ELKO 100: J.A. McBride
The first mayor of the City of Elko, elected in 1917, was John A. McBride. His five decades of service to Elko as a civic leader and businessman led him to be recognized at his death as “a natural leader … putting the good of his community first.”
J.A. McBride was born in Auburn, California on July 24, 1859. After completing school he moved to Nevada in 1877, first settling in Winnemucca and then Carlin as a telegraph operator for Southern Pacific Railroad.
He married Emily Bonnifield on Jan. 3, 1883, and had two sons, Allen and Bonnifield. He and his family arrived in Elko around 1886 where McBride worked for W.T. Smith Company as an accountant. The family adopted Laurena Walther Brehe in 1914 after her mother died.
McBride served in the Nevada State Assembly and was elected treasurer of Elko Country in 1897. He became associated with Elko Lumber Company and the McBrides joined two other Elko families to raise money to build the Episcopal church in 1892 at the corner of Fifth and Idaho Streets.
By 1916, Elko grew to a population of 2,500, according to local historian Edna B. Patterson. A delegation of Elkoans traveled to the Nevada Legislature in Carson City and successfully put forth a bill to incorporate Elko as a city on Feb. 28, 1917.
It was signed by Gov. Emmet Boyle on March 14 and an election for mayor and city council was set for May 1. On that day, McBride defeated Robert Hesson to become Elko’s first mayor. After serving two terms, he left office in 1921.
As a family, the McBrides contributed to the development of several Elko institutions. J.A. is credited with the idea of forming Elko County High School in 1895 with A.W. Hesson. Wife Emily sat on the Board of Governors for what is now the Nevada Youth Training Center.
His sons built the Elko-Lamoille Power Company in 1912. Daughter Laurena married Dr. Leslie Moren and served on boards that constructed the Elko Convention Center.
Twelve years after Emily’s death, J.A. McBride died after a long illness on April 4, 1939. The day of his funeral, businesses and city offices closed and hundreds attended the service.
The Elko Daily Free Press eulogized his life in an editorial concluding with these words: “Elko Country lost an outstanding citizen, to be sure, but it was enriched by his presence during the past half century.”
ELKO 100: Newton Hunt Crumley
Elko businessman Newton Crumley’s idea to merge show business with gaming at the Commercial Hotel brought top entertainers of the 1940s and ‘50s to Elko and was modeled by casinos throughout Nevada to great success.
Newton H. Crumley Jr. was born in Tonopah on Feb. 2, 1911. His father was a businessman and moved the family around the state. They settled in Elko after he bought the Commercial Hotel in 1925.
After earning his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Nevada Reno in 1932, Crumley joined the U.S. Army Air Corps and trained to be a pilot. He moved back to Elko after being honorably discharged and joined his father to run the Commercial. In 1937, he married Francis Smith of Lovelock and they had five children: Janice, Linda, Peggy, Barbara and Newton.
Searching for a way to increase business, Crumley opened a lounge to attract a different type of clientele. According to “It Began in Elko: Big Name Entertainment in Nevada” by Angela DeBraga, published in the Northeastern Nevada Museum Quarterly, this “was Elko’s first sophisticated cocktail lounge … three or four musicians held forth entertaining bar patrons and dancing couples.”
Seeing a positive response, Crumley added a stage, more seating, and invited the very popular Ted Lewis and his World Famous Orchestra for an eight-night engagement starting April 26, 1941.
Soon popular singers, bandleaders and comedians were stopping in Elko to perform before thrilled audiences, gaining national attention for appearing in a small, rural Nevada town. Entertainers, including singer Sophie Tucker, comedian Chico Marx, bandleaders Paul Whiteman and Lawrence Welk, and country musician Tex Ritter, appeared at the Commercial Hotel over the years.
Crumley went back into active duty training pilots during World War II. After the war, Crumley resumed his business activities in Elko, building the Ranchinn on Idaho Street between Eighth and Ninth Streets in 1946. His friendship with Bing Crosby led to Crosby’s purchasing the PX Ranch and becoming honorary mayor. In 1955, Crumley sold the two casinos and moved to Reno.
On Feb. 10, 1962, Crumley, 51, was flying to Elko with banker E.J. Questa when the plane crashed 30 miles northeast of Tonopah. Upon news of his death, he was remembered for his achievements in business, civic activities, and sports, however Crumley’s legacy may be his decision to link show business with gaming, largely shaping the state of Nevada and putting Elko on the map.
ELKO 100: Grant Sawyer
Grant Sawyer was the 21st governor of Nevada and one of several governors to come from Elko County. He made his mark on Nevada history as an activist for civil rights and against corruption in the gaming industry
“I was born in Twin Falls Idaho on December 14, 1918, the youngest of three boys,” Frank Grant Sawyer recounted in his oral history “Hang Tough!” He attended Linfield College in McMinneville, Oregon, then graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno in 1941.
Sawyer started law school at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He enlisted after the start of World War II in the Army and served in the Pacific theater. After the war, he returned to Washington to finish his studies. In 1946, Sawyer earned his law degree and married Bette Hoge, on August 1.
In Washington, Sawyer became friends with John F. Kennedy, then a congressman, and was mentored by U.S. Sen. Pat McCarran of Nevada. In 1948, he and Bette moved to Elko to practice law, and their daughter, Gail, was born in 1949. Two years later, Sawyer was elected district attorney.
The Sawyers enjoyed living in Elko. Grant and Bette took part in local clubs and organizations, including the American Red Cross and the Silver Stage Players. “That is the only place we’ve been long enough to establish close relationships,” Sawyer recalled. They formed friendships with many Elkoans, including the editors of both the Elko Independent and Elko Daily Free Press, Snowy Monroe and Chris Sheerin respectively.
In 1958, Sawyer ran for governor as a Democrat against Republican Charles Russell. With Nevada’s conservative history, Sawyer was quoted as saying that running was “a pure lark, with no conceivable chance of winning.” Sawyer defeated Russell by 16,000 votes.
In office, he created the Nevada State Equals Rights Commission and formed the Gaming Control Act of 1959 in an effort to remove criminal influence in the gaming industry. He served two terms before being defeated for re-election in 1966 by Paul Laxalt.
The Sawyers moved to Las Vegas, where Grant opened a law firm and remained active in the Democratic Party, notably speaking out against the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository. He died on Feb. 19, 1996, at the age of 77. Upon his passing, Sawyer was cited as a civil rights champion and called “a giant of Nevada history” by then Governor Bob Miller.
ELKO 100: G.S. Garcia
For more than 100 years, G.S. Garcia’s masterpiece saddles and elaborate bits and spurs have brought national attention to Elko. Garcia also managed the Elko Rodeo, an annual event held for over 20 years, the forerunner to the Silver State Stampede.
Guadalupe S. Garcia was born in Sonora, Mexico in October of 1864. At 19, he apprenticed at Arana Saddle Shop in San Luis Obispo, California. He learned intricate design work from the owner before opening his own business in Santa Margarita.
Upon hearing about Elko from Nevada customers as being “a cow town thriving under the aura of livestock, cowmen, and horsemen,” Garcia, his wife Saturnina, and children moved to Elko around 1894.
Locals quickly noticed Garcia’s distinctive work. His saddles and silver inlaid spurs and bits were coveted among cowboys. Business thrived and Garcia hired more employees, including a young J.M. Capriola as an apprentice. In 1924, Capriola established his own shop.
For the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, Garcia designed a saddle made of the best leather, carved with roses and adorned with gold, silver and diamonds. The faces of President Theodore Roosevelt and Nevada governors William Nye and John Sparks were engraved in gold and inserted on the pommel. The saddle won gold medal prizes in St. Louis and at the Lewis and Clark Exposition in 1905. It toured the country, with Roosevelt and other celebrities riding on the saddle. Today, it can be viewed on exhibit at the Nevada State Museum in Carson City.
Around 1912, Garcia started a small rodeo using his own horses and bulls from his ranch in Diamond Valley. As it became popular, an arena was built for the Elko Rodeo in 1915, drawing the best riders and horsemen each year with prizes including $500 Garcia saddles. In 1938, the last Elko Rodeo was held, managed by Garcia’s son, Les. Today, Panorama Trailer Court and Southside Elementary exist on the site of the old rodeo grounds.
Garcia handed over the operations of the shop to sons Les and Henry as his health began to decline. Guadalupe and Saturnina moved to Los Angeles in 1932, where Garcia died April 28, 1933, surrounded by his family at the age of 68.
Preserving the brand, the J.M. Capriola Company purchased the Garcia Bit and Spur Company in 1978. Garcia’s legacy continues eight decades since his death through Capriola’s and the Silver State Stampede.
ELKO 100: Bing Crosby
Bing Crosby’s association with Elko began as the owner of the PX Ranch in the 1940s. He became a friend, rancher, and honorary mayor to Elko and it also led him to share his spotlight with Elko, which continues to this day.
Crosby was born in Tacoma, Washington on May 3,1903. He rose to fame as a singer in Paul Whiteman’s Orchestra in the 1920s. He moved to California in the 1930s, starring in movies with Bob Hope, Fred Astaire and Ingrid Bergman.
In an interview with the Elko Daily Free Press, Crosby explained that he wanted a place for his family to live away from Hollywood. “It sure looks like good country to bring kids up in,” he said.
He bought several ranches starting in 1943, including the PX Ranch from friend Newt Crumley. In Crosby’s autobiography, “Call Me Lucky,” he told how he wanted his sons to experience ranch life first-hand, and he called Elko “one of the last bastions of the Old West.”
Crosby enjoyed the breaks from Hollywood. In a radio interview with KELK in 1948, Bing discussed his “little cattle operation” as “a nice place to hide out when I want to get away from the turbulent conditions that exists in the film mart.” He hunted, fished, and made many lasting friendships with Elkoans.
Bing loved Elko and he appreciated how the townspeople considered him just another rancher. “I haven’t been asked for an autograph or to do a benefit show … or to do anything, but mind my own business. If I’m known at all, it is as that fellow from California with a pretty nice cattle outfit up near Wildhorse.”
Returning the favor, Crosby brought national attention to Elko. He was appointed by mayor Dave Dotta as Elko’s honorary mayor in 1948 in a large celebration. Newspapers across the country ran a picture of Crosby dressed as a street sweeper, pushing a broom under Dotta’s supervision.
He also held a movie premiere in Elko for “Here Comes the Groom” with co-star Dorothy Lamour in 1951.
After the death of Crosby’s wife, Dixie, he gradually began spending more time away from Elko. He sold his interests in the PX, yet maintained contact with friends and acquaintances until his death in 1977.
His time in Elko is still remembered warmly through articles and books written about his days as a rancher on vacation from Hollywood.
ELKO 100: Mark Chilton
A milestone in Elko’s history is the relocation of the railroad tracks from downtown to alongside the Humboldt River, which used the experience of engineer Mark Chilton and his company to successfully complete the task.
Chilton’s skills have also been put to use in the creation and expansion of other projects and entities in and around Elko.
He was born in St. Joseph, Missouri on March 2, 1927. His engineering career started with the U.S. Air Corps as part of a photo mapping squadron and he was stationed for a year in the Philippines. He married Kathryn Ward in 1950 and graduated from the University of Colorado in 1951 with a degree in Civil Engineering.
He worked for the Santa Fe Railroad as an assistant in research and development of railway maintenance equipment in Kansas and Texas before moving to California and working for Western Pacific Railroad as a track supervisor. In 1959, Chilton and his family, now including three children, moved to Elko. Soon he joined Bill Settlemeyer’s engineering company full-time.
At the start of 1963, Chilton became Elko County Surveyor and acquired Settlemeyer’s business, renaming it Chilton Engineering. His railroad expertise came into use when Elko applied for a project under the Federal Highway Act of 1973. It provided the necessary funding to relocate the railroad tracks that went through downtown.
Chilton’s company headed Project Lifesaver, which moved the tracks alongside the Humboldt River. The Fifth Street and 12th Street bridges were re-built and the Ninth Street pedestrian bridge was added. The project took five years and was completed in 1983.
Chilton’s other endeavors have included historic preservation of Elko and Elko County. He was a founding member of the Northeastern Nevada Historical Society and joined other members in bringing the Pony Express Cabin from Ruby Valley to Elko in 1960.
Helping to expand Great Basin College’s campus, Chilton donated land which led to Chilton Circle being named after him. His company also contributed toward other projects, namely the design of South Fork Dam and the creation of Elko Heat Company, which utilizes geothermal heat from the hot springs off Bullion Road.
In 2012, Brent Farr bought Chilton Engineering, renaming the company Farr West Chilton Engineering. Chilton has kept busy with continued donations to GBC and participating in the Navy League. He was named the grand marshal of the Nevada Day Parade in 2014.
Mark and his wife Kathy remain active and continue to live in Elko.
ELKO 100: The Matys Brothers
Fixtures of Elko’s entertainment scene, The Matys Brothers performed at the Commercial Hotel for 36 years and contributed a legacy of music to audiences and students for more than five decades.
Walter, John, Gene, and Emil were born in Chester, Pennsylvania and encouraged in music by their Ukrainian immigrant father, Harry. Each started on the violin then moved on to other instruments, with the exception of John. Walter played the accordion, Gene kept beat on drums, and Emil played saxophone.
The family performed at social events and at their father’s bar. After serving in World War II, the brothers returned home and formed their band. Sisters Sonja and Vera sang occasionally with the brothers.
The Matys Brothers were popular and performed in resorts and hotels along the East Coast. They were also known for their zany humor and honored with Act of the Year in 1957 at the Grenoble Hotel in New Jersey. Before moving west, they performed on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand and backed up Bill Haley and His Comets.
In 1959, the brothers started playing in Nevada at Lake Tahoe, then Reno, and appeared at the Showboat in Las Vegas before R.C. ”Red” Ellis saw them perform in Jackpot. They signed to play at the Commercial Hotel and remained for 36 years. All four brothers made Elko their home with their wives and children.
Living in Elko, the brothers raised their families and continued to go out on the road, scoring a hit with the polka song “Who Stole the Keeshka?” in 1963. The brothers also performed around Elko and on special occasions with Emil playing “Taps” at VFW functions.
In 1988, Walter died, followed by Gene who passed away in 1993. John and Emil remembered them at the dedication of “Matys Lane” in 1994 and served as the grand marshals of the 1996 Nevada Day Parade.
After John’s death in 1999, Emil was invited by Elko High School band director Walt Lovell to mentor jazz students. “He was rejuvenated,” said son Marc in an interview with the Elko Daily Free Press. “It gave him back his life.”
Emil sat in with new acts at the Commercial and with students at Jazz Fests until 2006.
Emil died May 5, 2008, at the age of 83. Held days after his death, the 2008 Jazz Fest was dedicated to him and renamed the Emil Matys Jazz Fest in his honor.
ELKO 100: Dorothy Gallagher
Dorothy Gallagher served on the Board of Regents for Nevada System of Higher Education representing Elko and rural counties for nearly three decades. “Educating the people of our state is our whole future – it is important that we do it well,” she once said, summing up the reason for her work in Nevada higher education.
Dorothy Gallagher was born in Elko on Sept. 14, 1925, to J. Harvey and Mollie Sewell. The family, with younger sister Mary Lou, moved to Salt Lake City, then Reno. She graduated from Holy Rosary Academy in Woodland California and began studies at University of Nevada, Reno. There she met her husband, Thomas Gallagher. After graduation from UNR, they married August 30, 1947.
In 1951, the Gallagher family, with sons Michael, Thomas, and Frank, moved to Elko where Tom joined his family’s dental practice. Dorothy became involved in her children’s PTA and Boy Scout activities as well as running the family ranching company. She stepped into public service when she was elected to the Elko General Hospital board of trustees for a four-year term.
Dorothy was asked by Bill Berg and Charles Greenhaw to run for the Board of Regents seat in District 8. “First I said no, but then Tom and I talked about it,” she said in a 1992 interview. “He said if we won’t do it, who will.” They both saw this as an “opportunity to give back to the educational system.” Dorothy won the election in 1981 for her first six-year term and was re-elected four times.
Tom flew Dorothy to meetings all over the state. In 1989, she was elected as chairman of the Board of Regents for a two-year term. During her years on the Board, she helped Great Basin College grow to serve rural counties and develop four-year degree programs. Additionally, she was a member of the board of directors of Elko’s Vitality House.
Among numerous awards for her service, she was honored in 2003 with the Distinguished Nevadan Award. Also that year, the Health Sciences Building at GBC was dedicated in her name. Dorothy began her final term in 2004 and retired at its conclusion.
In 2013, Dorothy was diagnosed with leukemia. She died at her home May 15, 2013. She was remembered throughout the state for her leadership and dedication, with UNR President Marc Johnson calling her “a true champion” for higher education.
ELKO 100: Dr. A.A. Cuthbertson
For 54 years, Dr. A.A. “Gus” Cuthbertson served as one of Elko’s veterinarians specializing in both small and large animals, which sometimes included “house calls” by plane to remote ranches and pastures.
Growing up in Kansas, Mississippi, and California, Dr. Cuthbertson enlisted at the start of World War II and served in the mounted cavalry from 1942 to 1946, receiving the nickname “Gus” as a mispronunciation of his last name.
He met his wife Carol Main while attending college in Fresno and they married in 1948. They had five children, Christine, Laurie, Leslie, Paula, and Alan.
The family moved to Elko in 1953 soon after graduating from veterinary school at University of California Davis. He was eager to build a practice centered around livestock.
“It was a small town then … around 3,000,” Cuthbertson recalled in an oral history from 1996 on file at the Northeastern Nevada Museum. “At that time I wanted a range cattle practice.” He and another veterinarian bought out a practice was located at 1850 Lamoille Highway and became the owner when his partner left Elko.
To reach livestock and equine cases on ranches, he took flight lessons from Ralph Scott at El Aero and bought a “tail dragger” plane that could easily land in fields and on dirt roads. For about 30 years, Dr. Cuthbertson flew to remote areas, becoming grounded in 1986 after he was injured in a plane crash.
Dr. Cuthbertson continued his practice and served in the Elko community in several areas. He was an elder at First Presbyterian Church, chairman of the Elko Hospital Board, worked as the track vet during the Elko County Fair horse races, taught courses at Northern Nevada Community College (now Great Basin College), was appointed to the Nevada State Board of Health, served on the Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, and was member of various veterinary organizations.
During his career he treated various diseases and ailments on a wide range of animals which was “a little bit of everything … from buffalos to bobcats.”
He was dedicated to his practice in his final years, with his son Alan joining him after graduating from veterinary school. He died at the age of 85 on March 31, 2007.
ELKO 100: R.C. 'Red' Ellis
In his nearly 50 years of living in Elko, R.C. “Red” Ellis made his mark owning and operating the legendary Commercial Hotel. He was also a visionary, preparing Elko’s expansion at the east end of town on a desolate 600-acre tract of land.
Robert Caldwell Ellis was born in Fresno, California, June 26, 1907. After high school, he worked for A.C. Bingham in Salinas, soon becoming business partners.
Ellis and Bingham decided to enter the casino business, making a failed attempt in Las Vegas before being directed to Elko. They purchased the Mayer Hotel and built the Stockmen’s Hotel in its place in 1943, which became a success.
The Stockmen’s was sold to Dan Bilbao Sr. and partners in 1952. Three years later, Ellis was offered to buy the Commercial Hotel and Ranchinn from Newt Crumley. These casinos also thrived under Ellis’ management, as he continued to bring in big-name entertainers such as Tennessee Ernie Ford, the Harry James Orchestra, and Burl Ives.
In 1963, he sold the Ranchinn and focused on running the Commercial.
Ellis married Mary Fear in Santa Cruz, California, on Sept. 11, 1934. They raised their children, Mimi and Robert, in Elko, where Red and Mary were active in community clubs and organizations.
To encourage business in Elko, Ellis sponsored a semi-pro baseball team associated with the Boston Red Sox. He was also one of the founders of the Silver State Stampede and KELK radio.
“A lot of people didn’t have the belief in Elko that Red Ellis had,” said Thomas Gallagher in a 1988 interview.
Envisioning Elko’s progress, Red Ellis purchased 600 acres of undeveloped land east of Elko in the 1950s. Today, the property is home to the Red Lion Inn and Casino, The Gold Country Inn & Casino, The High Desert Inn, and the East End Mall among other businesses.
The development prompted further expansion east. However, Ellis kept the Commercial his priority and formed many lasting friendships with Elkoans and employees.
After a series of strokes, Ellis lived his last days in Lamoille at Red’s Ranch under the care of his daughter. He died Sept. 10, 1991, at the age of 84.
His last gift to Elko was his request for memorial donations to the Northeastern Nevada Historical Society and Museum. In 1999, the museum dedicated R.C. “Red” and Mary Ellis Art Gallery on the second floor of the Wanamaker Wing.
ELKO 100: Grant Gerber
Elko native Grant Gerber spent his life serving his community and nation. He held “a great appreciation for the country that we live in and the freedoms that we enjoy,” noted longtime friend Demar Dahl.
Aaron Grant Gerber was born in Elko, June 11, 1942, to Elko County natives Claude and Laura Gerber. He lived in Metropolis and Starr Valley, graduating from Wells High School in 1960. Gerber enlisted in August 1967, serving two years as an intelligence officer in Vietnam. He was honorably discharged and rose to the rank of captain in the Utah National Guard.
Grant met and married Lenore Clawson Feb. 2, 1969. They had six children: Boyd, Sharli, Travis, Dallas, Josiah and Zachary. In 1972, he graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in political science and earned his law degree from Tulsa University in 1978.
In Elko, Gerber practiced law and became an activist against federal land management, fighting on behalf of ranchers and others.
“Grant was a strong advocate for private property rights related to resource management of our rangelands,” stated the Nevada Cattlemen’s Association. Beginning with the Kelly Springs dispute, Gerber organized campaigns such as the Jarbidge Shovel Brigade, the Klamath Bucket Brigade, and most recently Smoked Bear, drawing attention to the public land controversies.
Gerber was also involved in several Elko organizations. He was on the board of directors of the Northeastern Nevada Museum, participated in the Great Basin College Foundation, and was a member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Honor Guard. In 2006, he and wife Lenore served a two-year humanitarian mission to Egypt that helped improve medical conditions in the nation.
In 2012, Gerber was elected Elko County Commissioner. Continuing to bring awareness to land and water rights issues, he began the Grass March Cowboy Express, riding on horseback, to deliver petitions from concerned ranchers and farmers about increasing regulation of land by the government. Riding from from Bodega Bay, California, to Washington, D.C, he sustained head injuries from a fall, yet he completed the journey and called it a success as the issue gained national attention.
During his return home, persistent headaches prompted Gerber to seek treatment. He died in Salt Lake City on Oct. 25, 2014. Many paid tribute for his dedication to the land dispute and his fighting spirit.
Summing up his lifelong philosophy, Gerber wrote prior to his death: “I believe the cause of freedom was and is worth the risk.”
ELKO 100: John Carpenter
John Carpenter has served Elko for more than 50 years in local and state government, including 12 terms as Assemblyman. His work in the Legislature contributed to the advancement of Elko’s economy, education and tourism.
John C. Carpenter Jr. was born in Fallon on Oct. 13, 1930. After graduation from White Pine High School in Ely, he married Roseann Slater. In 1957, he purchased a sheep ranch and moved his family to Elko where he and Roseann raised their family of seven children: John, Scott, Elizabeth, Susan, Doug, Lois and Linda.
Carpenter entered public service in the 1960s as president of the Nevada Woolgrowers Association. Stepping into politics, he and others called for a school bond issue, which developed into the pay as you go tax. He was elected to the Elko County Commission and served for 14 years. He and fellow county commissioner Eyer Boies worked to create the Payment in Lieu of Taxes law which was brought before the U.S. Senate by Sen. Alan Bible.
In 1986, Carpenter ran for election as a Republican to the Nevada Assembly for District 33. Working with state Sen. Dean Rhoads of Tuscarora, they brought funding for Great Basin College’s building expansion to increase classrooms and degree programs.
They introduced bills that financed projects and expansions to the Elko Convention Center, Elko Senior Citizens Center, Northeastern Nevada Museum, the Peace Park, South Fork Reservoir, and other entities in the county.
A firm advocate for ranchers, Carpenter became involved with many federal land disputes, including the Jarbidge Shovel Brigade in 2000. Remaining an activist, he has recently voiced support for ranchers along the Argenta allotment.
In addition to politics, John and Roseann owned several businesses including Cimarron West Family Restaurant, Rancher’s Realty, Cimarron RV park, a convenience store, hair salon, and gas station. Together, they have supported many local events including the Elko County Fair, the Ruby Mountain Symphony, and Fourth of July Fireworks celebration.
In 2010, Carpenter served his final term in the Legislature, concluding 24 years as Assemblyman. The state Assembly, as well as several local organizations, recognized his faithful service over the years. In his honor, the Elko County Law Enforcement building was dedicated and renamed the John C. Carpenter Law Enforcement Center.
Carpenter continues to serve on the ECVA Marketing Committee, the California Trail Center Board and remains active in the Elko County Republican Party.
ELKO 100: Kate St. Clair
Overcoming loss and tragic circumstances, Kate St. Clair dedicated her life to education and the elderly.
She taught school in Elko, served as state deputy superintendent, and worked to advance services for senior citizens — forming what would become the Elko Senior Citizens Center.
Mary Kate Reed was born in Springdale, Arkansas, Jan. 14, 1891, as one of seven children.
She developed her love of learning in a crowded one-room schoolhouse and attended the University of Arkansas.
After completing the first year of her two-year degree, she traveled west in 1911 to visit her brother and uncle in Elko.
Kate liked Elko and accepted a teaching job near Lamoille.
“I found I really enjoyed teaching,” she recalled.
After the school year ended, she finished her degree in Arkansas. In 1914, Kate moved to North Starr Valley to teach school and met Arthur St. Clair.
They married in 1914 and had two sons, Reed and Jim. The family settled in Deeth where Arthur worked as constable and postmaster.
Tragically, 2-year-old Jim died in a drowning accident, followed by Arthur’s death in 1920 when he was killed on duty.
Five months later, Kate gave birth to Arthur Lee. With her family’s help, Kate moved back to Arkansas and earned her bachelor’s degree.
Returning to Elko in 1927, Kate St. Clair taught both elementary and high school classes.
In 1944, she was appointed as a State Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction supervising 45 schools throughout Elko and Eureka counties, a position she served in for 15 years. She drove to each school in her jurisdiction, 42 of them rural. Kate retired in 1959.
By 1962, both Reed and Arthur Lee had died. Kate turned her attention to serving the senior citizens and initiated the AARP program in Elko, becoming the organization’s first local president. Using Elko Grammar School No. 1 for meetings and activities, the group eventually developed into the Elko Senior Citizens Center.
A member of Gov. Mike O’Callaghan’s Council for the Aged, St. Clair was appointed to a delegation that participated in a conference at the White House in 1971.
On a vacation in Montana, Kate died of a stroke, Sept. 19, 1973 at the age of 82. She was remembered by friends for her cheerfulness, “zest for life” and dedication to helping others.
The school board voted to rename Grammar No. 1, then at Eighth and Court Streets, Kate St. Clair School in her honor.
ELKO 100: A.J. Hood
For 55 years, Dr. A.J. Hood faithfully served Elko as a physician and community leader. Known for his dedication to his patients, his efforts helped establish Elko’s first hospital and medical community.
Dr. Arthur James Hood was born Nov. 10, 1871, in Adrian, Michigan. His two older brothers, William and Charles, were doctors and practicing in Battle Mountain and Elko, respectively. After graduating from University of Michigan School of Medicine in 1903, A.J. traveled to Elko and joined Charles’ practice as an intern.
Dr. Hood’s first months were hectic as he treated patients and animals throughout Elko County. He was also appointed as surgeon for both Southern Pacific and Western Pacific Railroads.
Traveling by horse, buggy, railroad, and a 1909 Cadillac, A.J. Hood earned the reputation of “the doctor who never refused a call.” To improve care, he installed the first X-ray equipment in the state.
In 1908, Charles retired and A.J. took over the practice. Along with his medical duties, he worked to improve public health conditions. After contracting typhoid in one of many recurring outbreaks in the area, he investigated and learned the cause came from Humboldt River wells that were the main water supply. He worked to move the water supply to city-maintained wells, which was accomplished by 1921.
A.J. married Irene “Rene” Hunter Jan. 12, 1910, and raised their family of four children: Edith, Charles, Thomas, and Patricia. He instituted the Elko Rotary Club and served as its first president.
Realizing that Elko’s greatest need was for a public hospital, Dr. Hood traveled to Carson City in February 1919 and introduced a bill to the Legislature for an Elko hospital. The measure passed and was signed by Gov. Emmet Boyle. Elko General Hospital was constructed with 24 patient beds and opened in 1921.
A.J. continued to keep up on the latest medical information, traveling to New York, Chicago and Vienna, Austria to attend conferences and conventions. He helped form the Elko Clinic in 1948, with Dr. George Collett, Dr. Paul DelGuidice, Dr. Dale Hadfield and Dr. Les Moren. In his later years, he slowed down his patient load, but did not officially retire.
Dr. A.J. Hood died Sept. 19, 1958, at the age of 78. Called a “pioneer and the Dean of Nevada doctors,” he was remembered as a doctor who believed in and lived by Rotary’s motto “Service Above Self.”
ELKO 100: Dan Bilbao Sr. and Jr.
Dan Bilbao Sr. and Dan Bilbao Jr. owned the Stockmen’s Hotel and Casino for more than 40 of its 75-year existence, contributing to a variety of projects and organizations in Elko during those years.
Daniel Bilbao Sr. was born in Errigoiti, Vizcaya Spain, Jan. 2, 1902. At 16, he immigrated and settled in Mountain Home, Idaho. After working at various jobs in the Northwest, he became owner of the Boise Club. When gaming laws changed in Idaho, Bilbao moved to Winnemucca and built the Sonoma Inn.
In late 1952, Bilbao and partners Joe Dollard and V.J. McGee purchased the Stockmen’s Hotel and Casino from R.C. “Red” Ellis and A.C. Bingham. The Stockmen’s was established in Elko and gained national fame with the One-Armed Bandit slot machines that were featured in “Life” magazine. A mounted Kodiak bear worth $5,000 was also installed.
The Stockmen’s remained successful in the transition and Bilbao eventually bought out his partners. On March 22, 1957, an oil leak in the kitchen sparked a fire that went out of control and, within hours, the building burned to the ground. No serious injuries or fatalities were reported. Bilbao vowed to rebuild the Stockmen’s “as soon as possible.”
In the fall of 1958, the Stockmen’s reopened. It was larger than the previous building and offering more rooms and a swimming pool. In 1966, Dan Bilbao Jr. began working at the Stockmen’s as pit boss.
Dan Jr. became full owner of the Stockmen’s in 1974. In addition to operating the Stockmen’s, he was appointed to state tourism, economic and transportation boards and was elected to the City Council in 1981.
“I’m the first person elected to public office that held a gaming license,” he said in an interview.
As councilman he served as water commissioner and was part of the group led by Dale Porter to create South Fork Reservoir.
Over the years, the family supported Elko and the Basque community with donations to Project Lifesaver and the Basque Club. One year, the Bilbaos hosted the National Basque Festival dance in the Stockmen’s parking garage after being rained out of city park.
After selling the Stockmen’s to his son, Dan Sr. moved to Boise. He died August 12, 1994, at the age of 92.
Dan Jr. sold the Stockmen’s in 1994 to Jack and Marcy Simon and retired. Today he spends his time between Boise and Las Vegas.
ELKO 100: Sarah Sweetwater
Sarah Sweetwater left her mark in Elko as an art teacher and a sculptor for more than 40 years. Her joy of art and exploring various cultures gave Elko several distinctive monuments and led to the founding of the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.
Sarah Whisenant was born in Roscoe, Texas, Feb. 18, 1940. At 6 years old she was stricken with polio, resulting in 21 surgeries throughout her life.
Her hospitalization in Dallas sparked her love for art as “the therapists taught me how to weave, to paint and to see beauty through my single window,” said Sweetwater in a 2006 interview.
After high school, she earned her Bachelor of Science degree at West Texas State University. In 1977, she earned her Master’s of Education degree from the University of Utah.
In 1967, Sarah and her family moved to Elko. She began teaching art at Northeastern Nevada Community College, now Great Basin College, in 1971. For 34 years, she taught classes in drawing, art appreciation, and sculpture.
Wanting to give students a broader experience in music, theater, and art, Sarah began hosting tours through the college, traveling to more than 50 foreign countries, seeing plays and visiting museums. Through Rotary International, she went to Africa and India to help vaccinate children against polio.
Sweetwater’s love of Elko’s cultural background led her to form the Pioneer Arts and Crafts Festival at NNCC in 1975, showcasing folk arts including poetry and music. It lasted for six years, during which she invited Hal Cannon, Waddie Mitchell and Bimbo Cheney to perform. In 1985 the first National Cowboy Poetry Gathering was held, and Sweetwater began a tradition of hosting performers in her home each year.
In sculpture, she created large public monuments and small statues. Her many works throughout Elko include the Courthouse War Memorial, Railroad Park, and Great Basin College. She also designed the Peace Park Labyrinth.
Sweetwater’s statues of Sarah Winnemucca and Rosa Parks addressed her personal themes of strong women and diversity. Among her honors, she was awarded the Nevada Governor’s Arts Award in Folk Arts in 1985 and the first Elko Mayor’s Arts Award in November 2015.
After a trip to Ireland the summer of 2015, Sweetwater was diagnosed with cancer, succumbing to the disease Nov. 18, 2015. Family, friends, and former students gathered at the Western Folklife Center to remember her passion for art, her love of cowboy culture, and the impression she left on Elko through her work.
ELKO 100: Tom Hood
Known for his gentle demeanor and surgical skill in over three decades as a surgeon, Dr. Tom Hood contributed to the expansion of Elko’s medical community by instituting early nursing and EMT programs, which are now part of Great Basin College.
Dr. Thomas Knight Hood was born in Elko, May 13, 1921 to Dr. A.J. and Rene Hood. After he graduated from Elko County High School in 1939, he decided to follow his father, uncles and cousins and become a doctor. After graduating from Pomona College, Tom was accepted to medical school at Washington University in St. Louis. He joined the Navy and continued his studies.
In St. Louis, Tom met student nurse, Irene Segelhorst. They married December 23, 1944 and Tom graduated the following year. Completing his internship at the Naval Hospital in Shoemaker, California, he was honorably discharged and began residency at St. Joseph’s hospital in San Francisco in general surgery.
In 1951, Tom and Irene moved to Elko and raised their children, Victoria, Thomas, and Jacqueline. Dr. Hood joined the Elko General Hospital and the Elko Clinic. As a surgeon, he was highly regarded for his warmth and kindness. “He was always so gentle,” said longtime friend Leo Puccinelli. “He hated to hurt someone.”
During his 32 years at EGH, Dr. Hood established education and training to support the hospital and prepare first responders. After a shortage of nurses in the late 1950s threatened to close the hospital, he and other doctors initiated the first LPN nursing school. Later, EMT classes were initiated. Before retirement, he helped establish the hospice program.
In 1973, upon becoming president of the Nevada State Medical Association, Hood envisioned Elko’s growth and the medical community growing to meet the demand. “As Elko becomes larger, it is a natural choice for the collection of medical facilities and personnel,” he said in an interview.
Hood participated in several community organizations, including Rotary and Shriners. He was a member of regional medical associations and the American Medical Association. Notably, he was chairman to oversee the building of the Elko Civic Auditorium and was president of the Northeastern Nevada Museum board.
Tom was active in St. Paul’s Episcopal church, and wrote the church’s history. In his retirement, he founded the Navy League and continued his hobbies of gardening and golf. He died at his home on Jan. 24, 2003, at the age of 81.
ELKO 100: The Henderson family
The four-story Henderson Bank Building has been an Elko landmark for more than eight decades. It is named for the banking family of Jefferson and John Henderson, who gave Elkoans and ranchers support during financial difficulties, earning a reputation for trustworthiness and reliability.
Jefferson Henderson was born in Fayette, Missouri in May 2, 1832. He married Sarah Watts Bradley, the daughter of Nevada’s second governor, Louis “Broadhorns” Bradley, on June 30, 1857. In Missouri, he owned a pharmacy before moving to Elko in 1876 with their five children, Louis, Belle, John, Joseph, and Charles.
Jefferson managed his father-in-law’s ranching company before he purchased a failing local bank. Jeff became president of the Henderson Banking Company on January 1, 1880, later located at the corner of Fourth and Railroad Street where the Silver Dollar Saloon is today. The Henderson family worked in various positions with Louis as vice president, John as cashier, and Sarah and Belle serving on the board of directors.
John took over the company after the death of Jeff in 1902. The Henderson Bank gained a reputation for honesty, paying depositors in cash, gold and silver, rather than bank-issued scrip. It also helped struggling ranchers. In a family history by John’s son Joseph Henderson, he wrote that “one of the chief functions that my father performed in Elko County was to help the cattle and sheep ranchers survive.”
Other members of the Henderson family became prominent in other areas. Most notably, younger brother Charles was appointed to the United States Senate in 1917 and served one term. In 1943, the town of Henderson, Nevada was named in his honor.
In 1925, John Henderson sold controlling interest the Henderson Banking Company to George Wingfield, owner of several banks in Nevada. Four years later, Wingfield built the four-story Henderson Bank Building on the corner of Fourth and Railroad Streets.
Noted as the tallest building in Elko County, it cost $300,000 and featured electric lights, marble, and fireproof construction. First tenants included attorneys Morley Griswold, Milton Reinhart and Dr. W.A. Shaw and Dr. Harry Gallagher.
Most of the Henderson family eventually moved away from Elko after the sale of the banking company. John Henderson died June 6, 1934 in San Francisco. In 1978, Mark Chilton purchased the building and deemed it “structurally sound” 50 years after its construction. Today, it is owned by Julie Cavanaugh-Bill and Antoinette Cavanaugh.
ELKO 100: The Gallagher Family
For nearly a hundred years, the Gallagher family contributed to Elko’s growth through business, education, and civic leadership. The family’s dedication to community service helped develop or expand many Elko institutions and organizations.
Dr. Harry M. Gallagher was born in Virginia City. He served in World War I before moving to Elko in 1919 to open his dental practice. Harry met and married Ruthe Gedney in 1921. Morris, Thomas, and daughter, Gedney, were born in Elko.
Harry and Ruthe participated heavily in local interests. In addition to his dental practice, Harry served on the Elko County Game Management Board and established the Ruby Valley Fish Hatchery which bears his name. As a veteran, he was the first commander of the American Legion post in Elko.
Ruthe presided over several organizations including Girl Scouts, helping to build the Girl Scout House, and the Twentieth Century Club. She was also a founding member of the P.E.O. Sisterhood. For 40 years, Ruthe served on the board of directors for the Elko County Library. The children’s wing addition was dedicated in honor of her service. Fifteen years after Henry’s death in 1976, Ruthe died on August 7, 1991.
Morris and Thomas each served in World War II after graduation from Elko County High School. They both attended UNR and dental school at the University of the Pacific, returning to join their father’s practice. Morris also served during the Korean War. In 1947, Thomas married Dorothy Sewell and four years later Morris married Mary Lou Sewell.
Morris was a founding member of the Northeastern Nevada Historical Society and served on several committees including the Silver Stage Players, Elko County Little League, and St. Joseph’s building project. He was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Northern Nevada Dental Association and as a Distinguished Nevadan from UNR.
Thomas participated as a member of the Elko Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce, and Northeastern Nevada Museum Board of Directors. In 2014, he was honored for his 70 years of membership in the American Legion. Thomas H. Gallagher Way near the airport was dedicated in his honor in 2008. Both brothers were grand marshals of the 2000 Nevada Day Parade. Morris died on September 13, 2010.
The third generation of the Gallagher family carries on their parent’s and grandparent’s tradition of community service in Elko, pursuing careers in dental, business, ranching, education, engineering and law.
ELKO 100: Elko's Flying Sheriff
Contributing to his father’s legacy of law enforcement in Elko County, Jess Harris served with distinction as sheriff for 23 years and used his airplane to cover the county’s 17,000 square miles, becoming known as the Flying Sheriff.
Jesse Crawford Harris was born in Elko on Jan. 29, 1903, to Ora Ellen and Joseph Crawford Harris. The family also included older brother Harold “Red” and younger brother Raymond.
At 17, he saw the first airmail plane fly into Elko which started his love of flight. He worked as an airplane mechanic for several years before traveling to Burbank, California, where he accepted a job as a motorcycle cop. Jess used his wages to pay for flying lessons and applied for a job at Lockheed, becoming a test pilot during World War II
In California, Jess met Florence Gorney and they married on July 1, 1944. The couple moved to Elko after the war ended, and their daughter Joellen Carole “Jodi” was born in 1946. That year, Jess ran for sheriff against the incumbent, Charles Smith, and lost. Smith appointed him as undersheriff, and in 1950, Harris won his first election.
Wearing the badge made for his father by G.S. Garcia, Harris served Elko County with his calm demeanor and presence. Longtime friend Bob Stenovich recalled that “Jess could talk people into anything. There weren’t any shootouts.”
Using his airplane, Jess flew to areas that were difficult to reach by motor vehicle and took several days. He was called to search for lost cattle or hunters and retrieve sick or injured residents.
Throughout his career, he investigated everything from robberies and runaways to assaults and murders. Jess was also known for his fair treatment of prisoners and considered a friend by many Elkoans.
Called “The Flying Sheriff,” Harris was featured in law enforcement and various detective magazines. He received numerous honors and was a member of several state and national law enforcement and airplane associations. He was featured in National Geographic’s special, “The Haunted West.”
In 1975, the Elko airfield was renamed “J.C. Harris Field” in honor of both Jess and his father.
After announcing his retirement as sheriff, his plane crashed near Lovelock while transporting two prisoners on Dec. 14, 1974. All three survived the crash, but Jess’s injuries plagued him the rest of his life. He died March 8, 1980, his ashes scattered between the peaks of the Ruby Mountains.
ELKO 100: Edna B. Patterson
For more than 40 years, Edna Patterson’s writings about Elko County’s history have been a valuable resource for residents and historians. Her love of the area, the people and the culture additionally motivated her to become a founding member of the Northeastern Nevada Historical Society and Museum.
Edna Burke was born in Salina, Kansas on May 18, 1907. Her family moved to Denver, Colorado where she attended Colorado State Teacher’s College, now University of Northern Colorado, and earned her associate’s degree.
In 1927, she arrived in Lamoille to teach school and was hired by future husband, John Patterson. They married two years later and settled on his family’s ranch, raising their children, John Webster and Marilyn.
Edna’s curiosity of Elko County began when she heard stories from Native Americans who worked on the ranch and from her father-in-law, Webster Patterson. Eager to learn more, she gathered information from newspaper files and courthouse records and interviewed residents.
Patterson entered public service when she was appointed to the State Board of Education in 1954 and became the first woman president of the board. Two years later, she helped form the Northeastern Nevada Historical Society. Edna and Marge Pearce co-chaired the board and planned field trips around the area and presentations on local history. The Society also raised funds for a permanent structure, and in 1968, the Northeastern Nevada Museum opened on Idaho Street.
Edna wrote her first book, “Who Named it?” in 1964. The next project used her extensive research to write a comprehensive book on Elko County. Teaming up with Louise Ulph Beebe and Victor Goodwin, “Nevada’s Northeastern Frontier” was published in 1969, detailing the stories of Native Americans, early settlers, ranches, mines and towns.
Four more books were published by Edna, focusing on specific locations and people: “Sagebrush Doctors,” “This Land is Ours,” “Indian Paintbrush,” and “Halleck Country.”
In 1973, the Pattersons sold the ranch and moved to Elko. After John’s death in 1982, Edna continued to write for the Historical Society’s “Quarterly” and participate in many civic organizations, including the Lamoille Women’s Club, restoration of the Lamoille Presbyterian Church, and the Elko Republican Party.
Among her numerous awards and honors, Edna considered being named a Distinguished Nevadan by the University of Nevada Reno as “the nicest award I received.” She moved to Denver to be closer to her son and died at the age of 94 on April 6, 2002.
ELKO 100: 'Big' Orville Wilson
Attorney Orville Wilson contributed to Elko in several ways, but one of his last and most significant community projects was the building of the Johnny Appleseed Park, which was named “Big Orv’s Playground” in his honor.
Born in Medford, Oregon on Nov. 16, 1910, Orville R. Wilson moved to Elko after graduating law school and went into practice with Milton Badt in 1937. In 1938 he married Ann Hutchinson, and they had three children: Stewart, Sally and Robert.
During World War II, Wilson applied to become a Resident Agent with the FBI and was assigned to bureaus in Montana, Seattle, and Tacoma, Washington. In an interview for an oral history, Wilson recounted investigating espionage cases in California and the Northwest, and keeping suspects under surveillance. He resigned at the end of the war, eager to return to Elko and work as an attorney.
In Elko, Wilson was active in athletics, service groups and politics. He helped to found the Elko Men’s Volleyball League and Elko Little League Baseball Program, playing several sports himself, including tennis and softball. In his interview, he remembered playing squash with Newt Crumley Jr.
He was a member and one-time president of the Elko Rotary Club. Wilson was president of the Nevada State Bar Association and was selected as a Republican delegate for the National Convention in 1952.
After World War II ended, Wilson, along with businessmen R.C. Ellis, Chris Sheerin, Melvin Lundberg, and Jack Berger, began work to bring a radio station to Elko. According to Patricia J. Teel, who wrote about the early days of KELK, the group saw Elko’s potential for growth with radio adding to it. However, it took “more than three years of planning and preparation … to bring radio to the area.”
Wilson and his wife Ann were members of the Silver Stage Players and acted in plays and musicals. According to his oral history, Wilson said he performed in “Laura,” “My Three Angles,” and “Guys and Dolls.” Wilson noted his last play was “Gazebo,” in which he and Ann performed the two leading roles.
Wilson’s final project brought the Johnny Appleseed Park to Elko. The community responded enthusiastically with donations, volunteer labor, and building materials, completing the park in five days in May of 1993.
He died Sept. 17, 1996, after a lengthy illness.
ELKO 100: The Steninger Family
For almost nine decades, the Elko Daily Free Press was owned by four generations of the Steninger family, who reported on and contributed to Elko’s progress through most of the 20th century.
Eber Melvin and Corda Barrett Steninger moved to Elko County in 1902. E.M. had prior experience as a reporter and manager of a small paper near Chicago when he joined the Elko Free Press. Six years after original owner Charles Sproule retired, the Free Press board of directors appointed Steninger as editor and manager in 1910. He soon owned half the business with E.C. Riddell.
As editor, Eber supported Elko’s incorporation and efforts to bring the water wells under city ownership. Corda worked in the office with accounts and clerical duties, and was a member of boards and commissions that established the library and the Main City Park. Eber and Corda retired in 1945 and sold their interests to their son, Eber Barrett, and reporter Chris Sheerin.
E.B. was born in Elko in 1906, and grew up in the newspaper business. He apprenticed as a “printer’s devil” before attending the School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno. Once becoming owners with Sheerin, E.B. managed the production side of the business with Sheerin as editor. E.B.’s family included his wife, Violet Philips, and their children, Mel, Al and Linda.
Mel joined the Free Press as a delivery boy. He attended the University of Missouri and married Mae Gregory of Jiggs in 1952. Mel served in the U.S. Army for two years, then returned to the Free Press working as a reporter and advertising salesman. In 1968, he and Earl Frantzen became co-owners of the newspaper.
Apart from the Free Press, Mel was also involved in local real estate development, the founding of the Northeastern Nevada Historical Society and Museum and Great Basin College. He served on the Board of Regents and was a member of the Nevada Civil Air Patrol.
Like their father and grandfather before them, Mel and Mae’s sons Rex, Kim, and Dan, apprenticed in the print shop. In 1992, they purchased the Free Press from their parents, becoming the fourth generation of owners.
For the next seven years the brothers continued the family business until they sold the company to Liberty Publishing. The Elko Daily Free Press was later acquired by Lee Enterprises.
Mel died in 2013, while the rest of the family still lives in Elko County.
ELKO 100: Dutch Stenovich
Businessman and former mayor Dutch Stenovich was wholeheartedly devoted to Elko throughout his life. He eagerly contributed to its growth and prosperity, calling Elko one of the “greatest little cities” in Nevada.
Leland L. “Dutch” Stenovich was born in Elko on Oct. 20,1922, to Nevada natives Nick and Adeline Wiggins Stenovich. Growing up, he worked summers on Henry Peterson’s ranch near Lee. At the start of World War II, Dutch enlisted in the Navy and served until the end of the war.
Dutch married Marianne Smith of Ruby Valley on May 12, 1944. They raised their four children, Marilee, Marsha, Myra, and Michael in Elko as Dutch began working for Warren Motors as a bookkeeper then was promoted to assistant manager.
In 1949, Stenovich opened Silver State Tractor & Body Company, a Ford tractor franchise, on Fifth and Silver Streets. He became a dealer of Jeep, Chrysler and Plymouth and renamed the company Dutch Stenovich Motors.
Dutch was a charter member of the Nevada Franchised Auto Dealers Association and served on various auto associations and councils. In 1978, he was honored with Time Magazine’s Quality Dealer Award for “exceptional performance … combined with distinguished community service.” Six years later, he was named businessman of the year by the Elko Chamber of Commerce.
In 1965, Dutch was appointed to the Elko County Fair Board by Gov. Grant Sawyer, serving for 25 years. During that time, the race track was extended and box seating was added in the grandstands.
“People are my business,” Dutch once said regarding his community involvement. In 1971, he was elected mayor, holding office until 1975, and became involved with Project Lifesaver. Stenovich enthusiastically supported the relocation of the railroad tracks out of downtown and served as chairman of the committee that secured funds from the Federal Highway Act of 1973 for the project.
Dutch joined numerous organizations including the Navy League, Rotary, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and the South Fork Project advisory board. He led the Elks Lodge as exalted ruler and was president of the Chamber of Commerce. Marianne also participated in many clubs, including PEO and St. Paul’s Altar Guild.
In retirement, Dutch enjoyed playing golf and spending time with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, living in Gold Canyon, Arizona during the winter. In 1999, he served as grand marshal of the Fair Parade. He died at the age of 83 on July 31, 2006.
ELKO 100: Sheriff Joe Harris
Starting five decades of law enforcement in one family, Joe Harris served for 26 years as sheriff of Elko County. He was widely respected and earned recognition for his ability to enforce the law in a large, rural area successfully.
Joseph Crawford Harris was born in Fort Collins, Colorado, May 1, 1878. Two years later, his father, Thomas Harris, moved the family to a ranch in Huntington Valley. After finishing school, Joe enlisted in the 2nd U.S. Volunteer Calvary Regiment at the start of the Spanish-American War. His unit only made it as far as Florida, then discharged without seeing battle.
Joe returned to Nevada in 1898 and became a guard at the Nevada State Prison. In Carson City, he met and married Ora Ellen Bright. They moved to Elko and raised their three sons, Harold, Jess and Raymond.
In 1907, Sheriff L.G. Clark made Joe undersheriff. Three years later, he was elected Elko County Sheriff for the first time. In many elections, he ran unopposed.
Sheriff Harris answered every call he received, traveling on horseback or by train to sparsely populated areas. He enforced prohibition laws in the 1920s and, prior to the legalization of gambling, shut down gaming operations.
Joe investigated many violent crimes and murders. In 1916, a murder in Jarbidge — later known as “the last armed robbery of a horse-drawn stage in the United States” — saw the conviction of Ben Kuhl for murder when his own palm print was used during the trial, the first use of prints in a criminal case.
Sheriff Harris kept the peace with his humor and easy-going manner. He collected a wide assortment of memorabilia including homemade weapons, Civil War firearms, and the infamous, “cow-shoes” worn by cattle rustler “Crazy Tex.” His collection is currently on display at the Northeastern Nevada Museum.
Residents of Tuscarora gave Joe a badge crafted by G.S. Garcia using gold from their mine, later worn by his son, Jess.
Joe was noticed by other law enforcement agencies and turned down an offer to be Reno’s chief of police.
After a bout of pneumonia, Sheriff Harris fell ill with uremic poisoning and died on March 2, 1936. Elkoans mourned and hundreds followed his funeral procession to the Masonic cemetery. He was remembered in an editorial as “one of the most colorful sheriffs of the great west and one of the most beloved men of Elko County.”
ELKO 100: Chuck Knight
“I believe in giving back more than I’ve received,” said longtime Elko resident Chuck Knight. His enthusiasm for education, scouting, and volunteering enriched Elko for more than 50 years.
Charles H. Knight was born on August 18, 1932, and grew up in McGill where his father, Bill Knight, worked for Kennecott Copper. After graduating from White Pine High School, Chuck attended Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree. In 1954, he married Elaine Bush.
Following two years in the Army, Chuck and Elaine moved to Reno where he studied for his master’s in education at the University of Nevada, Reno. In 1958, he started his 31-year career with the Elko County School District teaching math and coaching athletics in Wells. Three years later, he became principal of Southside Elementary.
Settling in Elko, Chuck and Elaine raised their children, Lois, Kenneth, and Jed. Knight transferred into administration as the chief financial officer for the district before being appointed as superintendent of schools in 1982.
As superintendent, Knight brought funding through the Pay-As-You-Go school tax in 1985, implemented geothermal heating that saved energy costs, and added classroom facilities to meet Elko’s growing student enrollment.
Believing that “volunteerism is how you repay the community you live in,” Knight remained active in the community after he retired in 1989. He participated in the Boy Scouts, Lions Club and Elko Jaycees and was a founding member of the Elko Kiwanis Club.
Knight used his administration experience and financial knowledge to further advance other Elko entities. He served on the Great Basin College Advisory Board and Foundation and was chairman of the Senior Center fund drive that raised $2.1 million to build the Terraces at Ruby View.
A scoutmaster for nearly 20 years with Boy Scout Troop 52, Knight saw nearly 40 scouts become Eagle Scouts. He volunteered at Camp Dat-So-La-Lee in Lamoille Canyon during the summers.
Knight taught wood carving to scouts and expanded his hobby over his lifetime to carving a wide variety of items. He designed the “Celebration Tree” at the Terraces. Chuck was part owner in his sons’ business, Knight’s Cabinets, and his work was featured in an exhibit at the Northeastern Nevada Museum.
Chuck and Elaine wintered annually in Arizona, where Chuck died on April 16, 2015. A celebration of his life remembered his commitment and dedication to Elko as an educator and volunteer.
ELKO 100: John Ellison
As a businessman wanting to improve the City of Elko, John Ellison has contributed to various aspects of the community through charity work and politics, currently serving as Assemblyman in the Nevada Legislature.
John C. Ellison was born in Elko in 1953 to Charles and Ann Ellison. He worked on ranches in the area, graduated from Elko High School in 1971, and enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. After being medically discharged, he and his wife Cindy settled in Elko and raised their four children: John Jr., Billy, Michelle, and Nicole.
Ellison opened his electrical contracting business, Ellison Electric, and as a businessman he joined the Elko Chamber of Commerce and donated his company’s services and equipment to various causes around Elko.
Remembering his military service, John worked to establish the Veterans Memorial at the Elko County Courthouse. He became involved with raising money for the Fourth of July celebration and fireworks show starting in 1994 and is co-chair of the Veterans Day parade.
John and Cindy became supporters of the John Wayne Cancer Institute where their son, John Jr., had been treated for melanoma. After his death, they organized telethons that hosted John Wayne’s grandchildren along with calling attention to assisting the families of children and teens diagnosed with cancer.
Entering public life, Ellison became a member of the City Planning Commission. From those experiences and seeing Elko grow and change, he decided to run for City Council in 1993. He was re-elected to the council in 1997, serving on several boards including the Elko Convention and Visitors Authority, and as a liaison to the Elko County Fair Board.
His growing concern about public lands use stemming from Jarbidge’s road dispute and involvement in the Shovel Brigade helped Ellison decide to run for County Commission in 2000. He served eight years and was chosen as chairman of the commission in 2007.
While on the commission, Ellison traveled to Carson City and Washington, D.C., to discuss land-use issues and lobbied for the Payment-in-Lieu of Taxes bill. He met with then Interior Secretary Gale Norton and other federal officials concerning the South Canyon Road.
In 2010, Ellison decided to run as Assemblyman when John Carpenter’s term concluded. Today, Ellison divides his time between Carson City and Elko and is active with the VFW and Fourth of July committee.
ELKO 100: The Hesson Family
Shaping Elko’s early years, the Hesson family contributed to the city through business, politics and history.
Abraham W. Hesson was born in 1852 in Maryland and moved to Pennsylvania, his family once living on what would be the Gettysburg battlefield. Abe moved west and held several occupations including farmer, oxen team driver, cattleman and miner. He settled in Tuscarora, where he was put in charge of one of the gold mining mills.
He met Jessie Yeates, whose family were early settlers in Elko dating back to 1869. Jessie and her sister were also the first graduates of the University of Nevada in Elko. They married in 1882 in Tuscarora, where Jessie gave birth to Robert the following year. At the end of Tuscarora’s boom, Margaret and Lois were born in Elko. Abe became a sheriff’s deputy and was elected county assessor.
In 1897, Abe opened the A.W. Hesson Company, selling hardware, mining equipment and farming implements. He stayed active in as a member of the Elko County School Board, Henderson Bank board, and Chamber of Commerce and helped build the Elko-South Fork telephone line.
Additionally, Hesson was a member of the Democratic Party. He was elected to the state senate and served between 1915 and 1921. Abe was also an elector in the presidential elections of 1904 and in 1932. His involvement in various occupations undoubtedly inspired his son to follow in his footsteps.
Robert W. Hesson grew up in Elko and attended University of Nevada’s School of Mines, graduating with a mining engineer degree in 1903. He worked for Southern Pacific Railroad as a civil engineer then joined his father’s business and served as president of the telephone company.
In 1921, he was elected as the city’s second mayor and held office for six years. During that time, he successfully purchased the city’s water wells and land including the China Ranch that was developed into the Elko City Park and the Elko County Fairgrounds. Popular with Elkoans yet suffering from pernicious anemia, he did not run for a fourth term and died August 1, 1927, at the age of 44.
A.W. Hesson continued to operate his business, turning it over to his daughter and son-in-law, Margaret and Ira Pearce. Abe died January 25, 1941. Margaret continued the family’s legacy of community service and instilled it in the following generations of the family, including her son, Robert Hesson Pearce.
ELKO 100: Robert Hesson Pearce
The fourth generation of a prominent Elko family, Bob Pearce carried on the legacy of his grandparents and parents through several Elko institutions. His dedication to the preservation of history joined with others to help bring the California Trail Interpretive Center to Elko.
Robert Hesson Pearce was born in Elko on August 15, 1926, the only child of Ira and Margaret Hesson Pearce. He grew up hearing stories about the early days of Elko from his grandfather, A.W. Hesson, and the mining camps of Tuscarora where his grandparents met and married.
During World War II and before graduating high school in 1944, he enlisted in the Navy’s V-5 aviation program and was stationed in California. At the end of the war, he attended the University of Nevada, Reno and Stanford before returning to Elko.
Bob met and married Pat Shepherd, a schoolteacher from Sparks, in Reno on March 28, 1953. Settling in Elko, he and Pat raised their family, Janet, Kay and Howard. In 1970, he joined Carlin Gold Mining, which became Newmont in later years. For over 20 years, Bob worked in several areas including the lab, refinery and robotics toward the close of his career.
Bob and Pat were active in several areas of the community. They were charter members of the Northeastern Nevada Historical Society and Museum, where his mother, Margaret, served as co-chair with Edna B. Patterson.
Thanks to Bob’s love of local history, he and Pat began to research the California and Hasting’s Cutoff wagon trails that run through Elko County. They joined trail preservation groups and, along with Paul Sawyer and Dale Porter, worked to create the California Trail Interpretative Center.
Bob was a member of the Elko County Fair Board and served 20 years as racing secretary. He remained a life-long supporter of the horse races. He was also a member of the Elko Junior Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, and volunteered with the Cub and Boy Scouts.
Just as his grandfather was noted after his death for the charity work he performed behind the scenes and without fanfare or recognition, Bob followed suit, having it revealed in his obituary that he “quietly addressed needs in the community.” He died November 19, 2014.
ELKO 100: Walt Lovell
Emphasizing “high expectations, persistence, patience, resiliency, and an eye to the future,” Walt Lovell brought the Elko High School Band of Indians to national attention while winning multiple awards and honors and teaching his students to strive for success in their future endeavors.
Walter Lovell was born in Cottonwood, Arizona and attended Northern Arizona University for his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. After teaching for 10 years, Lovell and his family moved to Elko in 1978, starting his 36-year career as Elko High School’s band director.
Lovell quickly went to work, preparing the band for larger venues, especially out of state. In 1979, EHS was invited to perform in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Two years later, the band marched in Ronald Reagan’s Inaugural parade. Both appearances were viewed by a national television audience.
Over the years, the marching band was invited to various high-profile parades including Pasadena’s Tournament of Roses, the Fiesta Bowl, the Orange Bowl and the Holiday Bowl. They made another appearance at the Macy’s parade in 2000 and performed in Washington, D.C., in 2009.
The band was awarded 12 Nevada Governor’s Cup awards and was proclaimed “The Pride of Nevada” by five governors. The wind ensemble, concert band, and jazz band earned superior ratings in performance under Lovell’s guidance. In addition to directing the Band of Indians, he directed the sixth grade and middle school band.
Jazz Fest started in 1992 when Lovell brought professional jazz musicians to Elko, who mentored and then performed with students. The event included EHS alumni and local performers including Gene Russell and Emil Matys.
In addition to directing the band, Lovell and his wife, Karen, raised their family, Katherine, Ken, Karen, Kristen, Katie and Stacy. He was a part-time DJ for KELK radio and took part in fundraising, notably in 1990 to raise money for the Freedom Bowl trip when he was “buried alive” for 36 hours. Serving as a telethon, the event was broadcast over the radio and raised $7,000.
Lovell earned many honors and recognitions throughout his career including being named a Notable Music Educator, one of 50 Directors Who Make a Difference and being inducted into the John Phillip Sousa Foundation’s Legion of Honor.
In retirement, Lovell has stayed busy with his family conducting orchestras for the Great Basin College theater productions “Les Miserables” and “Camelot” and playing the saxophone with the Elko Community Concert Orchestra and Ruby Mountain Symphony.
ELKO 100: The Wright family
The Wright family has continued the legacy of J.M. Capriola’s saddlemaking company for six decades, taking the name to global recognition as well as upholding G.S. Garcia’s brand and craftsmanship in the same business.
Joseph Martin Capriola was born May 4, 1884 in Elko. He became an apprentice to G.S. Garcia where he learned leather craftsmanship from him until 1907, when Joe married Carrie Bellinger and moved to Lamoille Valley.
Capriola and his family returned to Elko around 1924 and started a leather repair and canvas shop. Five years later he expanded to saddlemaking, opening the J.M. Capriola Company. He and G.S. were friends and Elko’s population was large enough to support both Capriola’s and Garcia’s businesses easily.
Due to poor health, Garcia moved to California, where he died in 1933. His business relocated to Salinas, leaving Capriola’s the main leather goods store in Elko. Joe’s son and daughter-in-law, Joe Ed and Rosie, became partners in the business in 1944. J.M and Rosie continued running Capriola’s after the death of Joe Ed in 1947, and sold the business to Rosie’s brother, Frank Jayo. Joe later moved to California, where he died in 1967.
Paul and Betty Bear bought Capriola’s in 1958. The Bears worked on ranches throughout Elko County and knew the needs of cowboys and ranch hands. They rebuilt the store in 1959 after a fire destroyed the original building and expanded their inventory to include western clothing and rodeo gear.
Their children, Bob, Bill and Paula, grew up in Capriola’s learning everything about leather crafting and saddlemaking from their parents. They bought the company in 1973 and added a second story to the building for a workshop. Five years later, the family purchased Garcia Bit and Spur Company from G.S.’s son, Les Garcia.
Paula and her husband, Doug Wright, became the sole owners of the company in 1985. Their son, John, became the third generation to work at Capriola’s and become a saddlemaker. Over the years, Capriola’s has become known worldwide through their catalogues and website selling Western gear, saddles and Garcia bits and spurs.
Deeply involved in Elko, Paula was planning the 100th anniversary of the Silver State Stampede when she died in 2012 in a horse riding accident. Today, the Wrights continue the Capriola and Garcia legacy of quality craftsmanship while following Paula’s example of service to the community.
ELKO 100: Dale Porter
Known for his tireless efforts in making South Fork Reservoir a reality, Dale Porter’s work as a public servant improved Elko through building projects, recreation areas, and community leadership.
Edwin Dale Porter Jr. was born May 22, 1931, in Denver, Colorado. His family moved to Elko in 1947 and Dale enrolled at Elko High School, becoming a member of the basketball team during their first championship season. He also played on the school’s first football team and served as president of the Honor Society.
After graduation in 1949, Dale attended the University of Colorado. He was drafted into the Army during the Korean War and stationed in Okinawa as a cryptographer in the Signal Corps for 15 months.
Porter was honorably discharged as a corporal and completed his education at the University of Nevada Reno, earning his bachelor’s degree in business management. In 1956, Dale married Janet Echegon and moved to Elko, raising their children Nancy, Scott and David.
He and his father, Dale Sr., started Porter Roofing Company and Dale later became involved in public service. Porter was elected to the City Council for two terms and was elected to the Elko County Commission for three terms.
While serving on the Elko Recreation Board, he began to work on a plan to construct South Fork Dam. For 18 years, Dale was the general chairman of the project, spending countless volunteer hours fundraising, designing, and constructing the reservoir. He also traveled to Carson City and Washington, D.C., to speak with lawmakers and secure funding for the project. The reservoir opened in May 1988, steadily increasing tourism to the area for fishing, boating and other water activities.
In addition to South Fork, Porter was involved in many other projects including the Elko Municipal Pool, City Hall, Elko Convention Center, and Wild Horse Reservoir. He also was a member of the Elko Rotary, volunteered at the Elko County Fair and was chairman of the Elko Democratic Party.
In 2007, Porter was honored with the Distinguished Nevadan Award from the University of Nevada Board of Regents. In his final project, he teamed with Paul Sawyer and Bob Pearce to help fund and build the California Trail Interpretive Center that opened in 2012.
Dale Porter died February 15, 2011, in his home surrounded by his family. He is still remembered for his diligent work that helped bring South Fork to life.
ELKO 100: Dean Rhoads
Serving in the Nevada State Assembly and Senate for 34 years, Dean Rhoads helped pass legislation that improved Elko County’s economy, education and recreation. He also led the Sagebrush Rebellion that drew attention to land-rights issues between the states and the federal government.
Dean Rhoads was born Oct. 5, 1935, and grew up in Tonasket, Washington, near the Canadian border. After high school he attended Cal Poly, majoring in agricultural business management, where he met Sharon Packer of Tuscarora. They married in 1964 after graduation and bought the Quarter Circle S Ranch in Tuscarora two years later.
The Rhoads started their family, raising their daughters, Shammy and Chandra and operating their ranch that included cattle and registered quarter horses. Dean began his political career in 1976 when he was elected to the State Assembly. He went on to serve three terms.
Rhoads became the leader of the Sagebrush Rebellion in 1979 to draw attention to the federal land dispute between western states and the federal government. “We lost,” Rhoads said of the Supreme Court decision upholding federal ownership, “but relationships improved,” between federal authorities and the states.
From the Rebellion, Rhoads was contacted by President Ronald Reagan, who invited Dean to join an advisory committee that discussed federalism in public lands. In 1984, Rhoads ran for state Senate and was elected to his first term, serving for another 28 years in the Legislature.
In the Senate, Rhoads was known for his bipartisanship.
“Everybody appreciated and trusted Dean,” said friend and colleague, Assemblyman John Carpenter. Rhoads and Carpenter worked on funding for many projects including Great Basin College, the California Trail Interpretive Center, and South Fork Dam.
As senator, Rhoads served on several committees, becoming chairman of the Natural Resource Committee, Public Lands Committee and vice chairman of the Senate Taxation Committee. Rhoads was also selected to be the Senate Majority Whip in three regular sessions and six special sessions.
In Elko, he was president of the Elko County Fair Board, and is a member of the Elko Cattlemen’s Association and Elko Rotary.
Dean and Sharon continue to run the Rhoads Ranch which supports and participates in local rodeos, hosting their own Rhoads Ranch Starting Colt Classics event in 2010.
Due to term limits, Rhoads concluded his final term in 2012. He was inducted into the Senate Hall of Fame honoring his 34 years of service representing Elko County.
ELKO 100: 'Snowy' and Mary Monroe
Warren “Snowy” and Mary Monroe co-published Elko’s oldest newspaper, The Elko Independent, for nearly 40 years, while Snowy also served as a state legislator for more than three decades, helping to pass laws that improved highways and recreation in the area.
Warren L. Monroe was born in Rocklin, California, April 17, 1906. He graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno in 1929 and moved to Winnemucca to work for R.C. Stitzer on the Humboldt Sun.
Monroe married Mary Johnstone in 1930. Seven years later, he formed a partnership with Stitzer and bought The Elko Independent, Elko’s first newspaper established in 1869. On March 1, 1937, Snowy and Mary bought out Stitzer and moved to Elko with their young sons, Larry and Tim, to run the newspaper.
In 1941, Monroe entered politics and was elected to the state Assembly in 1941. His first term ended when he enlisted in the Army during World War II and served in the Medical Corps stationed in a British hospital. Mary, who was initially the office manager, became the general manager in Snowy’s absence and ran the newspaper during the war.
Upon Snowy’s return, he won re-election to his Assembly seat, serving 12 years before winning election to the state Senate in 1958. During his time in office, Monroe was appointed to the newly created Fish and Game Commission and worked to pass bills that improved the state highway system. Monroe also worked to pass legislation that approved the South Fork Dam project.
During Monroe’s years in the Legislature, Mary supervised the newspaper and commercial printing. They were both active in the community as members of the Democratic party.
Snowy served as president of the Elko Rotary and Chamber of Commerce while Mary was a member of the PEO and chaired the March of Dimes campaign. In 1986, Snowy was named a Distinguished Nevadan by the University of Nevada Board of Regents.
In 1974, Snowy concluded his final term in the Nevada Senate and the couple sold the paper to Max and Barbara Wignall two years later. Snowy’s front-page column “Hot Copy” remained a fixture of the Independent.
Snowy and Mary celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1980.
After a long illness, Mary died in 1983 followed by Snowy on April 1, 1987. Weeks before, Monroe’s “Hot Copy” celebrated 50 years in print with Gov. Richard Bryan proclaiming March 20 as “Warren L. Monroe Day.”
ELKO 100: Anacabe family
Celebrating 80 years in Elko, the Anacabe family’s Elko General Merchandise has been a landmark in downtown Elko selling mining, cowboy and ranching gear.
Continuing her father’s tradition and business, Anita Anacabe Franzoia also supports the Basque community as a teacher and tour guide of the old country.
Joe Anacabe immigrated to the United States in 1901 at 11 years old. After arriving in Winnemucca, he worked on ranches in the area. In 1912, he married Fabiana Guenaga and they had a son, Frank. The Anacabes moved to McDermitt as ranchers before Joe opened his first store in the 1920s.
Joe relocated the store to Berkeley, California where Frank was attending the University of California before moving to Elko in 1936. Joe and Fabiana held their grand opening of Elko General Merchandise the following year at the corner of Fourth and Idaho Street, where Wells Fargo Bank is today.
Advertising “the finest cowboy garments money can buy at prices you can afford to pay,” the store outfitted cowboys and buckaroos. According to Anita, his store was the first in Elko to sell women’s riding pants.
The store quickly became a gathering place for Basque immigrants who enjoyed talking with Joe and Fabiana about the old country and fellowshipping with each other. Two years after Frank joined the business in 1950, Fabina died of a stroke.
During a visit to Spain, Joe met and married Margaret Olabe. Their daughter, Anita, was born in Elko in 1954 and the family continued the business. The store continued to thrive and moved to its present day location at 416 Idaho St.
Upon the death of Joe in 1971, the business transferred to Frank, who died five years later, leaving Anita and Margaret to run the business. Together, they kept Elko General Merchandise going as Anita finished her degree in business education at Boise State University.
Anita and her husband, Mike Franzoia, raised their children Teresa, Andrea, Mateo and Kristina, in Elko. The family has been heavily involved in both the Basque community and public service when Mike served as mayor of Elko for four terms.
A member of the Elko Basque Club since childhood, Anita served as president three times and also as education chair. She has taught the Basque language at Great Basin College and guided tours of the Basque country, Brazil and Argentina through GBC. Today, she is a member of Rotary International and serves as Assistant Governor.
ELKO 100: Ceasar Salicchi
Elko County Treasurer for 36 years, Ceasar Salicchi earned recognition for his career managing the county’s money, but also for his efforts as an advocate for children and adults with disabilities and has been given various honors — even recognition in the United States Senate.
Ceasar E. Salicchi was born to Italian immigrants, Ceasare and Nella Puccinelli Salicchi on October 16, 1927 in Elko. He grew up on the Salicchi Ranch in Lamoille, and attended school there. After serving in the U.S. Army for two years, he returned home to join his father and brother, Alfred, on the ranch.
He started a family with his first wife, Jeanine Hawkins, whom he married in 1950 and raised three children, Judy, Ceasar Raymond, and Tina. Fifteen years after Jeanine’s death in 1969, he married Darlene Gilbert and the family expanded to include her children Paul, Chet, Douglas and Dee Dee.
Later calling 1952 the year “my life really began,” Ceasar’s life changed at the age of 25 when he contracted polio. After he recovered, he used crutches to walk but was unable to continue ranching. Ceasar attended Reno Business College and earned a degree in business administration within two years.
After working for A.W. Hesson Hardware store, Ceasar was asked to become Elko General Hospital’s office manager in 1962. For the next eight years, he modernized the billing and accounting department before deciding to run for election as Elko County Treasurer.
In 1970, Salicchi was elected to his first term as Treasurer and ran un-opposed his next eight terms in office. He instilled a friendly atmosphere and was known to help residents find solutions in paying their taxes.
Ceasar computerized the office, continuously updating technology used to process taxes and collect payments as the population increased. He also managed the investment portfolio for the county which earned interest that went toward funding the school district and other areas.
A longtime advocate for people with disabilities, Ceasar founded the Elko Association for Retarded Children in 1969 and later served on four governor-appointed committees for the Developmental Disabilities Act and the Employ the Handicapped Act.
Recognized for his 36 years as Treasurer and commitment to the disabled, Ceasar has been honored by the Elko County Commission and on the floor of the United States Senate with a congressional commendation.
After his retirement in 2006, Ceasar was named a Distinguished Nevadan by the University of Nevada’s Board of Regents in 2013.
ELKO 100: Norman Glaser
“I was fortunate to grow up as a kid on a ranch,” said Norm Glaser once in an interview. Ranching was one part of Glaser’s life that also included serving in the state Legislature for 24 years, supporting agriculture and education for Elko residents.
Norman Glaser was born April 4, 1921, to Clarence and Kathryn Glaser in Elko. The Glaser ranching family lived in Halleck for two generations and Norm and his brother, Arthur, grew up on the ranch and went to school in Halleck
Norm graduated from Elko County High School in 1939 along with lifelong friends Dr. Thomas Hood, Leo Puccinelli and Jack Griswold. He attended Oklahoma State University and earned a degree in agricultural engineering in 1943. That same year he married Nelda Lancaster and enlisted in the Navy during World War II.
After the war, he and Nelda moved to Halleck where they raised their children, Steven, Brent and Sharon. With his father and brother, they formed Glaser Land and Livestock Company.
Norm began public service as a member of the Elko County School Board before being elected to the state Assembly as a Democrat in 1960 serving until 1973. As Assemblyman, Norm was Speaker pro tem and was chairman of the Education and Ways and Means committees, supporting the Greenbelt Amendment’s tax incentives for farmers.
In 1976, Glaser was elected to the state Senate and served two terms. There, his Bill 398 sparked the Sagebrush Rebellion where western states sought more authority and control over federal lands
In 1992, Norm and Art were named Ranchers of the Year along with their livestock company as Outstanding Nevada Ranch. Norm also served as director of the Nevada Cattlemen’s Association and president of the Nevada Farm Bureau.
In Elko, Norm was one of the founding members of Great Basin College, was on the board of directors for the Elko Senior Citizen’s Center and a member of the VFW and Rotary.
Members of the Northeastern Nevada Historical Society, Norm, Art and Chach Evans restored and donated the Halleck Bar to the museum in 1970 upon the condition that a party would be held with Beefeaters Gin served each year, which has become an annual event and includes a toast to the donors.
In 1988, Norm was named a Distinguished Nevadan by the Board of Regents. He died December 27, 1999, and was remembered for his accomplishments both in ranching and in the Legislature.
ELKO 100: Alice Goicoechea
Alice Goicoechea volunteered her time and ranching knowledge to the community for over six decades. However, she will always be linked with the Elko County Fair through her 25 years as a board member for the Elko County Fair and Home Arts Supervisor.
Alice Marie Larios Goicoechea was born Oct. 23, 1926, to Benito and Daniela Larios on the Diamond A Ranch in Jarbidge, growing up with ten brothers and sisters. When she was a teenager, she moved to Elko and worked at the Star Hotel for her uncle and aunt, Pete and Matilda Jauregui.
Alice married Elias Goicoechea in 1944 and moved to the Holland ranch where they raised their four children, Albert, Dolores, Larry, and Carmen. At the ranch, Alice developed her reputation for cooking and hosting large dinners for ranch hands and family holiday gatherings. Later, she would give cooking demonstrations at the Cowboy Poetry Gathering and for Great Basin College events.
Believing that community involvement was important, Alice encouraged family participation in political events, livestock associations and local organizations. She was a member of the Nevada Cowbelles and became president of the Wool Growers Auxiliary.
Teaching sewing for 15 years for 4-H groups, Goicoechea also prepared students for state and national competitions in the “Make It Yourself with Wool” contests.
Alice dedicated most of her time as a volunteer for the Elko County Fair Home Arts Division, becoming the supervisor for over 25 years. In 1985, she became the first female member of the Fair Board.
Of the many improvements she and fellow volunteer, Della Martney, made was to beautify Home Arts and Flower buildings and picnic area. Alice also suggested that creating space for vendor and food booths by closing off part of the street in front of the fairgrounds, which brought additional revenue to the fair.
Recognizing her 25 years of service to the fair, the Goicoechea Home Arts Building was dedicated in her name in 2002. Six years later she served as grand marshal of the Fair Parade.
In the livestock industry, Alice was honored by the Nevada Sheep Industry Women and named Elko County Cattlewoman of the Year.
Alice and Elias were married 57 years before his death in 2001. Alice died January 4, 2009, and was remembered for her lifetime of dedication to ranching and the Elko County Fair.
ELKO 100: D. Ray Gardner
“People need good entertainment and I will try my best to provide it for Elko,” once said D. Ray Gardner, the owner of Elko’s first radio station, KELK. For more than 20 years, he brought local news, high school sports and community events to Elkoans and took part in the town’s growth at the same time.
Dee Ray Gardner was born in Delta, Utah, November 27, 1925. During World War II, not yet old enough to join the service and still in high school, Gardner joined the Merchant Marines before enlisting in the Air Force. He began his career in radio at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois. He met his wife, Virginia “Ginger” Humphries, and they married December 10, 1949 in Bellville, Illinois.
After being discharged in 1952, Gardner entered commercial broadcasting, working for radio stations and becoming the news director for KUTV in Salt Lake City. In 1968, Gardner accepted the job of station manager for KELK and moved his family of four children — Danna, Joanne, Laura and Paul — to Elko.
When Gardener arrived, KELK was in its 20th year of providing news, high school sports, farm reports, music and advertising to Elko residents. Gardner saw an opportunity to increase the signal farther and expand with an FM station. Initially wanting to purchase the station, it wouldn’t be until 1974 that D. Ray and Ginger became the owners.
Gardner participated in many community projects, promoting fundraisers such “Give-a-Day’s Pay” for Elko Community College and Elko High School’s Band of Indians trip to perform at Ronald Reagan’s Inauguration parade in 1981. Gardner’s contacts with statewide media allowed the band’s trip to be publicized beyond northeastern Nevada, thus overfunding the trip.
Also on the Project Lifesaver Committee, Gardner rode the last train through Elko celebrating the relocation of the railroad tracks to the Humboldt River. He was also a member of the Elko Lions Club and served as two-term Exalted Ruler of the Elks. Gardner also served as two-term president of the Chamber of Commerce and various other organizations.
D. Ray and Ginger sold the station to their son and daughter-in-law, Paul and Ketra Gardner, in 1991. In retirement, Gardner was on the board of directors for the Elko Senior Citizens Center and traveled with his wife of nearly 59 years before her death in 2008.
Looking back on his life, he said recently, “Elko treated me very, very wonderfully. I’ve enjoyed every second I’ve had here in Elko. “
ELKO 100: Dr. William Berg
Dr. Bill Berg guided Great Basin College during his 16 years as president, which saw the institution grow with the addition of nursing and vocational degree programs along with increasing student enrollment in rural areas.
Born in Racine, Wisconsin in 1924, William J. Berg attended the University of Wisconsin at Madison, earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social science, teaching at local high school and junior high schools. During World War II, Berg served with the Navy on the USS San Diego in the Pacific.
After the war,Bill, his wife Mary and their five children moved to Tucson, Arizona, where he earned his doctorate from the University of Arizona in 1969. He then served as vice president of instruction at Arizona Western College in Yuma.
In 1973, Dr. Berg and Mary moved to Elko where he became the fourth president of Northern Nevada Community College, known today as Great Basin College. At the time, NNCC had approximately 500 students and a staff of 20 and offered adult education courses.
Expanding course offerings, Dr. Berg initiated the LPN and RN nursing degrees, later adding the diesel technology program. The first nursing class included Mary Berg, who graduated with an LPN degree and was employed at the hospital.
Dr. Berg worked to increase enrollment and provide higher education to rural areas in developing nine off-campus centers in northern Nevada, including Battle Mountain, Ely, Eureka and Winnemucca. By 1989, enrollment grew to 2,000 students.
Partnering with the school district, a dual credit program was established, allowing high school students to earn 12 semester credits in English and History. Despite his workload, he enjoyed teaching and taught U.S. history and economics, with lectures videotaped and used for telecourse classes.
Active in civic clubs, Bill was a member of the First Presbyterian Church, the Lions Club, Chamber of Commerce, and served as chairman of the Elko Senior Citizens Board.
Prior to retirement in 1989, the new student services building was dedicated and named Berg Hall.
He also received an honorary degree from University of Nevada, Reno “in recognition of commitment and contribution to a chosen profession and to the state,” said UNR President Joe Crowley.
Dr. Berg was the second longest serving college president in Nevada history. After retirement, he and Mary wintered in Arizona where he died November 2, 2003. In tribute of his work and dedication to GBC, the flags on campus were flown at half-staff.
ELKO 100: Gil Hernandez
“I knew I wanted to do something for my country,” said Gil Hernandez of his thoughts when he enlisted in the Marines to serve in Vietnam. For more than four decades, Hernandez has served veterans at the local, state and national levels while simultaneously participating in community and civic affairs.
Gilbert Hernandez grew up in Montello and graduated Wells High School before enlisting in the Marines to serve a four-year tour of Vietnam in 1967. He was shipped to Okinawa, Japan for boot camp and special training before arriving in Vietnam.
Four months into his tour, Hernandez was sent on patrol in the demilitarized zone at Khe Sanh when his truck was hit by enemy fire. Brought to Dong Ha for treatment, he was pronounced dead three times and twice sent back from Graves Registration by morgue attendant Charles Roth to triage, before doctors began working to save Hernandez’ life. The two men were reunited at the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C., 42 years after the experience.
It took Hernandez a year to recuperate from his multiple injuries. He married Debbie Blackett and moved to Elko where he attended Northern Nevada Community College and earned an Associates of Applied Science Degree in corrections in 1973, and served as vice president of the Elko Jaycees.
To both help veterans and as a method to battle his own post-traumatic stress syndrome, Hernandez joined the Gaspar J. Salaz VFW Post 2350 and Disabled American Veterans.
“It’s my life. It keeps me sane,” Hernandez said in 2012 of his decades-long involvement in the VFW.
Gil began advocating for veterans’ benefits and speaking out on issues that impact veteran servicemen and women, notably funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs and services and support for veterans suffering from PTSD.
In addition to his service to veterans, Hernandez served as chairman of the Elko Convention and Visitors Authority board for four years and is a member of Elko Bighorns Unlimited and a founder of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. Recently, he participated in a food drive for homeless vets.
Over the years, Hernandez has been recognized for his work including Veteran of the Month, All-American State Commander of the VFW, and was chosen to lead the Nevada VFW in 2007. He was honored with Great Basin College’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2015.
Hernandez once said of his life after Vietnam and the opportunities to lead the VFW in several capacities, “Maybe that’s why I was given another chance – to lead this organization.”
ELKO 100: Jay Kump
Originally wanting to give Elko’s youth a form of organized sports, Jay Kump led Elko’s Babe Ruth Baseball league for more than 50 years with Kump Field as his lasting legacy to the community.
Jay Robert Kump was born Dec. 9, 1919 in Clarion, Utah. He moved to Nevada and worked at the Rio Tinto Mine. He met Charlotte Reed Kump and they were married May 22, 1940.
Jay and Charlotte held a variety of jobs while raising their family of three children: Moyal, Jake and Marvel. Together, they managed the swimming pool by the Hot Hole, later moving to Lee in 1943 to run the General Store, with Charlotte also serving as the postmistress for the area.
The family returned to Elko in 1952 where Jay worked as an electrician for Western Pacific Railroad. After seeing a need for organized youth sports, he received a request from Gib Landell in Reno to start a competing Babe Ruth league for a state tournament. Two years later, the first four teams of the local Babe Ruth organization began playing on a field near where City Hall is located today near Idaho Street.
Outgrowing the first field, a new one was prepared on Golf Course Road by Dick Toothman and Earl Frantzen. Jay, his sons and their friends built the field with donations of materials and concrete. Kump Field was completed in the spring of 1957 and has since hosted 12 state and sectional tournaments, two Nevada high school state championships, and the Babe Ruth Pacific Southwest Tournament.
In 1971, the field was the second choice for hosting the Babe Ruth World Series. Kump eventually became state commissioner for Babe Ruth Baseball and was inducted into the organization’s first Hall of Fame class in 2007.
He once said of building Kump Field, “My theory was and is to build a good place for kids to play ball. I figured if we kept them off the streets and on the fields, we might just make good citizens out of them.”
In addition to baseball, Jay was also involved in the community as a Boy Scout leader, achieving the Order of the Arrow, and he played Santa Claus to children at various events.
During retirement, he enjoyed watching his grandchildren’s ball games, gardening, and spending time with his family. Jay and Charlotte celebrated 67 years of marriage before her death. Jay died two years later on May 7, 2008.
ELKO 100: Dr. Hugh S. Collett
A resident for over 60 years, Dr. Hugh Collett brought devoted patient care to Elkoans and contributed to the founding of Great Basin College, dedicating his life to improving the quality of medical facilities and higher education in Elko.
Hugh S. Collett was born in 1921 in Chicago, Illinois to Dr. George and Ruth Collett. He earned his medical degree from Northwestern Medical School and completed post-graduate studies at the University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania, Caylor-Nickel Clinic and St. Joseph’s Hospital in San Francisco.
During World War II, Hugh served in the Navy and was commissioned as a captain in the Air Force. He was stationed in Bermuda for two years beginning in 1951 and was named Chief of Surgery and Radiology.
In 1954, Dr. Collett moved to Elko and joined Elko Clinic. His father had been a founding partner of the Clinic in 1948 and died a few months before Hugh’s arrival. With his wife, Louise, they raised their four children in Elko: Karen, Diane, Virginia and George Richard.
Dr. Collett teamed with Dr. Thomas Hood in surgery and pathology at Elko General Hospital, assisting each other for most major cases. Hugh also worked with other physicians to develop the Elko Clinic into a medical center, his father’s dream. The Clinic received accreditation from the American Group Practice Association and was called “the finest of its size in the United States.”
Additionally, Dr. Collett promoted higher education for rural Nevada, becoming one of the founders of Elko Community College, now Great Basin College, and serving on the advisory board since 1967. He also served 12 years on the Elko County School Board.
Dr. Collett has participated in several civic groups and organizations including the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary International, Silver Stage Players and the Northeastern Nevada Museum. He was a founding member of the Elko Navy League and has served as an elder of the First Presbyterian Church. Hugh also has memberships in many surgical and medical societies including the American Board of Surgery.
Retiring in 1984, Dr. Collett has been honored for his work in education and medicine. He was named Emeritus Clinical Professor of Surgery at UNR and received the Distinguished Nevadan award from the University of Nevada Board of Regents in 2015. He was awarded an honorary bachelor’s degree from GBC the same year.
Today, Dr. Collett and his wife Louise spend time with their children and grandchildren in Elko and vacation at their cabin in Idaho.
ELKO 100: Matt Trontel
Matt Trontel expanded and strengthened the sports program at Elko High School during his 28-year career as football coach and athletic director, and also contributed to youth football and baseball programs.
Mathew Trontel was born July 3, 1933, in Midvale, Utah. He attended Jordan High School in Salt Lake City, where he was a three-sport athlete, lettering in football, basketball and track. In Matt’s senior year he was named an All-American Prep football player and won a full football scholarship to Utah State University.
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in education in 1955, Trontel served two years in the Army. He began his coaching career in Tonopah before moving to Elko and becoming Elko High School’s head basketball and track coach and assistant varsity football coach in 1960. In 1962, Trontel was promoted to head football coach and won the AA state championship that season.
Named athletic director of EHS in 1964, Trontel implemented a wrestling program and brought state tournaments to Elko for basketball, wrestling and track. In 1978, he was named Athletic Director of the Year.
Matt started the EHS booster club, which raised funds for the press box built at Warrior Field. Years later, he joined the broadcast booth and called football games on KELK.
Matt married EHS girls’ physical education teacher Linda Smith on August 5, 1967, and had two children, Mattie and Rachel. Matt earned his master’s of administration degree from the University of Nevada Reno in the early 1970s, becoming vice principal in 1983.
In addition to coaching high school sports, Trontel expanded youth sports in Elko, bringing Pop Warner football to Elko as well as coaching and umpiring Babe Ruth baseball games. He also initiated the Kiwanis Track and Wrestling Tournaments.
A founder of the Kiwanis Club, Matt was also part of the board of directors for the Elko Senior Citizens Center and a member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. During summer breaks, he was a firefighter with the BLM for more than 20 years.
After retirement in 1988, the Pop Warner field was named after Trontel. He was inducted into the NIAA Hall of Fame in 1995 and in Elko High School’s Class of 2006 Hall of Fame.
Matt died June 24, 2006, at the age of 72. Linda, his wife of 38 years, said of Matt, “His integrity and dedication to do the right thing for the kids will always be remembered.”
ELKO 100: Fred Harris
Leaving two legacies in Elko, Fred Harris championed Elko’s own community college and initiated the Man-Mule race, a tradition that continues almost 40 years after the inaugural event.
Fred B. Harris was born May 7, 1915, in Brigham City, Utah. He attended Utah State University at Logan and was one of the first graduates of the range management program in 1939. While at Utah State, he met Helen Kinney and they married November 12, 1937.
Harris’ work with the BLM and University of Nevada Reno led to developing “animal unit months” used for measuring grazing use on public lands. He and Helen moved to Elko County in 1941 and raised their daughters, Nancy and Itha Ann. For several years, Fred was a ranch manager on ranches in Lee, Starr Valley and Deeth.
Harris began another career in real estate in 1954, forming the Nevada Ranch Service which sold and evaluated ranch property. He purchased the Mackey Ranch in Lamoille and lived on a parcel at the base of the Ruby Mountains.
Fred became the leading voice in establishing Elko Community College, now Great Basin College, and he gathered local support from local businessmen and professionals.
The college opened in 1967, using classrooms from Elko High School and Grammar No. 1. To help the growth of the school, Fred and Helen, along with Mark and Kathy Chilton, donated land that was used in developing and expanding GBC’s campus.
While living in Lamoille, Fred raised horses, donkeys, llamas and mules. His prized mule, Dear Old Girl, was challenged by runner Tony LaMorte to a race from Lamoille to the Stockmen’s Hotel, a 20-mile distance.
The race drew attention from local residents and turned into a fundraiser for Ruby Mountain Riding for the Handicapped with 50 other participants competing on October 15, 1978, alongside Harris and LaMorte. Harris and Dear Old Girl won by an hour. The race is now an annual event and benefits RMRH.
Harris was honored as the first recipient of GBC’s Founder’s Award in 1982 and lived in Lamoille with Helen until his death on August 4, 1986. A year later, Aspen trees from his ranch were transplanted to the GBC campus as a living memory to GBC benefactors.
ELKO 100: The Puccinelli Family
The Puccinelli and extended branches of the family have contributed to Elko’s growth for more than 11 decades, serving the community through their businesses, professional careers and public service.
Arriving in Elko as an immigrant from Lucca, Italy, Andrea Puccinelli became the first of his family to settle in Elko in 1900, becoming a business owner after winning a bar in a poker game. He soon operated the Elko Hotel where the Stockmen’s Casino is located today. The establishment was known for its traditional Italian dinners. He and Gemma Lemucci married in 1911 and had four children: Leo, Lido, Jennie and Lily.
Gus Puccinelli, Andrea’s brother, and their nephews Fred and Fernando moved to Elko, quickly becoming business owners themselves, operating the Rialto Bar and Towne House Bar before starting Puccinelli’s Market, located next to the Main Post Office.
Gus’s niece, Nella, followed her family to Elko and married Ceasar Salicchi Sr., settling in Lamoille and raising three children, Alfred, Guiliana and Ceasar Jr., who later became Elko County Treasurer for 36 years.
Angelo Puccinelli, a nephew of Fred and Fernando, immigrated to the United States and married Jeanie Baroni, having two children, Teresa and Giovanni. He worked in the family market before becoming the superintendent of the Elko County Fairgrounds.
Leo graduated from Elko High School in 1939 and attended law school at the University of San Francisco, returning to Elko to open a law practice. He announced EHS track meets, football and basketball games for nearly 50 years and called horse races during the Elko County Fair. He married Gertrude “Diz” Ford and they raised their children Janet, Gayle, Carol and Andrew.
Following in Leo’s footsteps, Andrew became an attorney and served as Elko District Judge. Gus’s son Alex and Fernando’s grandson Michael Shurtz also became lawyers, with Alex serving as Elko County District Attorney.
The children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and extended family including nieces and nephews of Andrea and Gemma were raised in Elko, becoming business owners and taking part in community organizations.
Lisa Shurtz, daughter of Fernando and Lolita Puccinelli, in an interview eight years ago, summed up her family’s contribution to Elko with “They were good people … they were good for the community, all of them.”
ELKO 100: Howard Hickson
During Howard Hickson’s 25 years as executive director of the Northeastern Nevada Museum, he brought nationwide recognition to the museum through educational exhibits that described Elko’s history and showcased its local culture, earning both state and national acclaim.
Howard Hickson was born in 1932 in Huntsville, Alabama. He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1952 to 1956 as a combat reporter and illustrator. After leaving the service, he owned his own design studio and worked as a commercial artist. Howard married Jane Green and had three sons: Ken, Andrew and Patrick.
He attended the University of Nevada Reno and graduated in 1964. Howard’s interests in history and visual design drew him to the museology field and he was employed as curator of exhibits at the Nevada State Museum in Carson City for five years.
Hickson arrived in Elko in 1968 to become director of the Northeastern Nevada Museum. He started work designing eye-catching and informative exhibits that showcased Elko County’s culture and history using artifacts donated by local residents.
As editor of the Northeastern Nevada Historical Society Quarterly, he encouraged high school and college students to submit essays about Elko people, places and events. In addition to contributing his own articles in the Quarterly, he also wrote “Mint Mark CC: A History of the U.S. Mint in Carson City.”
Howard drew statewide attention to the museum through traveling slideshows and photography exhibits. The presentation “Jarbidge” won Best Slide Show of 1974 from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Under his leadership, the museum earned accreditation from the American Association of Museums twice and won two National Awards of Merit from the American Association of State and Local History.
Among his numerous honors Howard received for his work as director, he was named a Distinguished Nevadan by the University of Nevada Board of Regents in 1993 and dean of Nevada museum directors by the Nevada Department of Museums and History.
Howard retired in 1993 and was named Director Emeritus of the museum. He and second wife, Terry, who taught in the Elko County School District, were involved in many community organizations and service clubs.
He continued to research local history and wrote “Elko, One of the Last Frontiers of the Old West” and “Hickson’s Histories,” which are now part of Great Basin College’s Virtual Humanities Center collection.
Howard died a year after Terry in 2015 at the age of 82.
ELKO 100: Dr. Les Moren
Credited with delivering 5,000 babies in Elko, Dr. Les Moren served as an obstetrician and family practitioner for over fifty years and was one of the founders of two Elko institutions: the Elko Clinic and Great Basin College.
Dr. Leslie Arthur Moren was born in Webster, Wisconsin in 1914. He graduated from the University of Minnesota Medical School in 1937 and moved to Elko a year later. He opened his own practice and met Laurena McBride. They married September 9, 1939.
During his first years in Elko, Dr. Moren served as a general practitioner and along with Drs. A.J. Hood and Fred Poulson, treated injured passengers from the City of San Francisco train wreck west of Carlin in 1939. He and Laurena briefly relocated to St. Paul where he enlisted in the Minnesota State Guard at the start of World War II.
Serving in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, Dr. Moren was stationed in Italy. After being discharged, the family with daughter Ann and son Allen, permanently moved to Elko where Kristen and Jim were born.
Dr. Moren partnered with Drs. Robert Roantree, George Collette and Dale Hadfield to form the Elko Clinic in January of 1948. Their first office was on the corner of Fifth and Railroad street, now Nevada State Bank, and was the first multi-specialty clinic in the state of Nevada.
As a family practitioner, Dr. Moren treated Elko residents for a variety of non-life threatening ailments along with delivering 5,000 babies during his career. He served as the Chief of Staff at Elko General Hospital, was named 1973 Nevada Physician of the Year and honored by the University of Nevada Reno’s School of Medicine.
In addition to his medical work, Les also served on the Elko County School Board and was one of the founders of Elko Community College, now Great Basin College. He also supported Laurena’s campaign to build the Elko Convention Center and Auditorium.
Dr. Moren took part in UNR’s Oral History Program and published the book “Fifty Years an Elko County Doctor.” He retired in 1993, and the following year was named the grand marshal of the Nevada Day Parade.
Seven years after Laurena’s death, Dr. Moren died December 14, 1994 at the age of 80. In his book, he said, “If I had my career to do over again … I couldn’t think of a better career than medicine or a better place to live than Elko.”
ELKO 100: Laurena Moren
Lifelong resident, Laurena Moren shared her love of music with the community through teaching and supporting concert organizations. Her main effort, to construct a civic auditorium for public use, helped build the Elko Convention Center and Visitors Authority.
Laurena Brehe McBride was born in 1916 near Sherman, Nevada. At two years old, she was adopted by Emily and J.A. McBride. After attending Elko schools and graduating from Rowland Hall in Salt Lake City, she returned to Elko where she met newly arrived physician, Dr. Leslie A. Moren. They married September 9, 1939 and moved to St. Paul where Les was shipped out to Italy during World War II.
At the end of the war, the family moved to Elko and raised their four children, Ann, Allen, Jim, and Kristin. Laurena loved music and played the organ at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, also teaching piano to beginners for many years.
Seeing a need for the community to have a multi-purpose hall and concert auditorium, Laurena began to gather support for what would become the Elko Convention Center. She partnered with others and helped develop the plans for the convention center and bond issue to build it.
According to her husband’s book, Fifty Years a Country Doctor, Laurena worked with architects on the design of the convention center and fundraising for a Steinway piano. “She had creative ideas and good judgment about functions that they could use it for,” Dr. Moren said. Laurena sat on the board of directors from 1980 until 1984.
Laurena was involved with the Elko Community Orchestra and the Elko Community Concert Association along with the Elko General Hospital and Nevada Medical Auxiliaries and was on the advisory board of the university of Nevada Medical School.
She was also a board member of many service and civic organizations including PEO Sisterhood, the Elko Chamber of Commerce, the Republican Party, and was a founding member of Beta Sigma Phi. In 1987, she was named Citizen of the Year.
In 1985, Laurena was diagnosed with breast cancer. After undergoing a mastectomy, the cancer returned two years later. She died August 20, 1987 at the age of 72. In her honor, the auditorium was renamed the Laurena Moren Theater. Les said in his book, “she would be proud as punch about that.”
ELKO 100: Milo Taber
Standing today on Railroad Street the Taber Building served as the home to many businesses for nearly 100 years. The Taber family made its mark on Elko in businesses, community and even in the State Supreme Court.
The Taber family reaches back to the late 1800s, where the sons of Joseph Milo and Cecelia Agnes Taber grew up in Nevada. One of their sons, E.J.L. Taber was district attorney and district court judge in Elko before being elected as a justice of the Nevada State Supreme Court. E.J.L. Taber died in office in 1947 with District Judge Milton Badt succeeding him.
Another son, Stanley Taber, married Deborah McMullen in 1904 and had a son, Milo. Stanley started an insurance and title abstracting business in what is now known as the Taber Building on Railroad Street, next to the Henderson Bank Building, built in 1919. Milo graduated from Elko County High School in 1928 and worked for Settlemeyer and DeArmond engineering company before joining his father’s business.
Milo married Etta Brehe on June 4, 1932. Etta joined the insurance company, eventually becoming a partner. Milo was elected to the Nevada State Legislature in 1943 before enlisting in the Navy during World War II and was re-elected in 1947 for another term.
His hobby as an amateur ham radio operator developed into a side career. Milo became licensed in 1939 and while in the Navy, graduated from the Navy School of Electronics. His ham radio operator knowledge was used by the BLM and Forest service, later becoming chief radio engineer with KELK. He maintained an emergency station from his home and car, once fielding police calls to the telephone operators after a cable was destroyed.
Milo and Etta operated his father’s business, later becoming Washoe Title Insurance Company, for nearly five decades before retiring in 1972 as vice president and Elko branch manager. In retirement, Milo took part in various community organizations including Elko Rotary Club as secretary-treasurer and Elko Toastmasters and played banjo with the Elks Minstrels.
He and Etta were also involved with St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and were part of the square-dancing clubs in Elko. They were married for fifty-five years when Milo died May 25, 1987. Etta died ten years later.
ELKO 100: Dr. George Manilla
For over 50 years, Dr. George Manilla has served Elko county residents as a pathologist and researcher. His work with dyslexic children and adults to help them read also contributed to the community along with his involvement in the arts.
Dr. George Thomas Manilla was born in Duluth, Minnesota to George and Muriel Manilla. His family moved to Salt Lake City after he graduated high school, where he attended the University of Utah, studying bacteriology.
George was drafted into the Army during the Korean War and served in the Army Chemical Corps. After the war, George resumed his studies, entering medical school where he met and soon married Franzi Reisenbirchler. While working on his Ph.D. in pathology, George was inspired to move to Nevada after making a short visit to Elko with his father.
In 1963, Dr. Manilla joined the Elko Clinic and moved to Elko where he and Franzi raised their children, Andy, Mary and Kathy. George joined the Clinic as a general practitioner and commuted to Salt Lake City to finish his degree. In 1970, he completed his residency and was certified in clinical, anatomical and forensic pathology, one of the few in the nation at that time to be certified in three boards.
Through research and recognizing his own struggles with reading as a child, Manilla developed a method to teach dyslexics to read with eye exercises. In the mid-1980s, Manilla began helping schoolchildren and adults to overcome their reading problems and later wrote a book, “Dyslexia Solved” with Joe de Braga. They, along with Linda Lindsey, started Reading Vision LLC in 2012.
In addition to his medical work and research, George and Franzi were square dancers with the Ruby Mountain Rainbow Reelers. He wrote three musicals with Mike Polise, including “The Potts’ Hangin’ Ghost” that was performed locally in 2011. Also an artist, his watercolor and oil landscapes have been displayed in the art gallery at the Northeastern Nevada Museum.
In 1999, Dr. Manilla retired as Director of Pathology from Northern Nevada Regional Hospital and from the Elko Clinic in 2003. He was honored with an open house celebrating his 40 years of service.
In retirement, he stays occupied with deeper research into dyslexia and migraine headaches, and has expanded into cattle and equine diseases. George also keeps busy as a member of the Knights of Columbus, Rotary International, Elko County READS events, and with his art and writing.
ELKO 100: Ted Blohm
Longtime resident Ted Blohm has served Elko as a businessman and in the military. Owning one of Elko’s longest running businesses for more than 70 years, Blohm has contributed to the community through membership in many civic organizations and his military service, helping to re-activate Elko’s National Guard Reserve Unit.
Theodore R. Blohm was born in 1926 in Muscoda, Wisconsin to Wally and Ethel Blohm. The family moved to Elko in 1941, where Wally bought a jewelry store, then located in the Commercial Hotel.
Ted graduated from Elko High School two years later and was drafted into the Army during World War II. Stationed in the Philippines, he was assigned to Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s headquarters in the Radio and Cable department.
After being discharged from the Army, Ted returned to Elko and worked at the jewelry store for his father. He became a ski instructor and prepared Alpine courses at Squaw Valley for the 1960 Winter Olympics. That year, he became a certified gemologist with the Gemological Institute of America.
In 1963, Ted bought his father’s business and started his own family when he married Lina Bilbao two years later. Their daughters, Deborah, Nicole, and Kristina grew up in Elko as Ted and Lina worked on expanding the business.
Blohm Jewelers opened in their new location with a new building on the corner of Fifth and Idaho Streets in 1974.
Apart from his business, Ted served a term on the Elko City Council. He continued to serve in the Nevada National Guard and Nevada National Guard Reserve. In 1987, he was appointed the commander of Elko’s Third Battalion Reserve Unit by Gov. Richard Bryan, re-establishing the local unit. Ted later retired as colonel, concluding 40 years of service in the military.
Blohm served in various capacities in the community as a member of the Civil Air Patrol, Elko General Hospital Advisory Board, Great Basin College Foundation, Elko Rotary Club, and the Navy League.
An avid outdoorsman and heavily involved in sports, Ted played softball, tennis and golf, and served as a referee for the Northeastern Nevada Officials Association.
He and Lina continue to live in Elko. Ted recently participated in a discussion on World War II presented by GBC, telling of his experiences during the war and his involvement in Elko’s Reserve.
In an oral history of his life, Ted concluded by saying, “I can’t think of anything that I would change. I’ve had a rich life.”
ELKO 100: Chris Sheerin
Chris Sheerin wrote about Elko and Elkoans as a reporter and publisher of the Elko Daily Free Press. A resident for over 70 years, he also invested his time into Elko’s growth through business and recreation.
Chris Sheerin was born in Virginia City in 1903. His family moved to Tonopah, where he graduated high school before attending the University of Nevada, Reno. He graduated in the university’s first class from the School of Journalism in 1924. After a job as a reporter with the Nevada State Journal, Sheerin joined the Elko Free Press in 1926.
Chris met and married Grace Weiser in 1928. Five years later, while giving birth to their son, John, Grace died. Sheerin raised John for a few years before marrying Evelyn Asher in 1936. Their son, Gary, was born in Elko a year later.
Sheerin was promoted from cub reporter to city editor and then managing editor at the Free Press. Eber M. Steninger retired, selling the newspaper to his son, E.B. and Sheerin in 1945. They ran the newspaper for 22 years.
Developing lasting friendships with many Elkoans, Chris profiled them in his “Street Corners” column that ran for years, even after his retirement.
Believing that Elko and surrounding areas would benefit from a radio station, he and a group of local businessmen formed Elko Broadcasting Company that put KELK on the air in 1948.
Sheerin participated in several civic organizations, many times in a leadership role. He was involved in the Chamber of Commerce, Elko Rotary, and Boy Scouts of America. Chris was a two-term president of the Nevada State Press Association and served on the Board of Regents from 1943 to 1950.
An avid outdoorsman, Chris was on the Nevada State Park Advisory Committee for almost 30 years. He helped develop Wildhorse State Park and went before the Nevada Park Commission to make a motion on behalf of the South Fork Dam Project.
Among Chris’s many honors, he was named a Distinguished Nevadan in 1960 by the Board of Regents, awarded the Silver Quill from the Reno Press Club, and, in 1985, served as Grand Marshal of both the Elko County Fair Parade and Carson City’s Nevada Day Parade.
Elko City Council recognized Sheerin’s contributions in 1984, naming the street by the Northeastern Nevada Museum and City Park, “Chris Sheerin Way.”
In retirement, Chris and Evelyn traveled extensively and wintered in southern California for years. On December 19, 1990, Chris died in Rancho Mirage, California at the age of 87.
ELKO 100: Paul Sawyer
Lifelong resident, Paul Sawyer, was known for his dedication to improving Elko in higher education and historical preservation. “If there was a major project, Paul was behind it,” said friend Steve Dondero.
Paul C. Sawyer was born in Winnemucca in 1917 to Edna and Orrin Sawyer. His family moved to the IL Ranch in northern Elko County before moving to Elko where Paul started school.
In the first grade, he met his future wife, Phyllis Blair, who he married after they graduated from Elko County High School. Together, they had three daughters, Renee, Carla and Blair.
Paul worked for Western Pacific Railroad before starting his career in the automobile business by becoming a partner in Nevada Motors in 1945. He owned a Dodge dealership called Paul Sawyer Motor Company and later owned a Chevrolet-Oldsmobile franchise under the name Sawyer Chevrolet Company.
Sawyer was honored by Time Magazine and the Nevada Automobile Association for best sales in the state. He sold the Chevrolet business to Dewey Nelson in 1976 and remained in the auto leasing business through the 1980s.
In 1967, Sawyer, along with other Elko businessmen and professionals, established Elko Community College, now Great Basin College. Paul started a fundraising campaign that raised $46,000 which covered the costs of hiring a president and faculty. In 1992, he was given an honorary degree from the Board of Regents in recognition of his efforts in starting the college.
In retirement, Paul became interested in the history of the California Trail and the Hastings Cutoff that the Donner Party used in crossing northern Nevada. As a member of the Humboldt Highroad group, he volunteered and joined the Bureau of Land Management in marking the trails.
Paul’s involvement led him to see a need for a center dedicated to the emigrants and pioneers who crossed Nevada on the California Trail. Together with Dale Porter, Sawyer worked to build the California National Historic Trail Interpretive Center.
The location, near the Hunter Exit off I-80, was suggested by Sawyer for its historic significance where the Donner Party resumed the California Trail from the Hastings Cutoff.
Paul and Phyllis enjoyed retirement and were married 63 years before her death in 2001. Paul remained active with the Trail Center until his death in 2011 at the age of 94. Upon the opening of the Trail Center, he and Porter were honored with a bronze founders’ plaque for their work in making the center a reality.
ELKO 100: 'Doby Doc,' the man and the legend
Robert ‘Doby Doc’ Caudill’s nearly 40-year stay in Elko is still remembered by longtime residents. He was a bootlegger, businessman and collector during those years, yet he may be best described as our own “Robin Hood.”
In Jerry Hendershot’s account of Robert F. Caudill titled “The Robin Hood of Elko County,” published by the Northeastern Nevada Historical Society in 1988, he told a newspaper reporter that he was born in Plainview, Texas on March 1, 1890. At 16, Robert hopped a train to Las Vegas.
He later worked in Tonopah before being drafted in the U.S. Army during World War I. After being medically discharged, Caudill lived in Owyhee and Tuscarora before ending up in Elko.
The nickname “Doby Doc” came in Elko from a job he had building “adobe houses” and “wanting to be a veterinarian.” In the 1920s, Doby started bootlegging and operated the Rosebud Saloon. Around 1932, he opened the Silver Dollar in the first Henderson Bank building on the corner of Fourth and Commercial Streets.
Doby also kept an eye out around Elko for “anything that looked like it might be valuable in the future.” He once said that the “junk” he had would “be worth a lot of money one of these days.”
Elkoans befriended him, knowing that Doby was a great resource for almost anything. Ruthe Gallagher was given railroad ties that built the Girl Scout House after originally asking him for a boxcar. Leo Puccinelli remembered Doby giving his childhood friends a new baseball and bat as a gift to replace their patched up ones.
Attributed to Doby during his time in Elko was the disappearance of many items, including fence posts, mining supplies and even a shipment of hams. Also attributed to him were stories of poverty stricken families who, somehow, had enough coal, shoes and hams to get them through the winter.
In 1947, Doby’s idea to build a fictional town outside of Elko was rejected. He was offered a chance to build it at the Last Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas and shipped more than 2,700 boxes of items. He had, among other things, “Elko’s Chinese joss house … and the old Tuscarora jail.”
The Western Village was successful, but in the late 1950s, Doby began selling it. One large piece went to Roy Rogers for $2 million.
Doby Doc died in Las Vegas on August 19, 1979. He has not been forgotten and remains a legend to this day.
ELKO 100: Bob Burns
The Burns family has served Elko for over seven decades through their business and community involvement and taking part in the establishment of Great Basin College.
Robley E. Burns Sr. was born in Nevada City, California in 1910. He graduated from the New England Mortuary school in Boston and moved to Reno in 1930 to work for Groesbeck and O’Brien. Robley also traveled around the state to fill in for mortuary employees during the summer.
In 1936, Robley arrived in Elko to replace an employee of Arnold Mortuary. When the employee didn’t return, Burns stayed, eventually becoming the manager.
Settling in Elko, Robley married Josephine Bartorelli. Together they raised their family, Terry Cosgrove, Bob Jr., Lynn, Pam, and Patricia. He also took part in Elko organizations including the Lions Club, Chamber of Commerce, and Elks Lodge.
In 1944, Burns purchased the business and changed the name to Burns Funeral Home. Two years later, he bought out his competition, Butler Mortuary.
The company was originally located at Fifth and Court Streets in a remodeled home. It moved to property at Burns and Fairgrounds Road in 1974 that included a new building designed specifically for a mortuary. A Memorial Garden and mausoleum were also added. Robley Sr. called the new location and modern facilities his “ultimate dream.”
Robley Sr. sold the business to his son, Bob Jr. three years after moving to the new location.
Bob Jr. has been active in the community for many years, once named Outstanding Man of the Year in 1964.
Throughout the years, Bob has been involved as a board member of the Northeastern Nevada Museum, a member and past president of Rotary, and past Exalted Ruler of the Elks.
Bob also served 12 years on the Elko County School Board. Joining with other Elko businessmen, Burns became one of the founders of Elko Community College, now Great Basin College.
Bob’s family, including his wife Gladys and children, Lynda, Susan, and Scott, continued the family business. They also became owners of Evergreen Flower Shop, which was later owned by Scott and his wife, Lori, until recently.
On November 1, 2010, the company was sold after 66 years of ownership in the Burns family. The Burns family continues to live, work, and serve in the Elko community.
ELKO 100: Bob and Dorothy Call
Residents of Elko County for over 60 years, Bob and Dorothy Call served their country before serving the Elko County School District, Great Basin College, and the community as educators.
Robert Louis Call was born in 1921 in Terre Haute, Indiana. He grew up in Indianapolis and graduated high school in 1938 before joining the Civilian Conservation Corps. Bob enlisted in the Marines in 1942 and served in the Central and South Pacific with the Third Marine Division for three years with the rank of sergeant.
Dorothy Riehle was born in Cresco, Iowa in 1923. During the war, she enlisted in the Navy and served in the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service), rising to the rank of Yeoman 2nd Class. “It was adventurous,” she said recently. “I was always learning.”
In May of 1945, Bob met Dorothy in Washington, D.C., through an “old buddy” of Bob’s. Three months later, they married and moved to Indianapolis, where Bob worked as a game warden. Honorably discharged from service, they both enrolled in Indiana Teacher’s College and graduated in 1950.
Bob and Dorothy accepted a husband and wife teaching position in Owyhee after graduation. They were eager to relocate after reading a story about Elko in Life magazine.
They moved to Elko four years later where Bob taught at Elko Junior High and Dorothy taught fourth grade. They raised their three children, Fred, James, and Roberta, as Bob completed his master’s degree in administration from the University of Nevada Reno.
Bob began a firearm safety program in the junior high for boys after a hunting accident involving two of his students. The next year, all students participated in a full week of instruction. The program and teaching manual written by Bob was distributed by the Nevada Department of Education throughout the state and to other interested schools.
Bob also trained to teach classes in radiation monitoring to the Nevada National Guard and public employees, and building fallout shelters for the general public, a result of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Dorothy joined the first faculty of Great Basin College in 1967, teaching business administration for sixteen years.
In 1973, Bob became the principal of Northside for ten years. Both retired in 1983 and while they enjoyed hunting, fishing, and cross-country skiing, Bob continued to teach fly fishing classes and riding his motorcycles. Today they live in Elko, recently celebrating 71 years of marriage.
ELKO 100: Earl and Genevieve Frantzen
Photographer, businesses manager and owner Earl Frantzen was part of the Elko Daily Free Press for more than 40 years. With his wife, Genevieve, they participated in the community, mainly as contributors to the Northeastern Nevada Museum’s art collection.
Earl A. Frantzen was born in 1912 near Ogden, Utah. His family moved to Elko in 1923 and Earl later attended Elko County High School. Before graduation, he joined the Elko Free Press as a “printer’s devil.” Two years later, Earl married native Elkoan Genevieve Wright on July 22.
Earl and Genevieve raised their family, Larry and Kristen, in Elko as Earl continued to work for the Free Press, becoming staff photographer and printer operator.
As photographer, Earl covered events such as the City of San Francisco train wreck and the burning of the Stockmen’s Hotel and Casino. He also photographed the big-name entertainment that performed on stage at the Commercial Hotel and Casino.
During World War II, Earl served in the Army in the Pacific. After returning home, he was promoted to advertising manager.
In 1968, Earl and Mel Steninger became co-publishers of the Elko Daily Free Press, buying the company from E.B. Steninger and Chris Sheerin. Earl was the business manager and also oversaw the transition “from old letterpress method of printing to the modern system of offset printing and computerized phototypesetting.”
Earl was awarded the Silver Make-Up Rule in 1976 by the Nevada Press Association, which recognized his career with the Free Press. He retired from the Free Press two years later, having spent 46 years with the newspaper. In 1998, Earl was inducted into the Nevada State Press Association Hall of Fame.
Involved in the community, Earl served two terms on the Nevada Fish and Game Commission and was past president of many organizations including the Nevada Press Association, the Elko Exchange Club and the Nevada Civic Club.
With Genevieve, they were members of the First Presbyterian Church where Gen served as church secretary and Earl was an elder. Together, they played golf and traveled. Earl also pursued his hobby of fly fishing.
Longtime members of the Northeastern Nevada Museum, they donated portfolios of Ansel Adams and Edward Weston silver prints. The collection, now on permanent display in the Ellis Gallery, continues to be a featured exhibit.
Earl and Genevieve were married 67 years before Earl’s death in 2001. Genevieve died six years later in 2007.
ELKO 100: The Andreozzi Family
For over four decades, the Andreozzi family has participated in Elko as volunteers, public servants and civic leaders due to their love for the community and its people.
Delmo Andreozzi Sr. was born December 30, 1930, to Michael and Charlotte Andreozzi. Michael, an immigrant from Italy, worked for the railroad between Deeth and Wells. Growing up hearing impaired, Delmo Sr. learned hunting and fishing from his father. He later attended the Utah School for the Deaf and Blind where he was trained as a cobbler.
Delmo met Ida Mae Spader, also a former student of the Utah School. They married May 8, 1964, and raised their children, Delmo Jr. and Charlotte Irene in Elko.
Delmo Sr. worked for the Elko County Road Department and Nevada Department of Transportation. He once owned the Elko Shoe Shop.
In 1971, Delmo Sr. was injured in an accident that left him with a brain injury for the rest of his life. The community’s overwhelming support for the family impacted both of his children. In turn, they became heavily involved in community service.
“The people instilled in me this great love for the community,” Delmo Jr. said in an interview.
Charlotte grew up in Elko and devoted her time to various projects, including the Relay for Life. Organizing a root beer float fundraiser, the event was continued by her brother after her death from leukemia. The Charlotte Roundtree Memorial Root Beer Float fundraiser continues to raise money for the American Cancer Society.
Delmo Jr. graduated from Elko High School where he was a Choralier. Today, he is a vocalist in concerts and patriotic events including the Ruby Mountain Symphony and Fourth of July Fireworks Show. Delmo also participates in musicals and theater productions.
Delmo and his wife, Annie, raised their three children in Elko, where he was employed by the City of Elko. He worked his way up to assistant city manager in his 31 years with the city. In 2014, Delmo was elected to the Elko County Commission.
An organizer of many volunteer projects, including “Take Pride in Your Community, Clean Up, Green Up Day,” Delmo also serves on numerous boards including Northeastern Nevada Regional Hospital Governing Board and Northeastern Nevada Museum Board. He is also a member of the Elko Lions Club.
Known to have “a strong passion for life and people,” Delmo Sr. and Ida continued to live in Elko and were married 48 years until his death in 2012.
ELKO 100: The Lipparelli Family
Immigrants from Italy, the Lipparelli family settled in Elko and embodied the American Dream. Through hard work and determination, members of the family became business owners, educators and professionals in Elko and around the state.
Sositinio “Sam” and Argentina Lipparelli immigrated to America from Italy in the early 20th century. Their children, Dora, Delia, Pauline, Adolph, Caesar and Leo, lived on the Mary Larson Ranch and then moved to Elko when Sam became employed by Western Pacific Railroad. All the children attended school, each graduating from Elko County High School.
Adolph, Caesar, and Leo joined the armed services during World War II. Ceasar served with the Fourth Marine Division, notably as part of the invasion of Japanese islands that also included Iwo Jima. Leo enlisted with the U.S. Army’s 108th Medical Battalion and Adolph was stationed with the Navy in San Francisco.
Another branch of the Lipparelli family included Sam’s nephews, Leland and Harry Lipparelli, who also lived in Elko. Leland worked for Wright Motors as a mechanic while Harry was part owner of Club 449er with Lido Puccinelli.
Upon returning to Elko, Adolph and Leo resumed their jobs working for the Post Office. Caesar owned the Spur Drive-In and served as Elko County Chief Juvenile Probation officer.
Adolph married Jean Griswold in 1940 and had four sons, Dennis, Michael, Barry, and Lorry. He started Occidental Insurance in 1949, Lipparelli Real Estate in 1962 and served on the Elko City Council for 16 years.
Barry, Lorry and Dennis remained in Elko. Lorry became city manager and Dennis joined Adolph’s company in 1978. Barry entered the business after Adolph’s unexpected death that year.
Remembering Adolph, his son Barry explained that it was his hard work and determination to learn the English language that made Adolph a success.
“He was a real kind and generous person; a lot of wisdom and prudence,” Barry said. “He helped a lot of people.”
Today, Lipparelli & Associates continues to operate in their office on Idaho Street. The third generation of the Lipparelli family includes educators and professionals, including Dennis’s son, optometrist Dr. Matthew Lipparelli.
ELKO 100: Milton Badt
Serving with distinction, Milton Badt was one of two Nevada Supreme Court Justices from Elko. He was the fourth longest serving jurist on state’s highest court after becoming a well-respected attorney in Elko for 34 years.
Milton Benjamin Badt was born in San Francisco on July 8, 1884 to Morris and Lina Badt. The seventh of eight children, Badt’s father owned a successful general merchandise store in Wells. For most of his childhood, Milton and his siblings attended school in California, returning to Nevada in the summer. Upon his father’s failing health, the family moved back to Wells where Milton finished school.
Badt attended the University of California and earned a degree in English in 1906 and then studied law at Hastings College in San Francisco. After five years as an attorney, he moved to Elko in 1913 and started his own law firm. Milton’s partners included James Dysart and Orville Wilson.
He preferred civil law to criminal cases, once representing the Shoshone in a settlement case with the United States Government. Badt also worked on cases concerning water rights issues along the Humboldt River.
Milton married schoolteacher Gertrude “Trudy” Nizze in 1927 and raised their two children, Milton Jr. and Nancy in Elko.
In 1945, District Judge Dysart died and Milton was appointed by Governor Vail Pittman to replace his former partner. Two years later, Judge Badt was again appointed by the governor to replace Elko native and Supreme Court Justice E.J.L. Taber, who had died in office.
Milton and Trudy moved to Carson City, where he served on the bench of the Nevada Supreme Court for the next 19 years. According to Chris Sheerin, Justice Badt “brought a new respect to Nevada’s highest court,” also becoming known as “one of the state’s outstanding orators.” In four elections, he ran unopposed.
Before relocating to Carson City, Milton was the member of several organizations and clubs including the Elko Chamber of Commerce, Masonic Lodge, Elks Lodge, and was a founding member of the Elko Rotary Club. He was member of the American Bar Association and past president of both the Elko County Bar Association and Nevada State Bar.
In 1963, Justice Badt was given an honorary doctor of laws degree by the University of Nevada Reno. In the second year of his final six-year term, Milton died April 2, 1966 at the age of 81. During his long career on the bench he wrote 235 opinions and was involved in 1,200 cases.
ELKO 100: Mel Lundberg
“Few people gave more in public service than did Melvin Edward Lundberg,” wrote historian Edna Patterson. For 40 years, Mel Lundberg contributed to Elko and the state through his work in the electrical power industry along with his participation in many civic, political and educational endeavors.
Mel Lundberg was born in 1904 in Woods Cross, Utah. He met and married Reva Rowe before attending the University of Utah. After graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering, he worked for both Utah and Uintah Power and Light Companies before moving to Elko in 1939.
In Elko, Mel was the assistant manager at Elko-Lamoille Power Company, later becoming vice president and general manager by 1953. He stayed with the company when it merged with Southern Nevada Power Company to form Nevada Power eight years later. Mel retired in 1973 after 34 years with the company.
In addition to his career, Mel and Reva owned Lundberg’s office supply store on Fifth Street from 1942 to 1967. They also owned and managed Lundberg’s Apartments for seven years.
Mel’s interest in community service began in Utah, where he was recognized for his work in Boy Scouting and involvement in the local Chamber of Commerce. In Elko, Mel was active as a board member of the Elko Broadcasting Company and local Red Cross chapter. His political involvement included membership in the Nevada Taxpayer’s Association, the Nevada State Planning Board, and numerous other committees.
A member of the Republican Party, Mel served on local and state central committees and traveled to Chicago as a delegate to the National Convention. He also served as an alternate delegate in 1964 and 1968.
Locally, Mel served as past president of the Elko Chamber of Commerce and Elko Lions Club. For the Elks Lodge, Mel was both an exalted ruler and District Deputy Grand Exalted Ruler in the state.
A strong supporter of education, Mel helped to shape Northern Nevada Community College, now Great Basin College, as a member of many committees including the Citizen’s Advisory Committee. Lundberg Hall, one of the first buildings on campus, was dedicated in his honor.
Mel and Reva celebrated 50 years of marriage in 1976. Shortly after their anniversary, Mel was diagnosed with cancer. He died September 24, 1979, at the age of 75. Mel was posthumously honored by the University of Nevada Reno as a Distinguished Nevadan in 1981 and recognized for his service to Elko and the college at NNCC’s commencement.
ELKO 100: Ted Laibly
Writing about Ted Laibly, Morris Gallagher called him “a dedicated educator, friend, and patriot.” For nearly 70 years, Laibly’s influence was felt as a teacher to Elko High School students, a founder of the Silver Stage Players, and benefactor to many institutions throughout the city.
Theodore “Ted” Laibly was born in Wahpeton, North Dakota in 1906. He earned his teaching degree from North Dakota State in Fargo and took his first job in Evanston, Wyoming. In 1933, he heard of an opening for an English teacher at Elko County High School and was hired by the principal, Bertha Knemeyer.
For six years, “Mr. Laibly,” as he was known to his students, taught English and drama. He directed and oversaw the stage design of “The Mikado” and “You Can’t Take It with You.” He was noted for his “friendliness and professionalism” and kept in touch with many of his former students after their graduation.
Taking a respite in Washington, D.C., Ted learned shorthand and typing before resuming teaching in Fallon. He enlisted in the Navy during World War II and was stationed near New Zealand before being assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Bismarck Sea. Laibly survived an enemy attack off the island of Iwo Jima that sunk the ship and killed 318 crew members.
At the end of the war, Laibly returned to EHS and again taught English, later switching to business. Many former students still credit him for learning valuable job skills in his classes.
Outside the classroom, Ted helped form the Silver Stage Players. He directed plays and worked as stage manager.
In 1965, Laibly retired from teaching. He stayed active in the community by serving on the editorial board for the Northeastern Nevada Historical Society Quarterly magazine with Chris Sheerin and Warren “Snowy” Monroe. Upon learning of the Bicentennial Flag Committee’s efforts to raise money for a flag, Ted purchased one and raised it on the flagpole himself to fly over Elko.
Ted’s retirement hobbies included gardening and gourmet cooking. He walked about five miles a day until the age of 90. He was 95 when he died from complications of Alzheimer’s disease on May 27, 2001.
After his death, the Northeastern Nevada Museum, Elko County Library, Great Basin College, and the Bicentennial Flag Foundation each received bequests from his estate. Among the tributes he received posthumously, a student apartment building at GBC was named Theodore Laibly Hall in recognition of Mr. Laibly’s generosity.
ELKO 100: Manuel Vega
A longtime resident, Manuel Vega worked for the City of Elko for nearly 40 years. His company Vega Construction & Trucking continues to donate services to many community projects and help those in need.
Manuel Vega was born October 25, 1926 in Elko and raised on the Vega Ranch in North Fork, attending Island Mountain School. He was drafted into the U.S. Army during World War II and served in the Military Police until his discharge in 1945.
Returning home he married Amy Cook, his wife of 65 years. They raised four children, Mike, Linda, Jerry and Enos and started Vega Construction & Trucking in 1958. Amy worked as bookkeeper.
Manuel also worked for the city in the water department for 38 years, retiring as Superintendent in 1992. At his retirement, he was cited as the only one who knew where all of the city’s water lines were located throughout Elko.
Manuel’s family and friends always remained a priority, as he and Amy passed down a legacy of hard work, faith and generosity to their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Amy’s care for those in need led her to start the Love Center in the 1980s. A forerunner to FISH, she provided a safe location that fed and clothed the homeless.
Vega Construction later expanded to Vega Humboldt with their contributions to the community both publicly and privately known. The companies have participated with other businesses to give time and materials to projects such as Habitat for Humanity and the SnoBowl.
“A lot of people in Elko’s first home was made possible because of Manuel and Amy, one way or another,” said friend Antonio Mendive.
The company also donated materials to build ball fields and other parks around the city. They also aided the building of the Crystal Theater, Project Lifesaver, the Train Park, the state park at Wildhorse Reservoir, and the Christian Center of Elko.
Over the years, Vega was hired with other companies to bring down landmark buildings throughout the years such as the Ranch Inn Casino, Grammar No. 1 and Elko General Hospital. Recently, they helped clear structures in Osino to prepare for the Northeastern Nevada Regional Railport.
Today, Manuel’s family includes nine grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren and a large extended family who are preparing to celebrate Manuel’s 90th birthday. Amy died in 2014.
“He’s a loving, kind, generous man, the patriarch of the family,” said granddaughter Sailsea Dixon. “He’s led by example and touched the lives of many.”
ELKO 100: David Dotta
Elko’s longest serving mayor, Dave Dotta, held office for 26 years. During his tenure, Dotta led Elko through the Great Depression and World War II as Elko grew in population and size.
David Dotta was born April 1, 1887, to Swiss immigrants Emilo and Ercolina Dotta. Dave’s father, Emilo, was a successful businessman, owning real estate and businesses including the local brickyard. One of his developments was a two-story building on the corner of Idaho and Fifth streets that first housed the Elko Free Press and later Dupont Pharmacy.
Dave attended school in Elko and was a member of Elko County High School’s first football team. He graduated in 1907 and worked for his father’s businesses around town. He also was a member of the Elko Fire Department Bucket Brigade.
In 1921, Dave married Rosa Sperlich of Carlin. That year he was elected to the Elko Board of City Supervisors, formed after Elko’s incorporation in 1917. During his term on the council, city officials purchased the China Ranch that later became the city park, golf course, ball fields and the Elko County Fairgrounds.
After Elko’s third mayor, W.S. Dupont, declined to run for a second term, Dotta was elected in 1929. According to Reva Lundberg, “Dotta was a guiding force in helping Elko survive the Great Depression.”
Dotta saw the need to secure water sources for the growing city. He authorized purchases of land that secured water rights in and around Elko, also creating development opportunities for the future.
Dave and Rosa personally invested in many properties around Elko including the Hot Springs Swimming Pool and Hot Hole on Bullion Road.
Mayor Dotta became nationally known when Elko County rancher Bing Crosby was named Honorary Mayor in 1948. A photograph of Dotta supervising Crosby sweeping the street in front of the Ranchinn was published in newspapers across the county.
Crosby later presented Dotta with a “Levi Tuxedo” during the 1951 Silver State Stampede. Dotta cherished the gift the rest of his life, wearing the tuxedo on special occasions.
After Dotta was defeated for re-election in 1955 by Frank Williams, he spent his retirement researching the history of Elko and wrote about the buildings made with bricks from his father’s brickyard. He also traveled extensively throughout the United States and visited four continents.
Mayor Dotta died January 1, 1975, three years after Rosa’s passing.
ELKO 100: J. Harvey Sewell
Sewell’s grocery stores operated in Elko and northern Nevada for seventy years. Owner and businessman, J. Harvey Sewell was also an important figure in banking and ranching, and he aided Elko’s economic growth during those years.
Jonas Harvey Sewell was born in Tuscarora on April 29, 1899 to A.W. and Katherine McCarthy Sewell. The oldest of his brothers, Abner and Herbert, the family grew up in Tuscarora as their father ran their first general merchandise store that opened in 1897.
Growing up in Tuscarora, Harvey learned business from his father. He served in the army during World War I and returned home to join his brothers in running A.W. Sewell’s stores, located in Elko and throughout Nevada. The brothers acquired other stores in Utah, Idaho, Colorado and Nebraska, eventually increasing to 73 stores.
Harvey married Mollie Short of Ruby Valley in 1924. They made their home in Elko and raised their daughters, Dorothy and Mary Lou. In 1939, the brothers sold the out-of-state stores and focused on their Nevada locations.
That year, Sewell became interested in banking. After a failed partnership with Harold Hemingway, he and O.B. Bates formed Nevada Bank of Commerce in 1941. Harvey credited Bates for teaching him his banking philosophy which was to “try to see to it that the borrower was helped to meet his obligation.” At the company’s peak, it grew to 10 banks across the state and was valued at $90 million.
Harvey also held interests in ranching, developing over 2,000 acres of land in Diamond Valley that grew alfalfa to feed over 3,000 head of cattle. He also financed promising entrepreneurs such as Red Ellis and helped new start new businesses such as Tom Carter’s freight company, Interstate Motor Lines.
In 1967, Sewell sold the grocery chain to Mayfair Markets and later retired from banking, serving as Security National Bank’s consultant. Among numerous honors he received, the Distinguished Nevadan Award from the University of Nevada and a special recognition from the Nevada State Cattle Association and Nevada Woolgrowers Association, were his most meaningful.
Harvey and Mollie’s daughters, Dorothy and Mary Lou, married Drs. Thomas and Morris Gallagher, respectively. They cited their parent’s encouragement and Harvey’s business sense for helping them to achieve their careers in education and business.
J. Harvey and Mollie were married for 51 years when Harvey died August 2, 1975 at the age of 76. After a long illness, Mollie died a year later.
ELKO 100:Judge Joseph O. McDaniel
Joseph McDaniel served 20 years on the bench as Elko District Court Judge. Along with the courtesy and respect he gave to all who entered his courtroom, he presided over a variety of civil and criminal cases during his years as judge, managing the increase in work as Elko’s population boomed.
Joseph O. McDaniel was born in 1924 to J.B. and Helen McDaniel. He grew up with six siblings on his parents’ homestead claim on Tobar Flats, south of Wells.
McDaniel graduated from Wells High School in 1942. During World War II he was assigned to the Army Air Corps, 319th Depot Repair Squadron. Joseph and his squad worked on B-25, B-24, and B-17 bombers while they were stationed in North Africa and Italy.
After the war, Joseph attended the University of Utah on the GI Bill and married Theo Henry of Elko. They had three children, Susan, Jennifer, and Joseph Craig.
In 1952, McDaniel graduated with his law degree and moved the family to Elko. He passed the bar exam and began a private practice before becoming the deputy District Attorney under Grant Sawyer in 1953, gaining prosecution experience in civil and criminal cases.
Joseph succeeded Sawyer as DA when Sawyer was elected as Nevada’s governor in 1959. Joseph served eight years before resuming private practice with the firm Vaughn, Hull, McDaniel and Marfisi.
In 1971, McDaniel won his first election as District Judge to replace out-going judge George F. Wright. He served on the bench for 20 years and ran unopposed in three elections.
Extending courtesy to all who entered his courtroom, Judge McDaniel believed that even criminals “are still human beings and should be considered and treated with respect.” During his time as judge, he saw the amount of cases rise as the population in Elko County grow, leading to the creation of a second department and election of another District Court Judge.
Judge McDaniel was named Jurist of the Year in 1985 by the Nevada Trial Lawyers Association and served as president for one year of the Nevada District Judges Association.
Joseph and his wife, Theo, were married 42 years before her death in 1989. He married Donna Johnson of Reno shortly before his retirement from the bench and was honored as being the first Elko County Judge with a portrait installed near his former courtroom.
Judge McDaniel died April 18, 2006 in Reno at the age of 82.
ELKO 100: Waddie Mitchell
Waddie Mitchell brought national attention to Elko through his poetry and stories of life as a cowboy and ranching. For over 30 years, Waddie’s cowboy poetry helped the growth of the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering while entertaining audiences of all ages and backgrounds.
Bruce Douglas Mitchell was born in 1950 to Douglas and Barbara Mitchell. He grew up on the Horseshoe Ranch 30 miles south of Elko, working alongside cowboys and hired hands. He was given the nickname “Waddie,” a synonym for cowhand.
At 16, Waddie left school to work on ranches full-time and served in the U.S. Army breaking and training horses for the U.S. Cavalry. He also began to recite stories he heard from his childhood and work on his own poetry.
“I can’t ever remember ‘finding’ cowboy poetry,” Mitchell said in an interview recalling his start in reciting poetry. “It was always there.” Waddie began to make appearances at various poetry and storytelling festivals around the country telling audiences humorous and poignant stories about life as a cowboy on the ranch.
In 1984, he and Hal Cannon organized the first Cowboy Poetry Gathering held in Elko. A year later, he was invited to perform on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson,” his first network television appearance.
Throughout his career, Waddie has been featured in various TV programs and profiled in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and National Geographic.
Mitchell’s work was also noticed by many organizations, including the Smithsonian Institution, which invited him to their Annual Festival of American Folklife in 1985. He received the Governor’s Arts Award for Literature that same year.
Mitchell has also been commissioned to write poems commemorating special events. “That No Quit Attitude” was used throughout the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games while “Dame Nevada” was written in honor of Nevada’s 150th anniversary.
Today, Waddie writes and records his poetry as he travels around the country. He returns every January to Elko as a featured host and performer at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.
ELKO 100: The Hunter Family
For about 40 of Elko’s first 100 years, the Hunter and Rainbo Theaters were the center of live entertainment and movies for local residents. Hunter family members were also early settlers and contributed to the development of the city.
William Hunter arrived in Elko around 1869. His brother, Thomas, joined him and they became ranchers west of Elko along the Humboldt River, running livestock on the open range. Years later, the Hunter Exit of Interstate 80 was named for the families’ ranch holdings in the area.
William and his wife, Addie, left the ranching business and started a small dairy business. John, the oldest of five children, furthered his education at a business college in San Francisco. He married Viola Beaulieu in 1904 and raised their children, Dorothy and Jack, in Elko.
John and Viola started a general merchandise store in 1905 and opened a bakery next door. They bought the Bradley Opera House in 1923, but sold it along with the bakery to build a new theater for musical performances and graduation ceremonies.
The Hunter Theater opened November 7, 1926, showing two silent movies and featuring live performances. The theater, located at 339 Railroad St., hosted high school plays, local productions, and traveling vaudeville-style acts.
John brought his son Jack in as a partner in the 1930s. A second theater, The Elvada, opened next door to the Hunter. The Rainbo Theater was built at Fifth and Court Streets when The Elvada closed in 1947. In the late 1950s, the Rainbo Lanes Bowling Alley replaced the theater.
In 1951, both theaters showed the premiere of Honorary Mayor Bing Crosby’s movie, “Here Comes the Groom.” The event drew coverage from the national press as movie stars and politicians, which included the governors from Nevada and Utah, arrived in Elko for a three-day celebration.
The Hunter family, apart from the theater, was active in local and state politics. John served on the Elko school board and the Nevada Board of Education. He also led a fundraising drive with businessman Louis Dreeben to buy property for the U.S. government to build the Elko Main Post Office.
Jack served as state assemblyman and was appointed chairman of the Nevada Tax Commission and Board of Equalization. He and his wife, Jean Nicol, raised their family in Elko.
After the death of his parents, Jack sold the theater and bowling alley. Both were eventually torn down shortly after their sale. Jack and Jean lived in Elko until his death in 1986.
ELKO 100: Barbara Errecart
Lifelong resident Barbara Errecart contributed heavily to Elko as a businesswoman and volunteer. Her public service culminated in holding a seat on the city council for two terms.
Barbara Roylance was born in Utah in 1938 to Lloyd and Eleanor Roylance. Her father’s work as a railroad carpenter brought the family to Elko in 1940.
Barbara graduated Elko High School as a National Mathematics Scholar and attended the Colorado School of Mines to study geology. She was also a pilot and a member of the Civil Air Patrol, becoming the first woman in Nevada to fly a jet.
In 1958, she married Basque immigrant Jack Errecart, who then owned the Silver Dollar Bar. Together they bought the Clifton Bar and Hotel, one of the local Basque hotels, and ran it for more than 35 years. Jack served the customers while Barbara did the bookkeeping for the hotel. They also raised three children: Kimberly, Lindia and Jacques.
Due to her children’s activities, Barbara volunteered in Girl Scouts, 4-H, Little League, and Basque dancing. She was a member of Soroptimist International and helped organize the Downtown Business Association.
In the 1970s, Barbara entered public service as a member of the steering committee for Project Lifesaver and contributed to the South Fork Dam project. She also worked to raise funds and labor for the Greenbelt Park in the downtown corridor. Barbara was on the city planning commission from 1981-1982.
In 1983, Barbara was elected to the city council. She became the first woman elected to the city council and the second woman to serve on the council since Stella Gammick completed her late husband Johnny’s term in 1967. She served two terms and completed her second term in 1991.
Barbara continued working at the Clifton and started Errecart Information Services. She was honored with the Nevada’s Role Model Award in 1995 and served on the Nevada Rural Housing Authority board.
Over the years, Barbara envisioned a third bridge over the Humboldt River west of Fifth Street. After it was completed, the bridge and the boulevard, where Northern Nevada Regional Hospital is located, were named for her.
Barbara and Jack were married nearly 40 years before his death in 1997. She later met and married Lee Chambers. They moved to Mountain City and traveled around the country taking part in excavation projects in Boston and Santa Cruz, Calif.
Barbara died in 2011 at the age of 72.
ELKO 100: Jaureguis started a lasting tradition
For more than 100 years, The Star Hotel has provided traditional Basque meals to Elkoans and visitors. Both a home for Basque sheepherders and landmark of local Basque culture, the Star’s popularity increased over the decades due to their traditional Basque menu and famous Picon Punch.
Pete and Matilde Jauregui opened the Star in 1910. Both immigrants from Spain and former employees of the Telescope Hotel, the Jaureguis understood the need for Basque sheepherders to have a home and family atmosphere when visiting Elko in between jobs.
The camaraderie and support from other Basques along with traditional dishes such as lamb, steak and baked beans, quickly made the Star a destination for sheepherders and other Basque immigrants.
Pete Jauregui was the first chef of the Star and “his standards made the hotel’s dining room famous.” Guests were charged $1.00 for room and board, and drinks for 10 cents.
The Jaureguis sold the Star in 1929 to Joe Corta, who immediately sold it to G.F. Arrascada and Albert Garamendi.
After 14 years, the Jaureguis repurchased the Star. However, rationing during World War II and few employees prompted Pete to sell it again, this time to Fred and Bibiana Bengoa.
The 1950s saw the Star change hands twice to Margurite and Domingo Orzamis and then to Jose Juaristi and Luis Alfonso Esnoz. Another sale took place in the 1960s to Joe and Anita Sarasua, who kept the Hotel until selling it to Miguel and Teresa Leonis and Severiano Lazano in 1989.
In 2004, Star was purchased by Elko native Scott Ygoa.
Owned by 14 different Basque proprietors since 1910, the Star has preserved the traditional family dining style and menu items with some additions over the years. Long-term boarders still reside in the hotel, paying weekly or monthly rates.
In its 106-year history, the Star’s popularity never diminished and it is regularly featured in tourist magazines and profiles about Elko.
In 2012, the Star was named TravelNevada.com’s “Top Treasure” in Nevada’s Cowboy Country territory. A year later, it was named best rural restaurant by Nevada Magazine.
Recently, Elkoans voted the Star as the Best Place to Take Out of Town Guests along with having the Best Salad and Best Steak Sandwich in the annual Elko Daily Free Press Readers’ Choice survey.
ELKO 100: Jess Lopategui
An immigrant of Spain, Jess Lopategui has been one of the leaders in the Basque community for nearly 60 years. As owner of the Elko Blacksmith Shop, he also contributed larger-than-life monuments to the city and county as symbols for the Shovel Brigade and the armed forces.
Jess Lopategui was born November 4, 1938, in Spain. At the age of 15, he arrived in Elko in 1957 under a three-year contract to herd sheep for the Western Range Association. At the end of his second contract he attended school in California and returned to Elko in 1966.
While working as a bartender at the Nevada House, he met Denise Arregui. They married in 1967 and raised their children, Mikel and Maite, in Elko. Jess started working at Elko Blacksmith Shop, owned by Denise’s parents Frank and Elena Arregui, in 1971. He and Denise joined the company as partners in 1980.
An original member of the Basque Club that began in 1959, Jess helped organize the National Basque Festival, serving as an announcer for the events. He also enters in the Sheepherder’s Bread Contest and Auction, baking bread in a traditional oven he once used as a sheepherder.
Lopategui’s involvement in the Basque community also included a weekly radio broadcast spoken in the Basque language for sheepherders in the area from 1968 to 1980.
Over the years, Jess has contributed to promoting his culture and heritage in various ways. Notably, he organized the planting of saplings from the Tree of Gernika, a symbol of Basque history, at the Basque Club House and at the Peace Park. In 2003, he was chosen as grand marshal of the Basque Festival Parade.
Using his skills from the Blacksmith shop, Lopategui designed and built a giant shovel to represent the Shovel Brigade, a response to the South Canyon Road dispute in Jarbidge. Lopategui also built a large bucket as a symbol for a similar land issue in Klamath Falls, Ore.
After the war in Iraq began, Lopategui created a 13½ foot tall candle, designed to burn in honor of the armed services fighting overseas. In 2003, the Elko County Commissioners presented a plaque in recognition of his contributions to the county through his specialized creations.
In 2005, Jess and Denise sold Elko Blacksmith and retired. They continue to live in Elko and participate in the Basque Club and National Basque Festivals held every year.
ELKO 100: The Griswold Family
The Griswold family has roots in Elko going back nearly 150 years. Over the decades, the family tree grew to include a former governor, three-star general and benefactor.
The Griswold brothers — Ike, Billy, Chauncy and Al — settled in Elko County around the late 1800s. Originally from Missouri, the brothers established a sheep ranch in Ruby Valley. Named for the family, Griswold Lake in the Ruby Mountains is located near where the brothers ranched.
Ike became involved in politics, elected to the state Legislature and as county commissioner. Billy served on the Ruby Valley school board and was a sheriff’s deputy. Chauncy established the Sheep Ranch near Fort Halleck and Lamoille.
The next generation of Griswolds took on various careers. Billy’s oldest son, Oscar, was appointed to West Point in 1906, serving in World War I and World War II, rising to the rank of three-star general.
Oscar’s cousin Issac Morley, son of Chauncy, earned his law degree from the University of Michigan. After working as an attorney in Elko, he was twice elected lieutenant governor in 1926 and 1930. After the death of Governor Fred Balzar in 1934, Morley became governor for nine months, but did not win the office in the following election.
Chauncy’s other son, Gordon, was an aviator, a member of the OX-5 club that flew World War I era airplanes. He took over his father’s ranching company in Lamoille and expanded it to the Griswold and Henderson Livestock Company.
Other generations of the family included engineer Jack Griswold, who worked for the BLM and Chilton Engineering. Lee Griswold of Carlin worked for the Nevada Division of Forestry and served on the Carlin City Council and as mayor.
Elizabeth “Beth” Griswold, wife of Willard, left her entire estate of $2.7 million to Great Basin College in 2002. The posthumous bequest resulted in the purchase and renovation of the former Heritage Rehabilitation Center on Walnut Street into a dormitory named after her, Griswold Hall.
According to family historian Coralee Griswold Miller in her article “Griswolds in Elko County,” published in the Northeastern Nevada Museum Historical Society Quarterly in 2000, there were approximately 245 descendants of Ike, Billy and Chauncy Griswold in the United States. A genealogical organization, the Griswold Family Association, was founded in 1929.
Today, Coralee is the genealogist for the Association. She has served on the boards of the Western Folklife Center, Northeastern Nevada Museum, and the California Trail Interpretive Center.
ELKO 100: The McMullen Family
Early settlers with roots in Starr Valley’s ranching community, the McMullen family served Elko as volunteers and business owners while contributing to higher education.
Sam and Hugh McMullen were born to Samuel and Mary Doan McMullen. Samuel was the son of Irish and British immigrants. Along with their brother and sister, Joseph and Fay, they were raised on their grandfather’s ranch in Starr Valley. All four were members of 4-H and each attended the University of California, Berkeley.
Sam graduated from Elko County High School in 1936 married Joyce Slatter in 1941. He served in World War II as an aerial gunner instructor. At Berkeley, he earned an accounting and business administration degree. He and Joyce returned to Elko where they raised their children, Kay, Colleen and Samuel.
Becoming business owners, Sam started McMullen-McPhee Insurance company. Joyce owned and operated Lillian’s Apparel for five years and ran the Elko Independent with her daughter Kay Thompson.
In the community, Sam volunteered at the Elko County Fair pari-mutuel betting, and served on the Elko County School Board and Nevada Board of Education.
Joyce also participated on numerous boards and organizations including the Red Cross, P.E.O. Sisterhood and the Lay Advisory Board for University of Nevada Reno’s College of Education.
They were both selected to be the grand marshals of the 1995 Nevada Day Parade.
Sam and Joyce were married for five years when Sam died in 1997. Joyce died five years later in 2002.
Hugh McMullen also earned a business administration degree from the University of California and served in the Navy during World War II. He returned to Elko and managed the 71 Ranch. In 1946, Hugh married Rae Scott, an officer in WAVES during World War II. The couple raised their children, Cyd and Russ, on the Ranch.
In 1951, the family moved to Elko where Hugh ran his own insurance and real estate company. He also served as a state assemblyman and was the chairman of the Elko County Republican Party.
Hugh also took an active part in Northeastern Nevada Community College as chairman of the advisory board. After his death in 1979, McMullen Hall on the Great Basin College campus was dedicated in his honor.
Rae continued Hugh’s insurance business and served on the Northeastern Nevada Historical Society and Elko General Hospital Auxiliary. She was also appointed to serve on the Nevada Judicial Selection Committee by Gov. Robert List in 1978. Rae died in 1982.
ELKO 100: W.S. Dupont
Businessman W.S. Dupont served as Elko’s third mayor and launched Dupont Pharmacy, a mainstay at the corner of Fifth and Idaho Streets for nearly 70 years.
Walter S. Dupont arrived in Elko in 1915. The Elko Independent announced Dupont’s intentions to open a pharmacy. Prior to relocating, he sold two pharmacy businesses in Ford Bidwell, California and New Pine Creek, Oregon to concentrate on his new venture.
The business grew steadily and Dupont became a certified dealer for Edison phonographs and Chevrolet automobiles. In 1920, the store moved to its longtime location at 374 Fifth St. The new store allowed more room for pharmacy products, a soda fountain, and separate areas for Edison merchandise and Chevrolet sales.
Dupont became involved in politics and was chosen as a delegate to the National Republican Convention in 1920 that elected Warren G. Harding as President of the United States. Later, he was appointed to the Elko County Republican Central Committee.
On March 25, 1927, the Elko Free Press reported Dupont entered the race for mayor against George Russell Jr., primarily to make the race more competitive as Russell was the only candidate. The Free Press also endorsed Dupont and noted that, “He has been … one of our most successful businessmen for many years.”
Dupont was elected mayor May 4, 1927, and held office for two years. During his term, he made improvements to traffic control and the Elko airfield, yet was unable to do as much as he hoped for Elko’s growth. At the end of his last year, he chose to run for city council instead of mayor, telling the Free Press he found it difficult to manage his business interests and hold office simultaneously.
For the next 10 years, Dupont ran the pharmacy until illness in 1938 made him decide to return to his hometown of Detroit. He sold his business to Dr. R.P. Roantree and left Elko. Soon after arriving in Detroit, he died January 2, 1939.
Between 1948 and 1970, Dupont Pharmacy was owned by John and Jack Hunter, Howard Eppling, Earl Bonham and finally George Morley. Dupont Pharmacy continued to operate until Morley closed the store in 1988 and transferred prescription records to Payless Drug Store.
The vacant building became the home of Cherished Friends in the early 1990s, selling crafts, gifts and consignment items until closing in 2010.
ELKO 100: Bertha Knemeyer
Bertha Knemeyer served Elko as an educator for 30 years, and became the first woman in the state to be appointed deputy state superintendent of public instruction.
Knemeyer was born in Carson City on October 30, 1885, to German immigrants and grew up in the Carson Valley with her brother and sister. Her aptitude for math and learning prompted her family to hire a tutor to prepare her for enrollment at the University of Nevada in Reno.
Tutored by Dr. G.E. Leavitt, Bertha learned math, Latin, science and German. In 1902, she was accepted by the university without a formal high school diploma. She majored in mathematics and was a member of Delta Rho sorority and Phi Kappa Phi academic honor society.
Bertha graduated in 1906 at the age of 20, one of the youngest in her class. Her first job was a teaching position at Elko County High School, where she instructed in math, German, Latin, science, and physical education. Two years later she was named vice principal and dean of girls.
In 1916, Knemeyer was appointed the deputy state superintendent of public instruction, the first woman in the state to hold that position. For three years, she drove to the schools in her district in her Model T Ford before resigning and working as a teaching principal at Metropolis High School for a year.
Bertha returned to Elko as the new principal of ECHS. Along with her administrative duties, she taught higher mathematics classes. The school also grew in enrollment and added a dormitory for out-of-town students.
During the summer, she worked on her master’s degree at several universities. Knemeyer also served as a vice president of the National Education Association and was a delegate to the Convention of the World Federation of Education Associations held in Geneva, Switzerland.
She was also active in the community as a member of PEO Sisterhood, a past matron of the Order of the Eastern Star, and one of the founding members of the Twentieth Century Club. She also arranged special lectures and Chautauqua events.
In 1936, Knemeyer retired from the school district after 30 years of service, including 16 years as principal in Elko. She traveled and worked on her Ph.D. at Columbia University.
Knemeyer resumed teaching at private schools in California until 1950, when she retired again and focused on lecturing teaching methods for mathematics and geometry.
Bertha Knemeyer died at her sister’s home in Mount Shasta, California September 9, 1963.
ELKO 100: Stu Rider
Broadcaster Stu Rider hosted KELK’s morning radio program for 30 years. He informed and entertained Elkoans for three decades with local news, weather and music.
Stuart I. “Stu” Rider was born in Spokane, Washington on October 2, 1926. His military career started in 1942, first serving with the U.S. Marines in the South Pacific during World War II. In 1946, Stu then served with the U.S. Air Force Training Command until 1950.
During his years in the service, Rider began his broadcasting career. Ironically, he was stationed at Scott AFB in Illinois the same time D. Ray Gardner was there, however, they did not meet until years later.
After leaving the service, Rider continued broadcasting at stations around the country including Hawaii and Guam, gaining experience as a chief engineer, station manager, operations manager and news anchor.
In 1969, Stu joined Gardner, the new station manager of KELK, as a news and music director. He soon became the station’s “morning man” DJ, broadcasting from 6 to 9 a.m. Rider read local news and weather, introduced Paul Harvey segments, and held trivia contests Monday through Friday. He also contributed to commercials and called local youth ball games.
Apart from radio, Rider lent his voice to projects including Howard Hickson’s award-winning slideshow presentation “Jarbidge.” He also played for the Elko Men’s Softball League for about 10 years.
Rider was also recognized for his personality and quality of delivery, according to Gardner, who recalled how a traveler on Interstate 80 heard Rider’s broadcast of a little league game and thought a semi-professional game was taking place in Elko.
Rider met and married Margaret Geear of England in 1974. They raised their daughter, Tenille, in Elko. Stu enjoyed his work at KELK radio, calling his job “doing what I do best.”
Rider served as the morning man for KELK for about 30 years. He died May 18, 1999 at the age of 72. A month later, the Nevada Broadcasters Hall of Fame honored his memory during their induction ceremony.
ELKO 100: Dr. David Hogle
For 36 years, Dr. Dave Hogle has served residents of Elko as an internist with the Elko Clinic. Returning to practice after a spinal cord injury, Dr. Hogle continues to care for his patients, mentor medical students, and contribute to the community through Horizon Hospice.
David Hogle was born in Los Angeles in 1950. He attended the University of California at Los Angeles, graduating from the David Geffen School of Medicine in 1976.
In 1980, he married Janice King and he soon joined the Elko Clinic as an internist. They moved to Elko and raised two children, Eric and Casey.
Along with his work at the Clinic, Dr. Hogle became involved with the Red Cross and Horizon Hospice, where he currently serves as a board member. He was recognized with the “Heart of Hospice” award for his work with the organization.
For 28 years, Dr. Hogle has also mentored students and residents from the University of Nevada Reno School of Medicine. For his service “as a role model for teaching and clinical practice,” he was honored by UNR with the Dr. Thomas J. Scully award in 2014.
Dr. Hogle’s practice was interrupted in late 2002 after suffering a spinal cord injury when he fell from the roof of his home. Paralyzed from the mid-chest down, he returned to practice six months later with the aid of a motorized wheelchair and specially equipped van.
He credited “overwhelming support from the community” and colleagues, as well as his extensive rehabilitation therapy, which included cycling on a special electrical stimulus bicycle, for bringing him back to work within a year of his injury.
In 2004, 40 local physicians honored Dr. Hogle with a special commendation that congratulated him on his “determination and miraculous recovery and return to practice.” He was also recognized as a “Real Hero” by the Red Cross for his dedication to his patients and his family.
Today, Dr. Hogle continues to enjoy working and living in Elko with his wife Jan, and recently described Elko as a “great spot to raise a family” and a place to “provide better and more extensive care for people than in a big city.”
ELKO 100: Carl Pacini
For the nearly ninety years Carl Pacini lived in Elko, he participated in the community as a businessman, volunteer, and outdoorsman and was also known as the “Poet Laureate” of Elko County.
Carl Adolph Pacini was born January 18, 1924, in Elko to Frank and Niccola Pacini. He graduated from Elko County High School in 1941 and went to work for First National Bank and Western Pacific Railroad.
In 1943, Carl was drafted into the United States Army during World War II, serving under General George S. Patton in the 80th Infantry Division. The war took him through England, France, and Germany and, in 1944, he received the Purple Heart.
After being discharged, Pacini returned to Elko and resumed working for Western Pacific Railroad. He also met and married Glenna Monks on December 7, 1946. Together, they raised their children Karen, Frank and Carlene.
Carl worked for Ideal Cleaners before forming a partnership with Sim Churchfield to start C&P Poultry Farm and later C&P Dry Cleaners. They, along with Marv Churchfield and George Atwood, formed West Incorporated. The company developed property in Mountain City and on Bullion Road and East Idaho Street.
In addition to business, Carl was an avid outdoorsman, hunting, fishing and hiking around Elko County. He served as president of the Elko County Sportsmen’s Association and the Nevada Wildlife Federation as well as a member of the Nevada Fish & Game board for seven years.
Pacini was active with sports, playing with the Elko Men’s Volleyball League and for the Stockmen’s basketball team for many years. His other activities included serving on the Elko Senior Citizens Center board and the Elko County Fair Board. He and Glenna were also longtime members of the Sagebrush Spinners square dancing group.
Over the years, Carl bred and raised quarter horses for racing, winning many competitions with “The Swede” and “Smooth Sis.”
In Carl’s later years, he became known as a poet, writing poems for various occasions. Working with the Northeastern Nevada Museum, he recounted his memories of life growing up in Elko during the Great Depression and World War II. The museum honored Carl with a poetry reading in 2006, which eventually led to a book of his poems being published, titled “A Lifetime in 2013.”
Six weeks after his book was printed, Carl was admitted to St. Mark’s Hospital in Salt Lake City. He died January 16, 2014, two days before his 90th birthday.
ELKO 100: Max Wignall
Lifelong resident Max Wignall ran the Elko Independent newspaper for 20 years. He also contributed heavily to the community, serving as a volunteer in a wide range of organizations and activities.
Max C. Wignall was born August 28, 1927, to Melvin and Aurelia Wignall. His father’s job with the Air Mail Service started Max’s love with airplanes and model plane building. He obtained his pilot’s license while still in high school.
Hired as a delivery boy, Max began his long career at the Elko Independent, working for Warren “Snowy” and Mary Monroe. He became a printer’s devil and by the age of 15 was running the presses after school.
Wignall graduated from Elko County High School in 1945 and served in the U.S. Army for the remainder of World War II stationed in Germany.
After being discharged in 1947, Wignall returned to Elko and resumed working for the Independent. On November 22, 1947, he married Barbara Bardsley. Together they raised their children, Nick and Kelly, while Max continued to work at the newspaper and print shop, soon becoming shop foreman.
In 1974, Max and Barbara bought the newspaper from the Monroes. While Barbara continued as the secretary of Southside Elementary, she helped with bookkeeping at night. His column, “Two Cents Worth,” was a regular feature in the Independent even after his retirement.
While working for the paper, Wignall contributed in various ways around Elko. For 20 years he was a volunteer fireman and served as Battalion Chief. Max also devoted time to civic boards including the Elko Planning Commission, the Convention Center Board, Democratic Central Committee, and the committee to design and build the Elko County Jail.
Additionally, he was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Civil Air Patrol, Elko Jaycees, the Lions Club, and Rotary. He also officiated softball and Little League games and was an announcer at Summit Raceway. Always a model airplane enthusiast, he formed the Elko Radio Control Club in 1970.
Max was honored by the Nevada State Press Association in 1986 with the Silver Makeup Rule Award. He and Barbara sold the Elko Independent to Sam and Joyce McMullen and Kay McMullen Thompson in 1994. Barbara had already retired the year before, serving 27 years with the school district.
In retirement, Max continued to work with those interested in flying model airplanes. He and Barbara were married for 63 years when he died March 22, 2011 at the age of 83. Barbara died two years later in 2013.
ELKO 100: Kelly Ostler
For 16 years, Kelly Ostler served with Horizon Hospice as a volunteer and coordinator. Comforting and educating patients and their families, Ostler continued her work with Hospice even as she battled her own cancer diagnosis.
Kelly Sue Landenberger was born November 26, 1964. She grew up in Elko and graduated from Elko High School in 1982. That year, Kelly married Mike Ostler and they had two daughters, Misty and Kelsey.
After earning her degree in social work from the University of Nevada Reno, Kelly was employed by Elko General Hospital as a discharge planner. She began to see a need for hospice treatment and pain management among terminally ill patients. She also saw a need for helping low-income patients with pain management and costs associated with medications
Joining with nurses Phyllis Cash, Marilee Kuhl, Nancy Gehrman and social worker Lorraine Demarest, Ostler formed Horizon Hospice in 1988. Starting as a volunteer and trainer, Kelly and the staff cared for patients and families with grief support, meal preparation, respite care, transportation and companionship.
By 1995, the program grew to serve more than 30 patients a year and Kelly became the hospice coordinator. She also planned seminars that educated families and medical personnel about stress, bereavement, and pain medications.
Kelly also was involved in the community, helping to start the RSVP program and coaching the Elko Anacondas swim team for eight years.
In February of 2004, Ostler found a lump in her breast. Over the course of a year, she underwent chemotherapy and surgery to remove 18 lymph nodes and had a double-mastectomy. A six-month check-up in 2005 revealed the cancer had spread into her bones.
Continuing to serve with hospice, Kelly continued to work with patients and share her day-to-day battle with cancer. Determined not to allow the disease to slow her down she coached the Anacondas, played golf with Mike, and took a vacation to Hawaii with her family.
“I do all the things I’ve always enjoyed,” she said in an interview in April of 2005.
Ostler continued working for Hospice until October of that year, seven months after learning the cancer spread to her lungs. She died November 7, 2005 at home with her family by her side. She was 40 years old.
After her death, the Horizon Hospice Memorial Garden at Elko City Park was named in honor.
ELKO 100: George Russell
A colorful figure in the early days of Elko, rancher George Russell owned one of Elko’s general merchandise stores while operating one of Nevada’s largest cattle ranches. The Russell mausoleum in the Elko Cemetery is the only remaining sign of the legendary cattleman.
George Russell was born April 15, 1837, in Belfast, Ireland. At the age of 16, he followed his older brother, James, to America in 1853. Together they traveled to California by sailing around Cape Horn. First settling in Placer County, George became a businessman involved in freight and merchandise.
Upon hearing about the Comstock Lode in Virginia City, Russell moved his business to Nevada, ending up in Cortez after silver was discovered in the area. There, he met Lewis Rice and John Ruben Bradley and formed a partnership with them.
The firm, Russell & Company, operated for 25 years, at one time holding 10,000 head of cattle in the O’Neil and Canyon Creek ranges. To transport cattle out of Idaho, George ferried them across the Snake River to northern Elko County.
Apart from his business interests, Russell married Mattie Marchand and had five children: twins Lida and Ruth, George Jr., Margaret, and Mattie. He also was involved in politics, serving in the Legislature and as a delegate to Democratic National Conventions, even once nominated for governor.
After dissolving the company, George bought the W.T. Smith General Merchandise store and opened the George Russell Company. The venture was successful and noted for the display of fresh beef on poles in front of the store.
Russell was also known for his colorful personality. According to Edna Patterson, he was “a tall, heavy-set man with a short goatee, spoke in a short, clipped manner with an Irish accent.”
Even with the store, Russell was better known for his cattle holdings and was reported to be the largest landowner in the state in 1918, owning 40,749 acres. He started two ranching organizations, the State Cattle Association and the Nevada State Stockmen’s Association, however they both failed to last more than a few years.
On May 10, 1924, George Russell died following a stroke. A large funeral procession held two days later left his home on the corner of Pine and Fifth Streets and marched to the Russell Family mausoleum at the Elko City Cemetery, across from Elko High School. Built in 1917, it holds the entire Russell family and serves as a tribute to Elko’s own cattle baron.
ELKO 100: Bill Wunderlich
For over 70 years, Bill Wunderlich served Elko as a businessman and community volunteer. One of the founders of Great Basin College, Wunderlich also supported other local institutions including the Northeastern Nevada Museum, Silver State Stampede, and the Elko Air Races.
William F. Wunderlich was born April 19, 1923, in Rock Springs, Wyoming, to William and Loretta Wunderlich. Bill’s family, including his brothers Jack and Gene and sister, Charlene, moved to Elko when their father became the manager of United Air Lines.
Bill graduated from Elko High School and became a B17 pilot in the U.S. Army Air Corps. In World War II, his plane was shot down twice over Czechoslovakia and Italy and both times he was taken as a prisoner of war.
Upon returning to Elko, he married Marge Hachquet on February 23, 1945. They both attended the University of Colorado in Boulder City before returning to Elko and raising their family: Carol, Rob, Willie and Ricky.
Bill worked for and later owned Stinson Berger Furniture Company. He sold it and opened his own business, Wunderlich Insurance Agency, selling New York Life and Aflac insurance.
In 1967, believing in Elko’s need for a community college, Wunderlich joined with other Elko businessmen and professionals, Bob Burns Jr., Mark Chilton, Dr. Hugh Collett, Fred Harris, Albert Huber, Mike Marfisi, Dr. Les Moren, Paul Sawyer, and Mel Steninger to raise money for what is now Great Basin College.
Known among his colleagues for his tireless efforts to raise money alongside Paul Sawyer, Bill saw the college as benefiting Elko’s growth and future. In a history of the college up to 1993, he wrote, “In retrospect, what would Elko be if we hadn’t moved ahead with the college?”
Bill was also a member of the Elko Rotary, served as president of the Elko Jaycees and was a member of the Republican Party. He supported numerous projects including the building of the Basque Clubhouse, the Elko Convention Center, Northeastern Nevada Museum, and St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. He was involved in the Elko County Fair, the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering and created the Elko Air Races.
In retirement, Bill and Marge moved to Oak Harbor, Washington, in 2000 to be near family. After 69 years of marriage, Marge died in 2014. Bill died a year later at the age of 92.
ELKO 100: Ernie Hall
For 50 years, Ernie Hall served Elko in three different occupations as a politician, juvenile probation officer and sports broadcaster and is best remembered for his contributions to Little League baseball.
Lee Ernest Hall was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan. After the death of his father, his mother raised him and his two brothers. Moving to Reno, Ernie was involved in Reno High School sports, playing for the Huskies in football, basketball and track. He also won election as student body president, defeating classmate and future lawmaker Bill Raggio.
Hall graduated in 1944 and served in the U.S. Navy for three years in the Pacific Theater. After being discharged he married his first wife Annette Donati of Reno and they had three daughters, Lynne Vicki and Terri.
In 1951, Ernie and his family moved to Elko where he started Elko Glass Company. He sold the business and worked as manager for the Commercial Hotel and Ranchinn Motor Lodge. With partners, he later formed Ace Glass Company.
Entering public service, Hall was elected to the Elko City Council in 1960, serving a four-year term. In 1980, he began the first of his three terms with the Elko County Commission and was chairman for nine years. As a commissioner, he also served on the Northeastern Nevada Museum board, Elko Convention Center and Visitor’s Authority board, and Airport Advisory Board.
Hall also worked for 21 years with the Elko County School District as a drug education and truant officer. He was the chairman of the Northern Nevada State Job Training Board that oversaw the JOIN program and chairman of the Elko Area Recreation Commission.
Ernie’s love of sports brought about a third job as broadcaster for Little League and Elko High School sports. Teamed with Elko Daily Free Press sportswriter Len Holdren, the pair traveled around Nevada, California, Idaho and Utah for 26 years calling football, basketball, and baseball games.
Hall and Holdren also broadcast the weekly “Sports in Review” for 20 years. They were inducted into the Nevada Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame in 1998 and the Elko High School Hall of Fame of 2007.
Ernie was dedicated to youth sports, starting Elko Little League and organizing the Elks Hoop Shoot. In 1991, Ernie Hall Field was dedicated in his honor.
After the death of his wife, Annette, in 1981, Ernie married Loralee Bilyeu. They were married 18 years when Ernie died November 7, 2001 at the age of 75.
ELKO 100: Len Holdren
For over three decades Len Holdren covered sports in both print and radio. One half of the “Sports in Review” team with Ernie Hall, Holdren spent his career covering games in Elko and around the state while coaching Little League in his spare time.
Leonard Raymond Holdren was born November 6, 1937 in Lincoln, Nebraska. A few years later, his family, including brother Jim and sister Leslie, moved to Winnemucca before permanently settling in Elko. Len attended Elko High School and was a member of the 1953 and 1954 state football championship team.
After graduating in 1955, Holdren attended school in California and Utah, completing his journalism degree at the University of Nevada Reno. He married Rita Mitchell of Jiggs in 1965, and they had two daughters, Leslie and Jennifer.
Len began his sports writing career with the Elko Daily Free Press in 1966 covering youth and high school sports. For nearly 30 years, Holdren reported on all EHS games while serving as the official statistician and record keeper.
Holdren’s career expanded to radio with Ernie Hall, who was already broadcasting sports for KELK. Hall recalled inviting Len with him to call a high school basketball game out-of-town, starting a partnership that lasted 20 years.
Together known as “The Voice of Elko Sports,” Hall and Holdren went on to cover football, basketball and baseball games in Elko and throughout the state. Their weekly show, “Sports in Review” also aired Saturday mornings for 20 years, sometimes in studio and sometimes on the road from pay phones or friends’ homes.
Holdren also coached Elko Little League, Babe Ruth Baseball, All-Star and Pop Warner football. For 40 years, he mentored and coached kids in sportsmanship, hard work and dedication.
In 1995, Hall and Holdren broadcast their last “Sports in Review” and three years later the pair was inducted into the Nevada Broadcasters Hall of Fame.
Len retired from the Free Press in 2001. He was inducted into the Elko High School Hall of Fame Class of 2007 and organized each year’s induction ceremonies with basketball coach Lynnette Davis.
In 2013, the Elko City Council renamed the Little League minor field adjoining Ernie Hall Field after Lenny Holdren in recognition of his contributions to reporting and broadcasting games during his career.
After a brief illness, Holdren died March 30, 2015 at the age of 77.
ELKO 100: Wayne Skeem
Wayne Skeem served as Elko High School’s band director for several years, and guided the Band of Indians to national attention in the 1960s and 1970s, performing at Richard Nixon’s Inaugural Parade in 1972.
Wayne Bishop Skeem was born November 5, 1923 in Inkom, Idaho to Christian and Irene Skeem. Becoming interested in music as a child, Skeem formed his own dance band, “The Melody Skeemers” while a sophomore at Castleford High School.
After graduating from high school in 1941, Skeem attended Brigham Young University for over a year until joining the service and playing with the Fort Ord Special Service Dance Band during World War II. He finished his education at Southern Idaho College of Education and began teaching band in Wendell, Idaho.
In 1951, Wayne married Arlene Christensen and they raised seven children: Susan, Dan, Tom, Cindra, Christian, Jill, and Rebecca. In the mid-1960s, the family moved to Carlin and then to Elko where Wayne took over leading the Elko High School marching band.
At Elko, Skeem worked with Linda Trontel’s Pep-E Drill team to participate in band competitions. The Band of Indians were invited to the halftime show for a San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles football game and performed for an hour-long broadcast at KSL Studios in Salt Lake City.
The band continued to gain recognition, winning a first-place trophy that beat out schools in Nevada and Northern California and appearing at the five-state Music Educators Conferences in Honolulu, San Diego, Tucson, Las Vegas, and San Francisco. In 1975, Skeem was elected president of the Nevada Music Educators Association.
After leaving Elko in 1976, Skeem taught band at Castleford High School and schools in Buhl, Idaho. In addition to music, Wayne enjoyed farming and became an inventor. He obtained patents for the Round Bale Feeder and automatic lift and rotate gate openers, which led to the development of Siren-Operated Sensors, an international company.
In retirement, Skeem worked on his inventions and reunited with his former EHS band students the summer of 2000. He stayed active with skiing and roller-blading and wrote his autobiography “From Boy Band to Elsa’s Procession.”
Wayne and Arlene were married for 65 years until his death November 21, 2016 at the age of 93 in Kimberly, Idaho.
ELKO 100: Mary Korpi
A member of Elko’s mining industry for nearly 30 years, Mary Korpi strengthened community relations between Newmont Mining Corp. and the community. Her establishment of the Legacy Fund has benefited local nonprofits for six years and is still going strong.
Mary Korpi grew up in Upper Peninsula of Michigan, the youngest of three children. Through her parents, who were both educators, Korpi and her siblings were encouraged to attend college and to give back to the community.
“I learned the importance of giving back through involvement, time and resources,” she recently wrote.
Enjoying math, science and chemistry, she attended Michigan Tech in Houghton, Michigan and earned a degree in chemical engineering. After graduation in 1976, she was hired by Newmont and married Paul Korpi.
Beginning her career in metallurgical and analytical laboratories, Korpi moved to Arizona and worked at Newmont’s Magma Copper site. With the industry expanding, she was transferred to work at the Carlin Trend site, first at Mill 5 and later at Mill 3.
Around 1995, Korpi was asked to switch careers within Newmont and join the community relations area of the company. She recalled that the general manager then thought it would be “helpful to have somebody who knows the business” to communicate Newmont’s growth and presence in the region.
Describing herself as one not to turn down a challenge, Korpi quickly settled into her new job, directing communications and external relations for the North American region.
In 2010, Korpi worked to establish the Newmont Legacy Fund, an annual charity drive for the community where employee donations are matched by the company dollar for dollar and then distributed to numerous nonprofits. In 2015 and 2016, over $2 million was raised for organizations including CADV Harbor House, Communities in Schools, the Elko Senior Center and the VFW.
In Elko, Korpi served on the Elko Area Chamber of Commerce board and has been a representative of Newmont in the Women’s Mining Coalition. She has also been a board member and trustee for the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration Foundation and received a Presidential Citation from the organization in 2011.
Michigan Tech also recognized her with a Presidential Council of Alumnae award in 2005.
After 40 years with Newmont, Korpi retired in 2016 and relocated to Reno. In December, she was named a Distinguished Nevadan by the University of Nevada Board of Regents, who recognized her “personal graciousness, technical expertise, and her ability to reach out in meaningful and lasting ways to her community.”
ELKO 100: Mark and Leon Menke
Longtime residents Mark and Leon Menke supported several Elko institutions throughout their lives, serving the community as volunteers and benefactors.
Mark Menke was born in Reno and arrived in Elko in 1929 as the University of Nevada Reno Agricultural Extension Agent for the county. After a few years, he met Leon Biggers, a schoolteacher in Starr Valley. They married in 1936 and had two daughters, Marcia and Diana.
The family settled in Elko as Mark helped ranchers in the area by enhancing the rangeland with wheat and livestock forage. Additionally, he collected samples of every local plant in the county and gathered information about herbicides and soil supplements.
Mark’s knowledge of animal husbandry, crops for livestock, and vegetable gardens was well-known by ranchers throughout the area. He also landscaped various buildings around Elko including the courthouse, fairgrounds and the Elko and Starr Valley cemeteries.
As Leon raised their daughters, she earned her bachelor’s degree in education from UNR by correspondence and summer school. She taught fifth grade from 1959 to 1971 and also led 4-H and served as a Girl Scout leader and camp director.
Together, Mark and Leon were members of the Elko Presbyterian Church, serving as deacons and elders, with Leon participating in the choir and teaching Sunday school. They also volunteered in the Elko County Fair, where Mark was a supervisor in the Farm Produce division. With Helen Tremewan, they also founded the Elko Garden Club.
In retirement, Mark received professor emeritus status from UNR, continued to garden, and formed the Elko Toastmasters. He and Leon were married 54 years when Mark died in 1991 at the age of 85.
After Mark’s death, Leon traveled throughout the United States and around the world. She founded the Elko High School Music Boosters and remained active in Elko Republican Party, joining the Jarbidge Shovel Brigade.
Her support also extended financially, donating to retire the Elko Senior Center’s mortgage in 2001 and to the Northeastern Nevada Historical Society’s endowment fund.
Recognized for her lasting contributions, Leon was named Citizen of the Year by the Elko County Mental Health Association and named to the Governor’s Honor Roll of Excellence in 1987. She was also crowned Ms. Senior Elko County two years later.
Leon kept a positive outlook as she battled cancer and recovered from pacemaker surgery, even winning a gold medal swimming at the 2002 Elko Senior Olympics. She died September 15, 2006.
ELKO 100: Yvette Waters
For over 30 years, Yvette Waters counseled victims of domestic violence while raising awareness of the issue in Elko. Her efforts also helped build the CADV Harbor House shelter in 1998 that continues to help hundreds of victims each year.
Yvette Joy was born in 1956 to A.Z and Vivian Joy of Ely. She graduated from White Pine High School in 1974 and moved to Wyoming with her first husband.
The marriage turned abusive and after 10 years, Yvette left her husband and entered a domestic violence shelter. Through counseling, she made the decision to dedicate her life to help other women and their families.
“I wanted to help survivors of domestic violence have options for them and their kids,” she said.
Yvette became a volunteer at the domestic violence organization that helped her and she soon joined the board, helping them to purchase property for a shelter and office. In Wyoming, she met Lloyd Waters and they were married on August 17, 1985. Together they raised five children, Holly, Brenda, Marlene, Cody and Serena.
The family moved to Elko in 1987 where Yvette volunteered as a counselor for the Committee Against Domestic Violence, which started in 1980. At the time, the organization had an office on Seventh Street and used small apartments and hotel rooms as shelters.
Yvette soon became a staff member and, in 1990, joined other board members to plan a permanent shelter that would house 15 adult and child victims of domestic violence for about 30 days and include offices for counseling and education.
“The community stepped up and supported Harbor House,” said Waters of Elko’s contributions that came from many organizations and entities including Barrick, Newmont, the City of Elko and Elko County. After seven years, $837,139 was raised for the shelter.
Yvette became the executive director of CADV in 1996 and two years later Harbor House opened its doors. The shelter serves 250-300 victims of domestic violence each year from Elko and surrounding counties.
In the community, Yvette has been a member of the Ladies Auxiliary for the Knights of Columbus. She has also sat on numerous boards and steering committees through the Nevada Network Against Domestic Violence. With Lloyd, they supported various nonprofit organizations in Elko including POW/MIA and Shop with a Cop.
Lloyd and Yvette were married 32 years when Lloyd died of cancer in 2016. Today, Yvette continues to live in Elko and work as executive director for CADV.
ELKO 100: Mike Marfisi
Mike Marfisi has contributed to Elko for more than 50 years as an attorney, volunteer and businessman. A supporter of higher education, he helped found Great Basin College to meet the needs of a growing community.
Phillip Michael Marfisi was born in December 18, 1935 in Reno to Edward and Ann Marfisi. The family moved around Nevada, settling in Battle Mountain when he was high school. After graduation from Battle Mountain High School, Mike attended the University of Nevada Reno and George Washington School of Law, earning his law degree in 1960 while working on the staff of U.S. Sen. Alan Bible.
Marfisi married Patricia King in 1955 and they had three children, Michele, Andrea, and Ed. In 1960, Mike passed the bar exam and the family moved to Elko where he served as the deputy District Attorney for seven years. He then joined the law firm of Robert O. Vaughan, Jack Hull and Joseph O. McDaniel until 1979.
In 1967, Marfisi joined a group of Elko businessmen who wanted to explore the idea of starting a community college in Elko for vocational training and growing the local economy. Bob Burns Jr., Mark Chilton, Dr. Hugh Collett, Fred Harris, Albert Huber, Norm Glaser, Dr. Les Moren, Mel Steninger, and Bill Wunderlich and Marfisi raised funds and planned programs such as nursing, automotive and business to fit the needs of the community.
In addition to the college, Marfisi continued to practice law, representing Elko, the county, school district and Elko General Hospital Board. He also lobbied in the state Legislature for the college and local business interests, including funds to complete South Fork Reservoir.
Marfisi also took an interest in politics and business. He was chairman of the Elko Democratic Central Committee, running for state senate in 1984. Mike also joined businessman Lorne Pratt to form the Spring Creek subdivision
Marfisi also contributed to the community in numerous charity drives and volunteered in Elko Little League and with Pat, organized junior golf. He served as president of the Elko Rotary Club, and Elko Toastmasters, chairman of the college advisory board, director and vice president of the Chamber of Commerce and member of the Elks.
Over the years, Mike was named Outstanding Young Man in 1965 by the Jaycees and presented with an honorary bachelor’s degree from Great Basin College in 2007.
In 2012, Mike welcomed his granddaughter, Lauren Landa, to his practice. They joined the law firm of Goicoechea, Di Grazia, Coyle & Stanton where today, Marfisi is of counsel.
ELKO 100: Ramon Zugazaga
Owner of Biltoki Basque restaurant for 30 years, Ramon Zugazaga has been a fixture of the Elko community as a caterer and soccer coach. His devotion to helping others through his cooking and fundraising has kept him busy since arriving in Elko more than 50 years ago.
Ramon Zugazaga was born in 1946 in Guernica, Vizcaya Spain. Growing up, Ramon worked in his family’s restaurant and at the age of 18 immigrated to the United States, also working at the Holland Ranch, then owned by Jess and Elias Goicoechea.
At the ranch, Ramon worked as a sheepherder, camp tender, and cook under a three-year contract, eventually staying for five years. He returned to Spain for a few months before coming back to the area.
Ramon moved to Boise and was a chef at the Boardinghouse restaurant before moving to Gooding, Idaho and opening the first Biltoki. Missing Elko, he returned and opened Biltoki at the corner of Fourth and Silver streets in 1983. Two years later, he married Jane Last and they had two children, Kepa and Belen.
Ramon’s love for soccer led him to coach for the Elko Indar Futbol Club starting around 1991. The team plays around the state, Oregon, Idaho, and Utah and has traveled to San Sebastian, Spain three times to play for the Donosti Cup.
Active in the Basque community, Ramon has served as president of the Basque Club for 10 years, helping with projects around the clubhouse, cooking and planning games for the National Basque Festival, and making sure the Basque heritage is passed down to the younger generations.
Apart from the restaurant, Ramon has catered for various events, hosted cooking demonstrations for the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, and led fundraisers for the SnoBowl. In his spare time, Ramon enjoys hunting and traveled last fall to South Dakota to hunt birds, pheasants and buffalo.
Zugazaga closed Biltoki in 2013. Today, he hosts a lunch once a month at the Basque Clubhouse for the community and continues to coach girls soccer, planning another trip to Spain next year with the Indar girls team.
“I enjoy helping people,” he said recently. “Doesn’t matter who it is.”
“I want to leave the world better than I found it.”
ELKO 100: Susan Martsolf
Executive Director of FISH for 19 years, Susan Martsolf worked to improve conditions for the homeless in Elko. Through her efforts, the organization expanded its resources and services to include a food bank, soup kitchen, emergency housing and a homeless camp.
Susan Green was born February 28, 1950 in Thermopolis, Wyoming. Traveling with her family to different mining camps, she and her three sisters were raised in rural Colorado. Susan said of those years in the Nevada Women’s Legacy project that the best lesson she learned was “how to do without and make it fun (or at least bearable).”
In 1971, she married and had three daughters. She and her husband moved to Elko in 1990 where she first worked as a cashier in a casino. Determining that she “must have fulfillment” in her life, Susan joined the Elko Chamber of Commerce in membership development.
Through working at the Chamber, Martsolf learned about the community and developed a love for Elko. Seeking a new challenge, she started work at Friends in Service Helping, or FISH, in 1997.
Started 10 years earlier by the Elko Religious Leaders Association, FISH began as a thrift store and food bank. After the death of Dee Waters, Susan became the executive director.
Over the years, FISH expanded to include a soup kitchen, dining room, showers, and laundry area. Case management and programs such as employment assistance, financial literacy, and medical and prescription care were added as services to promote self-sufficiency for those in need. The service area also grew to include other rural areas such as Jackpot, Wells and Beowawe.
Martsolf also developed Samaritan House, an emergency lodging facility with accommodations for eight men, four women and two families. She also created five permanent housing units for those transitioning out of homelessness.
Seeking other ways to help the community, FISH applied to manage a homeless camp. A fenced area west of Elko was developed to accommodate about 60 campsites with water and facilities. It opened in the spring of 2015.
For Nevada’s 150th anniversary, Martsolf was selected along with 11 other local women to tell her story for the Nevada Women’s Legacy – 150 Years of Excellence Sesquicentennial Project.
In 2016, Susan stepped down from FISH after serving 19 years as executive director.
ELKO 100: Robert Catlin
Robert Catlin’s oil-from-shale experiment south of Elko brought nationwide attention to Elko nearly one hundred years ago. Even though the company, Catlin Shale Products, wasn’t financially successful, his venture was considered ahead of its time and Catlin’s research is still used in developing modern oil-from-shale technology.
Robert M. Catlin arrived in Tuscarora in 1875 to work as a geologist. Upon one of his trips to Elko, he learned an oil shale deposit was located near the Humboldt River.
Interested, he purchased property off Bullion Road from Southern Pacific Railroad in 1890 and started Catlin Shale Products Co.
Catlin opened a laboratory to experiment with pulling oil from shale. After five years, he left Elko to work in South Africa’s gold mines and later manage the New Jersey Zinc Co., still supervising his Elko company from the East Coast.
Told that his field had enough shale to last forever, Catlin drilled a main shaft in 1916. Eventually, the plant would have five tunnels going down 600 feet and extending four miles in length. The plant officially opened in 1917.
Catlin explained to residents that his plant was mainly for testing and sampling, yet many foresaw a potential oil boom in Elko as demand for oil was increasing due to World War I and automobile production. By 1919, 15,000 gallons of oil was produced.
The experiment was called a success even though paraffin was the main byproduct of the oil. In 1920, the plant employed 35 men and produced 96 barrels of oil a day. Catlin ultimately invested $1 million to keep the plant going and hoped to see profits exceed expenses.
Catlin Hi-Powered Oil went on sale in Elko for $5 per gallon. Praised for its high performance in warm weather, the oil congealed in engines during winter months, stalling motors. Despite the defect, the oil was tested successfully in 1924 by the Durant Motor Co. during the Indianapolis 500, bringing national attention to Elko and Catlin’s plant.
In September 1924, Catlin put on a three-day celebration that included a G.S. Garcia rodeo, circus, parade, boxing matches and barbecue at the Hunter Ranch, drawing 4,000 people to Elko. Weeks later, the plant shut down.
Interviewed the following year, Catlin said the mine could reopen, but production costs were more than sales. The property eventually passed down to his son and grandson, and now only concrete foundations are visible at the site. Today, Catlin’s work is remembered by modern day oil-from-shale explorers in the West.
ELKO 100: James T. Alter
For more than 30 years, the company of White & Alter constructed many of the landmark buildings in Elko that still stand today. The structures are still used today and mark parts of Elko’s history.
James T. Alter was born March 31, 1905 in Trenton, Iowa. Jim moved to Wyoming and California before arriving in Elko in 1926 and worked as a carpenter for A.M. Peterson. With Peterson, he helped build homes, businesses and the Elko County Fairgrounds arch.
Three years later, Jim met Claude White while his father, Ernest White, was building Elko Grammar School No. 1. Jim and Claude started White & Alter, General Contractors in 1930. Their first project was to build 23 cabins for the Elko Public Auto Camp at 14th and Oak streets.
Early projects by the company during the 1930s included the Goicoechea Home Arts Building at the fairgrounds, the Hunter Theater, the Elvada Theater and, along with the Public Works Administration (PWA), added a gymnasium and the east and west wings to Elko High School’s Main Building.
Jim met and married Mary Rose Kiechler in 1932 and had three children Shirley, Tom and Margie, before divorcing in 1938.
The company was successful and gained a reputation for their work, noted as being “associated with the growth of Elko in a building way,” said an article in the Elko Daily Free Press from 1937. The company was also hired for projects around the county and the state.
In 1940, Jim married Emelia “Peg” Todd and raised her daughters Peggy and Freeda. Hired by R.C. “Red” Ellis and A.C. Bingham shortly after they purchased the Mayer Hotel, White & Alter renovated the building into the Stockmen’s Hotel and Casino in 1946.
White & Alter added a ready-mix concrete plant to their operations in 1947. They remained busy during the 1950s with projects including KELK station, the LDS church which later became the Elko Police Station, Grammar No. 2, the Masonic Hall, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church,
In 1956 Claude White died. Jim continued the company with his bookkeeper Walter Garcia as a partner and went on to build the Elko Presbyterian Church and the National Guard Armory, Southside Elementary, Northside Elementary, and Vogue Laundry among other numerous businesses.
Jim retired in 1967 and eventually he and Peg moved to Kingman, Arizona, where he died Feb. 14, 1982 at the age of 76.
ELKO 100: Brady Family
For more than 50 years, the Brady family has contributed to Native American culture in Elko and throughout the country, teaching the Shoshone language and traditional folk arts.
Elizabeth Jackson was born October of 1923 in the Indian camp overlooking Elko, where the first Elko Golf Course Clubhouse was later located. She grew up in Elko as a member of the White Knife Band of the Western Shoshone, practicing traditional Shoshone ways. She attended Stewart and Riverside boarding schools and moved to Owyhee after marrying Dell Dick, raising three children.
In 1953, Elizabeth married Webb Brady of Beowawe. He worked as a ranch hand before moving to Elko and working for Ruby Mountain Packing and Angelo’s Market. Together they raised eight children including Lois Dick Whitney and Leah Brady.
Elizabeth’s work with cradleboards, braided rugs and beadwork became well-known throughout the western United States, earning her invitations to the 1976 and 2006 Smithsonian Folk Life Festivals to demonstrate her work. She also became a Master Artist for the Nevada Arts Council’s Apprenticeship program in 1996 and 1999 for singing and making hand-braided coil rugs.
Elizabeth also served on the Elko Band Council, tribal enrollment and housing committees for about 30 years. She also opened her own business, Liz’s Indian Tacos, and was known for her fry bread.
Recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Nevada Women’s Association in 1995, Elizabeth was also honored with the 2004 Governor’s Award for Excellence in Folk Arts. She died in 2010. Today, Webb approaches his 90th birthday.
Leah Brady was born August 1955 in Elko and graduated from Owyhee High School in 1973. She attended the University of Nevada, Reno, earning her Bachelor’s of Arts degree in education in 1977. For 23 years she taught in Fallon and Schurz.
Wanting to continue the tradition of basketweaving, Leah learned from elders Elaine Christensen, Sylvia Dick and Minnie Dick and specialized in Western Shoshone twined baskets and cradleboards.
Leah became a Master Weaver for the Nevada Folk Arts Program and teaches at workshops around the country and at Great Basin Native Basketweaver Association gatherings. She also was invited to the Smithsonian’s Folk Life Festival in 2006.
Leah also co-authored “Celebrating Nevada Indians,” a teaching curriculum distributed to elementary schools around the state.
Today, Leah and Lois continue to demonstrate traditional basketry, foods, and arts and crafts, both traveling to promote the GBNBA organization.
ELKO 100: Leonard Herrera
Longtime Elko resident Leonard Herrera served Elko for decades with two careers and as part owner of the Cloud 9, yet he is best known for his efforts as commissioner of fast-pitch softball for almost three decades.
Leonard Hererra was born November 6, 1931 in Kimberly, Idaho. He grew up with six siblings in Wells until his family moved to Elko in the middle of his freshman year of high school.
After graduating high school in 1949, Lenny went to work full-time as a delivery man with a sales route for Snowflake Laundry, later becoming Vogue Laundry. He married Betty Gregory in 1952 and they raised five children: Steve, GJ, Debbie and Toby.
Herrera served in the U.S. Army for two years and with his brothers Jen and Vic opened the Cloud 9 bar in 1963. It was in business for 29 years.
A fan of softball with Betty, Leonard became the Elko Fast-Pitch Softball commissioner in 1974. At the time, there were 14 men’s teams and 10 women’s teams playing on Newton Field. Seeing a need for more fields, Lenny petitioned for a new complex on Cedar Street close to the Elko City Park, which opened in 1980 with the help of friends and softball supporters.
While he was commissioner, the softball team held the Elko Invitational over the Fourth of July that brought players in from Reno, Las Vegas, Utah, Oregon, Idaho and Northern California. He also served his “world famous” Lenny Burgers during the games.
Herrera retired from Vogue Laundry in 1986 and was hired two years later by Sheriff Jim Miller and Undersheriff Neil Harris to work at the Elko County Sheriff’s office, becoming corporal over the jail division a few months later. He retired in 2002 at the age of 73.
In 2001, Betty died of cancer before their 49th wedding anniversary. Losing other family members to cancer, Lenny, his family and Carolyn Ross started the Ross-Herrera Golf Tournament in 2003. The proceeds of the tournament are used for scholarships and donated to Horizon Hospice, Friends for Life and Relay for Life.
Herrera has also been a member of the Elks Club, served one term as president of the Nevada State Bowling Association, and was elected to the Elko Bowling Hall of Fame.
The Cedar Street Complex was renamed the Leonard Herrera Sports Complex in 2003 for his dedication to Elko softball. Today, Lenny lives in Elko and follows the Cleveland Indians, Oakland Raiders and UNR Wolfpack teams.
ELKO 100: Chuck and Mary Harper
For over 60 years, longtime residents Chuck and Mary Harper contributed their time and efforts toward improving Elko. Their efforts helped raise money to build the Northeastern Nevada Museum and Elko Convention Center, and they faithfully participated in various community organizations.
Charles E. “Chuck” Harper was born May 10, 1925 in Elko to Charles A. and Flora Harper. Charles was a railroad engineer, constable and Elko Chief of Police, succeeding Joe Harris as sheriff when Harris died in 1936. Chuck graduated from Elko High School in 1943 and enlisted in the Marine Corps to serve in World War II.
A member of the 5th Marine Division, Chuck went to radio school and was stationed in the Pacific. On Feb. 19, 1941, he landed on Iwo Jima with the third wave, keeping communication lines open. Harper was at the north end of the island when the U.S. flag was raised four days later. Before he was discharged, his unit occupied Japan at the end of the war.
Returning home after the war, Chuck went to work for Standard Oil Company then Elko Liquid Gas, which later became Southwest Gas, serving as manager for 25 years. He met schoolteacher Mary Reese and they were married June 9, 1950. Together they raised four children: Reese, Doug, Lloyd and Marilyn.
Chuck and Mary joined the Northeastern Nevada Historical Society in 1958. They worked to raise funds to build the museum, helping with old-fashioned Fourth of July celebrations in the City Park.
Over the years, Chuck and Mary served as elders in the Elko Presbyterian Church. Mary volunteered for Cub Scouts and was a member of the Junior Twentieth Century Club, PEO Sisterhood, and the American Association of University Women. She was also a member of a local group for left-handed Elkoans.
Chuck was also heavily involved in the community as a member of the board of directors of the Historical Society, was elected to the City Council and served on the Elko Auditorium Authority Board to build the Convention Center.
After Chuck retired, he and Mary traveled around the country and to Europe, China and Japan, making many trips with Sarah Sweetwater. Mary also took art classes from Sweetwater at Northern Nevada Community College, now Great Basin College.
Chuck recently stepped down from the Northeastern Nevada Museum board of directors after serving over 55 years. Today, he and Mary are approaching their 67th wedding anniversary.
ELKO 100: George Corner
As the city’s second longest serving mayor, George Corner led Elko through the peak of growth in population and economy.
Donald George Corner was born in Akron, Ohio in 1945. He grew up in western Pennsylvania and graduated high school in New Castle in 1962. Four years later he was drafted into the U.S. Army and served one tour in Vietnam with the 173rd Airborne, 145th Aviation Battalion, and Pathfinder Detachment, rising to the rank of corporal.
After being discharged, corner moved to Elko in 1968 and worked for Newmont Gold Co., then called Carlin Gold, and joined the Elko Police Department as a patrolman in 1970. He and his wife Maryanne raised three children: Sheri, Kelli and Jeff.
Corner earned an associate’s degree in law enforcement from Elko Community College in 1973 and four years later earned a second degree in corrections. In 1975, he resigned and was elected to his first term as mayor, running against Dutch Stenovich.
During Corner’s time in office, the Elko Convention Center was built and Project Lifesaver relocated the railroad tracks from downtown to the Humboldt River. He was also chairman of the Elko County Recreation Board that led the development and construction of South Fork Dam.
Corner also oversaw the expansion of Elko due to the gold mining boom that increased the city’s population and called for more schools and recreational facilities.
He won re-election in 1979, 1983 and 1987 when he ran unopposed for his final term. He was defeated by Jim Polkinghorne in 1991, concluding the second-longest term in office after David Dotta, who was mayor for 26 years from 1929 to 1955.
In 1983, Corner was named Nevada’s Elected Official of the Year and served as president of the Nevada League of Cities the following year. He was also on the board of directors for the Vitality Center and oversaw the annual Fourth of July Fireworks display until he left office.
Corner also worked at Nevada Youth Training Center while serving as mayor. He was there 20 years until retiring as shift supervisor in 1996. In addition to his dual careers, George became a life member of VFW Post 2350.
“It was my pleasure and honor to serve during those exciting years,” Corner said recently, looking back on his four terms in office. “Elko was transitioning from a sleepy little cowtown to a bigger mining town.”
Today, George and Mary Anne live near Lamoille and spend time with their six grandchildren.
ELKO 100: Llee Chapman
Llee Chapman served the community for over 20 years through the mining industry, as an Elko County Commissioner, and volunteer. His fundraising efforts helped establish the new Boys & Girls Club facility.
Robert Llee Chapman was born in 1957 in Eureka, California, growing up in Reno and Jerome, Idaho. After graduating from Jerome High School, Llee attended Idaho State University and graduated with degrees in accounting and Spanish.
In 1989, Chapman and his family, including wife Mary and sons Clint and Chris, moved to Elko where Llee worked for Barrick Goldstrike as CPA and administrative superintendent. He was also chairman of the Nevada Mining Association’s tax commission.
Running for a seat on the Elko County Commission in 1992 after the county expanded districts, Llee focused on improving the community. He said during his election, “A community is more than just a collection of buildings. This is my chance to help give something back.”
Chapman was elected to a two-year term and served a four-year term that concluded in 1998. During that time, he was involved with establishing the Public Land Use Advisory Commission and the sale of Elko General Hospital.
Chapman also served on the Elko Convention Center board and was a member of Elko Rotary. For 24 years, he coached Elko Little League baseball and PAL basketball, taking the first PAL teams to participate in Reno tournaments.
While serving on the convention center board with Al Bernarda, Chapman joined the financial committee of the Boys & Girls Club of Elko. With his wife Jill, they co-chaired the capital campaign committee to construct a permanent building, raising $4.2 million. Together, they were recognized as Jerimiah Millbank Society members in 2014.
During his lengthy career in mining, Llee was also a member of the Northwest Mining Association, serving two terms as president and the chairman of the Abandon Mine Lands Committee. In 2007, he was honored with the NWMA’s lifetime Member award.
With 32 years of experience in the mining industry, working for Barrick and Newmont, Chapman was appointed president of Veris Gold in 2013.
Today, Chapman is semi-retired and lives in Chandler, Arizona with Jill and his son Dylan.
ELKO 100: Barry Bhakta
Owning several hotels on Idaho Street for more than 30 years, Barry Bhakta and his family contributed to Elko through their business and by participating in events and bringing their Indian culture to the community.
Barry Bhakta was born in Fiji, Feb.18, 1958, three decades after his grandparents immigrated to the island from India. He grew up with his brothers Nick, David, Mike and Chuck.
Upon graduating high school, Barry spent a year in Auckland, New Zealand, before he and Nick arrived in the United States. Interested in studying to become a CPA, Barry moved to Texas, while Nick purchased the Holiday Motel in Elko through Realtor Adolph Lipparelli in 1977.
Barry married his wife Jessi on March 16, 1981 in Dalhart, Texas. Moving to Elko, they purchased the Best Western El Neva, now the Rodeway Inn, on April 1. They raised their children, Henry and Tejal, as they built their business.
Becoming involved in the community, Barry and Jessi sponsored events such as Elko High School’s Graduation Night, National Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Mining Expo. “We help the best we can,” said Barry.
Barry also joined the Elko Rotary Club, the Elko Chamber of Commerce and was a member of the Elko Convention and Visitors Authority Marketing Committee. In 2011, he was chosen to fill a vacant seat on the board.
The family also brought their culture to Elko. Jessi and other family members have performed traditional dances and cooked Indian meals and desserts at various events including the Great Basin Festival, Just Desserts, and, in 2015, hosting Rotary International’s guest speaker Deepa Willingham.
Seeing Barry’s and Nick’s success in Elko, their brothers moved to Elko and purchased their own motels. Today, Chuck owns the Days Inn, while David operates the Economy Inn and Mike runs the Scottish Inn, formerly the Key Motel.
Over the years, the motels have been successful thanks to annual events such as the Cowboy Poetry Gathering, Mining Expo and the Motorcycle Jamboree. Three times, the Bhaktas were awarded the Gold Medal for Choice Hotels in 2010, 2015 and 2016.
In 1999, Barry and Jessi added the Comfort Inn to their business and became partners in the Super 8 and Travel Lodge motels with their son, Henry.
The Bhaktas continue sponsor Elko events and operate the Rodeway Inn, which was recently presented with the 2017 Platinum Award for Choice Hotels.