The measure of a man is not only who he was nor what he did. The greatest measure is how he affected others.
A Carson City icon passed away last week. I first thought that writing an honorarium for Bing Blood would be difficult. I was wrong. Bing’s memory will not fade from the vision of those to whom he gave over the past 50 years.
Bing gave to Stella, his wife, partner and love of 42 years; he gave to the customers who flocked to his barbershop, known as the “Tonsorial Parlor,” in downtown Carson City; he gave to his wrestling students at Carson High; he gave to his hunting buddies, who expressed great enjoyment in going with him on multiple fishing and hunting trips (he would give everyone a homemade lure and explain where and how to use it). In return, Bing asked only for comradeship, which all accepted with enthusiasm and honor.
While he was a ham radio operator, Nevada historian, skilled fisherman, hunter and Marine stationed at Pickle Meadows, his most significant gift to our community was his passion for wrestling and the young men on the team at Carson High. He coached the team and officiated for over 45 years. He was a volunteer, routinely leaving from his shop at 5 p.m. and going directly to the high school to coach for several hours and counseling to his wrestling students five days a week. He was honored with the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Lifetime Service award at a ceremony in Reno in October 2009.
Great men give in great measure. Bing gave with the telling of a vast inventory of stories and jokes. He was famous for a prank he played on a customer many years ago. He started a conversation with a friend who was not schooled in fishing. Bing said, “I’m so sorry you’re going to miss the salmon run this year on the Amargosa River.” The customer became enthralled with the prospect, gathered his gear, poles, lures, pickup and boat, and left for the Amargosa. Of course, experienced fishermen know there are no salmon in the Amargosa; it runs entirely underground. When he returned, the customer was furious, but, because of Bing’s warm and congenial way, everyone had a good laugh and the event became a traditional story. Everybody loved Bing.
An icon has passed. Yet as we all become older and wiser, we come to understand that an icon like Bing Blood cannot pass from our memory. Bing Blood lives on, not to be forgotten in the history of Carson City by his family and many, many friends and comrades.
The echo of his grandson can still be heard, yelling “Hey, old man, this is great!” while driving the truck at 14 years of age on a fishing trip or learning how to use a gun while trapshooting.
Dan Mooney, a 40-year Carson City resident, may be reached at Nevada4@aol.com.