Valley rancher dies |

Valley rancher dies

by Regina Purcell, Staff Writer

Longtime Carson Valley rancher Herman Herbig died Monday at Carson-Tahoe Hospital following a lengthy illness. He was 81.

Herbig and his wife, Anneliese, were honored in June for donating more than 26 acres of land for the new Herbig Park, home to the Carson Valley Skate Facility, across from Lampe Park, and future site of a complete sporting and recreational facility.

“His extreme generosity over the last couple years will be remembered forever,” said Scott Morgan, community services director for Douglas County, who knew Herbig for eight years and worked with him to make Herbig Park a reality.

Morgan said it was Herbig’s idea to get the the skate facility started.

“He came up with the initial five acres for the skate park,” said Morgan.

“We’re just sad that he’s gone.”

Douglas County Commissioner and former ranch hand Jacques Etchegoyhen said Herbig is one of the residents whose land helped make Carson Valley beautiful.

Herbig’s recent donation to Douglas County will enhance Lampe Park, which Etchegoyhen said, might be the premier park in Nevada.

Etchegoyhen said he knew Herbig well from working on a ranch owned by the Mack Family, which shared water rights with Herbig that date back to 1858.

“I’ll miss those phone calls at 6:15 in the morning,” he said.

“Herbig would call and say ‘Where is my water?’ in a thick German accent,” Etchegoyhen said.

Even several years of drought in the late 1980s didn’t sour Etchegoyhen’s relationship with Herbig.

“The good news is after 32 years we were still speaking. He was a gentleman, but firm,” Etchegoyhen said.

“The torch in Carson Valley is being passed, (the) only link to the Valley’s history.”

Etchegoyhen said longtime Valley residents such as Herbig, Sharkey Begovich and John Indiano, all of whom died this summer, were a “conduit to our past.”

“It hurts to lose them,” Etchegoyhen said. “We are changing so rapidly.”

Born Jan. 12, 1921 in Hankensbuttel, Germany, Herbig immigrated to the United States with his parents, Herman and Anna Herbig in 1938, according to his son, Ralph Herbig.

Herbig’s sister, Lena married into the Neddenriep family and the Herbigs worked and lived on that family ranch in Alpine County for a time until they relocated to Carson Valley.

“He was extremely hardworking and very intelligent,” said Ralph Herbig. “He also had a good sense of humor, but it didn’t always come out.

“Frankly, I didn’t see it very often because he was always so busy.”

When Herbig was 17, he attended Minden Grammar School to master the English language and he continued his education as a student and graduate of Douglas County High School in Gardnerville. His family said he was very proud when he became a U.S. citizen.

Herbig lived with his parents at the Centerville Lane farm until 1946 when they purchased and moved to ranch land on Muller Lane. Herbig lived there until his death.

Herbig raised cattle and was a dairyman and at one time he owned more than 400 acres in the Valley, according to his son.

Herbig retired 10 years ago, and some of his fertile land is rented out and still farmed, according to his son. Once he retired, Ralph Herbig said, his parents enjoyed traveling the world visiting Russia, South America and Europe, among other locales.

Herbig met his wife, Anneliese Schulz in 1949, while visiting relatives in Germany. His son said a long-distance romance, courting without the convenience of a telephone, led to his parents’ marriage just a year later in Wittingen, Germany, their home village.

In September 2000, the Herbigs celebrated their 50-year anniversary and renewed their vows in the same church in Germany where they were married.

The Herbigs raised two sons, including Ralph, and Herman G. Herbig of Minden.

His first cousin, Marlena Hellwinkel, said Herbig “had a true love for his adopted country, and especially Carson Valley.”

“I expect because the community was so good to him, that is why he was so honored to give back,” she said.

“They were a Carson Valley family.”

Hellwinkel said Herbig was known for making a point during conversations by sticking out his forefinger.

“He always had that finger sticking out,” she remembered with a smile.

Herbig was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church, past member of the Carson Valley 20-30 Club, Alpine Reservoir Company, Douglas County Farm Bureau, Carson Valley Soil Conservation and the Carson Valley Historical Society.

Herbig is survived by his wife of 52 years, Anneliese of Minden, sons, Herman of Minden, and Ralph (and Tamara) of Gardnerville, and grandson, Christian Herbig of Carson City.

Funeral services for Herbig will be held at Trinity Lutheran Church, Friday, at 10 a.m. Memorials may be sent to the Carson Valley Historical Society, 1477 Highway 395 N. Gardnerville, NV 89410.

n Regina Purcell can be e-mailed at