May 3, 1944 - January 27, 2014
Michele Maupin Basta passed away unexpectedly at the age of 69 in the early morning hours of Monday, January 27, 2014. She was born May 3, 1944, in Reno, Nevada, to Hazel P. Maupin and Ernest J. Maupin, Jr., who raised her in Fallon, NV, where she enjoyed a very happy childhood with her twin sister Michon and her younger brothers Doug and Ernie.
Michele was a wonderful person who loved to read, go on road trips, laugh, visit museums, and travel internationally. While the world was her playground, she cherished visiting Paris. She loved anything French; French food, French culture, French people, and the French language. But to be fair, Michele loved art and culture of all kinds, most particularly, great literature, as exemplified by the love of her book club and the friends she shared it with. But, most of all, she loved being the very best mother she could be. Her wonderful children, Erin, Tobin, and Elizabeth are a testament to that, and they responded with great love in kind. This is true of all who had the great fortune of knowing Michele; she loved them dearly, and they loved her dearly. Many who spoke at Michele’s Celebration of Life event, held on February 1, described Michele as a classy, charming, loving woman who had an incredible zest for life, and her infectious smile was a constant reminder. They also mentioned how intelligent she was and how every conversation with her was interesting. She made having fun in life a very high priority.
As a teenager, Michele attended Churchill County High School in Fallon and graduated as one of three Valedictorians in 1962. She then attended the University of Nevada, Reno, graduating in 1966. Michele and her twin sister, Michon Mackedon, were practically inseparable, even through college. Michele loved to joke about the fact that the “twins”, as they were known on campus, would both have graduated with a 4.0 grade point average had Michele not received a “C” in her bowling course. Thus, she graduated second in her class, just behind Michon, but was therefore awarded the French medal, which she truly cherished.
Michele married Robert D. Basta in August of 1967. After moving around a bit while Bob became an M.D., they settled in Carson City, Nevada in 1978. Michele was very active as a community volunteer. After earning an M.A. in French and English Literature from the University of Nevada, Reno, Michele developed the first French classes at Western Nevada Community College in the mid to late 1980’s. Michele then came back to her alma mater and taught French language and culture from 1989-1992. In 1992 Michele was awarded the Alan Bible Teaching Excellence Award in the College of Arts and Science. Michele then took advantage of an opportunity to study at the Sorbonne University in Paris in 1994-1995. Michele’s marriage to Robert Basta ended in 1996.
Soon thereafter Michele met Dan Tone at the Nevada Writer’s Hall of Fame, an event she organized and truly enjoyed. Michele loved recalling their first “date”, which was a trip out to Fallon so that Dan could buy hay for his horses as well as go to lunch with Michele’s wonderful mother, Hazel. They returned with the hay and with a love that would last a lifetime.
It was her 10-year involvement with the Friends of the Library Board of Directors that eventually brought her into the UNR Library as Director of PR and Development as well as the Executive Director of the Friends of the Library. Michele led trips for the members of Friends of the Library and other donors on international cultural tours. They visited French locales seen by Thomas Jefferson, as well as Greek locations mentioned in the writings of Homer, and in the evenings she gave lectures on the historical and artistic significance.
Michele also chaired the $22 million Knowledge Center Campaign Task Force. She and her friend and colleague in the UNR Library, Carol Parkhurst, invested an enormous amount of time and energy working with the architects on the design of the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center. They often said that they were creating an environment with a “sense of place”. Those who experience the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center say that they exceeded their goal. Michele retired from the University of Nevada, Reno as Professor Emeritus in 2006. During that year, she was also awarded the Cornerstone Award as Outstanding Fundraising Executive by the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
Some of Michele’s happiest times were when she and Dan traveled to their second home in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand. When it was cold and blustery in Reno, she couldn’t wait to get to the warm New Zealand summers, where they would walk along the ocean and buy fresh fruits and vegetables. They’d sit on the porch in the warm evenings, drink wine, and smile. Michele even took to painting the sailboats sitting in the harbor.
Michele’s life was then blessed by the birth of Gracie and George, her grandchildren of Toby and Erica. Together, they laughed and loved. Michele taught them to be kind, intelligent, and have lots of fun. One can still picture them dancing around the living room together. Michele planned on taking Gracie to Paris after Gracie’s eighth birthday. Unfortunately Michele passed away before she could introduce Gracie to Paris, but surely she shall always be there in spirit, pointing out the best cathedrals, greatest artwork, and the most charming cafes.
Such an incredible person is bound to leave behind a great legacy, one of which is her fabulous family: her daughter, Erin Chandler and her husband Gavin, her son Tobin Basta and his wife Erica, her daughter Elizabeth Basta and her partner Allen Scully, her sister Michon Mackedon, her brothers Doug and Ernie Maupin, her beloved grandchildren George and Grace, her partner of many years, Dan Tone, his son Jonathan, who was like a son to her, and her wonderful extended family of nieces, nephews, and cherished friends, of which there are many.
Michele brought much joy to countless people and will be sorely missed by her loving friends, former colleagues, and family, who are all grateful to have known her. She shall always be loved dearly and carried in the hearts of many to far off lands and fabulous adventures. And she, of course, will be our guardian angel, smiling through our smiles and laughing through our laughs.
A scholarship fund is being established in Michele’s name and legacy. If you are so inclined, please donate to the UNR Foundation in Michele Basta’s memory, Mail Stop 0162, Reno, NV 89557-0162.
And if you would like to view the video shown at her Celebration of Life event please go to this website: http://vimeo.com/86460513