Remembering Bill Tomerlin
At one time, Bill Tomerlin was Nevada’s youngest licensed casino operator. Named businessman of the year in 1984 by the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce, Tomerlin was construction manager for the Carson Valley Inn, developed the Meadowdale Center and Meridian Business Park and was a long-time supporter of the Minden-Tahoe Airport.
Tomerlin died in Carson Valley on Jan. 16, at age 89, nearly a half century after moving here.
Starting out in the family hotel business, he managed properties in Bakersfield and Reno. He met future wife Marsha while she was working as a cocktail waitress at the Golden Hotel.
They would have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in May.
He sold the Golden Hotel to Harrah’s in 1966. He and Marsha tried out retirement in Newport Beach, lasting two years before returning to Nevada and settling in Carson Valley in 1968 in “a ranch among the trees.”
A few years after his arrival, he was appointed to Douglas County’s reconstituted Airport Advisory Committee. He and his brother Jim built the Meadowdale Center, envisioning a one-stop shop for homebuilders.
“A homebuilder will be able to get all he wants for his new home and not have to chase all over Carson and Reno,” Tomerlin said of the new center.
A year later, in 1979, homebuilders could also take a break by attending a movie when the Meadowdale Cinema opened with two theaters.
In 1981, the couple built the Coldwell Banker Itildo building in Minden, which would be home to Bill Tomerlin Enterprises until it was sold.
It was from that vantage point that he managed construction of the Carson Valley Inn next door in 1983.
Tomerlin also served as a director on the Northern Nevada Development Authority during its formation in the early 1980s.
The letter telling him he had been named businessman of the year was intercepted by Marsha, who kept it a secret, so the award was a surprise.
“He was instrumental in getting the Carson Valley Inn here, and he’s helped the economic base,” the nomination said.
In 1988, Tomerlin developed a 116-acre industrial park at Minden-Tahoe Airport. Named the Meridian Business Park it would be a boon to Carson Valley commerce.
No services have been announced.