Gardnerville women remembered
October 22, 2002
Two Gardnerville women, who touched the lives of many friends and family members, lost their lives in the tragic accident Friday north of town.
Michele “Shelley” Campbell, 39, and Jessica Ann Gomes, 45, died Oct. 18 on Highway 395 following the accident involving three vehicles that snarled traffic and caused delays for many hours.
According to the Nevada Highway Patrol, a truck driven by Moundhouse resident John Veader, 26, veered into southbound traffic striking Campbell’s 2002 Audi, killing her instantly. The truck was then hit by Gomes’ Buick. She also died at the scene.
Veader was pronounced dead at Washoe Medical Center in Carson City a few hours later. The cause of the accident is still unknown, but witnesses say alcohol may have played a part.
Campbell had lived in Gardnerville since 1996 with her husband and best friend, Stuart Campbell. She was employed at The Grateful Head beauty salon in Carson City, and a native of San Jose, Calif.
“I just knew it was her,” said Stuart Campbell, her husband of more than 17 years. “I kept trying to call her. I could always get her on her cell phone, so I drove all around past Jacks Valley and the Home Depot and well, there was nothing I could do.”
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His wife was a devoted San Francisco 49ers fan, who was also devoted to their dog, Wendy.
“She was my best friend in the world,” he said. “We had a wonderful life together.
“Everybody loved her.”
Campbell’s former employer, Irene Watson, who owns the beauty salon, said she was a team player who was very passionate.
“We loved her,” said Mason. “I don’t know why good people die so young. Do you?”
Mason said co-workers and clients are devastated by Campbell’s death.
“We are going to miss her forever,” she said. “She touched everyone. She was a very special human being. It is just a crying shame.”
Leslie Fay of San Jose said her best friend was someone who accepted anyone.
“Shelley made me a better person,” she said. “She had an extremely bubbly personality, and talked to everyone.”
Fay said Campbell was practically a gourmet cook, who included all her recipes in a cookbook she gave to friends as gifts last Christmas.
“There is a new angel in heaven, but it is not where I wanted her to be.”
Funeral arrangements for Campbell are still being made, but services have been set for Nov. 2 at Walton’s Chapel of the Valley.
Gomes, who is survived by three children, was a longtime Fish Springs resident. She had previously worked at the Carson Valley Inn.
Co-workers remember her as outspoken and honest.
“She was a great, very truthful person,” said Connie Reeves. “Now she sleeps with the angels.”
Gomes’ father, Don Hale and brother Jesse Hale are Fish Springs volunteer firefighters.
Hale said his daughter, a former U.S. Marine, who served during the Vietnam conflict, was very outgoing and followed her own convictions.
“It is just a complete shock,” he said. “She was doing well.
“She laughed easily and made friends easily.
“She was a very devoted mother and had very strong family ties.”
Kathy Kuehner of Carson Vally worked with Gomes at CVI for four years. She said Gomes had healing powers.
“She would put her hands on your neck and the pain would go away,” she said. “She really felt she had healing powers.
“She was a really good and caring person. Very strong willed. We were good friends, and she will be missed.”
Gomes’ companion of many years, Martin Wertz said she was the most wonderful, caring person he had known.
“We had everything going and within a second, everything is gone,” he said. “So now I have to figure out another life to live.”
Her funeral will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Fish Springs Volunteer Fire Department with arrangements also made with Walton’s.
n R-C Staff Writer Regina Purcell can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org