Family and friends fondly look back at Wendy’s life
July 18, 2013
No matter what she did — mother … athlete and avid outdoorsperson … animal care giver — Wendy Kwapich-Mossi (Vincent) packed a lot of living into her 40 years if you listen to family members and friends.
It is those years of living they prefer to look back on, rather the events of June 11 when the Fallon woman was found dead in her residence by Fallon Police Department officers. Results of the Washoe County Medical Examiner's office autopsy have yet to be released and the police investigation continues. In the meantime, there are certainly many memories, many of which were shared after sister-in-law Kristina Crow-Vincent set up a Facebook tribute page in memory of Wendy, a 1991 Churchill County High School graduate.
"We're at a loss for words as far as what happened to her," Kristina said of her sister-in-law. "We try not to think about what happened. We try to think about what kind of person she was. She was one of those types of girls that as soon as she walked into a room, she brightened the whole room," Kristina said. "She was so full of love and life, and just the most giving person; she'd take off her shirt and give it you if she could."
Wendy was certainly competitive, as former classmate Kevin Rice remembered on his Facebook page: "Wendy Vincent was the first friend I met when I moved to Fallon. Like many of you we met at the indoor pool. My favorite memory of her was at 4-H practice, she rode the English jumping events. She was coming up to a jump and her horse gets right there and refuses, just sticks it in the dirt and stops, Wendy goes flying off the front, SPLAT. She jumps up, doesn't even dust herself off, grabs the reins and goes, 'You SOB!' She gets back on and goes around and tries again, just as they get there she hangs the spurs in his ribs and right over they go without a hitch. I think that's where I learned that a fighting spirit can get you through about anything."
Linda Vincent smiled as she heard that story retold about her daughter, who also earned the county grand championship award in showmanship with her horse, Neet Amir, and state reserve grand champion honors in 1990.
"That's how you learn to do things, and she was always that way," Linda Vincent said. "If something didn't go right, she would just practice and practice until she got it right. It was the same with her clarinet or anything she got into."
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It was a friendship through Pop Warner football led to Kristina Crow-Vincent getting married in April to Wendy's younger brother, Dustin Vincent. The couple now resides in Elko.
"I actually owe her," Kristina said. "Without her, I would have never met her brother," Kristina said. "I met her in Fallon when my son was playing football with her son. Her brother came and we met and then that was it.
"She was my sister-in-law, but as far as anybody knows, she was my sister. We just had a real tight bond."
Wendy was also a mother of two — son, Klayton Kwapich and daughter, Karlyn Mossi — and was a very involved mom at that.
"All the times her son was playing baseball or football, she was right up there helping coach, whether she was an assistant coach or team mom," Kristina Crow-Vincent said.
Her son picked up her athletic talent. At this time two years ago, Clayton was a member of the Fallon 8-and-under team that qualified for the Nevada State Cal Ripken Tournament in Sun Valley.
Wendy also enjoyed the distinction in 2011 of possibly being the first female Pop Warner football coach in Fallon.
"I've been doing this 25 years, and we do have cheer coaches off hand, but Wendy was probably the first one we had come into the coaching ranks," said Ralph Ratti, president of Fallon's Pop Warner program. "She wanted to (coach) because she was interested in her son and in other kids."
Of course, the young football players knew they couldn't take advantage of this "girl" on the field.
"She did really well because she was coaching the younger kids, and at that age they kind of needed a mother (figure) to kind of push them along to keep them playing and interested," Kristina Crow-Vincent said, adding with a laugh. "But, oh, yeah, if you didn't listen to her, you were in big trouble."
School years and beyond
Wendy Vincent, who originally moved to Fallon with her family as a fourth grader in 1983, was active in the community as a swimming lifeguard, 4-H activities, as an athlete and even clarinet player.
She was a three-sport athlete at CCHS, where she played varsity softball and volleyball her sophomore and junior years (she also played JV basketball as a freshman). On the softball diamond, LVN files from 1991 show Wendy Vincent enjoyed a good junior season in 1990 for a CCHS varsity squad that posted a 24-10 record and qualified for the Northern 3-A zone tournament. She hit .324, including one game in which she hit 4-for-5 with a triple for the Greenwave in a 16-0 victory against South Tahoe.
Vincent dropped out of sports her senior year to concentrate more on academics, including classes at then Western Nevada Community College. She also received two scholarships at the end of her senior year at CCHS, including a $500 Fallon Emblem Club scholarship and an Alternate-Business and Professional Women's Association scholarship.
"Her senior year she took classes at the college (WNCC)," said Linda Vincent, Wendy's mother. "She got up early and went to the high school and then she went to the community college and took classes there."
After high school Wendy attended WNCC, where she made the dean's list, according to her mother. Wendy moved on to the University of New York at Delhi, where she received her degree as a licensed veterinary technician in 1996 as Phi Beta Kappa.
"She was thinking about nursing but then she wasn't happy doing it; she enjoyed working with the animals so she transferred everything to at Delhi," Linda Vincent said.
Wendy later worked in New York before she returned to Nevada and worked for different veterinary clinics. She had lived in Fernley for a little over a year before moving back to Fallon recently.
There was no forgetting Wendy Kwapich-Mossi.
"I always remember Wendy … as Wendy," Ratti said, laughing. "We're going to miss her. I miss her already as a friend and everything."