GARDNERVILLE-Plaid shirts mixed with jackets and ties, blue jeans and black dresses as 700 mourners packed Trinity Lutheran Church on Tuesday to celebrate the life and legacy of rancher Arnold Settelmeyer who died May 22 at age 67.
"Arnold knew the Valley before there were stop signs and stop lights, even before there were paved roads," said Carson Valley United Methodist Church Pastor Pete Nelson, who delivered the eulogy.
"We can list Arnold's many accomplishments, but the one he loved most was simply the honor of living here with his wife and family," Nelson said. "His legacy surrounds us. The rhythm of the ranch was the rhythm of Arnold's life."
Nelson spoke of Settelmeyer's devotion to his wife, Patricia, their children James and his wife, Sherese, and Annalyn and her husband, Eric Reiman, and grandchildren, Rosealee Rieman, Caitlyn Costa and Sabrina Settelmeyer.
"He knew how to teach the very best lessons," Nelson said. "He could talk you into enjoying just about any task. Arnold was always teaching."
Nelson shared the story of Settelmeyer's first date with Patricia.
"When this beautiful Carson City schoolteacher answered the door, Arnold surveyed her up and down and said, 'I usually don't date women as tall as you.' And Patricia said, 'You don't have to start now,' and firmly shut the door in his face.
"But Arnold knocked on the door again," Nelson said. "The lesson from that was, 'never give up.'"
People from all walks of life filled the pews and choir loft, the chairs in the fellowship hall and stood along the walls, a testament to Settelmeyer's reputation for dealing equally with everyone.
"There's no greater tribute to Arnold than all of you be here today," said the Rev. Tom Windsor, pastor of Trinity Lutheran.
Windsor said Settelmeyer was often behind the scenes at the church to which his family has belonged for generations and helped build in Gardnerville in the 1950s.
To his children, Settelmeyer was a practical joker, and would take time from his busy day for tea parties with his young granddaughters.
"Remember his smile," said Nelson. "Remember his gentle touch, his work ethic and constant quest for knowledge. Know you have been touched by greatness."
The Nevada Legislature passed a resolution honoring Settelmeyer on Monday. Arnold's son, James Settelmeyer is a first-term assemblyman.
Born Jan. 15, 1940, in Palo Alto, Calif., Settelmeyer graduated from Douglas County High School in 1958. He attended Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, Calif., where he majored in agricultural engineering technology, then returned to Carson Valley to continue the family ranch.
He served as president of the Federal Land Bank for 10 years and was a member of the Carson Valley conservation district, the Carson River Water Subconservancy District, the Douglas County Water Conveyance Advisory Committee and the Nevada State Conservation Commission.
He was a founding member of the Douglas County Education Foundation and was selected Man of the Year by the Carson Valley Active 20-30 Club.
He served two terms on the Douglas County School Board.
Asked how he thought Settelmeyer would want to be remembered, boyhood friend Julian Larrouy paused for a moment and said, "There are too many things you could say about him. He was really dedicated and always looking out for the best of the community.
"I think the No. 1 thing would be as a farmer," Larrouy said.