Former county commissioner dies at home
Former Douglas County Commissioner Robert A. Oswald died Sunday of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 85.
Sheriff Ron Pierini, a friend of Oswald’s, said no foul play was suspected and that investigation was continuing. His body was found in his Skyland home Sunday afternoon.
Oswald had been in poor health, Pierini said.
He served on the Douglas County Commission for two terms from 1981 through 1988, representing Lake Tahoe.
“He was very much of a team player as far as on the commission,” Pierini said. “He helped deal with the Kahle property purchase where we now have Kahle Park. He was instrumental in getting property for the sheriff’s substation at 175 Highway 50 constructed in 1984. He also assisted very much in getting the sidewalk installed between the Horizon Casino and Dart Liquor. Prior to that, there was just a dirt path.”
Pierini also spoke of Oswald’s interest in technology.
“He was brilliant. He was almost light years ahead of everybody else in technology,” Pierini said. “He talked about technical equipment the commission should buy then to save taxpayers money. People didn’t always understand some of it because it was really new.”
Pierini said he last saw Oswald on Thursday when the former commissioner participated in a picture-taking session honoring donors who raised $4,000 to send the Douglas County Sheriff’s honor guard to Washington, D.C. in May for National Peace Officer Memorial Day.
“He heard about the honor guard wanting to go to Washington and seemed pleased to be able to help us,” Pierini said.
When the sheriff was commander of the Lake Tahoe substation, he said Oswald was a frequent visitor.
“He was a real law and order person. He believed in what our jobs were and had a lot of good ideas,” Pierini said. “I feel honored within the last month to have had the opportunity to go to his house and visit. We took him to lunch a couple of weeks ago and a lot of our people went with me. It was always good to spend time with him.”
Oswald, who joined the commission at the age of 68, pioneered the development of horse race timing field. He invented the device which made it possible to record photo finishes in horse races.
Pastor Pete Nelson will officiate at a memorial service Friday for Oswald at 1 p.m. in the Carson Valley United Methdist Church. Interment will be held at the Oakhill Memorial Cemetery in San Jose, Calif., at a later date.
Donations in Oswald’s name may be made at the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, PO Box 218, Minden, 89423.
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