Three join ranks of Douglas County Women in History

Whether they fought to survive, raise a family or to bring beauty to Carson Valley, three women were honored by members of the Douglas County Historical Society on Saturday.

More than 40 people attended the Women in History Project at the Carson Valley Museum & Cultural Center in Gardnerville as Ida May Baker, Sybil Larrouy Dunagan and Clara Hawkins were added to the ranks of previous honorees.

Patricia Gibson Baker honored Baker, who came to Carson Valley when she sought a drier climate for her health. Baker, who was briefly a post mistress, owned a dress shop and also served as a personal shopper for ranch wives before the Great Depression hit Gardnerville.

When the Depression made her business no longer viable, she traded her dresses to several Washoe women for baskets, creating a collection that still survives.

Susan P. Smith honored Centerville resident Sybil Larrouy Dunagan. Many of Dunagan's family members sat in the audience, including her brother Julian, her husband and four of her six grandchildren.

Dunagan and her brother practically grew up in the Centerville Bar. She has done hair and makeup for the Miss Douglas County pageant for many years, and even worked the Miss Nevada Pageant once, Smith said.

Dunagan works with the Look Good, Feel Better program that helps women with cancer with their appearance.

Smith, who is a cancer survivor, said it was Dunagan who gave her the haircut that she has today.

Dunagan became the only woman named Lions Outstanding Citizen in 2001.

Dunagan is a charter member of the local chapter of the Red Hat Society.

Laurie Hickey took the podium to talk about her ancestor Clara Hawkins, who moved to Alpine County in the 1860s and married in 1874.

The family purchased a house in Genoa and eventually moved there.

"She was vocal for a woman of her day," Hickey said. "She thought women should have the right to vote and wasn't shy about saying so. She was a good wife and mother, who raised a large family when survival was difficult."

With the addition of Saturday's trio, there have been 93 Women in History since the program started in 2000.

Project chairwoman Helen Chappell thanked the members of her committee.

"Douglas County is full of women who have made and continue to make a significant difference in life here," she said.

In addition to Chappell, Grace Bower, Tonja Dressler, Hickey, Shannon Hickey and Irene Marshall were members of the Women's History Remembering Project Committee.

Food for the reception was provided by Harrah's and Harveys casinos in Stateline. Decorations and the flowers presented for each woman was provided by Aladdin Flower and A Wildflowwer.


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