Former Lyon County Commissioner Larry McPherson wore many hats during his career and retirement, but it was his cowboy hat he was most proud of.
So say friends and family members of the Stagecoach man, who died June 7 after suffering a stroke five days earlier. He was 81.
McPherson was a familiar face — and voice — to Nevada Day Parade attendees. He announced the annual event in front of the Legislative Building for 16 years.
The Pony Express was one of McPherson’s passions, and he spearheaded the construction of the metal horse-rider silhouette that drivers see when heading east from Carson City. He also represented the National Pony Express Association in parades and participated in the annual Pony Express re-ride for 14 years. His ashes are set to be spread in a private ceremony near the silhouette.
McPherson, a commissioner from 2007-11, also is credited with getting the V&T Railroad track completed to where it runs today. He was active in trying to extend USA Parkway to U.S. Highway 50 in Silver Springs. He was part of the Lyon County Sheriff’s Mounted Posse and Lyon County Sheriff’s Search & Rescue, establishing the Yerington unit. He was involved with the Historical Society of Dayton Valley, the Comstock Historic District Commission and the Kiwanis Club. McPherson also served on the Stagecoach Town Board and Lahontan Medical Center board.
Former Lyon County Commissioner Don Tibbals said McPherson always had the public’s best interest in mind.
“He was honest, and if it wasn’t right, he didn’t go for it,” he said.
Before retiring, McPherson was a production manager with McDonnell Douglas. He later worked for Boeing and eventually became an owner-operator in the trucking business. He was an aircraft mechanic in the Bay Area and served as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division in Fort Bragg, N.C.
Friend Ron Bell, president of the Silver Springs Chamber of Commerce, described McPherson as both passionate and humorous.
“He was always kidding with someone, and his jokes were so pointed; it was really funny,” he said.
Bell helped McPherson get the Pony Express silhouette reinstalled after it fell in 2011. He said McPherson was a history buff who gave talks, and that his appearance on the cover of Nevada Magazine in 2011 was one of his biggest sources of pride.
“He was such a faceted guy. He’s kind of like a diamond in a lot of ways,” Bell said. “He would be one thing to you, he’s a different thing to me. Whatever he did, he got in with both feet.”