Deputy coroner retires after long career

Carson City Chief Deputy Coroner Norm Nunes will retire Monday after a lifetime of public service.

Carson City Chief Deputy Coroner Norm Nunes will retire Monday after a lifetime of public service.

In 1960, while living in Northern California, Norm Nunes came to Carson City to marry his wife, Freda.

"At that time I said, 'Gee this would be a nice little place to retire,'" he said.

That 40-year-old dream will come pretty close to reality Monday when Carson City's chief deputy coroner retires to Fernley after more than 25 years of public service.

Born and raised in the Bay area, Nunes, 62, and his wife moved to Carson City in 1989 after he raised his two children and retired from 21 years as a Contra Costa County deputy sheriff.

That retirement was short lived.

"I worked around the house for six months and my wife finally said, 'Get a job,'" Nunes recalled.

His first job here was a stint as a security guard at the Ormsby House before landing a position with the State Industrial Insurance System as a claims investigator. In January 2000, when SISS changed ownership from state to private, Nunes left.

For a while he tried his hand at private investigating, but despite enjoying the work, he hung up his badge.

"It was costing me more than I was actually making," he said.

For the past year and a half, Nunes has worked as chief deputy coroner, a job which he says you can't take too seriously.

"You've got to humor yourself or you won't make it," he said. "You think you've seen it all but then you'll find something that you've never seen before."

Having been called to thousands of deaths, Nunes said it takes a special individual to handle that kind of work.

"It can be a downer sometimes, but you learn not take your work home with you," he said. "You get used to it and just go on."

The most notable call Nunes ever responded to was as a deputy coroner in Contra Costa County in 1987 where he went to the scene of a horse-riding accident that claimed the life of Malcolm Baldridge, secretary of commerce for President Ronald Reagan. But, Nunes was quick to point out, "all calls are important to the family."

He and his wife recently bought a home in a new development in Fernley and are planning to retire there.

Nunes said he just found out Tuesday they won't have television or phone service at the new house for a while.

"If I'd known that I might have rethought buying the house," he said laughing.

He's sure his wife will eventually tell him to get a job, but for at least several months he'll have a new house to work on and can set up a woodworking shop in his garage.

"I don't know if I'll work again. I think we're gonna relax a little bit," he said.

What will Nunes do on his last day at the Carson City Sheriff's Department?

"I'm going to grab my stuff and run out the back door," he exclaimed.


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