Historical Society honors 5 Carson Valley women
Five women who represent a span of more than 150 years of life in Carson Valley were honored Saturday when the Douglas County Historical Society presented its annual “Women in History Remembering Project” inductions.
Linda Lucile Shaw Reid, June Thran, Elzyette Knott Selby, Charlotte Lovegrove Jepsen and Nevalyn Berrum Miller received recognition for “their contribution to the quality of life in Douglas County” during a presentation held at the Carson Valley Museum and Cultural Center.
The only honoree still living, Shaw Reid, 73, expressed her gratitude when she spoke to an audience of about 90 people in the same building where she first attended classes at Douglas County High School in 1957.
“I’m very honored and humbled to be here,” she said. “This is very special to be here and that all of you are here to honor all of the people who are being presented today. I’m very proud to the live in a community that allows us to do these kinds of things, that is proud of our heritage, and I thank God I have been given the freedom to share my gift.”
LINDA SHAW REID
Shaw Reid is part of two Carson Valley pioneer families and she left her impact on many students during her time as nurse at Meneley Elementary School from 1980-95, not to mention many other contributions. She was introduced Saturday by her three sons: Wesley, Steven and Jason Reid.
Wesley pointed out that education was always emphasized at home. His mother worked toward a nursing degree from Western Nevada Community College in the 1970s while balancing life at home. And her own grandmothers had gone to college: Dorothy Berrum attended the University of California at Berkeley and Dorothy Shaw graduated from Kansas State Manual Training School (now Pittsburg State).
“(She) grew up knowing the importance of education,” Wesley said. “I didn’t realize it at the time, but I think it was such a powerful model that my mom went back to school while we were growing up to achieve her goals and demonstrate that you can do more than one thing at once and that education was a powerful catalyst to gain what you want to achieve in life.”
Jason Reid, now principal at Pinon Hills Elementary School, explained how his mother has passed on the importance of education and a passion for Carson Valley to a new generation.
“What I see with my mom is her pride in this Valley, her pride in her family and many of you in this room that she is thinking about in her heart,” Jason said. “What’s most rewarding for me is to watch her pass that gift on to her grandchildren. She takes advantage of every opportunity to talk about some of you, as well as the historical landmarks.”
Linda and Clark Reid — who was an English teacher and coach at Douglas High when they married in 1963 — are now two months away from celebrating their 54th anniversary.
Shaw Reid pointed out that her aunt Nevalyn was one of the honorees and an uncle, Dennis Heitman, attended the presentation.
“It just happened to turn out Dennis and Nevalyn were my mom’s sister and brother, so that made it very special,” she said.
NEVALYN BERRUM MILLER
Berrum Miller graduated from Douglas County High School in 1947 and went on to attend Colorado Women’s College in Denver and Oregon State University. She returned home and became a second and third grade teacher at Gardnerville Elementary School and worked for the Douglas County School District for 19 years. She passed away at age 72 on May 23, 1991.
“Mrs. Miller had the attribute of being warm and caring. She loved every student and strived endlessly to see that each student — boy or girl — reached their individual goal,” Gardnerville Principal Charles Condron said in a story bylined by Marlena Hellwinkel in The Record-Courier on May 26, 1991.
Miller’s daughter, Taryn Miller-Weaner, echoed those words in her introduction on Saturday
“She dedicated her life to helping kids find their passion and follow their dreams,” she said. “Still to this day we still hear stories from her former students about how our mother charged their life.”
Jim and Nevalyn Miller owned and operated Miller’s Market — located on a site now occupied by The Record-Courier — between 1957 and 1982.
ELZYETTE KNOTT SELBY
A true Carson Valley pioneer, Knott Selby was born Oct. 12, 1859 and passed away on June 7, 1944. Her death was reported on the front page of The Record-Courier two days later, Debbe Nye informed the audience during her presentation.
“Mrs. Selby’s life spanned the most exciting period in the history of the world,” that story reported. “From the Pony Express and covered wagon days, to the advent of the airplane that now spans the globe in shorter time than an ox team could travel 50 miles. All other modern inventions like the telephone, radio and streamlined trains were developed during her lifetime. Yet with all that modern science has achieved, Mrs. Selby loved the good old days of the pioneers.”
Her father, Elzy Knott (1832-1859), and grandfather, Thomas Knott (1808-1887), came to Carson Valley in 1853 and were possibly accompanied by John “Snowshoe” Thompson. Elzyette was born six years later to a recently widowed mother.
Nye spoke of preserving the Knott family’s story and early Genoa during her presentation.
“She also personified the ‘can-do’ attitude of pioneers of old no matter what might befall them,” said told the audience.
Knott Selby was a founding member of the Rebekah Lodge, which engaged in civic activity in Genoa from 1896-1939, and of the of the Genoa Parents Teachers Association in 1931.
“She also fact checked our local paper,” Nye said. “She wanted to make sure that the story would keep with history because she had lived it.”
Another educator well known in Carson Valley, Thran began teaching at Mottsville School in the town of Sheridan. She taught 21 years at Fredericksburg School and overall, she worked for Alpine County schools from 1945 until her retirement as librarian in 1973. “I enjoyed every minute of my career and really miss the kids and the library,” she said in the Feb. 13, 1975 edition of The Record-Courier.
Born June 21, 1904 in Salt Lake City, she graduated from Moapa Valley High School in 1923 and completed her education at the University of Nevada. She passed away on July 15, 1988, in Reno.
When presenting her grandmother, Sandy Thornton recalled a number of memories and spoke of a lasting legacy.
“She was always going above and beyond in teaching the children; she would take care of them in so many ways,” Thornton said. “I hope that these stories have adequately demonstrated how much of an impact the life of this one woman has made on the people whose lives were touched by her … and how the impact of that life will continue to be felt by those of us who knew her in this Valley.”
CHARLOTTE LOVEGROVE JEPSEN
Born on Jan. 13, 1899, in Salem, Ore., she received a degree in arts and letters from the University of California, Berkeley, and married Hans R. Jepsen in 1922. She was a teacher at Douglas County High School in 1926-27 — the 1926 edition of the “Orange and Black” was dedicated to her as “Our faithful sponsor, teacher, advisor and friend.”
Hans Jepsen, who served as county clerk, passed away in 1981.
She died at age 70 on July 15, 1969, and was buried at Genoa Cemetery. She was active in community organizations such as the Minden Fortnightly Club, the Homemakers Club and Artemisia, according to an announcement of her passing in the July 24, 1969, edition of The Record-Courier.
“Mom was a dedicated Nevadan and of Carson Valley,” Bob Jepsen said while introducing his mother. “I think what perhaps best describes her feelings is the song, ‘Home Means Nevada.’ To her, it was, home means Carson Valley.”