Lon Clair “Clair” Christensen, former University of Nevada Extension employee, died Nov. 16, 2009 in Davis, Calif. Born June 26, 1926 in Thatcher, Utah, he was the great-grandson of Danish ‘hand cart’ Mormon pioneers of the 1840s. He served a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints mission to California, where he met his future wife. The couple married in 1952. He raised 5,000 turkeys from year to year to put himself through school at Utah State University, then went on to enlist in the agricultural extension program in Nevada where he had a 20-year career. Raised on a farm, he retired as a community development specialist for UC Davis working with small farms.
He was loyally committed to his church and family, and admired his colleagues at UC Davis. The family is thankful to the many friends and health professionals who helped Dad in his final years.
He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Verona Christensen; three sons, Lynn, Keith and David; and a daughter, Carla (Andy). He is also survived by 20 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Philip J. Gillette, former emeriti employee, died Jan. 4, 2010. Philip was the financial officer of the medical school when it was chartered in 1969 and served as assistant to the dean and as health systems administrator until 1987. He was a lecturer in the College of Business Administration, a member of the task force that developed the Master of Public Health program at the University, secretary to the School of Medicine/Washoe Medical Center Liaison Planning committee, consultant to medical school clinical chairmen, and faculty council secretary for the School of Medicine. He is considered one of the founding officers of the University of Nevada School of Medicine.
He also chaired the Governor’s State Health Plan Development Committee and was a board member or officer of the Washoe County Asthma Coalition, the Crisis Call Center, the Northern Nevada Cancer Council and the National Medical Care Seminar Group. He was regent for the American College of Healthcare Executives for Nevada and served as editor of Health Coalition News.
Before coming to Nevada, Mr. Gillette served as associate hospital administrator for the University Hospital of the University of Washington, Seattle, from 1956-69. During World War II he was a medical administrative officer in the Air Force.
A fourth-generation Californian, he was born June 27, 1920, in Richmond. His father, Felix Gillette, was from Troy, New York, and worked at various careers throughout his life. His mother, the former Ethel Thompson, was born in California and worked as a buyer in a large department store in San Francisco.
Phil, as he was known to all, loved his family, his faith and working. He appeared to be tireless, remaining engaged with many organizations well into his 80s even as he dealt with mounting health issues from cancer.
In the last few years, he served on the HealthInsight advisory council for Nevada and Nevada Board of Directors, chaired the Angel Kiss Foundation Advisory Board, served as a Sanford Center for Aging community advisory board member and chairman, and gave his time as coordinator of the Resident Physician Practice Management course.
After Hurricane Katrina he was instrumental in his church, Trinity Episcopal in Reno, becoming involved with Episcopal Relief & Development, an organization that provides disaster relief and works to combat poverty.
Among other honors, in 2008 he was given the Sanford Center for Aging’s Living the Legacy Award, which recognizes long-time commitment to improving the lives of Nevada elders.
He was preceded in death by wife Geneva (Petersen) Gillette, they were married Sept. 1, 1946. He is survived by children Richard and Denise; and grandchildren Jennifer, Allison, Ryan, Sean, Paul, Alex and Joel.
David J. Morrow, Reynolds School of Journalism business chair, who came to Reno last August after spending eight years as editor of TheStreet.com, died Feb.1, 2010. The 49-year-old was diagnosed with a fast-progressing cancer in early January.
Morrow was the first Reynolds Endowed Chair in Business Journalism at the Reynolds School of Journalism and Center for Advanced Media Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno.
“Although he began work only in August, it feels as if Dave had been here for years,” said Jerry Ceppos, Reynolds School dean. “His gregarious nature, his enthusiasm and his desire to move quickly made him an important part of the faculty from his first day here.”
Ceppos told a story about when the proposal for Morrow’s chair was being made. “We said that we’d use this academic year to plan our business program and then begin classes in September 2010,” Ceppos recalled. “Dave’s reaction: Why in the world would it take a year to plan our courses?”
Rosemary McCarthy, Reynolds School academic chair, said, “Dave hit us like lightning. He was here and he became part of us in no time at all.”
Before joining the Reynolds School, Morrow supervised a staff of 65 reporters and editors at TheStreet.com. The site has won numerous honors, including “best enterprise reporting” and “best commentary” from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers in 2008. Morrow was inducted into the Digital Hall of Fame in 2009. Before TheStreet, Morrow worked for The New York Times, SmartMoney and Fortune. “Dave ran his classes the way you run a good newsroom: high energy, lots of ideas—really good ideas—and most of all fun,” Ceppos said.
A sentiment echoed by Jim Cramer, analyst and founder of TheStreet.com, who recalled Morrow’s practice of singing “We’re having some fun, at TheStreet.com” while at work.
“Dave Morrow would sing that phrase, his phrase, every day around these halls,” Cramer writes. “He’d sing it first thing in the morning, sing it as he came by our desks, to check in, to see if all was good, to see if there was anything that needed doing, to see if he could do anything better. Sing it to see if we could do anything better. Together.” Reynolds School faculty and staff recall hearing Morrow singing to first-year journalism students—as they were writing on deadline. On coming to Reno, Morrow spoke of his excitement at the new opportunity:
“Business journalism is truly one of the most fulfilling careers that anyone could choose, and yet it so rarely occurs to anyone as even being an option. I want to excite everybody on how joyous a career in business journalism can be, and what it can lead to in terms of shaping the future of the industry. The choices are available and reachable, whether someone wants to become a feature writer at Fortune or the chief executive of a media company.”
Dr. George T. Smith, founding dean of the University of Nevada School of Medicine died March 20, 2010 in Florida after a brief battle with lung cancer. Dr. Smith was instrumental in gaining support from Governor Paul Laxalt and Nevada’s medical community to establish a medical school in the state.
After gaining the governor’s support for the fledgling school, he solicited funding from large foundations on the East Coast. He met with administrators and medical staff of Nevada’s hospitals to persuade them to allow medical students to interact with patients and recruited physicians to be teachers. When the School of Medical Sciences opened, he had gathered 14 full-time faculty and more than 200 community physicians committed to giving their best for the school and its students.
He left the School of Medicine in 1977 to become dean of the medical school in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and later advised the Shah of Iran and served in the Veterans’ Administration. He held faculty appointments at Tufts University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham, along with administrative and advisory positions for several medical centers and associations. He returned to the School of medicine in 2009 to celebrate its 40th anniversary. Donations in Dr. Smith’s honor can be made to the University of Nevada School of Medicine by contacting Stefanie Scoppettone, (775) 682-9143 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rachel (Ebert) McNeil ’47 (arts and science), died on Jan. 18, 2010 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s. Rachel was born in Virginia City, Nev., to a long line of Nevada pioneers on Dec. 9, 1925, Rachel, was the youngest of two daughters of Harry and Ethel W. McNeil.
She graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno, in 1947 and was President of the Gamma Phi Beta sorority. On June 24, 1951, Rachel married her college sweetheart, William H. Ebert, and they moved to San Jose, Calif. The couple later settled in Saratoga, Calif. Following in her mother's footsteps, Rachel taught school in Nevada and California.
Rachel, a devoted Christian, was dedicated to her family and the care of others. A scholar of the Bible, she taught women's Bible study for a number of years.
Devoted wife of the late William H. Ebert, Rachel is survived by her children, James (Sarah), Thomas (Nancy) and Cathy (Lois Ann Porter); sister Harriet (Paul); nephew Jeff; and five grandchildren, Daniel, Robert, Christine, Shane, Shannon (Matt); and three great-grandchildren, Briana, Trevor and Cassidy.
Andrea (Ginnocchio) Pelter ’50 (business administration) died Jan. 25, 2010. Those who knew Andi know her Hallmark was her unwavering principles, entrepreneurial spirit, her enthusiasm for life, propensity for hard work, her directness balanced by a deprecating humor, her positive thinking and all-consuming optimism; her devotion to her husband of 52 years, family, friends, Reno Iron Works, the University, our Reno Community, a student needing a scholarship or encouragement, and her lifelong, consummate Faith in God. Andi died in the comfort of her home after returning from a typical day at Reno Iron Works. She had been ill with a heart condition for several years.
A third generation Renoite, Andrea was born on Feb. 21, 1929, to Andrew and Viola (Chilton, Barnes) Ginocchio. Her maternal grandfather was master car builder for the Southern Pacific Railroad. Her paternal grandfather was a laborer on the Central Pacific Railroad, until the Golden Spike was struck in Promontory, Utah in 1869. He promptly headed for Virginia City, Nev., gold mines to make his fortune. Andrew Ginocchio, Andrea's father, was more fascinated by the steel industry. He joined Reno Blacksmith Shop in 1906, later founding Reno Iron Works. Reno Blacksmith/Reno Iron Works is celebrating a century of continuous operation in Reno, Nev. Andrea Pelter has been the president and owner for 35 years.
In 2003, facing condemnation and demolition as a result of ReTRAC, Reno's railroad-lowering project, Andrea successfully guided Reno Iron Works through the rigors of building a new facility, without layoffs or lost time, all accomplished in eight months to meet the City's deadlines. On February 14, 2004, two monumental events were celebrated, the Grand Opening of Reno Iron Works' new facility and the 50th Wedding Anniversary of Andrea and Bill Pelter.
Andrea and Bill met in Marcella Barkley's 4th grade class at Mount Rose School, the class that launched the Junior Ski Program, in 1939. They went through Reno schools together and received their bachelor’s degrees from the University of Nevada. At graduation Bill received his commission assignment to Keflavik, Iceland.
Upon graduation, Andrea, with the sponsorship of Senator Pat McCarran, was accepted in the U.S. Department of State, spending a year in post graduate work in Washington D.C. followed by two years assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Lima, Peru.
The Pelters were married at Trinity Episcopal Church in Reno, in 1954, establishing a relationship of unparalleled love and devotion for the following 52 years. Countless friends sought their counsel. Four words, a creed they lived by, well known to family and friends alike, a guarantee for lifelong happiness to anyone who would follow it, simply: Do The Right Thing.
Andrea joined Bill at Keflavik Air Force Base, Iceland, for the last half of his tour of duty. With her U.S. State Department ties, she was instrumental in establishing the first U.S./Icelandic School, a kindergarten on base that additionally broadcasted to surrounding villages. The school's immense popularity included adult listeners who marveled at children who did not speak the other's language yet met in a spirit of friendship and harmony, eager for the day's assignment.
Military obligations complete, Lt. Pelter could focus on his career. Over the ensuing three years, Andrea had the opportunity to study law as Bill completed medical school and residency at the University of Washington and Stanford Medical School. Their daughter Bryn and son Bill were born during this time. Son Drew was born just prior to their move back home to Reno in 1972, where Bill was to practice medicine and Andrea to join her father at Reno Iron Works.
Andrea Pelter is the only woman in the U.S. to hold the highest level of certification from the American Institute of Steel Contractors. Reno Iron Works is the only company to hold such a license in Nevada's history. As an appointee of both Governor’s List and Bryan, Andrea represented management on the Nevada State Industrial Insurance System for many years. She served over 26 years on the U.S. 9th District Court judicial selection panel. She has served on selection committees from Washoe County School Superintendents to college presidents. Both she and her father served on the board of the Reno Sparks Chamber of Commerce.
To quote the February 2004 Proclamation by Governor Kenny Guinn, “Andrea Pelter has devoted her life in dedicated support of our state, our community, and Nevada's educational system by way of scholarship programs and personal involvement.“ Chosen for the University Foundation its first year, Andrea has remained involved in the Foundation for 25 years. As strong advocates of a medical school in Nevada, the Pelters lobbied the legislature relentlessly. Ultimately, their group was successful in securing major financial commitments from friends and foundations alike to build the School of Medicine in Reno. With Senator Paul Laxalt and Dr. Bruce Douglas at the helm, a group of Nevadans, including Andi, lobbied the National Science Foundation in Washington D.C. in support of the College of Engineering Earthquake Center. The UNR Reno Iron Works' Scholarship has been in effect for over 75 years. Many Nevada businesses have been established by its recipients.
In 1967, Andrea joined the first volunteer lecturer series for the College of Engineering and has continued every year since. She was the first female on any engineering committee when she joined the College of Engineering Advisory Board in 1981, and she remained active on the Board, as well as the Civil Engineering Board, until her death. She served on the Arts and Science Board, tax and legislative committees from the late 1960's to the 1980's.
Organizations in which she has served on their Boards and taken special roles: Two National Educational Foundations, St. Mary's Hospital's Foundation, Sierra Arts' Foundation, Reach for Recovery, and the City of Reno ReTRAC Oversight Committee.
For over 30 years Andrea has been a lecturer in the Washoe County Public Schools. In 1985, the worldwide organization of Junior Achievement recognized Nevadans Bill Harrah and Andrea Pelter who became the inaugural recipients of the Nevada Business Leaders' Hall of Fame. In 1986 she received The President's Medal; in 1987 she was named Distinguished Nevadan, and in 1993 awarded an Honorary Doctorate Degree from the University of Nevada. And recently was recognized with the University of Nevada Service Award.
To name a few of the affiliations to which Andrea belonged, some over 50 years: Trinity Episcopal Church, Kappa Alpha Theta, various Masonic organizations, Reno Junior League, Medical Auxiliary Washoe County, American Association of University Women, P.E.O. Chapter T.
Andrea is preceded in death by her parents, brothers Ted and Charles and her loving husband of 52 years Bill. She is survived by her daughter Bryn (Jeff), son Bill (Michele), son Drew (Traci) and her four cherished grandsons, Trevor, Chase, William and Elliott. Three nieces and three nephews also survive. The family would like to thank Dr. Stanley Thompson, Dr. John Williamson and Peggy Black, RN, MSN of Reno Heart Physicians. Dr. Georgianna Duxbury of Great Basin Medical Group. Her personal caregiver Freddie Galang, CNA and all the many great Nevada physicians that cared for her throughout her life.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the College of Engineering, University of Nevada School of Medicine, or the Orvis School of Nursing at the University of Nevada, Reno, Nev., 89557.
John D. “Jack” Mackey, Sr. ’53 (business administration) died March 4, 2010 in Marin county, Calif., after a brief battle with leukemia. He was a founding member of the University of Nevada, Reno Foundation in 1981 and served two terms on the Foundation Board of Trustees (1981-89; 1997-2002).
His optimism, sharp wit, and unmatched intellect were legendary. He had an insatiable appetite for knowledge, was extremely well read and possessed an inexhaustible vocabulary. In his more than 50 years in the stock and bond business, he was a member of the State Commission on Corporate Governance, a president of the Board of Trustees of the College of Marin, Chair of the USF Center for the Pacific Rim, and other offices. He greatly prized his award as Investment Banker of the Year. Serving as an officer in the artillery in the U.S. Army in 1954-55, he operated the Far East Network in Fukuoka, Japan before moving to Southern California and starting in the stock and bond business.
A Reno High School graduate of 1948, and 1953 University of Nevada, Reno alumnus, he was an active member and supporter of the Alumni Association. Because of his passion for literature, he earned a master’s in English from USC in 1965 and not only taught English at College of Marin for a brief time, but also wrote a highly popular column for the Marin Independent Journal in the 1980s. Possessing a photographic memory, he often recited poems and verses that befitted the subject of conversation. His love of fine art and travel was only eclipsed by his enthusiasm for baseball, especially the Giants. He was a 25-year season ticket holder.
He recently married his longtime love, Marnie Mackey, in November 2009 in Hawaii.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by his children, Sheila Mackey of Marin, John and Cheri Mackey of Rohnert Park, and Lisa and Rick Parsons of Denver, Colo.; four adoring grandchildren, Amber, Ian, Jesse, and Shannon; two great-grandchildren, Kaleb, and Ethan; two sisters, Judy Loveall, and Keni McKenzie of Reno, Nev.; step-children, Ben and Teresa Grellman, and Jeff Grellman; Elisabeth Parsons and Abigail Grellman, step-granddaughters, as well as numerous others who regarded him as a father and mentor. His son Brent predeceased him in 1983.
Jack was highly respected among his peers, dearly loved by all who knew him and will be sorely missed.. A private remembrance was held by his family.