Alice Gottschalk Downer

Alice Gottschalk Downer, 95, passed away unexpectedly in Reno on Wednesday, May 21, 2008. She was born in Lovelock, on March 2, 1913. Her parents were Peter

Her parents were Peter and Martha Gottschalk who were pioneer settlers in Lovelock, moving there from Reno in 1904. She graduated from Pershing County High School in 1931 and received a Normal Degree in Education in 1934 from the University of Nevada. She completed her elementary education bachelor's degree at California State University at Sacramento.

On August 16, 1934 she married Robert C. Downer at the First United Methodist Church in Reno. They were students at the University when they met. Before Robert died in 2000 they celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary.

Her teaching career spanned 25 years. Her favorite grades were 4th, 5th and 6th. She taught at the old Anderson School in Reno during WWII. Later she taught at Marcie Herz's private school in Reno before moving to California where she continued her career in El Dorado and Alpine Counties. A talented musician and creative teacher, she enjoyed playing her favorite pieces well into her 90s.

An active participant in her community, she belonged to several organizations including the Carson City Democratic Women's Club, Carson Valley University Women's Club, Sertoma International, Douglas County Democratic Central Committee, Common Cause, Carson Valley Literary Club, and Nevada Women's History Project. In 1994 the Nevada Women's Political Caucus awarded her the Pioneer Woman of the Year award. In 2001 the Nevada Women's History Project and Nevada Women's Fund selected her as a Woman of Achievement.

She was predeceased by her parents; husband Robert, and siblings Arthur, George, Elma, Earl, and Robert. She is survived by her three children, Catharine Sanders (Neil) of Reno, Robert Downer (Marilee) of Boise, Idaho, and Craig Downer of Carson Valley. She is also survived by five grandchildren, Chris (Susan), Eric (Irene) and Scott (Marita) Sanders, Julie and Steven Downer and five great-grandchildren, Austin, Jacob, Brock, Bryce, and Mikala Sanders, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

Alice possessed a generous, kind, and outgoing personality, loved nature, hiking, reading, and took a genuine interest in politics and environmental issues, in particular wild horse protection. For many years she was a member of the Methodist Church and remained dedicated to her prayer life.

A memorial service is scheduled for 11 a.m., Thursday at Walton's Chapel of the Valley, 1281 N. Roop Street, Carson City. Cremation is under the direction of the funeral home with inurnment at the Mountain View Mausoleum in Reno.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Andean Tapir Fund, P.O. Box 456, Minden, NV 89423-0456


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment