Historical Society celebrates four new Women in History

Ann Owen, 96, holds roses she was presented as a Woman in History by the Douglas County Historical Society on Saturday.

Ann Owen, 96, holds roses she was presented as a Woman in History by the Douglas County Historical Society on Saturday.
Photo by Kurt Hildebrand.

Saturday’s Women in History Remembering Project saw one of the biggest crowds in years.

“It was a great turnout,” said organizer Christy Canatsey Nolting. “It was a lot of fun.”

At 96, Ann Owen has seen a lot of history go by since she and her husband James arrived in Carson Valley in 1965 with their four daughters.

The couple started Silver State Title Co., which they operated for 20 years. They were among the partners who purchased Carson Valley Golf Course in 1967, not long after it was completed, according to her daughter Lisa Maddox. Her love for travel led her to open the Valley’s first travel agency.

“When it came to raising money for Easter Seals, no one was safe,” Maddox said.

She convinced a friend to dress up as the Easter Bunny and had the Dressler twins performing ballet.

“She dressed my sisters and I up in polka dot dresses,” she said. “When she saw my sister and I dance, she decided we should just clap.”

It was rare that Owen skipped an opportunity to host a dinner party, and when the crew filming “Charley Varrick” asked if she would host a reception for star Walter Matthau’s double in 1972 she said naturally said ‘yes.’

“The entire crew came to the ranch, including Walter Matthau himself,” Maddox said. “She’s a great wife, mom and friend and she’s always the lady. When she gets mad, she says ‘Oh, Sugar.’”

Trent Dingman read a tribute to his great grandmother, Carson Valley native Margaret Park Pruett.

A member of a historical Valley family, she participated in the construction of Edgewood and two casinos at Stateline.

“She was a true Nevadan and proud of her roots,” Dingman said. “She would say, ‘when I grew up you could put the entire population of Nevada in the Rose Bowl and still have empty seats.’”

Laura Scarselli Hendricks talked about her grandmother, who was born in the Italian enclave that was Sparks.

Graduating from the University of Nevada, Reno with an education degree in 1941, she taught school.

When the war broke out, she took a job writing letters for an Italian couple to their son, who was a POW in the Phillipines.

Gene Scarselli was at Corregidor when the U.S. surrendered and was in the Bataan Death March.

When he got home and met Eva, who had been translating his letters, they married in 1946.

The couple arrived in Douglas County in 1956, Hendricks said, where Eva busied herself working alongside Grace Dangberg, Lois Jones and Roy Heise to open the Genoa Courthouse Museum.

She worked as docent, publicist and curator for the museum in its early days.

Breana Taylor and Mia Townsell talked about their grandmother Josie Graham, who was a longtime physical education teacher at Douglas High School.

She coached the volleyball team to its first championship in 1983 and was inducted into the Douglas High School Hall of Fame. She was named educator of the year in 1986 before retiring in 1994.

But before that, she was appointed as a Douglas County commissioner where she served in the early 1990s.


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