he knew in the area and whence began his clerical practice.
Thomos O. Fennessy
Thomas O. Fennessy was a North Valleys Neighborhood Advisory Board member, veteran, and community public servant. For much of his life, he lived in the Silver Shadow Mobile Home Park, on Stead Blvd and Silver Lake Blvd. Thomas took a keen interest in the intersection corner lot adjacent to the mobile park and eventually bought the lot, where he placed a “Welcome to Stead” sign. The signage was part of the Neighborhood Advisory Board initiative to welcome visitors to the area. A flag poll was also installed on the property, which Fennessy maintained as well.
Mariluz Garcia, the daughter of immigrants from the Basque Country and Mexico, was born and raised in Elko, Nevada. She is proud to have called Reno her home for the past 20 years where her education and professional career have been dedicated to support the needs of low-income and first-generation college students. At the age of 30, Mariluz began serving as the director of Dean’s Future Scholars, a non-profit college access program, which has served over 1,200 students. She was a Nevada Women’s Fund Salute to Women of Achievement Honoree, a Nevada State Education Association Human and Civil Rights Award Recipient, a 20 Under 40 Award Winner, and received the John A. Bailey Professional Expectancy Award in counseling. Currently, she is a member of the Rotary Club of Reno, an Education Alliance board member, and a Reno Zazpiak Bat Basque Club dancer. Mariluz is a mother of two and is a doctoral candidate in the Equity and Diversity in Education program at the University of Nevada, Reno.
Jorge Herrera is the pastor at Little Flower Church and an active member of the community. He is a strong support system for many in the community and advocates against injustice.
Aaron and Diana Hibel
Aaron and Diana Hibel founded the Animal Ark in 1981. Aaron, a native Nevadan served as President from 1985 to 1996 and again from 2001 to 2005, and has been Executive Director since 2005. As Executive Director, Aaron is the primary spokesperson for the organization, leads major fund development efforts, communicates with governance boards, and is responsible for the overall management of the organization. Aaron has been responsible for the design and construction of the Animal Ark facility since its inception. During Animal Ark’s early years, Diana was responsible for nearly all of the duties at the sanctuary. As a trustee, she served from 1985 to 2012 including 23 years as secretary. At the core of what Animal Ark is today, was a beginning foundation of quality care for wildlife, and an inspiring education program for children. As Programs Manager, she oversees the animal care, education programs, and gift shop. She strongly believes that the many people involved with the sanctuary make it the dynamic place that it is. Animal Ark has provided a safe haven for injured, abandoned and otherwise non-releasable wildlife as well as created a place of education for the Reno community.
Clarence Jones was born in Genoa, NV on 9/24/1909 and died on 1/25/1995. He graduated from the University of Nevada with a degree in electrical engineering in 1927. He started working with the Gazette in 1920 as carrier and later utilized his electrical engineering knowledge to set up the data processing system at the Gazette. He was named a corporate officer of Reno Newspapers Inc. in 1956 and subsequently advanced to vice president and finally to treasurer in 1962. After official retirement Clarence continued as a financial counselor and was known for spear heading important local events such as bringing the Eighth Winter Olympics to Squaw Valley. He helped develop Slide Mountain and Reno Ski Bowl. He served on the Washoe County Public Works Commission and the Reno Chamber of Commerce streets and highways committee. He was active in youth, service and charitable organizations. He was a Mason and member of the First United Methodist Church. He was named a Distinguished Nevadan by the University Of Nevada Board Of Regents in 1977. After Clarence Jones retired from the Gazette Newspaper in 1972 he and his wife Martha traveled extensively and became very generous philanthropists. Their support of student success extends from athletics to academic scholarships awarded annually through the scholarship endowment they created. They funded a computer lab at the University of Nevada in the 1960's. Later Mr. Jones was concerned that the historic old Journalism building on the Quad was deteriorating and through his and his wife’s generous contribution the University preserved the historic building and turned it into a Visitor's Center. It was dedicated in their honor in 1983. The Jones were also involved in projects at the University and the restoration of Morrill Hall.
Colin Kaepernick was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1987. An athletic and mobile quarterback, Kaepernick attended the University of Nevada, Reno, where he set several school and college records and became the first quarterback in the history of Division I FBS to pass for more than 10,000 yards and rush for more than 4,000 yards. He is one of the all time best football players to ever attend UNR. The San Francisco 49ers drafted Kaepernick in 2011, and he led the club to Super Bowl XLVII less than two years later. In 2016, Kaepernick drew attention for refusing to stand for the national anthem, a form of protest that was adopted by other players and became a hot-button political topic.
Lauren Klein is a leader and a mentor with a specialization in collaborative business strategy, community leadership, workforce education and change management with experience as a strategic member of corporate leadership teams. She uses her strong professional foundation working with Fortune 500 and international corporations to help direct others in the business environment. She is especially passionate about her mentorship of young women in the Reno area, and is the founder and owner of Girlmade and the Girl Empire Conference. Through these organizations, she targets women with potential and helps guide them to reach their utmost potential. For her work with women, Lauren was one of two hundred national nominees invited to the White House South By South Lawn (SXSL) event on October 3rd, 2016. Additionally, she won the 2016 NCET Technology Advocate - Ecosystem Award and 2016 Inspiration Award from the Girl Scouts of Sierra Nevada Women of Leadership Award. She was an invited speaker to the Global Women in STEM Conference, Dubai and contributed a chapter to the book: #DearFemaleFounder which published in 2016. Lauren has become a local voice for young women and continues to work to train and lead young women into professional adulthood.
Susan Lynn moved to Reno in 1971 to graduate from the University of Nevada, Reno. She was a case worker and rural representative for Nevada's lone congressman, Jim Santini. In 1983, she also served as one of Reno's lobbyists, then became part of the founding board for the Nevada Women's Fund, and later initiated the rural grants program for the Nevada Commission on Tourism. She founded Public Resource Associates with John Livermore in 1988, working on mining, water, public lands and open space/trails projects, and then went on to found the Truckee River Yacht Club, a river advocacy group with a name to remember (was there really a river, or a yacht club?). Additionally she chaired the Reno Downtown River Corridor Committee that set the downtown river theme. But water is her love. She volunteered to attend the Water Technical Advisory Committee meetings for 7 years and then was appointed Reno's alternate to the newly formed Regional Water Planning Commission (RWPC) before becoming its primary appointee for a total of 21 years. She chaired both the RWPC and the Water Conservation Committee. Susan was also Reno's appointee to the Truckee River Advisory Board and now serves as a Fund Advisor to the Truckee River Fund and liaison between the Fund and One Truckee River. And she acts as senior advisor to Great Basin Water Network. Her dreams are to see One Truckee River become a strong intergovernmental/private partnership to advocate for our river. Another dream was to help establish the High Rock/Black Rock Desert Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area and Wilderness, signed into law in December 2000. Finally she wants to see the protection of the Mt. Rose watershed that feeds the Truckee River so that we protect our community's water resources, and her two children and a grandchild can continue to experience a beautiful part of the Reno area.
Anne Henrietta Martin
Anne Henrietta Martin was the daughter of a Nevada state senator who served from 1875-1879. Anne and her sisters attended Bishop Whittaker School for Girls. Anne was very spirited and in 1891 she and her classmates were told they would need an additional year instead of graduating. Instead, Anne enrolled in Nevada State University, earned her B.A. in three years, and then got her masters in history from Leland Stanford Junior University. She returned to Reno to found the Department of History at Nevada State University and was on the faculty there from 1897-1901. She then left to travel the world and became an active feminist. In 1910, the Nevada Equal Franchise Society was established with the aid of Professor Jeanne Weir and the first suffrage legislation was passed by the Nevada Legislature. Anne Martin was elected president of the Equal Franchise Society and organized the campaign that won women’s suffrage with the popular vote in Nevada on November 3, 1914, after passing the Legislature in 1911 and 1913. She was a delegate to the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, member of the executive committee of the National American Woman Suffrage Association and elected national chairperson of the National Woman’s Party and the first Woman’s Party national convention in Chicago in June 1918. She was the first female member of the Nevada Educational Survey Commission in 1915.
Maya Miller was a political activist who helped found the Women’s Campaign Fund, which sponsors female candidates running for office. She was also a peace activist, made significant financial contributions to the antiwar movement, and as a member of Madre, an international women’s human rights group, supported the delivery of roughly $100,000 in infant formula and medical supplies to Iraq. Miller co-founded the Foresta Institute for Ocean and Mountain Studies, a nonprofit organization that included a summer camp for the study of ecology and, in 1960, supported efforts to create Lake Tahoe State Park in Nevada. The Maya Miller Egalitarian Award was established in her honor in 2003. Maya was the first recipient.
Tina is a long time supporter of parks in Washoe County and Reno. She has served on multiple nonprofit boards within our community and is happy to lend her expertise to furthering the mission of Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation.
Shaaron Netherton has served as Executive Director for Friends of Nevada Wilderness since July 2000, becoming the organization’s first full time Director. She has built Friends of Nevada Wilderness into a strong, vibrant organization with a string of wilderness legislative successes leading to the protection of over 3 million acres of wilderness. She and her staff have also built up a nationally recognized Wilderness Stewardship Program working with all four federal agencies across Nevada to provide boots-on-the-ground restoration and monitoring for Nevada’s wildlands. She has had a passion for Nevada’s wild places since moving to the state in 1978. Shaaron also serves as vice-chairman of the Board of Directors for the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance. Prior to accepting the ED position, Shaaron was a field manager with the Bureau of Land Management in Prineville, Oregon. She has 22 years of public land management experience in the BLM with 10 years in Nevada working specifically in the BLM’s Wilderness program. These duties ranged from helping to coordinate the State-wide intensive inventory, authoring two legislative wilderness EISs for eastern Nevada and writing wilderness study reports. She has lived and worked throughout much of rural Nevada. She received her BS degree in Wildlife Management from Humboldt State University.
Marilyn Newton has been a champion for the Reno area, beginning her career at the Reno Gazette Journal in 1963 and has captured many of Reno's most iconic and telling photos. Marilyn covered many of Reno's largest stories to include the tragic Thanksgiving day massacre on S. Virginia St. and many other stories of interest for the Reno community. She has always held the city and community in a high regard and shared stories through her photos. Marilyn's photos have given our city a book of history. Although she also wrote stories for the Reno Gazette Journal, her photos were stories in and of themselves and are a treasure to behold for our community. Marilyn has always taken a professional approach to journalism, and has worked hand in hand with our City and it's respective departments. Marilyn has always held a special bond with the Reno Police Department and has gone on countless ride-along's and worked with nine different Police Chiefs. She is a special person that identifies with the Reno community and has for seven decades.
Janet R. Phillips (formerly Carson)
Janet R. Phillips (formerly Carson), P.E., is founder (2003) and President of the Tahoe-Pyramid Bikeway and provides much of its strategic vision and day-to-day effort, along with a talented team of volunteer professionals. Janet has degrees in Economics from Stanford and in Water Resources Engineering from UCLA, and is a licensed civil engineer. Her paid career was spent managing the water resources of the Truckee and Carson Rivers, and it is her passion for the Truckee River today that motivates her to create a pedestrian and bike trail along the entire length of the River from Lake Tahoe to Pyramid Lake—116 miles!
Sean Savoy is an advocate, community builder, spiritual educator, and leader in the areas of human rights, interfaith relations, LGBTQ rights, and cultural-ethnic issues. Sean was born in Reno in 1972, the son of celebrated American explorer Gene Savoy, Sr. and Peruvian journalist and attorney Sylvia Ontaneda-Bernales. He holds degrees and certificates in theological studies and graduated summa cum laude from the University of Nevada, Reno, with a degree in Spanish and Journalism. He is the founder and director of the Nevada Interfaith Coalition of Equality and Inclusion (NiCE) and of NALA, the Northern Nevada LGBTQ Leadership Alliance. For 25 years, he has worked to promote interfaith relations and dialog as a leader in the Nevada Interfaith Association and is the force behind the Nevada Prayer Breakfast held in Reno annually. In 2015 he proposed the creation of a Human Rights Commission for the City of Reno, an initiative that was championed by Mayor Hillary Schieve and approved unanimously by the Reno City Council in 2017. In March 2018 he was appointed by Mayor Schieve to lead Reno’s HRC. As Project Developer for the Spiritual Center and Estelle J. Kelsey Interfaith Sanctuary at Renown Regional Medical Center he is working to integrate spiritual care programming in healthcare and championing equity in areas related to diversity and cultural competency in the medical field. Sean has been a model and media personality, and as a radio host brought attention to LGBTQ discrimination in the media when he challenged the cancellation of his program for an interview he conducted on marriage equality in 2012. Following in his father’s footsteps as an archaeological explorer since the age of 15, Sean became known as “Indiana Jones, Jr.”when Men’s Journal magazine featured him as one of the top explorers of “Generation Ex.” He is also a writer and public speaker, who lectures in the US and abroad on diverse topics, and he has served numerous organizations throughout the city, including the Nevada Equality Coalition, the Latino Research Center of UNR, and Bridges to a Thriving Nevada with the Food Bank of Northern Nevada. As a native Nevadan and Renoite, Sean is forever a proud ambassador of the Biggest Little City wherever he goes.
Martin Schwamb was from Syracuse, New York and moved to Reno in 1936 where he founded Martin Iron Works in 1939. The shop’s original location was on Morrill Avenue, just south of East Fourth Street, and later moved to its current location at 530 East Fourth Street. Martin Iron Works became the main steel contractor serving Nevada and Western California. In addition to ornamental iron railings and specialty products, Martin Iron was the main steel contractor for most Nevada and northern California. Projects during his lifetime included many UNR buildings such as the library, the Reno-Sparks Convention Center, Harrahs Club, Harolds Club and many local schools to name a few.
“Marge” – Marjorie Josephine Sill (1923-2016)
Marge Sill, known to all as the Mother of the Nevada Wilderness, will be remembered for three characteristics: (1) all her life she was strongly committed to causes she believed in, (2) she had a remarkably positive outlook on life, and (3) she believed in staying connected to people and was a great connector of people. For six decades her energy emanated from Reno, which she would describe as the perfect place to live --- with the Sierras on one side and the Nevada wild lands on the other side! She started her life in Reno as a mathematics teacher at Sparks High School and many she taught recall her fondly fifty years after high school: “Marge made learning trigonometry fun”, “she was a math teacher to be emulated, creating math lessons to engage students who were otherwise not engaged in mathematics”, and “I’ll never forget her acting out the tangent curve!” But her legacy rests on her sixty years of leading hikes, exploring the wilderness, and working politically to advocate for and protect the lands she loved in Nevada. As her good friend Senator Harry Reid said “No one cared more about protecting Nevada’s breathtaking wilderness than Marge Sill, and no one fought harder to ensure it stayed that way.” Marge worked tirelessly to help pass the Nevada Wilderness Acts of 1964 and 1989, and establish Nevada’s only national park, the Great Basin National Park in 1986. In 1984 Marge played a seminal role in starting “Friends of Nevada Wilderness”, head-quartered in Reno, and she served continuously on its Board of Directors until her death in October 2016. Marge’s lifelong commitment to the breathtaking beauty of nature has been an inspiration to generations of wilderness advocates and this continues through the “Marge Sill Forever Wild” fund of the Friends of Nevada Wilderness.
Ray Trevino was an Army veteran and civil servant early on, but for the last 25 years of his life, he was the Director of St. Vincent's Dining Room for Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada. He used his restaurant management skills to turn a commonplace soup kitchen into a beautiful facility where those in need could come get a healthy meal in a clean, safe and comfortable environment. He had the rare ability to set aside the superficial exterior and see the good inside people. When his shift would end, he would often stick around and make sandwiches for a few hungry stragglers that couldn't get there for normal hours. He helped families with clothes, jobs, gas money, toys for their kids, or just listening. If everyone showed just a fraction of Ray's generosity, the world would be a much better place. In 2013, he was honored with the Mother Theresa Humanitarian Award for his tireless efforts helping those in need. He was also presented with the Dolan Service Award by Dolan Auto Group for selflessly serving struggling individuals and families in the community.
Sixth Round of Honorees - March 31, 2018
Bud Beasley came to Reno in 1930 where he enrolled in the University of Nevada on a football scholarship and participated in other sports both on and off campus. Bud’s goal was to be a coach, but he quickly learned that he would also have to be a teacher. His first teaching assignment was in Battle Mountain, Nevada. He returned to Reno a year later and began teaching and coaching at Reno High school, where he stayed for forty years, from 1936 to 1976. Bud’s sense of humor, dedication, sincerity, concern for all people, and his intensity—both in the classroom and on the athletic fields—made him the legend that he is today. After retiring from Reno High School, he began teaching at Washoe High School and continued teaching and inspiring students till he was past the age of ninety. He is believed to be one of the longest serving teachers in the United States. Though coaching and teaching always came first for Bud Beasley, he had an impressive baseball record, both as an amateur in Reno and as a professional player with the Sacramento and Seattle teams of the Pacific Coast League, one of the best minor leagues in the United States at that time. Bud started the Reno High School Alumni Association and is remembered as a dedicated and supportive coach, teacher, and friend.
Randy Burke was born in Reno, NV in 1947 and graduated from the University of Nevada Reno in 1970. He served in the Nevada Air National Guard from 1970 to 1976. Burke served as the President of the Nevada State Fair for 4 years and later joined Hot August Nights as the President and Executive Director from 1985 to 1994. In 1994 Randy left Hot August Nights and started Roadshows, Inc. an entertainment production company best known for Street Vibrations® motorcycle rally in Reno. Randy Burke and Roadshows, Inc. have worked for 24 years producing special events and bringing entertainment to many destination resorts across the country. Through his involvement in Hot August Nights and Street Vibrations, Burke has been a key figuring to establishing a lively events scene in Reno and helping to promote our tourism culture. Roadshows, Inc. and Burke’s dedication to these events, continues to bring a lively spirit to our community.
Don Carano was an entrepreneur, hotelier, restaurateur, pioneer in the gaming, law and wine industries, and a caring husband, father, grandfather and friend. A second-generation Italian-American, Don was born in Reno on October 17, 1931. He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of San Francisco, followed by two years as an Officer in the United States Army. Returning to USF, Don graduated with honors from USF Law School and began his law practice in Reno. He was a founding member of the prestigious McDonald Carano law firm and was proud to maintain an "of counsel" relationship with the firm until his passing. His true legacy began in 1973 when he opened the Eldorado Hotel Casino, the first major casino to open on Virginia Street north of the railroad tracks. At that time, this was a daring venture but one that ultimately changed the profile of gaming in northern Nevada. Today, Don leaves behind a thriving Eldorado Resorts family legacy, with 19 properties in 10 states and over 14,000 team members. Don was a lover of family, food, wine, and the Reno community. He has long contributed to organizations throughout the city, both personally and through the Eldorado Resorts.
Britton Griffith is Vice President for Reno Engineering, a family-owned development services company celebrating over 23 years in the Nevada. She is a fifth generation Nevadan and University of Nevada, Reno graduate with a degree in International Business Major, economics emphasis. She is dedicated to developing our Biggest Little City into a global name and a diverse, thoughtful urban planned home for all of our citizens. She is proud to call Reno her hometown and believes in providing a hand up to those that need help in a sustainable and caring manner. She has been coined the Downtown Darling for her dedication in revitalizing downtown, particularly the Riverwalk District. Her passion includes assisting youth in coming out of poverty to obtain a positive life. She is lucky to have a wonderful family and friend network that make this City and life a beautiful one!
John and Catherine Farahi
John Farahi has been Co-Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer, and Chief Operating Officer of Monarch Casino & Resort, Inc. since its inception, and of Golden Road Motor Inn, Inc., which owns the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, since June 1993. From 1973 until June 1993, Mr. Farahi was President, Director, and General Manager of Golden Road. Mr. Farahi is a partner in Farahi Investment Company ("FIC") which is engaged in real estate investment and development. Mr. Farahi served on the Washoe County Airport Authority as a Trustee from July 1997 until June 2005. Mr. Farahi is a former member of the Nevada Commission on Tourism and is presently a Board Member of the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors' Authority. John and his wife Catherine are also avid philanthropists. They have led more than 35 missions to Israel, exposing people of all faiths from throughout the northern Nevada community to the history of Israel and Judaism. They have made an enormous charitable contributions to support Jewish cultural events and speakers as well as many non-faith oriented organizations. They promote the arts, political engagement, and cultural events throughout our city.
Darryl Feemster was a Reno native, graduate of Procter R. Hug High School and the University of Nevada Reno, and a youth advocate and community activist for the majority of his life. He was a life member and longtime executive committee member of the Reno-Sparks NAACP as well as a member of the Reno Cigar Lions Club and several other community service organizations. His passion and work as a volunteer for community service, children and seniors earned him dozens of awards and distinguished honors. Darryl was employed by the City of Reno as the Youth/Senior Division Manager. He formerly worked for General Motors and was the Washoe County School District's Director of the Family Resource Center. He was instrumental in the development and ongoing support of the Duncan-Traner Community Library. Darryl became the first Black male to serve on the Reno City Council in 1998 at the age of 37. He is remembered for his commitment to the Reno community and for his ongoing contributions to our local youth and seniors.
Jeff Griffin served as the mayor of Reno from 1995-2002. He grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and served in the United States Air Force from 1962-1966. He and his wife, Marna, met in the City by the Bay and married in 1968. During the summer of 1975, along with their two young children, the family moved to northern Nevada to build a business and raise their family. Jeff ran a successful logistics company, Griffin Transport Services, while he and Marna raised their children, volunteered in the community, and became actively involved in civic affairs. When Jeff was elected Mayor in 1995, it was his first elected office. A walk through downtown Reno, one would be hard-pressed to not see many influences Jeff had on our great city. The thriving commerce and public promenades along the Truckee River got much of their starts under his leadership. He was also the leading force behind the retrack project, moving underground the railroad that dissected downtown. But Jeff would say his greatest accomplishment as mayor was his commitment to the arts. While not much of an aficionado himself, he knew that to be a great city, Reno needed great culture. ArtTown, the Nevada Museum of Art and many other cultural developments were born during his tenure. Today, the couple has retired to the home of many in their extended family in Sisters, Oregon.
Dan Gustin has made many contributions to the community of Reno, including television and radio broadcasting, historic preservation and local politics, as well as writing and archiving historic Nevada sporting events in collaboration with researcher Bill Daniel, in his “Nevada Sports, A Moment In Time” vignettes. He became publicly known as “The Voice of the Wolf Pack” during his 33 years of broadcasting University of Nevada, Reno Athletics. He’s been actively involved in the development of the University’s progression from the Big Sky conference to the present Mountain West Conference. Along the way, he broadcast 390 football, 966 Basketball, and nearly 1,500 baseball games; a record not likely to be topped. Additionally, Dan has been the “Voice of the Reno Bighorns,” the NBA G-League affiliate of the Sacramento Kings, since coming to Reno in 2008. Dan also served on the Reno City Council for eight years and has worked diligently on behalf of youth in the area, having served as a president of the Truckee Meadows Boys and Girls Club, Chairman of the Inaugural 20 mile walk for the March of Dimes, Co-founder of the YMCA Pee Wee Basketball League, Board Member for the Nevada State Fair, and supporter of local 4-H projects.
Bob McDonald was born and raised in Reno and joined the Army Air Corps in 1941 as a Second Lieutenant. He flew a P-38 over Kiska on many missions, wrecking a couple of planes before he shot down a zero in October, 1942. As a Major he eventually became a Squadron Commander in the 46th Squadron, where he flew off Iwo Jima flying P-51s. After W.W.II ended, Bob attended the University of Nevada, then the University of San Francisco Law School. He graduated in 1949, and became a member of the Nevada State Bar Association that same year. He soon started his own firm and established the McDonald Carano Wilson LLP. As an attorney, Bob founded several of Northern Nevada's most successful gaming companies and was a principal in the development of Incline Village, one of America's most prosperous communities. He was also a board member of Valley Bank of Nevada, an original partner of Boomtown and at the time of his death, part owner of Bonanza Casino. A lifelong and passionate Democrat, Bob was very active in the Democratic National Committee, serving as a Nevada delegate at the 1960 and 1964 Democratic conventions. He headed the Northern Nevada Committee to elect Lyndon Johnson. Bob's love of politics was surpassed only by his desire to give back to his community. He was instrumental in starting the Junior Ski Program, established Pop Warner Football, was a trustee of the Reno National Championship Air Races and the Northern Nevada chapter of the National Association of Christians and Jews. His many contributions can still be seen throughout the city, in both the political and legal sector, and the sports and community sector.
Marlene Olsen has lead public involvement and outreach programs for 35 years, working with environmental and community projects such as Truckee Meadows Water Authority and Veterans Guest House. She managed the Great Reno Balloon Race for 23 years. She loves living in Reno and being involved in community projects. She is currently a member of the Ward One Neighborhood Advisory Board, As an active member of the Reno Rotary Club, she lead the effort to raise the funds and planning for the Sculpture Garden in Bicentennial Park, partnering with the City of Reno. She serves on the Tahoe Pyramid Bikeway Communications Committee. She was a member of the Blue-Ribbon Committee for Regional Fire Services, the Organizational Effectiveness Committee for Washoe County and is a current member of the Dean’s Council for the University of Nevada Reynolds School of Journalism.
Miguel Ribera was a beloved community leader with a passion for helping local Hispanic youth. Born in New Mexico in 1918, Ribera bought a restaurant on South Virginia Street, renamed it Casa de Amor, or “House of Love,” switched the menu to Mexican cuisine, and announced it would be open 24 hours a day. The popular chef served as something of an ambassador of Mexican food to the eager local community. By 1961 “Chef Miguel” was making appearances at the Reno YMCA for demonstrations of “foreign cooking.” Ribera’s wife, Maralyn, and their daughter Antonia also worked in the restaurant, which soon took on the popular chef’s name. The generous family provided scholarships to many of their employees, including a young Emma Sepulveda, who went on to become an accomplished writer and professor at the University of Nevada, Reno. Miguel Ribera passed away in 1998. For his years of dedication to the community, the Miguel Ribera Family Resource Center at Pine Middle School and Miguel Ribera Park are both named after him. In 2001, Elmer and Adilia Figueroa bought Miguel’s Restaurant, which they continued to operate under his name.
Harry Sampson served as the first elected chairman of the Reno Sparks Indian Colony. During the tribal government’s infancy, with the backing from the tribal council, Sampson testified before the Bureau of Indian Affairs, advocating for change in federal policy. His commitment to the Paiutes, Shoshones, and Washoe people led to the Indian Reorganization Act, vital legislation which sought to restore and protect Indian land. He dedicated himself to maintaining positive government relations and ensured through public testimonies and written correspondences that the members of the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony were not overlooked. Sampson was also an avid athlete, set school records in baseball, and eventually made it into the A’s minor league system. He was inducted into the Stewart Indian School Sports Hall of Fame in 1975 and was an inaugural member of the RSIC Athletics Hall of Fame, class of 2015. A fluent Paiute language speaker, Sampson’s legacy of diplomacy and modeling of productive and positive relationships is still reflected in today’s RSIC government.
Pappy and Harold Smith
Born in Vermont in 1887, Raymond I Smith, nicknamed “Pappy”, spent his early years working at local fairs and carnivals, and eventually owning concession stands. His young sons worked by his side. A few years after gaming became legal in Nevada, they decided to move to Reno to open a small casino. They named it Harolds Club, after Raymond’s younger son, Harold. It was opened in 1936, a little hole in the wall on Virginia Street. The big casinos of the day were on Center street. The Smiths immediately put their “carny” experience to good use, and offered honest games to regular people. Where other gambling halls were smoky, backroom affairs, catering only to men, the Smiths opened Harolds Club to the street & installed bright lights. They emphasized customer service and catered to small time bettors. Perhaps their biggest innovation was to court female customers, unheard of at the time. They hired women dealers & advertised “Ladies Welcome!” Harolds Club expanded and became a safe, fun, friendly place for all. Eventually it became world famous, thanks to a worldwide billboard campaign of 2300 outdoor signs reading “Harolds Club or Bust.” At the time of Pappy’s death in 1967 it was the largest casino in the world. Raymond I. and Harold Smith are still remembered not only as pioneers of gaming, who put Reno on the map, but as generous philanthropists.
William Stead was born on May 18, 1920 in Cook County, Illinois but moved with his mother, stepfather and brother to northeast Reno as a young boy. For several years the family had no way of getting Bill to school, so he was given private flying lessons. By age sixteen, Bill was an accomplished flyer, having trained at the Sky Ranch in Spanish Springs. He spent a number of years racing, and retired from unlimited hydroplane racing in 1960 after winning nine of the thirty races that he had participated in. Stead dreamed of bringing a national air race to Nevada. In 1962, he decided to resurrect the National Air Race and chose Sky Ranch airport, where there was adequate room for safe high performance flight. Stead worked with Washoe County and Reno to lift certain bands so the air racing event could take place. He was successful and the first race took place in 1964. In 1966, the U.S. Air Force’s Stead Field was closed and the races were moved there because of its hangers, ramps, and hard surface runways. Stead Field was named after Bill’s younger brother Croston, a WWII and Nevada Air National Guard pilot, who died as a result of a crash on December 11, 1949. The National Champion Air Races have been held there every year since then with the exception of 2001.
Fifth Round of Honorees - December 6 & 12, 2017
Alicia Barber is an award-winning writer, historian, and founder of the historical consulting firm Stories in Place. Specializing in the U.S. West, American Cities, and Public History, she collaborates frequently with government agencies, museums, artists, architects, and community groups to create dynamic public history projects about Nevada and its people. For a decade, she taught at the University of Nevada, Reno, where she directed the University of Nevada Oral History Program (UNOHP) from 2009-2013 and steered the creation of the UNOHP’s online database, which launched in May 2013. Editor and co-founder of Reno Historical, a smart phone app and website dedicated to Reno’s history, Barber is the host of the regular feature Time & Place with Alicia Barber on Reno Public Radio (KUNR-88.7 FM). She is the author of “Reno’s Big Gamble: Image and Reputation in the Biggest Little City” as well as numerous chapters and articles for scholarly and popular publications. In 2014, she was the recipient of the Silver Pen Award from the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame. Dr. Barber served for nine years on Reno's Historical Resources Commission and currently serves on the Nevada State Board of Museums and History and the Board of Directors of Preserve Nevada.
Barbara Bennett was a driving force in Nevada both through her political engagement and social activism. She moved to Reno in 1964 and went to work for a telephone company where she was repeatedly overlooked for promotions despite high performance and scoring well on company examinations. Injustice to herself and to others eventually led Barbara to become active in women's issues and ultimately to be instrumental in forming the Nevada Women's Political Caucus. The Equal Rights Amendment was at the forefront of women's issues, and the Women's Political Caucus wanted to secure male and female candidates who grasped the issues of women in the workplace and women in their homes. Barbara attained the name recognition necessary to run for public office. She ran for county commissioner in 1975 and was defeated. In 1977, she ran for Reno City Council and lost again, but in 1979 she ran for mayor of Reno and won. She opposed the enormous campaign contributions provided by special interest groups and accepted none. Though she was not always popular with special interest groups, she was truly of the people.
Ondra Berry is known as a change agent in personal and organizational transformation. Ondra's vast leadership and training experience spans public and private sectors. His skills were refined in a celebrated 25-year career in the Reno Police Department, where he retired as the Assistant Chief of Police overseeing the administrative division. He continues his public service to his state and country as a Brigadier General in the Nevada Air National Guard and is assigned as the Assistant Adjutant General for the Nevada Air National Guard. He is the first African American Brigadier General in Northern Nevada. He also works as a consultant and facilitator and has worked all around Washoe County over the past few years. Ondra has been routinely sought after to bring his expertise to an extensive client list including Fortune 500 companies, military and federal agencies, non-profits, schools and universities. Ondra invests his life energies and passions in the development and delivery of cutting-edge training solutions on the topics of diversity, leadership and organizational change.
Erin Breen is an Emmy award-winning journalist, columnist and writer for television, radio and print who has put 25 years of experience to work honing a true talent for storytelling. Her weekly observations of family life and her personal takes on universal issues, make for touching stories that have appeared weekly in the Reno Gazette-Journal as Erin Breen's Family File since 2000.
She spent 18 years reporting and anchoring evening newscasts and five years writing documentaries for public television and contributing to National Public Radio. She spent the last 10 years reporting and anchoring on the Channel 2 News in Reno. She also taught broadcast writing at the University of Nevada Reno. Erin Meehan Breen was inducted into the Nevada Broadcasters Hall of Fame in August of 2011. She began her broadcasting career as a weathergirl in Eureka, California and for nearly three decades has worked in radio and television, public and commercial. Erin was awarded an Emmy for the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences/Northern California Region for Outstanding Achievement in Daytime News for her work on KTVN, Channel 2.
Richard Bryan was born in Washington, D.C. He is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno and served in the U.S. Army and Army Reserve. Bryan earned his law degree from the University of California, Hasting College of Law. He was admitted to the Nevada Bar in 1963 and was appointed deputy district attorney in Clark County in 1964. He served as prosecutor for two years and in 1966 became Nevada's first public defender and the youngest public defender in the nation. In 1968, he became legal counsel for the Clark County Juvenile Court. The same year, he was elected to the Nevada Assembly from District 4 in Clark County and went on to serve a second term. He won election to the State Senate in 1972, was reelected in 1976, serving as chair of the Taxation Committee and the Education Committee. He was elected Nevada attorney general in 1978. He was elected governor of Nevada in 1982 and reelected in 1986. During his tenure, he served as president of the Council of State Governments. He resigned as governor in 1989 after winning election to the U.S. Senate. He currently practices law with Fennemore Craig.
Lenley Eugene Crocker
Lenley Eugene Crocker was born March 20, 1926 in Sacramento and moved to Reno/Sparks when he was five years old. He earned a BA in Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno in 1950 between two military tours during WWII and the Korean conflict. During the first tour he taught at the Artillery school at Ft Bliss Texas and during the second tour he worked in the Public Information Office at Camp Roberts, California using his Journalism education. After his last military assignment he worked 19 years for the Nevada State Journal as Sports Editor and later State and Business Editor. He was honored as a Distinguished State Citizen for his work at the newspaper. Len was a charter member of the International Association of Business Communicators, a co-founder and charter president of its Reno based Silver State chapter. In 1994, the Reno group named him Communicator of the Year. Locally he was a co-founder and past president of the Sierra Nevada Sports writers and Broadcasters Association. He also served on the Professional Advisory Board to the Reynolds School of Journalism.
Joe Crowley served as the University of Nevada, Reno president for a record-setting 23 years, from 1978 to 2001. When Crowley stepped down from the University presidency, he was the longest-serving president at a single institution among the nation's principal universities. Some of his major accomplishments while serving as president were the establishment of a university foundation, completion of a major capital campaign, expansion of the campus School of Medicine into a statewide institution, enhancement of sponsored faculty research, and founding of the College of Human and Community Sciences (known today as the Division of Health Sciences) and of the Reynolds School of Journalism. After leaving the presidency, he served during the 2001 Nevada State Legislative Session as the coordinator of legislative activities for the University and Community College System of Nevada, then returned to the faculty as Regents Professor and President Emeritus, teaching American political and constitutional history. Additionally, he was appointed to membership on the board of directors of the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges. He served for the last decade as a member of the Board of Directors of The Collegiate Woman Sports Awards, sponsored by American Honda, and of the Executive Committee of the National Consortium for Academics and Sports.
Rabbi Mendel and Sarah Cunin
Rabbi Mendel and Sarah Cunin started Chabad of Northern Nevada in 1998. Located in Reno, Chabad is a Jewish social service and educational organization. Chabad services the needs of people both in Nevada and several communities in California, like Lake Tahoe and Truckee. The 13,500 square foot Chabad Jewish Center opened in 2009 and houses Aleph Academy Preschool, senior programming, a synagogue, day camp, classes and Reno’s only commercial kosher kitchen. They have spearheaded many community programs including the Menorah lighting in downtown Reno which has become an annual event.
Rabbi Cunin studied in yeshiva in New York and Moscow and received rabbinical ordination in Jerusalem. Before founding Chabadof Northern Nevada, he directed a humanitarian food program in Russia. Since moving to Reno, he has been at the forefront of making Judaism visible and accessible across the region.
Sarah Cunin is the Educational Director of Aleph Academy. She has a Judaic Studies Teaching Degree and in 2007 was chosen for the competitive JECEI/Covenant Fellowship in conjunction with Bank Street College and Harvard University. She has worked in Early Childhood Education for 17 years and is passionate about bringing innovative, quality education to all children in Northern Nevada.
Bob Fulkerson is the State Director and co-founder of PLAN. He worked as Executive Director of Citizen Alert, a statewide grassroots environmental justice organization, from 1984 to 1994. He has also served as adjunct faculty at the UNR School of Social Work, teaching classes on oppression and privilege. A fifth-generation Nevadan, Bob was on the staff of Senator Paul Laxalt while attending George Washington University. Bob serves on the board of High Country News and the advisory board of The Note Ables, a performing arts group for people with disabilities. He is a 2006-7 fellow in the Rockwood Leadership Program's yearlong national fellowship for transformative leadership in the nonprofit sector, and a recipient of the "Leadership for A Changing World" Award from the Ford Foundation. Bob received the Arcus Social Justice Leadership Fellowship at Kalamazoo College in 2011. In addition to his work, Bob's premier loves are his family, yoga, folk music and hiking in the Great Basin and Sierra Nevada.
William Harrah's gaming career began in Venice, California, when in 1933 he bought out his father's interest in a bingo-style game on the Venice boardwalk. But Harrah's new business occupied a precarious legal perch. In 1937, Harrah wearied of his struggles with the law and moved to Reno, where he opened a bingo club called Harrah's Club Bingo. For the next decade, Harrah owned a series of small bingo parlors in downtown Reno. In 1946, he opened a larger gambling hall called Harrah's Club. In 1956, Harrah opened a Harrah's Club at Lake Tahoe. Both the Reno and Tahoe casinos became extremely successful, and both subsequently added hotels. In 1971, Harrah's offered its first stock to the public, and in 1973 it became the first gaming company traded on the New York Stock Exchange. Aside from the expansion of safe, honest gaming, Harrah was influential in creating the Nevada Gaming Control Board in 1955. In 1959, he helped create the Nevada Gaming Commission which is still active today. Harrah died on June, 30, 1978, but his legacy remains. In the 1980s, Harrah's family endowed the University of Nevada, Las Vegas with a generous gift to support hotel management education. Today, the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration is one of the world's top hotel programs -- a legacy truly worthy of this gaming pioneer. Harrah was also a lover of cars, and a collection of his beloved cars, also known as the Harrah Collection, is now housed in the National Automobile Museum in Reno.
Kenneth Howard is a native Nevadan and has long supported the Reno community. He graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno and then received his Juris Doctorate from McGeorge School of Law. After returning to Reno, he served as a Deputy District Attorney within the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office until opening his own private practice focusing in criminal defense. In 1998, he was appointed a judgeship at the Reno Municipal Court. He was elected to this position three times without opposition, serving for a total of 18 years. In this position, Howard conducted a treatment court designed specifically to stop the abuse of alcohol, drugs, and related criminal activity. He also has overseen the "Kid’s Court" program, which brought elementary students to the courthouse to learn about the justice system, peer pressure and positive decision making. Within the community, Howard has served on numerous boards, including The Northern Nevada Black Cultural Awareness Society, The National Conference, The Boys and Girls Club, and Volunteer Lawyers of Washoe County.
Katherene Cladianos Latham
Katherene Cladianos Latham is a Reno Native. Her father, Pete Cladianos Sr. immigrated to the US in 1913 and found his way to Reno to work on the transcontinental railroad. When the railway was completed, he lost his job but stayed in Reno and experimented with different businesses. In 1931, the Nevada legislature legalized gamboling, so the inventive businessman tried his hand in gaming and bought 5 slot machines. His three children, Pete Jr., John, and Katherene followed closely in his footsteps and with his help opened the Sands Motor Inn in 1965. Each sibling had a specific responsibility in the business: Pete Jr. was in charge of promoting growth; John oversaw gaming, bars and the liquor store; and Katherene, who was artistic and pragmatic, was in charge of the hotel and felt strongly that it should always be kept in prime condition. She ensured that repairs were made quickly and effectively and that housekeeping was always at the highest standards. Katherene designed the first hotel tower, the interior rooms and public spaces, the cocktail lounges, and the restaurants and personally oversaw the whole building, noting anything that needed attention. The Sands Motor Inn eventually became the Sands Regency, and became a publicly held company in 1984. Katherene was elected as chairman of the board of directors and used her influence to put women in management positions throughout the hotel and casino. In addition the family has been very active in the St. Anthony Greek Orthodox Church. Today, Katherene is a quiet philanthropist, providing scholarships to students at the University of Nevada, Reno.
Sheila Leslie is a human services entrepreneur specializing in the creation of new programs and agencies to serve Nevadans. She was the first Executive Director of the Food Bank of Northern Nevada and steered the Children's Cabinet through its first seven years of development. As the Specialty Courts Manager for the 2nd Judicial District Court, she led efforts to create Nevada's first Mental Health Court and Veterans Court. She is currently Washoe County's Behavioral Health Coordinator, working to build innovative programs such as the Mobile Crisis Intervention Team and Community Case Managers serving the chronically homeless population.
Leslie is a former Nevada Assemblywoman and State Senator, with expertise in mental health policy, children and family issues, and health care. She earned an M.A. in Spanish Language and Literature from UNR and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Dominican Republic. She currently writes a weekly political column for the Reno News & Review and is an adjunct faculty member at UNR. She has received numerous awards for her public service, including the Hannah Humanitarian Award from the Committee to Aid Abused Women, the Veterans Hero from the Nevada Veterans Service Commission, and the Community Visionary Award from the Nevada Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Marlene Lockard is almost a lifetime resident of Reno, living here since she was four years old. She has been active in government policy and statewide politics her entire adult career, having been appointed as the first female Chief of Staff by Governor Richard Bryan. She served in government at both the state and federal levels before starting her own government relations company. On behalf of the State of Nevada, Marlene was instrumental in successfully negotiating a multi-million-dollar land exchange resulting in saving 3,726 acres of the Galena Forest land located just below the Mt. Rose Summit. She has a long involvement in community activity, currently serving as Vice Chair for the Domestic Violence Resource Center (CAAW), legislative advocate for the Nevada Women's Lobby and seniors, founding member of the Nevada Coalition for Women's Equity, and member of the WCSD's Volunteer Services Community Advisory Board.
Courtney Meredith is a first-generation Nevada native and currently the chief designer of Design on Edge, a boutique family-owned design firm. Over the past 17 years of her career, she has won more than 40 awards for graphic design and business on both a local and national level. Courtney has dedicated nearly a decade to helping the small business in downtown Reno area. She actively assists in the revitalization of the downtown corridor, which her company being the primary creative agency for the Reno Riverwalk District. In 2013, she co-wrote and published the first pictorial manuscript focusing on the history of the Reno Riverwalk District.
She is a past board member for the American Advertising Federation of Northern Nevada, and the American Business Women's Association as well as a founding member and secretary for the Biggest Little City organization. She frequently speaks to the senior level design program at Truckee Meadows Community College and UNR.
Bertha Eaton Raffetto
Bertha Eaton Raffetto was born in Bloomfield, Iowa on March 15, 1885. At a young age, she showed a love for literature and poetry. At age 3, she gave her first poetry recital from her grandfather's pulpit; by five years old, she had written her first poem; and by 13 she was versed in Shakespeare, Ivanhoe, Thomas Paine, and Voltaire. She found her way to the divorce capital at the time - Reno - and stayed to marry her divorce attorney Fiore Raffetto. Reno quickly grew in her heart and became her home. In Nevada, she continued to write literature and poetry and compose music, and was active in Republican politics while participating in numerous campaigns. Bertha's most famed achievement was the composition of "Home Means Nevada," which continues to be recognized as the state song. Other notable works are "The Spirit of Democracy," a concert march for band, and "The Ballad of katie Hoskins," which was widely lauded by literary critics as an outstanding example of fine American balladry. Bertha passed away in 1952, but she is remembered for her musical contributions to our city and state.
William Silas "Si" Redd
William Silas "Si" Redd was born of sharecropper parents in rural Mississippi in 1911. His business career began at age 21, when he bought a used Bally Gaming "Goofy" pinball machine. This started a 25-year career selling coin-operated amusement machines in the South, Midwest, and New England, before coming to Reno in 1967 to head up Bally Distributing Company's northern Nevada's slot machine franchise. This eventually grew into International Game Technology that has become the world's largest gaming machine manufacturer, and Reno's largest private employer. Under Redd's direction, IGT invented video poker and massive linked-slots jackpot systems that became casinos largest profit generators. The company also opened the doors for many other companies in the gaming industry to locate in Nevada, helping to make both Reno and Las Vegas the tourist hotspots they are today. Redd has been referred to as "one of the founding fathers of the gaming industry...that helped revolutionize and enrich the gaming experience." In 1986, Redd sold IGT but continued to be a large supporter of charities in Reno and Las Vegas until he passed away in 2003 at the age of 91.
Eddie Scott arrived from Louisiana to Reno in 1950. He worked for the Southern Pacific Railroad at the Roundhouse in Sparks for a couple of years before moving to Herlong, California in 1952. In 1957, Scott moved back to Reno to live and work. In 1961, he was elected President of the Reno/Sparks Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), served four years and was re-elected in 1967. During his time as President of the NAACP, the honorable pioneer led several demonstrations and protests against the local casinos and hotels in the Reno/Sparks community. Eddie was just a young man with a family wanting the same access to public accommodations. In 1961, he joined with Attorney Charles L. Kellar, a legal trailblazer in Nevada, to draft the civil rights legislation. Governor Grant Sawyer was a key person in getting this Civil Rights Law passed in Nevada. In the summer of 1963, Eddie organized a car caravan to head for Washington D.C. for a mass gathering at the Lincoln Memorial organized by Civil Rights legends Bayard Rustin and A. Philip Randolph, head of the Sleeping Car Porters Union. On May 7, 1998 in Carson City, Eddie and Senator Joe Neal were honored with a lifetime achievement award by the Reno-Sparks Branch of the NAACP.
Jessica Sferrazza has lived in Reno for more than 25 years. At the age of 27, after attending the University of Nevada and Truckee Meadows Community College, she became the youngest person ever elected to Reno City Council, a position she held for more than a decade. During her 12-year tenure on City Council, Sferrazza worked to revitalize previously neglected areas of Reno's downtown, helping to rejuvenate the Wells Avenue and Oliver Montello Neighborhoods. She is also well known for creating a bond question that resulted in the consolidation of a regional animal shelter and for her extensive work to replace the dilapidated Moana Stadium with soccer fields that have since become a mainstay for youth athletics in the Reno community. Jessica's interest in revitalization and re-emergence was also demonstrated through her tenure on the Reno City Council initiating a neighborhood plan for Reno's Midtown District. This successful community outreach led Sferrazza to be selected as a delegate by the American Council of Young Political Leaders on a 2012 trip to Vietnam and Thailand, where she focused on the world's emerging cities. Appointed by the City of Reno, Jessica currently serves as a trustee on the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority. In early 2015, she founded her own state-wide company, JESSCONVLLC, where she continues to work as a consultant to various local businesses in our community.
Shane Whitecloud is a Navy veteran, father of three beautiful boys, musician, filmmaker, and philanthropist. Shane enlisted in the Navy at 17 years old, two weeks after graduating from high school. In 2005, Shane made his way to Reno when he was asked to sing for a local Reno band. He has been working as a radio personality at Rock 104.5, a Reno-based FM rock station, for the last 10 years. Through his work in radio, he has coordinated and performed in many charity/benefit concerts and memorials with his band, Seasons of Insanity. In 2013, Shane began work with the Veterans Resource Centers of America, where he started as a case manager assisting homeless military veterans and their families utilizing the Supportive Services for Veterans Families Grant. He is now the Outreach Specialist for the VRC, which allows him to educate others in how they can assist homeless military veterans.
Imogene (Jean) Evelyn Young
Imogene Evelyn Young started her involvement in Nevada as a volunteer, working to preserve Red Rock Canyon and creating the Clark County Library. From there, she quickly moved into the Nevada legislature, serving first in the Nevada State Assembly (1972-76) and then in the Nevada State Senate (1978-1982). She supported the Equal Rights Amendment. After that was defeated, she helped introduce a variety of bills to eliminate discrimination based on sex and to create services for women. In 1991, Jean temporarily filled the position of director of the Women's Studies Program at the University of Nevada, Reno. When she discovered a lack of information on Nevada women, Jean proposed a statewide campaign to create the Nevada Women's Archives, at the Special Collections Department of the University of Nevada, Reno library. Through this work, she became immersed in recovering Nevada women's history, and she discovered many with like interests. By February 1996, Jean had co-founded the Nevada Women's History Project (NWHP), a private, non-profit organization under the umbrella of the Nevada Women's Fund. NWHP was designed to gather and disseminate information about the roles, accomplishments, and activities of Nevada women from every race, class, and ethnic background who contributed to shaping the state's destiny.
Hewitt C. Wells
Hewitt C. Wells was Reno architect in charge of building the Downtown Library and the originally Reno City Hall which now houses the Nevada Discovery Museum. In 1964 he was contracted to design and build the Downtown Reno Library. After the demolition of the Carnegie Free Public Library, the Reno branch of the Washoe County Library was housed in the Nevada State Building, which by the mid-1960s, was slated for demolition to make room for the Pioneer Theater and Auditorium. In June 1964, the Nevada State Journal reported that the county had approved the plans for the new library, and Wells was the chosen architect. He designed the 43,000 square-foot building around an enclosed and covered garden court. Reading areas and the multi-tiered book stacks look out on the interior garden, which includes large trees and a pool. The library opened to the public on May 13, 1966 and is in use today. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2013.
Fourth Round of Honorees - November 11, 2017
Sheriff Chuck Allen
Sheriff Chuck Allen has contributed to our state and our country through the entirety of his career. He served for nearly 31 years in the United States Air Force and in Wisconsin and Nevada Air National Guard Units before retiring at the rank of Chief Master Sergeant. In 1990, Sheriff Allen joined civilian law enforcement as a Nevada Highway Patrol officer, where he worked for over 24 years. He now serves as Washoe County’s 26th Sheriff.
Caleb Cage is a Sparks native and graduate of the United States Military Academy. After his service in the U.S. Army and multiple combat tours in Iraq, Caleb returned to Nevada, his home state, to work in a range of public service capacities. He is also a published author, recently producing a short story collection, “Desert Mementos: Stories of Iraq and Nevada,” which connects his experiences here with those abroad. Currently, Caleb leads the Nevada Division of Emergency Management and serves as the state’s Homeland Security Advisor.
Bernie Carter grew up in eastern Nevada and moved to Reno in 2000 after time in Oregon, Las Vegas, Colorado, and Genoa. He began to purchase property in the Midtown area in 2008, starting with the building that currently houses Carter Bros. Hardware Store, operated by his brother Tim. Bernie’s other Midtown projects include the Sticks development and numerous other properties. He also was responsible for the award-winning redevelopment downtown Post Office. He is a founding chair of Artown and has been an active contributor to the Midtown and downtown revival and our city’s economic and cultural growth.
Bob Cashell has been involved in local and state politics for the entirety of his career. After serving in the United States Air Force, he returned to Nevada and began his public life. In 1979, he was elected to the University of Nevada System Board of Regents and served as Chairman. He was then elected Lieutenant Governor for the State of Nevada and with then Governor Richard Bryan created the Nevada Commission on Economic Development and the Nevada Commission on Tourism. Bob Cashell was then elected Mayor of the City of Reno in 2002 and served through 2014. He has since been appointed by Governor Sandoval to the Nevada Commission on Tourism and continues to be active in our local community.
Ty Cobb is a native Nevadan who has worked in a number of capacities across the world. He served as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army and was a professor at the United States Military Academy. During the Carter and Reagan administrations, he consulted with the National Security Council on international energy issues and went on exchange in the Soviet Union. He then joined the NSC as a member of the European and Soviet Affairs Directorate to work on long-range strategic Soviet policy. Cobb also worked as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director of the International Programs and Technology Affairs Directorate. He has since returned to his hometown Reno, Nevada, where he heads the Northern Nevada Network and the National Security Forum.
Perry Di Loreto
Perry Di Loreto founded Di Loreto Construction and Development in 1977, and has spent more than 20 years as the Managing Member of Nevada Tri Partners, the developers of the 2,000-acre master-planned community Damonte Ranch. Perry has been recognized for his business achievements with such awards as “Builder of the Year” by the Northern Nevada Home Builders Association. He was appointed by Nevada Governor Gibbons to serve with 14 other community leaders on a committee to determine the financial needs of the Washoe County School District. Perry was also a founder and director of the Nevada Patriot Fund and now serves as a board member to the Nevada Military Support Alliance, which is dedicated to the support of our military personnel and their families.
Frankie Sue Del Papa
Frankie Sue Del Papa is a Nevada native and lifetime politician. She started her political career at UNR when she was the first female student body president. She then went on to George Washington University for her Juris Doctor Degree and returned to Nevada to serve on the Board of Regents. Frankie Sue was the first female to be elected as the Secretary of State of Nevada and the first female to be Attorney General, where she served a total of 12 years. As Attorney General, she was the first in the country to create a domestic violence ombudsman and the Nevada Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Council. Frankie Sue continues to teach courses at UNR and advocate for young women in politics.
Joe Dutra is a third-generation farmer and the owner of Kimmie Candy Co., Joe is passionate about creating local jobs and in 2005, he relocated his previously offshore manufacturing operation to Reno. By 2009, Kimmie Candy had a fully operational, state-of-the-art production facility that exports internationally. All candy packages proudly state “Made in America” and recently, Joe was invited to the White House and recognized as Nevada’s first representative at the national Made in America program.
Sue Wagner has been a leading woman in Nevada politics. Sue made her way to Reno in 1969 with her husband who worked with the Desert Research Institute. As a young wife and the mother of two small children, she was named one of the 10 “Outstanding Young Women in America” and began her career in politics, running for state assembly, where she served from 1975 to 1980. She then served as a state senator for 10 years and in 1990, became the first female elected Lieutenant Governor of Nevada. After serving as Lieutenant Governor, she was appointed to the Nevada Gaming Commission and in 2013 was inducted into the Nevada State Senate Hall of Fame. Sue lives in Reno and remains active in local and state politics.
Cory Farley is a man known for creating lively discussions and debates throughout Northern Nevada on various topics. Born in Berkeley, California, Cory enlisted in the Army in 1966 was sent to Vietnam. After his tour, Cory went back to school to get a degree in journalism and made his way to Reno in 1974. Cory spent much of his career working for the Reno Gazette-Journal, first as a general features writer and later as a weekly columnist. His pieces are well known for their strong political opinions that get our community thinking.
John Hicks, from the Cherokee and Western Shoshone Nations, was a Reno resident for over 40 years. In 1917, he enlisted and served in World War I as a chief mechanic in a field artillery battery. When he returned to Reno, John worked in carpentry and was very active in Veteran’s affairs, serving in several positions including the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 407 commander World War I Veterans Barracks Number 958 commander. He was also in Nevada politics, and testified at the Nevada Legislature in support of local veterans. John Hicks passed away in 1960 and is remembered by a large family legacy.
Mike Kazmierski attended the U.S. Military Academy and served as an Army Colonel and former garrison commander of Fort Carson, Colorado. Upon his retirement from the U.S. Army, Kazmierski worked at a non-profit economic development corporation in Colorado Springs as the head of the Regional Economic Development Corporation. In 2011, Kazmierski brought his skills to Reno, when he joined EDAWN as CEO. Since then, he has been working to grow our city economy by attracting new companies to the area and by creating quality jobs in the Reno-Sparks region.
Andrew LePeilbet comes from a long line of military service. Andy worked as a First Lieutenant in the United States Army and now continues to support our veterans in the Reno community. Among many awards, Andy is a recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, and the Purple Heart, for his heroic actions in Vietnam. He now is a part of the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, and Veterans of Foreign War Post 8071 and has been an active member of the United Veterans Legislative Council for the past four years.
Arlan Melendez has been the pillar of stability for the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony for almost 30 years. Melendez was first elected to the Tribal Council in 1989 and has served on the Tribal Council for 29 years, 25 of those as Chairman. Since the late ’90s, the Colony has created over 700 jobs in the region and over 300 government jobs. From his national appointment on the United States Commission on Civil Rights, to his work on the Nevada Gaming Policy Committee, and his involvement with environmental issues, Melendez has helped build Reno, shaped its character, and moved it forward.
Evelyn Mount moved to Reno with her husband in the 1970s, and soon began the Reno-Sparks Community Outreach program in 1978, a non-profit effort to help feed the homeless in the Truckee Meadows. Every year Mount feeds the homeless during the holiday season by assembling food baskets for those in need. Some years have seen more than 10,000 food baskets delivered to the community. In 2009, the City of Reno renamed one of its recreation facilities the Evelyn Mount Northeast Community Center.
Third Round of Honorees - September 23, 2017
Jessie Beck (circa 1904-87)
Jessie Beck came to Reno in the late 1930s to work as a roulette dealer at Harold’s Club. Beck rose through the casino ranks and she built a reputation as being friendly and having savvy business sense. Her husband, Fred Beck, owned and ran Keno, poker, pan and horserace book concessions at Harold’s Club, which she took over after his death in 1954. Beck also owned Jessie Beck Corp., and she was the first woman to own a major casino in Nevada. She purchased the Riverside Hotel on South Virginia Street in 1971 after it was closed completely in 1968. After opening her own casino and running it for most of the 1970s, she sold it to Harrah’s Entertainment in 1978.
Teresa Benitez-Thompson, a social worker at a private hospice company, a Nevada legislator representing Assembly District 27 and mother of four, moved to Reno in the 1980s with her mother and sisters to be raised by her maternal grandparents. Many of her early experiences shaped her views of race and relationships, and much of her service in the Nevada Legislature has focused on issues including seniors, veterans, solar energy, education and health care.
Benson Dillon Billinghurst
Benson Dillon (a.k.a. B.D.) Billinghurst was a Nevada educator in the early 20th century where he significantly helped education in Washoe County. He served as the superintendent of schools in the Washoe County School District from 1908 to 1935 and was a big factor in his school building projects, creating a better quality education for Reno. He helped funding for constructing two brand new elementary schools early in his career as superintendent where he established McKinley Park School and the Orvis Ring School. Quickly thereafter, he helped build those two schools, and he helped construct Mary S. Doten School and the Mount Rose School. These four schools became known as the “Four Sisters,” or the “Spanish Quartet.” Under his leadership, Washoe County became the first in the state of Nevada to introduce middle schools. He also helped establish the Nevada State Textbook Commission, which provided laws for providing free textbooks for public school students and laws regarding attendance and that required medical examination of public school students, education finance and those that helped improve the Nevada public school curriculum.
Rev. Onie Cooper
Rev. Onie Cooper, a local civil activist in the Reno-Sparks community, was born Feb. 8, 1925 in Warden, La. to Rev. Ardist Cooper, Sr. and Maggie Cooper. He left Louisiana and joined the Armed Forces in 1943 and was honorably discharged after serving in World War II and the Korean War as a sergeant. In the 1960s, he came to Reno and began working with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People on the local and regional levels. As president of the Reno-Sparks branch of the NAACP, he assisted in a number of local citywide achievements, including the naming of 22 miles of U.S. 395 after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. A man of faith, he was an associate minister at Second Baptist Church in Reno. He was named a Reno Gazette-Journal Citizen of the Year in 2008, and among his many contributions, he was elected to the Advisory Committee on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights for Nevada in 2010. Rev. Cooper died in 2011 at the age of 86.
Nancy Cummings is a former director of the Washoe County Library System, where she began in 1995. She holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in library science, theatre and education and previously worked for the Las Vegas Clark County Library District. She has supported the Girl Scouts of the Sierra Nevada, Nevada Humanities, the Nevada Library Association, Northern Nevada Literacy Council and the State Council on Libraries and Literacy. Cummings retired from Washoe County in 2008.
Louis Erreguible (1926-2017)
Louis Erreguible, originally born in France Basque country, learned to cook early as he worked in a culinary apprenticeship in Bordeaux. After serving military service in World War II, Erreguible moved to Reno in 1948 to work as a shepherd, but once he realized that was not a job for him, he used his cooking skills to help him get hired in many kitchens around the City of Reno. Erreguible and his wife, Lorraine, opened his restaurant, Louis’ Basque Corner, in 1967. Throughout the years, he helped influence Basque cooking and made Basque food popular in the local area. The two ran the facility until 2010 when they finally retired and sold their beloved restaurant.
Estella Levario Gutierrez
Estella Levario Gutierrez, impacted by her childhood as the daughter of migrant farm workers to pursue a degree in educational counseling, has advocated for program development to assist children and their parents with a multicultural focus. Her key roles in Nevada have included Washoe County School District trustee, cofounder of Mariposa Academy with her husband, Jesse Gutierrez, and she now serves as vice president of Student Services and Diversity at Truckee Meadows Community College.
Sadie Dotson Hurst
Sadie Dotson Hurst, president of the Women’s Citizen Club in the early 20th century, was a suffragist who fought for the rights of women and became Nevada’s first female legislator in 1918. She was sworn in January 1919 and was appointed to four committees: Education, State Institutions, Federal Relations and State Prison and Insane Asylum, though she eventually was removed from the latter when it was determined this committee consisted of too many members. Hurst managed to introduce eight bills and, on Jan. 23, 1919, she introduced the resolution amending the Constitution granting the right of suffrage to women, which was adopted. Other bills she introduced related to the registration and licensing of graduate nurses, the guardianship of the person and estates of minors, the requirement of a wife’s consent to the disposal of community property, and the prevention of cruelty to animals during certain times, among others. Hurst remained active in local clubs, and she left Nevada and died on Jan. 17, 1952, in Pasadena, Calif. at the age of 94 from uterine cancer. Since Hurst’s time in the Nevada Legislature, there were only three sessions - 1931, 1933 and 1947 - when there was no female in service.
Bertha Miranda, a restaurateur of more than 30 years, originally immigrated with her family from Mexico to El Paso, Texas in 1972. She worked on a military base, learned English and acquired U.S. citizenship. Her husband, Federico Sr., accepted a mining job in Lovelock in 1978, and Miranda and the family moved to Reno three years later. Miranda began selling homemade Mexican food including burritos, salsa and tortillas in a store on South Virginia Street, which led to opening up a small restaurant on Fourth Street by the Rumpus Room. However, the facility was too small and she eventually opened a restaurant in Sparks. By 1991, she’d opened Bertha Miranda’s Mexican Restaurant on Mill Street in Reno and closed the Sparks location. Education has remained at the foreground of priorities for Miranda, and she began the Bertha Miranda Scholarship for Mexican-American students. She’s also opened Bertha Miranda To Go on South Virginia Street. At 72 in 2014, Miranda was named a “Woman of Achievement” by the Nevada Women’s Fund for her Mexican cuisine and community service.
Rosa Molina worked as a school teacher in El Salvador for 13 years before immigrating to the United States as a political refugee, where she has worked for the Latino immigrant community. She received her master’s degree in education from the National University of El Salvador. She served as the Latino for Political Empowerment director in 1997 and moved to PLAN in April 1998. Molina now runs PLAN’s citizenship office in Reno and she is a recipient of a Social Justice Hero award from the Human Services Network for her efforts to support and empower Northern Nevada’s immigrant community.
William (Bill) Moon
William (Bill) Moon, former NAACP branch president, originally came to Nevada in 1969 and worked as a warehouse manager for more than 10 years. Eventually, he took a post as a civil rights officer in state government, then went to the Federal Bureau of Land Management. Moon served as president of the Reno-Sparks NAACP and on the executive committee. He was a recipient of the Humanitarian Award at an Interfaith Community Memorial Service in 2013, and also was an elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on King’s Row.
Dr. Daniel Enrique Pérez
Dr. Daniel Enrique Pérez began his career as an assistant professor of Chicana/o and Latina/o studies at the University of Nevada, Reno in 2004. He has been instrumental in creating and establishing courses and programs that center on Chicanx and Latinx studies, gender studies, and sexuality studies. He is a founding member of the Gender, Race and Identity Program and the Latino Research Center at UNR. He has taught and inspired countless students at the undergraduate and graduate level in a variety of programs. He has also served as a staunch advocate of education, the humanities, and human rights. As a recognized leader in the community, he constantly finds ways to use education and the humanities to advance social change—LGBTQ rights, immigrant rights, gender equality, access to higher education, and social and economic justice. Currently the director of Core Humanities and an associate professor of Chicanx and Latinx studies, he helps shape new and existing courses in the humanities and mentors new faculty while advancing research. His research centers on the intersections of gender, ethnicity, and sexuality. In addition to his book, Rethinking Chicana/o and Latina/o Popular Culture, he has published several essays in his field. He is also a poet, and recently completed a chapbook entitled Things You See in the Dark. He has a background in theater and has helped stage several Latino-themed plays in Reno that have engaged the community in timely and important topics. He believes theater and performance can be used to facilitate social transformation. Besides teaching courses on Chicanx and Latinx drama at UNR, he edited a collection of plays entitled Latina/o Heritage on Stage: Dramatizing Heroes and Legends. He serves as a member of the Reno Little Theater Teatro del Pueblo Committee and on the Board of Trustees of the Nevada Humanities. He has helped organize and participate in events related to Artown, Northern Nevada Pride, and the Literary Crawl. He is a proud supporter of all things local: KUNR, the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, Our Center, the Great Basin Food Co-op, Sundance Books and Music, and other organizations that make Reno a vibrant and progressive city.
Dr. Emma Sepulveda
Dr. Emma Sepulveda, of South American descent, attended the University of Chile in Santiago and the University of Nevada, Reno. She went to the University of California, Davis for her doctorate. Sepulveda has gone on to become an award-winning author and co-author of 27 nonfiction books, short stories, essays and other genres. She was the first Latina to be inducted into the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame in 2007 and also has received the Silver Pen Award. She’s also been recognized by the Latina Leadership Institute in Washington, D.C. with the Mujer Award in 2009 as well as the Willie Velasquez Award by the U.S. Leadership Institute in 2010. She has participated in television programs concerning Latina women in the United States and Latin America and took part in Edward James Olmos’ project called Americanos. Sepulveda formed her own nonprofit, Latinos for Political Education, in 1995 to empower Latinos to register to vote, and she founded the Latino Research Center at UNR. To date, the center has received more than $1 million in federal and local grants. In 2014, Sepulveda was appointed by former President Barack Obama to the W. Fulbright International Scholarship Board.
Angie Taylor, president and chief executive officer for Guardian Quest Inc. and a Washoe County School Board trustee, has served in higher education for more than 20 years. She completed her doctorate in educational leadership. She also earned both her master’s degree in public administration and policy and her bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Nevada, Reno. At UNR, she held several leadership positions including senior associate director of athletics, assistant vice president for Development and Alumni Relations and associate vice president for Student Success Services. She was appointed to the Washoe County School District Board of Trustees in 2014, becoming the first African-American to serve in this role. Taylor also is the founder/CEO of ExcelQuest Community Development Corp., a training agency that works with the faith-based community and small nonprofits. Her other work includes participation on various committees and task forces, including the Access to Healthcare Network of Nevada, Education Alliance of Washoe County, Northern Nevada Black Cultural Awareness Society, Junior League of Reno and Nevada System of Higher Education.
Ray Valdez, a tribal member of the Texas Band of Yaqui Indians, founded the art program at the Coral Academy of Science and currently teaches for the Sierra Arts Foundation while continuing to work with Native American tribal groups in outreach programs. He initially began as a folk artist, but he developed his skills to include watercolors and acryllic paintings to reflect his personal experiences and religious viewpoint and he encourages young people to develop their skills as well. His works are now on display in various galleries in Reno, Washington, D.C., Wyoming and California.
Second Round of Honorees - July 31, 2017
Dave Aiazzi was born in Reno and raised in Sparks. Dave has always been an outstanding leader in the community. He successfully ran his own computing business for many years, and he served as a Reno City Councilmember for Ward 5 from 1996 to 2012. In his time as a Council Member, Dave strove to take initiative with issues of concern including locating services for the homeless downtown and planning general street improvements. While serving his four terms on the City Council, Dave emphasized that having a city dotted with public art and plenty of cultural events to attend made good business sense. He was instrumental in bringing art projects to 4th Street. Aiazzi’s fingerprints can be found on Reno’s public art — from David Boyer’s kinetic street sculptures in the downtown arts district to the recently installed Reno Star, located at South Virginia Street and McCarran Boulevard, to the diverse entertainment of Artown and the temporary Burning Man art installations which attract hundreds of tourists from around the country each year. Dave’s attention to enhancing Reno’s aesthetic has left its imprint.
Kathie Bartlett, very well known for her success as a realtor, has been a devoted advocate for the arts for more than 30 years. She was the founding chair of the Reno Arts and Culture Commission and the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts, and also served as chair of the Nevada State Arts Council and the Nevada Museum of Art. Kathie has also provided leadership, time and resources to numerous other community organizations and projects in the arts, education, redevelopment, health and human services.
Dr. James E. Church (1869-1959)
A Michigan native, Dr. James E. Church came to Nevada in 1892 to teach Latin and German, literature, and art appreciation at the University of Nevada. Dr. Church lived an exceptional life of accomplishments. These include being the first Euro-American to complete a winter climb of 10,776-foot Mt. Rose in 1895, founding Mount Rose Meteorological Observatory in 1906 and devising the technique that would determine the water content of the Sierra snowpack in 1909. In fact, Dr. Church made regular ascents to observe snow and weather conditions for the United States Weather Bureau and the University of Nevada Agricultural Experiment Station and eventually gained an international reputation for his effective methodology to predict water resources. Beginning in 1926, he took part in the University of Michigan Greenland Expeditions, and during the 1930s he traveled to Russia to consult with scientists studying snow. In the 1940s his travels ranged across the Americas and northern Europe and to the Himalayas. In collaboration with his friend Charles F. Cutts, Dr. Church founded the Nevada Art Gallery (now the Nevada Museum of Art) in 1931. Until his death in 1959, he provided the personal leadership — and unwavering financial support — that helped sustain the Nevada Art Gallery. Church is remembered as a gentle, modest man who worked tirelessly for the advancement of cultural life in Reno.
As a founder of Reno’s Artown festival, Karen Craig was instrumental in revolutionizing the arts in Reno. Karen’s passion brings together government, business and organizations with the purpose of creating thriving and sustainable communities. Karen has an award-winning record of transforming communities across the country. She has been honored as the Civic Leader of the Year, featured in the New Yorker’s “Talk of the Town,” and has been called one of Nevada’s 20 Most Influential Leaders to Watch. She is a leading consultant and speaker on creative cities. Karen serves as the executive director of Artown, a festival that has grown into one of America’s largest visual and performing arts festivals. The San Francisco Ballet, Kronos Quartet, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Femi Kuti made their Nevada debuts at Artown. Today 300,000 residents and visitors enjoy the festival annually. Artown is credited with helping to attract more than $500 million of investment in downtown Reno. In 1990, Karen became the executive director of The Telluride Institute, a Colorado think-tank. Karen helped implement cultural, environmental and technology initiatives. Karen experienced the power of culture and community working for Harvey Lichtenstein at Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) in the 1980s. She was the press attaché for New Music America, Next Wave Festival and two cultural exchange programs touring the Soviet Union and Japan. Karen also served as press assistant to Princess Diana during her first official visit to the United States in 1989. Karen envisioned and created the West Street Market, a mixed-use district anchored by a 15,000 square-foot indoor market featuring a boutique grocery, a dozen multi-cultural eateries and experiential attractions for residents, the downtown workforce and Reno’s 5 million annual tourists.
Britt Curtis, a Reno native, played an instrumental role in the creation of the Holland Project in Reno. Curtis co-founded the Holland Project, an all-ages arts and music non-profit organization in Reno, along with Joe Ferguson. Modeled after successful projects nationwide, including Holland’s sister organization The Vera Project in Seattle, Holland was started by a group of dedicated teens, musicians, artists, teachers, activists, business owners and community leaders in 2006. With immense community support, Holland officially opened its doors in the spring of 2007 and has put on more than 1,000 events including music shows in nearly every genre, gallery exhibits, dance performances, workshops, special events, fashion shows, film nights and more. The purpose of The Holland Project is to provide a platform of expression for Reno’s often overlooked youth. Britt currently serves as The Holland Project’s director and works continuously to ensure the sustainability of the project which is operated by and for young people. Thanks in great part to Britt, this organization is volunteer driven and wholeheartedly supports and champions opportunities for young people in our community. Britt is a driver with the vision for the success of The Holland Project and through it she seeks to highlight the talents and passions of the youth in our community in ways that offer important opportunities for engagement.
In 1978, Ron Daniels was contracted by the Nevada State Arts Council to explore future possibilities for the Reno Philharmonic, which had been founded by Gregory Stone. After 10 years of uneven response by the community the orchestra association had become stagnant.
Mr. Daniels came from his home state of California where he started piano lessons at age five and later also studied violin and conducting. While in high school he attended the Peninsula Conservatory, which led to his graduating from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music with a degree in Piano and Conducting. An apprenticeship with the Oakland Symphony and fellowships at the Aspen and Tanglewood summer festivals led to positions at UC Berkeley, the Contra Costa Symphony, the San Francisco Opera Talent Bank and a variety of choral organizations.
After arriving in Reno he launched six-month campaign marshaling area-wide musical and financial support leading to an ongoing subscription series of sold-out concerts that continue to this day as the musical pride of our community. Serving at various times as General Manager, Executive Director and, most importantly, Music Director and Conductor, his efforts were felt in many areas of the community.
His early efforts in vitalizing the Reno Philharmonic were recognized in 1982 by the State of Nevada with his receiving a Governor's Arts Award for Excellence in the Arts in Music.
Regular concerts for all students in third through fifth grades in the Washoe County School District were instituted. In addition, he arranged for a wide variety of performances away from the Pioneer Theater and included international and local artists representing diversity ranging from Ray Charles to Luciano Pavarotti. The Philharmonic became a cultural ambassador for the city of Reno.
Mr. Daniels also volunteered with Young Audiences of Northern Nevada, Junior Achievement and Hadassah Musical presentations and maintained cooperative relations with other performing organizations such as The Nevada Chamber Orchestra, Nevada Opera, Sierra Nevada Master Chorale, the Reno Municipal Band and the University of Nevada Music Department.
Of particular personal pride was the inauguration in 1995 of the Reno Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.
Before Mr. Daniels' retirement in 1999, Reno Mayor Jeff Griffin in a Proclamation declared May 3, 1998 as Ron Daniels Day in recognition of his contributions to the “citizens of Reno and the surrounding community." After 20 years and hundreds of memorable concerts, his talent and dedication will be remembered as an incredible gift to the Reno community.
John Henry Dressler (1916-1970)
John Henry Dressler was one of the first American Indian ambassadors to the City of Reno. Born in 1916, Dressler was taught the traditional lifestyle and culture of the Washoe people, but his exposure to the non-Indian world helped him navigate both successfully. An accomplished athlete who attended Stewart Indian School in the early 1920s, Dressler used the vocational training he received at boarding school for a career working for the railroad and was voted by his coworkers to lead the railroad union. In this capacity, Dressler served as a negotiator with management to ensure safe working conditions for all labors. With that leadership experience, Dressler was one of the founding members of the inter-tribal council, a Reno-based organization that represents the interests of all American Indian Tribes within the state of Nevada. In fact, he was the group’s first chairman, serving the agency from 1958 to 1969. Once Inter-tribal Council of Nevada was officially recognized, Dressler discovered a need for area tribes to have a liaison to the Nevada Legislature. In 1965, he led the passage of a bill that created the Nevada Indian Commission. On the civic front, Dressler formed the first Indian Boy Scout Troop in Reno and served as Scoutmaster of Troop 10. In 1970, four days before his death, Dressler was recognized by the University of Nevada for “...his exceptional service to the well being of mankind.”
Dr. Gilbert Lenz (1919-2008) and Elizabeth Lenz
Gilbert Gordon Lenz, a Reno surgeon, was born in 1919, in Superior, Wisconsin. He earned a bachelor of science, bachelor of music and a medical degree from the University of Minnesota. He served overseas in the U.S. Army for two years during World War II and then completed his master's degree in surgery at Boston's Children's Hospital. He met his wife of 64 years, Elizabeth, while at the University of Minnesota. Elizabeth graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Minnesota in 1943 and married Gilbert later that year. The family moved to Reno in 1951 and eventually would transform the community’s musical landscape. The couple had seven children, 21 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren. Some 25 members of the Lenz clan have graced local stages, eight in principal chairs of the Reno Phil and Reno Chamber Orchestra. Elizabeth was the first woman to chair the Regional Planning Commission and Tax Equalization Boards. She served as President of the Nevada State Board Association and was also the first female at the helm of the Washoe County School Board - on which she served for 14 years. Elizabeth Lenz Elementary School was named after her, she volunteered for the Doctors’ Wives Association for 50 years, was named Nevada’s “Mother of the Year," and in 2013 was inducted into the Nevada Women’s Fund Hall of Fame. Elizabeth is considered by many “the mother of Reno music” as she was instrumental in getting string music programs into our elementary schools. Dr. Lenz, on the other hand, not only stimulated his own family's interests in art and music with his extensive library and collections of paintings and recordings, but he also helped many other aspiring young artists and musicians in Northern Nevada. In the early years, they both attended and supported the Community Concerts series. Elizabeth helped co-found the Young Audiences program, which lives on in the Reno Phil’s Young People’s Concerts, now reaching some 10,000 third- through fifth-graders each year. Elizabeth served as board president of the Reno Chamber Orchestra. Elizabeth and Gilbert contributed to and attended the Nevada Opera, RCO, RPO, UNR and myriad student recitals. She has baked thousands of delicious desserts for concert receptions and fundraisers. The Reno Philharmonic named its “Dr. Gilbert and Elizabeth Lenz Legacy Society” after the couple in their honor.
Michael Mikel is considered both a historian and a futurist with an interest in technology and social communities. He was a co-founder of Burning Man which he joined in 1988, and a co-founder of Black Rock City, LLC in 1999. Michael serves as a Founding Board Member of the Burning Man Project, Director of Advanced Social Systems, Ambassador and as a member of the Philosophical Center. Michael played a key role in bringing Burning Man to the Black Rock Desert, and is responsible for a number of Burning Man ‘firsts.’ In 1991 his concept car, the “5:04 PM,” was the first art car at Burning Man. In 1992, he edited the first on-site newspaper, and also founded the Black Rock Rangers. In 1995, he developed the logo design which has become the symbol of the Burning Man community. Michael introduced containerized storage and transport in 1997, and instituted the first perimeter radar system for Black Rock City in 2000. In 2001, he visited regional groups across America as an ambassador for Burning Man. In 2008, he managed the development of Burning Man’s presence in the virtual world of Second Life. Prior to Burning Man, Michael was involved with numerous San Francisco social, counter-cultural and technological institutions. As an historian, Michael has contributed his papers, printed materials and personal artifacts from the Cacophony Society and Burning Man to numerous archives including The San Francisco Main Library, the Bancroft Library in Berkeley, the Special Collections archive at the University of Nevada, Reno, and extensively to the Nevada Museum of Art’s Center for Art & Environment.
Carol Quinn recently retired from her position as an art teacher at McQueen High School, where she is recognized to have impacted many, many students for 27 years. Before her work at McQueen, she was also an Art Educator at Reed High School for six years. She taught Art and Photography classes at McQueen for many years, and influenced thousands of students throughout her career. Quite a few of her students went on to become working artists or are engaged in careers that capitalize upon the skills they learned in Ms. Quinn's art classes (e.g. graphic arts). She continued to influence education by supervising student interns during their teaching practicums. She has served on the boards of several arts groups in the Reno-Sparks area, thereby supporting and influencing the arts in our community in a positive way. She was part of the group that developed and implemented McQueen's annual Fine Arts and Dessert Night, and she continues to support it by attending the annual event. Ms. Quinn created her own art, which she shared with the school and her students. One example of this was a series of photographs she took of Peavine mountains that graced the school library for many years.
Edwin S. Semenza (1910-1992)
Edwin Semenza was born in Reno in 1910. His family immigrated to the West at the beginning of this century, and they were influential in ranching and business. Semenza attended local high schools and the University of Nevada. His interest in the theater caused him to become involved in many aspects of the profession in western Nevada. Semenza spent many years as a part-time member of the University of Nevada faculty; taught at Susanville, California; saw wartime service; served on the Reno City Council; and has been since 1954 a successful executive in an insurance company. Most significantly, however, Semenza was the director and guiding force of the Reno Little Theater from its beginning in 1935 to his retirement from the directorship in 1970. The theater group has included hundreds of local citizens, with widely varying backgrounds and interests. Semenza contributed immensely to the project. He designed sets, pounded nails, repaired the furnace, mopped up after floods in the basement, helped with makeup, checked on the box office, and checked at night to see that the lights were turned off. He did this for 35 years and retained both his tolerance and his sense of humor.
Johnson Sides (?-1903)
In the late 1800s, Johnson Sides, a Northern Paiute Indian was recognized and respected by both Indian and non-Indians in the City of Reno, as well as the state of Nevada. Sides' birth date is unclear; however, upon his death in 1903, he was believed to be 70 years old. His contributions were invaluable. Sides was known throughout the City of Reno and the world as a peacemaker. Nevadans recall that Sides was born a twin and raised alone as an infant by white settlers of Franktown Road. Sides had the gift of speaking both English and the Paiute languages during the 1880s. This skill provided valuable interpretation to the early settlers of the City of Reno and Indian Tribes of Nevada, Utah and Idaho. This gave him the notoriety of being the Peacemaker. Sides was active in utilizing his bilingual skills to maintain peaceful relations between Indians and white settlers. He facilitated a number of discussions that contributed to the peaceful settlement of northern Nevada. Due to these outstanding deeds, he was given the title of the U.S. peacemaker in Washington D.C. and received a medal which he proudly wore pinned to his heart. The U.S. peacemaker traveled to neighboring Indian communities and to the City of Reno to converse among its leaders regarding politics and social issues. To alleviate the fears of the newly settled areas, Sides would provide assurances that tribes would not assault and vice versa. This is very evident of reports from the Reno Evening Gazette articles from 1879 to 1887. In October 1903, Reno's first Mayor, George Turritin, attended the Peacemaker’s funeral, along with hundreds of others. Sides rests eternally at the historic hillside cemetery.
Turkey Stremmel has been part-owner and director of Stremmel Gallery for almost 50 years, which is now one of the oldest and most-respected modern and contemporary art galleries in the West. In 1991, she helped orchestrate what was then the largest art deal in history: the $200 million estate of the noted art dealer Pierre Matisse, in partnership with William Acquavella and Sotheby’s. She managed this vast collection from the Stremmel Gallery warehouse in Reno. She has helped advise and build many important collections throughout the region, including the new Renown Tahoe Tower, which involved the placement of more than 1,000 works of original art. Turkey has served on the board of many local nonprofits, in addition to becoming an Adjunct Professor of Art at UNR. She was the recipient of the Governor’s Arts Award in 2009.
William C. Thornton
William C. Thornton is a distinguished attorney at law who was admitted to practice in the State of Nevada, and before that, the United States Supreme Court, the United States district court and the United States Tax Court. William has held a private practice in Reno since 1961. William has a long list of very notable accomplishments, including being awarded the 1997 Silver Star Award: A Celebration of quality of life in Truckee Meadows by Truckee Meadows Tomorrow and Truckee Meadows Regional Planning Agency; the 1992 Raymond I. Smith Civic Leader of the Year Award; the 1969 Outstanding UNR Alumni Award; 1980 Professional Achievement Award by George Washington University; and the 1981 Promotion Person of the Year by the Reno Advertising Club. As a Lt. Colonel and Senior Pilot in the USAF, he also was awarded an Air Force Commendation Medal for his service. The Thornton Family gift of 180 acres of land to UNR and Washoe County added the UNR Block "N" to the treasured San Rafael Park acreage. William has served an essential role in bringing arts to the community. The Thornton Family and Club Cal-Neva donated the Ginsberg clock located at the Reno City Plaza and also supported the creation of the Reno Star, located at South Virginia and South McCarran, as an addition to the City of Reno's Public Art collection. William is also responsible for bringing the arts to downtown by building the amphitheater located in Wingfield Park, which has been an instrumental platform for Artown and countless artists throughout the years. He helped to fund the Summer Municipal Band concerts on the UNR Quad and Wingfield Park. Among his most treasured memories is, as a Boy Scout, serving as Reno Mayor for a Day.
Carolyn Wray has taught theater classes at Truckee Meadows Community College (TMCC) for many years, and during this time she became a fixture in the local theater scene. Professor Wray is the founder of the Theater/Performing Arts Program at Truckee Meadows Community College, with a legacy of service to the Reno arts community spanning three decades. In addition to teaching a full load, Wray produced a full-blown stage production each semester which drew crowds from all over the community. Retired in 2016, she began at TMCC as a part-time instructor with a single acting class and then led the effort to evolve the Program into a vital theater training and performance entity offering a variety of courses and AA degrees in Theater, Musical Theater, Music and Dance. Her name is an often cited inspiration among local actors because not only is she an excellent professor who has expanded the arts education of countless students, but she inspires an interest in theater while doing so. In an age where careers in theater are discouraged due to their scarcity, performing arts vocations feel out of reach for many. Wray has helped countless students broaden their horizons through her instruction and endless support. Many students will say that at a crucial time in their lives, Wray provided a safe place to incubate and express their talents, to think outside of the box, to be creative, to be goal oriented, to collaborate with others and to overcome obstacles and fears in performing, all of which translated into their daily lives.
First Round of Honorees - May 9, 2017
Dr. Fred Anderson (1906-2003)
Dr. Fred Anderson's career has been an exceptional one, combining major contributions in the fields of medicine and higher education in the state of Nevada. When Anderson retired from the practice of medicine in 1983, he left behind a long list of awards and distinctions - not only in medicine, but in education and community service. After receiving his medical degree at Harvard, Anderson returned to Nevada to establish his first practice in Carson City. Before he could firmly establish his practice, World War II broke out and he volunteered for service in the army. Anderson served from October 1941 until December 1945. After the war, Dr. Anderson returned to Nevada, establishing a practice in Reno, and within a few years he was established as one of the state's most respected surgeons. His work in obtaining private funds for the university system was outstanding and brought millions of dollars to the university. His work as regent culminated in the development of the medical school - the School of Health Sciences. A medical school on the Reno campus would not have come into existence without the efforts of Fred Anderson. The title, "Father of the School of Medicine," given him by the school's first graduating class, is quite appropriate, as was the naming of the first building at the school, the Anderson Health Sciences Building.
Jacob Davis (1830–1908)
A Russian-Jewish tailor and American immigrant, Davis worked his trade from New York and Maine to San Francisco and Weaverville (1854 - 1858), before heading into the Canadian wilderness to sell general merchandise to miners (1858 - 1865). He worked twice in the brewery business (Canada, 1865 - 1866 and Reno, 1868); ventured into the coal business (San Francisco, 1867); and worked for his brother-in-law in the cigar business (Virginia City, 1867), before resuming tailoring (Virginia City, 1867 - 1868). After his May 1868 arrival in Reno, he returned to tailoring in 1869. In late 1870, Davis was asked by a customer to make a pair of strong pants for her husband to wear while chopping wood. As he was making the pants in January 1871, Davis hit upon the idea of reinforcing the weak points at the seams and pockets with metal rivets he normally used for horse blanket straps. With strong sales, in July 1872, he wrote Levi Strauss & Co. offering half of the patent rights in exchange for the Company covering the patent application fee. Levi Strauss agreed, and on May 20, 1873, United States Patent 139,121 for “Improvements In Fastening Pocket-Openings” was issued in the name of Jacob W. Davis, of Reno, Nevada, and Levi Strauss & Company, of San Francisco, California.
Frederick DeLongchamps (1882-1969)
Frederick DeLongchamps was one of Nevada's most prolific architects. Born in Reno in 1882, he learned the building trades from his French Canadian father, a carpenter. Eventually, young Frederick studied mining at the University of Nevada. His doctor warned him not to go underground because of weak lungs, so upon graduation, DeLongchamps took a job as a draftsman for the U.S. Surveyor. After the 1906 earthquake, DeLongchamps traveled to San Francisco to join the army of people rebuilding thousands of structures. According to tradition, he apprenticed with an architect and learned how to design buildings. DeLongchamps returned to Nevada in 1907 and began working as an architect. After two years spent on small projects, he entered a competition to design the new Washoe County Courthouse. The county selected the young man's plans, giving him a notable benchmark at the beginning of his career. His courthouse was to become Nevada's largest, most sophisticated county building constructed up to that time. DeLongchamps also designed the iconic U.S. Post Office and Riverside Hotel in downtown Reno. The architect’s designs also make up much of the original campus buildings at UNR. DeLongchamps won awards for his buildings at the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Expositions in San Francisco and San Diego.
Dolores Feemster (1930 - current)
Dolores has spent countless hours in community service, as a local leader and civil rights advocate. She worked for the Economic Opportunity Program and became a member of the original board. As Outreach Director for the Southwest and Northwest areas of Reno, she won many awards for programs she started for the elderly and youth. As Community Service Coordinator for nearly 34 years at Hug High School, Dolores had a positive influence in the lives of hundreds of students who grew to know and love her. She has served innumerable hours doing civil rights work as a committee chair, officer and Executive Committee member of the Reno/Sparks Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Dolores received numerous awards including: Outstanding Achievement Award from the Reno/Sparks NAACP, the President’s Medal from the University of Nevada, Reno, 2015 Humanitarian Award from the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Committee, and was inducted as Humanitarian into Nevada Women’s Fund Hall of Fame. Dolores is still very active with the Reno/Sparks NAACP, Nevada Retired School Employees Association and serves on the Board of the Community Services Agency (CSA).
Katie Christy Frazier (1890-1991)
Living during the turn of the century and known as the Jewel of Pyramid, Katie was born on July 4, 1890. She lived in the city of Reno in the late 1890’s and early 1900’s at the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony. She was raised in the native Paiute culture and became a skilled craftsman, providing Paiute baby cradleboards, moccasins, regalia and quilts. She was also a premier teacher of the Paiute arts and language. Katie lived to see five generations of her family, who carry on Katie’s art and teachings today. Katie’s recognitions include State of Nevada National Indian Educator in 1984, Governor’s Award for Excellence in Folk Arts in 1986 and Outstanding Senior Citizen of the Year in 1989.
Robert Lardin Fulton (1847-1920)
Robert Lardin Fulton was a railroad agent and newspaper publisher in Reno, Nevada. Fulton was born in Ashland, Ohio on March 6, 1847 to parents Robert Fulton and Margaret Lardin. He taught himself telegraphy and became a telegraph operator and conductor for railroads in Ohio and Minnesota. In 1874 he moved to California and was train dispatcher in Lathrope and first superintendent in Visalia, California. He became a land agent for the Union Pacific Railroad responsible for transactions from Colfax, California, to Ogden, Utah. Later in his career he became editor and publisher of the Reno Evening Gazette. In 1904 he was appointed the president of the Nevada Historical Society.
John Glenn Little (1940-2012)
John Glenn Little died on November 2, 2012 at the age of 72. Glenn was born on January 24, 1940 in Boulder City, Nevada to Dr. William Morse and Christina Mary Little. Glenn attended the University of Nevada, Reno, majoring in music and art, and his subsequent career followed these two artistic paths. In 1954, at the age of 14, he joined the Reno Municipal Band, and remained with the band for the next 55 years. In 1978, Glenn became conductor replacing N. A. Tink Tinkham. During his long tenure as the band's leader, Glenn initiated the summer concert season in Idlewild Park, and the popular 4th of July performance at UNR, where, wearing patriotic red, white and blue attire, he would lead the children who marched in a lively line around the campus quad. In its prime, the Muni Band featured 12 different ensembles: swing, Latin, brass, western and banjo among them, and played many summer afternoon concerts in the amphitheater at Wingfield Park. In 2013, Reno City Council unanimously moved to rename the structure Wingfield Park Glenn Little Amphitheater, in memory of the many years of musical entertainment provided by Glenn and the Reno Municipal Band.
Clarence H. Mackay (1874-1938)
Clarence H. Mackay was born in 1874, the same year that the University of Nevada opened. Mackay dedicated his life to bettering our university. He wanted to provide the community with access to high quality higher education. In order to understand the life of Clarence H. Mackay, it is important to look at the life of his father, John W. Mackay. John was a pioneer of the Comstock Lode and had vested interests in mining in California and Nevada. In a short time, John struck it rich. He discovered the great ore body known as the Big Bonanza in the consolidated Virginia and California mines. These two mines produced over $100,000,000 in just five short years. This money was passed down to his family. His son, Clarence, would later donate a large portion of his inheritance to the University of Nevada for various buildings and programs.
Bertha Mullins (1937-current)
Bertha is known for her commitment to increasing the quality of life for low to moderate income families and individuals. In 1971, Bertha planned, developed and implemented a community health center for low-income and disadvantaged families. She negotiated a 99 year lease of $1 per year with the Nevada State Department of Transportation for land on a prime corner lot to be used for the Community Health and Education program. Bertha was involved in getting taxes passed to build the Senior Citizens Center Building and served on the Planning Committee before it was built in 1977. She has received awards and special recognition including: Outstanding Community Service Awards from Senator Paul Laxalt, Senator and Governor Richard Bryan, Governor Bob Miller, Senator John Ensign and Senator Harry Reid, 1990 Humanitarian of the Year from the National Conference of Christians and Jews, Nevada Women’s Fund Hall of Fame, 1994 and the Integrity and Responsibility Award in 1982.
Roy Powers (1922-2012)
Roy Powers has been a familiar face in Reno's community and the Northern Nevada scene for more than five decades. His career in advertising and publicity led him into a leadership role in local civic activities. He launched the Reno Junior Chamber of Commerce and served as President of the Reno Chamber of Commerce. He is one of the original organizers of the Reno Air Races and served on the Board of Directors for 13 years. He has been honored as Reno's Young Man of the Year, Reno's Civic Leader of the Year and has been initiated into the Air Race Wall of Fame. At first glance, Reno Nevada doesn't look like an artist town. A second look reveals artists paintings in coffee houses, sculpture in galleries, watercolors in artists shows and much more. Northern Nevada is home to one of the best artists; For many years Roy has been noted for his unique vintage paintings of Reno, famous landmarks and surrounding area. The Nevada Historical Society recognized Roy for his work as a significant historical statement and, in 2001, organized a three-month display of his paintings at the NHS gallery on the University of Nevada campus. The Nevada Museum of Art also recognized Roy's work as a Nevada Artist with an exhibit - A fragile presence: local landmark paintings of Roy Powers at the museum.
Senator William Raggio (1926-2012)
Senator William Raggio was an American politician and former Republican member of the Nevada Senate. His public service included 18 years as a prosecutor and more than 38 years as a legislator, representing the 3rd District of Washoe County from 1972 until his retirement in 2011. Senator Raggio is the longest-serving member in the history of the State Senate and was inducted into the Senate Hall of Fame for his unwavering commitment to our state. He was born in Reno, Nevada in 1926, graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno in 1948 and obtained his J.D. from the Hastings College of Law at the University of California and the Boalt Hall School of Law at University of California, Berkeley. He was a member of the United States Navy Reserve (USNR) and became a Second Lieutenant of the United States Marine Corps Reserve (USMCR). He started his legal career as an Assistant District Attorney of Washoe County in 1952, became District Attorney for the county in 1958 and was named top prosecutor in the United States in 1965.
During his record five decades in the Senate and ten sessions as Majority Leader, Senator Raggio worked with seven Nevada Governors and was a leading voice for education excellence. In 2003, the William J. Raggio Math and Science Center was dedicated, located in the UNR College of Education, in recognition of his significant contributions to education. Senator Raggio’s awards include the National Distinguished Eagle Award from the Boy Scouts of America in 1989, UNR/Reno Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award in 1997, Grand Pioneer Award from the Northern Nevada Black Cultural Awareness Society in 1998, Jake Lawlor Award from the University of Nevada Athletic Foundation in 1999, President’s Medal awarded by UNLV in 2000, and Hero of Education Award, from UNR, Reno Faculty Senate and Nevada Faculty Alliance in 2011. He also received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from UNR in 2011.
Nevada First Lady Kathleen Sandoval (1965-current)
Kathleen Sandoval was born on July 13, 1965 in Reno, Nevada. She spent all of her formative years in Reno schools and was a graduate of Earl Wooster High School. Her initial employment was as a speech-language pathologist in a brain injury unit which led to a position as a Regional Manager for a health company that helped develop brain injury units in various states. Now holding the title of Program Director of the Children’s Cabinet, she has been with the Children’s Cabinet in Northern Nevada since 2000. This involves working with at-risk children who have been abused, who are runaways and/or have substance abuse or truancy problems. Mrs. Sandoval feels passionate about the importance of the work that she does and she is assisting in establishing a similar type of organization in Southern Nevada. Because of that commitment to her work there was never any question that she would continue with her Children’s Cabinet position when her husband was elected as Governor. She saw her new state role as an incredible opportunity for her “to advocate and really make the needs of children in our state known, and…addressed.”
Alice Lucretia Smith (1902-1990)
One of Nevada’s early Civil Rights advocates and a humanitarian, Alice dedicated her life to helping others achieve their potential regardless of race or financial condition. Moving to Reno with her husband “Al”, they founded the Reno-Sparks branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1945. Alice achievements include: chosen as Nevada delegate to the United Nations Conference in 1974, appointment to State Advisory Committee for Older Americans, Nevada Foster Grandparents Board, and 25 year volunteer for the American Red Cross and served on their board of directors. In 1976, an “Alice Smith Award” was established by the Community Services Agency, and is presented to the board member who had contributed the most to the community each year. In 1989, an elementary school in Golden Valley was named after her.
Beatrice “Bea” Thayer (1927-current)
Beatrice "Bea" Thayer is an expert on the old ways as well as a suffragette. A member of the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, at 90-years-young, Bea is a respected elder, a Veteran of World War II, a great-grandmother of 10. Born on April 8, 1927, Bea remembers watching women grind pine nuts and other seeds which sustained Indian people. She carefully observed as leather workers set up deerskins on slanted trees and soak the hides and scrape the fur. All the while, just four miles away, the City of Reno was bustling and growing into a gambling mecca. Bea attended a one-room school house, but eventually went to the historic Orvis Ring School before transferring to Stewart, a nearby federally operated boarding school for American Indians, intended to assimilate the young, impressionable students into mainstream society. At the age of 17, Bea enlisted in the US Army Air Corps during the Great War. From 1952-1956, she was headquartered at the 12th Air Force Base in Wiessaden, West Germany. Bea followed up with a volunteer career in the Nevada Army National Guard, serving from 1973 until her retirement in 1982. Beatrice has two children, five grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.
Captain Truckee (1780/1790 – 1860)
Captain Truckee’s accomplishments are acknowledged through the river that is named after him. The Truckee River was named in honor of this Northern Paiute leader, Captain Truckee. Captain Truckee is the father of Chief Winnemucca and the grandfather to Sarah Winnemucca and Natchez, all of whom are significant historical figures of Nevada. His contributions to the City of Reno and Nevada are great and innumerable. Chief Truckee sent emigrants, like the Murphy-Stevens-Townsend Party, along the pass that is now called the Truckee Trail. The Truckee Trail is part of the California Trail that goes directly through the Truckee Meadows in what is now Reno. Without Captain Truckee, the Murphy-Stevens-Townsend Party would not have successfully crossed the Sierras to California in 1844, who were the first to cross the Sierra Mountains in covered wagons.