Archie Pozzi Jr., a 20-year veteran of the Nevada Legislature and one of the community leaders who shaped Carson City and Nevada's character, died Tuesday at 81.
Family members said he was hospitalized Monday after suffering a stroke. He was preceded in death by his wife, Helen, in February.
Services are scheduled for 4 p.m. Monday at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Carson City. A reception will be held afterward in Room 3100 of the Nevada Legislature.
Pozzi, who ran the family Ford dealership in Carson City for decades, was a rare combination of strength and humor, displaying both in abundance during his 50 years involvement in the capital's community and political affairs.
A Republican, he served Ormsby County (later Carson City) as an assemblyman from 1955-1966. He moved to a seat in the Nevada Senate in 1967, serving two terms until 1974. Following that, he was on the Regional Planning Commission more than a decade under mayors Dan Flammer and Marv Teixeira.
Assemblyman Joe Dini, D-Yerington, remembered Pozzi as one of the powers in the Senate when he started his career.
"We got along good, but he was a true Republican. No way did he ever support a Democrat openly, no matter how much he loved you."
He said Pozzi was an "outstanding leader" for veterans in Nevada as well as working for state worker salaries and benefits.
Former Gov. Mike O'Callaghan described Pozzi as "not only an outstanding Nevadan but a fine American patriot."
"He had a lot of friends and a heart of gold," he said.
One of Pozzi's victories in the Legislature was a land-swap deal which enabled creation of Western Nevada Community College. He was also instrumental in enacting a state sales tax to help pay for education.
"I was on the bandwagon for getting the community college in Carson," he said in an interview late last year. "Initiating the state community college system early on was tough sledding."
He also helped create Carson City's current form of government by eliminating Ormsby County in favor of a combined Capital District in 1969. Among his proudest accomplishments during his tenure in the Legislature were his efforts to protect state workers and to help veterans.
During the 1960s when Pozzi was a member of the Legislature, he and other Carson City auto dealers made a reputation and turned auto sales into the capital's biggest sales tax producer by creating a running series of wacky commercials designed to draw customers from Reno.
Pozzi was born Jan. 7, 1919, in Oakland, Calif., but lived most of his life in Carson City. He graduated from Carson High in 1936, starring on the state championship basketball team that year. He graduated from the University of Washington in 1941, where he was senior class president.
Pozzi served in the Pacific during World War II and was discharged from the Navy as lieutenant.
When he returned, he went to work with his father at Pozzi Motors, the Carson City Ford dealership. He took over the business after his father died. When he finally sold it in 1982, the business had been in the family for 60 years.
Pozzi served as commander of the Nevada Department of the American Legion from 1951-52, as national vice commander, 1988-9, and was a national executive committeeman at the time of his death. Each legislative session, he organized the tribute honoring the legion and Nevada's veterans.
He was a member of the Masonic Lodge, Kerak Shrine Temple, Carson Host Lions. He served on the State Museum Board in 1951-4 and was a member of the Carson 20-30 Club.
He was a high school and college basketball referee for more than 25 years and was named Carson Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year in 1991.
Pozzi is survived by his children Bruce and Kathie of Anchorage, Alaska, Bob of Reno and Steve of Carson City, Michelle of Danville, Calif., and four grandchildren as well as his sister, Virginia Pozzi Furman of Carson City.
His father, Archie Pozzi Sr., was a Carson City leader from the previous generation, Pozzi Sr. was elected to four two-year terms as an Ormsby County Commissioner: 1928, 1930, 1932, 1934 and one four-year term in 1948.