Farewell to a longtime contributor
January 4, 2018
Longtime Alpine County chronicler Nancy Thornburg died on New Year's Eve in Carson City, according to columnist Lisa Gavon.
I got word that she died on New Year's Eve. She was 79. Nancy was born in 1938 in Martinez, Calif.
Nancy moved to Alpine County in 1959 after marrying Fritz Thornburg. She'd graduated from the University of California, Davis, which is where she met Fritz.
She taught first and second-grades at Fredericksburg School, according to her last letter to the editor in April 2017.
She retired as county archivist in 2014, receiving official accolades from the county and state.
I met Nancy at an Alpine County supervisors meeting more than a quarter of a century ago.
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I wrote a story in July of 1990 about Alpine residents' concerns about the flammability of the forest and was a little too specific for her tastes.
It was one of my first lessons that just because you quote someone accurately, doesn't mean they're going to be happy with the results.
Nancy called me out, saying that the story might prompt arsonists to set the mountain on fire.
These were in the days before the Internet, so the arsonist audience of The R-C was pretty limited, but I saw her point and promised to do better in the future.
An outspoken member of that tiny community, Nancy was an author, writer and regular contributor to The Record-Courier over the years.
She helped form the Alpine County Historical Society and was director of the museum for a decade from 1987 to 1997.
She was an author, who wrote the "Short History of Alpine County Archives, 1864-2014," and "The 'Spanish' Flu Pandemic of 1918-1920: and its impact on the Carson Valley and Alpine County."
We had plans for a historical almanac piece on the influenza epidemic based on the book.
She served as one of the Alpine County columnists for about four years starting in 2007.
She never cut me an inch of slack, so last spring when she sent me a note praising the Carson Valley Almanac, it was particularly nice.
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The R-C lost a dear neighbor in Marcella Oxoby, whose obituary appears on page 5 today.
Marcella was a valuable link with Gardnerville's past, having lived in the town since she was a baby. Her service is 11 a.m. Jan. 13 at St. Gall Catholic Church.
Kurt Hildebrand is editor of The Record-Courier. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 782-5121, ext. 21.