Gardnerville couple celebrates 60th anniversary

Betty and Phil Pinder celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary with their family and friends on Sunday.

The couple married Feb. 15, 1946, in the wake of World War II. Betty said she met Phil, a Navy aviation machinists mate at the Elmwood Skating Rink in Oklahoma City, which had been converted to a dance hall.

"He thought we were a bunch of college girls," she said.

Phil was going to school in Norman, Okla., after coming back from the Pacific Theater where he served with a seaplane squadron stationed in the Philippines. He was the bow turret gunner in a Martin Mariner and took turns working the flight panel as flight engineer.

The couple met on Halloween 1945 and became engaged on Christmas, Betty said. Betty was an Oklahoma native, while Phil was from Miami, Fla.

"We had a three-month whirlwind romance and we went from Oklahoma City to Florida to get married," Betty said. "You had to be 21 to get married, so my father signed the OK."

The couple was supposed to get married on Valentine's Day, but the couple learned that Betty needed both her parents' consent so they had to wait for a wire from her mother.

When Phil mustered out of the Navy, he moved to the Florida Keys where he ran a charter boat for a while before going back to college.

He attended the University of Miami on the GI Bill and got a degree in mechanical engineering.

His first job was in Washington, D.C. designing wooden minesweepers for the Navy.

"The guy who hired me said we were building the biggest wooden boats since the USS Constitution," said Phil, who came from a long line of shipbuilders and fishermen.

Betty worked for the phone company and the Dr. Pepper plant in Florida while Phil went to school.

Phil was in the civil service for 33 years before he retired and spent the last 20 years working at Point Mugu Air Station, with a six-year stint working as a liaison at Cape Canaveral during the Mercury and Gemini missions.

The couple has three children, their oldest, Candace Zimmermann, who lives in Santa Rosa, their son Phillip G. Pinder, who coaches girls sports in Fallon and their youngest daughter Nancy Jo Delevet, who lives in Georgia.

All three made the trek with their families to attend the receptions at Carson Valley United Methodist Church between services. More than 200 people attended the anniversary receptions after each service at the church.

Phil said he and Betty moved to Gardnerville from Southern California in 1989 to be nearer their children. They've been active in Kiwanis and both regularly go to the Carson Valley Swim Center.

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Gardnerville's Dorothy Todd had me sputtering with a question about Snowshoe Tompson on Wednesday morning.

She said she'd heard that Snowshoe was actually a woman. I nearly had a cat. I pointed out that Snowshoe had a beard, wife and a child.

After I got off the phone, someone mentioned that it was really Hank Monk who was supposed to be a woman, something else I'd never heard. A little research revealed that the stage driver who was really a woman was "Mountain Charley" Parkhurst, who was a contemporary of Hank's.

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Janet Adams, whose brother Larry Willson's sister, had a correction for us on the story of her brother's early years with the Dangbergs.

They were raised on the Dangberg Sheep Camp Ranch on Stockyard Road. She said she thinks the ranch was the original Ferris property, named for the family H.F. Dangberg married into.

"It is my belief that the road should be named Sheep Camp Road and that it received its name because John Dangberg had erected a sign to direct truckers to the "stockyard" from whence the Dangberg cattle were shipped to market.

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Today, the Nevada Appeal will be saying bon voyage to editor Barry Smith after a decade. Barry was one of the crew who grabbed an oar at the Appeal after The Record-Courier's parent company bought the paper in July 1995.

Barry arrived in early1996 and was one of the Coloradans who came from the Greeley Tribune along with sports writer Ross Maak and city editor Bob Kretschmann, who lived in Sunridge for a couple of years. Dave Price and I were from The R-C contingent. Publisher Jeff Ackerman brought his sports editor Frankie Miller with him from the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza. The presses were moved from the Tahoe Daily Tribune to Carson City along with a lot of folks, like Gardnerville residents Rob Sperry and Mike Ivie.

I was running the night desk at the Appeal and making my daily apology to Ackerman when I met Barry. I told him my name was mea culpa.

For a Coloradan, Barry turned out to be a pretty good Nevadan and he will continue to work in the capital as executive director of the Nevada Press Association.

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By the way Greeley was named for New York newspaperman Horace Greeley, whose ride with Hank Monk was made famous in "Roughing It" as the ancedote that wouldn't die.

n Kurt Hildebrand is editor of The Record-Courier. Reach him at or 782-5121, ext. 215.


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