Former Elko and Fallon City Councilman John E. Tewell was remembered Saturday as not only a family man with a deep love of God but also as a public servant who served two communities on opposite ends of Nevada.
The 92-year-old Tewell died at home on Father’s Day, June 20.
During his Celebration of Life at the Christian Life Center, speakers told of Tewell’s devotion to serving others. Fallon Mayor Ken Tedford said his friendship with Tewell has spanned for more than 30 years when John and his wife Faye relocated to the Lahontan Valley because of his position as rural manager of County Companies Insurance. Within three years of his arrival in Fallon, Tewell was elected in 1993 to his first term as a councilman. He won two more elections before term limits set in.
“He mostly served his 16 years with Bob Erickson (former mayor and councilman),” Tedford said, adding Tewell also presided on the council with the late Hank Cornu and Willis Swan. “They all had mutual respect for each other, and everyone got along together.”
Tedford said Tewell was also appointed mayor pro tempore (pro tem) to perform functions in the absence of the mayor. He said Tewell represented the city well. Tewell was elected to represent Ward 3, which encompassed the older section of Fallon. Tedford said Tewell wanted to ensure his constituents were well represented, but he remembered a conversation with Tewell about finances.
“Kenny, I don’t think we’re spending a lot of money in Ward 3,” Tewell said.
Tedford assured him the ward was receiving its share of money, but he would ask then City Clerk Gary Cordes. Shortly afterward, Tedford gave Tewell the latest financial report.
“John, we spent $11 million in Ward 3. What do you think?” Tedford asked. “That’s pretty good.”
Although Tewell was passionate about his commitment as a city councilman, Tedford said his longtime friend wanted to be appointed to the Fire and Police Commission, a similar position he held in Elko. Fallon, though, did not have a specific commission, so he appointed Tewell to the Fire Board.
“He loved that idea,” Tedford said. “He liked to know what was going on.”
As a member of the city council, Tewell also served on the Senior Center Advisory Board, the CART (Churchill Area Regional Transit) board of directors and the Fallon Convention and Tourism Authority board.
After he left city council in 2009, he received a special jacket from the Fallon Churchill Fire Department that he wore regularly and was named an honorary member. In 2018, Tedford also recognized Tewell on his 90th birthday.
Tedford said Tewell also had another love. He represented the city at many ribbon cuttings conducted by the Fallon Chamber of Commerce. Even after he left the city council, Tewell attended numerous ribbon cuttings for either new businesses or those that re-opened with new owners.
“He wanted to make sure someone represented the city,” Tedford said.
Over the years, Tedford said Tewell became a chamber ambassador, but if he weren’t involved with a city event or Fallon Chamber of Commerce activity, the Tewells could regularly be seen at the Starbuck’s table at Safeway before the coronavirus pandemic restricted public access.
Being a retired newspaperman from Elko, Tewell either had an unfolded copy of the Reno Gazette-Journal or Lahontan Valley News next to him.
Before he concluded his remarks, Tedford commended John and Faye Tewell for their 70 years of marriage and said they had a “special marriage with God at the center of their relationship.” Tedford’s thoughts turned to his former councilman and friend.
“I will really miss John Tewell. This community will miss John Tewell,” Tedfored stressed.
Pastor Jimmy Myers told of Tewell’s life in both Elko and Fallon. Although he was born on Sept 28, 1928 in Loomis, Calif., to Bernard and Arlis Tewell, John and his family relocated to northeastern Nevada where the three sisters and one son attended Elko County schools. John Tewell graduated from Elko High School in 1946 and later attended Glad Tidings Bible Institute and Bethany Bible College in Santa Cruz, Calif., where he graduated in 1951.
Before he received his degree from Bethany Bible College, Myers said Tewell married his childhood sweetheart, Laura Faye Hage, on Sept. 1, 1950, in Elko, and they had three children: Dotty, Les and Joe.
Myers recognized Tewell’s civic responsibilities in Elko, where he lived for 60 years before moving to Fallon in 1990.
“He worked at the Elko Daily Press, managing the entire print department,” Myers pointed out. “He was very involved in city government, serving as president of the Alcohol & Drug Abuse Council, member and chairman of the Elko Planning Commission, city councilman for eight years and Police and Fire Commissioner for six.”
Myers said Tewell joined Gideon’s International in 1968 and became a life member. He also served in the Elko Assembly of God Church, the Elko Indian Mission and the Presbyterian Church.
In addition to his 16 years on the Fallon City Council, Myers said Tewell also served as vice president for Financial Concepts International and worked for he Churchill County School District for 10 years. Before becoming members of Fallon Christian Fellowship, Myers said the Tewells attended Epworth Methodist Church, and he was also president of the Fallon Camp of Gideon’s.
Mary Glaesman said she was the middle child in the family.
“I was the pesky little sister,” she said.
Glaesman described several scenes of their youth and talked about family trips to Twin Falls, Idaho, and the nearby Ruby Mountains and the “Elko” winters.
“We did our Christmas shopping on ice skates,” she said.
After she married Marvin Glaesman, a World War II Navy veteran, in 1951, they relocated to Alaska where they spent the next 41 years. Following in the footsteps of John and Faye, the Glaesmans left Alaska in 1993 and moved to Fallon to be nearer to their mother, Arlis. John Tewell was busy with many events until he died, especially with the Christmas tree lighting and holiday events. The Tewells, along with their daughter Dotty Krake, lit Fallon’s downtown 2020 Christmas tree. At the time of the ceremony, he said he was checking off another item on his bucket list.
Both Faye and he said they looked forward every year to one of Fallon’s biggest events of the holidays.
“Since we’ve been here, we’ve been down here taking photos,” he said after the tree lighting. Son-in-law Larry Krake said John Tewell came into his life 51 years ago. Fifty years ago, Larry and Dotty Krake married, and they celebrated their anniversary on the day of her father’s Celebration of Life.
“What you saw is real,” Krake said.
Krake said his father-in-law loved people and could make a room shine. Additionally, Krake said Tewell had a special love for both Elko and Fallon, his family, God and America.
“He was kind. I never heard a harsh word out of his mouth,” Krake said.