Former school board member dies of cancer | RecordCourier.com

Former school board member dies of cancer

by Sheila Gardner

Alicia Smalley, who served on the Douglas County School Board for 10 years and was a passionate advocate for social justice and equality, died of cancer Saturday at Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center. She was 54.

Smalley was diagnosed with lymphoma five years ago. She said in an interview in September that the tumors on her lung and stomach didn’t become aggressive until a year ago.

She had hoped to undergo a bone marrow transplant at Stanford, but was too ill for the procedure.

“She had gone through all the treatments and protocol suggested by her doctor, but it was to no avail,” said Esther Cothrun, Smalley’s sister. “She wanted to do everything she could to win in this struggle for her life, but she didn’t seem to be able to shake it off.”

Smalley was born Feb. 19, 1952, in Las Vegas and moved to Carson Valley 32 years ago.

Cothrun said her sister credited her activism to their parents and grandparents.

“Our grandmother saw Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton when they visited Lincoln County,” Cothrun said. “Our grandfather was the sheriff of Lincoln County and our dad served in the Nevada Assembly.”

Cothrun, a teacher with the Clark County School District, said Smalley inspired others to do more.

“There were times in my life that I ended up being and boards and organizations that I wouldn’t have been if it weren’t for Alicia. It’s amazing to me that she fit in all that she did and still had time for fun and family,” Cothrun said.

Her sister’s legacy will be her children – Brook Adie and Darin and Drew Arigoni, Cothrun said.

“Her children are a fabulous legacy,” Cothrun said. “They get along so well together and were with her in the end.”

Brook Adie gave birth to twins Sierra and Sage five months ago and the babies were a delight to their grandmother.

Smalley said in September that she was busy making quilts for the infants.

“That keeps me going,” she said. “There are so many positive things in my life. I have so many friends and they have been so wonderful.”

Smalley worked for the state for more than 20 years in employment security, welfare, vocational rehabilitation, aging services and employee benefits.

She earned her masters in social work at the University of Nevada, Reno, and became field work coordinator in the Department of Social Work.

Smalley had completed the course work for her doctorate in social work at the University of Utah when lymphoma symptoms interrupted work on her dissertation.

In addition to her mother, sister, children and grandchildren, Smalley is survived by her brother Ed and life partner Stephen Nicholas and several nieces and nephews.

A memorial service is set for 11 a.m. Thursday at First Presbyterian Church, 306 W. Musser St., Carson City, followed by a reception.

Donations in Smalley’s name may be made to the scholarship fund of the Partnership of Community Resources, PO Box 651, Minden, 89423.

DETAILS

A memorial service for Alicia Smalley is set for 11 a.m. Thursday at First Presbyterian Church, 306 W. Musser St., Carson City. A reception will follow.

Donations in Smalley’s name may be made to the scholarship fund of the Partnership of Community Resources, PO Box 651, Minden, 89423.