Community bids fond farewell to Señor
The sun beamed down on Edward “Señor” Arciniega after Saturday’s funeral mass for the beloved Churchill County educator. Hundreds of friends, colleagues and family members lined the fence at the high-school athletic complex that bears his name and said their goodbyes, many wiping away tears as the hearse slowly moved around the track.
Prior to Señor’s final trip around the oval track, hundreds of mourners stood up in the Churchill County High School gym at the end of the mayor’s eulogy and sung the Greenwave fight song while clapping their hands to the music, a fitting tribute to Arciniega who dedicated his life to educating young men and women.
The 92-year-old Arciniega passed away on April 13.
Former student and teacher’s assistant Jane Jabines Moon, who assisted the family with Saturday’s service, reflected on the three years she had Señor for Spanish and then served as his student assistant during her senior year, Arciniega’s last year as a teacher. Looking back to her time in the classroom and the years since his 1988 retirement continues to make an impression on Moon.
“We were his last graduating class from high school, and for our class, it was making history,” Moon said.
The tributes for Arciniega and what he meant to education and students have been overwhelming for Moon. Even during his final year at CCHS, she said Señor taught with the same amount of vigor, excitement and engagement.
“He always engaged students and held them accountable,” she remembered as his T.A. “He let no one off the hook. You had to do your work.”
Moon said Arciniega also engaged her as his T.A. He had Moon assist other students with their language and cultural skills. During her senior year, Moon also assisted two exchange students, one from Mexico and the other from Colombia.
“I was their ambassador,” Moon said, explaining how she showed them around the school, attended lunch with them and ensured they became involved in school activities.
“It enriches your life to be involved,” she said. “Both he and Mrs. Arciniega drew that out with Steve (Moon) and me.”
If a lesson arose from Señor’s career as a teacher, it was encouraging students to become involved and give back to their communities. He also maintained high standards for both him and his students.
“Yes, his standards remained high,” Jane Moon said, “and he would be disappointed if you didn’t live up to them. He touched a lot of people and was respected and liked.”
Mayor Ken Tedford delivered the eulogy for Arciniega, calling it an honor to remember his friend and mentor.
“It’s been a difficult 11 days for this community,” Tedford said in his opening remarks.
Tedford talked about Arciniega’s early years, growing up in Valmy and attending high school in Battle Mountain where he played on state championship teams in football and basketball. After graduation, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps and served in the Pacific Theater for two years before his discharge in 1945. He eventually enrolled at the University of Nevada, Reno where he received his degree in 1951.
In 1952, Tedford said Arciniega married his college sweetheart, Norine, and together, they stood for family, education, athletics and community.
Throughout his 37 years as an educator at Churchill County High School, Tedford said Arciniega’s athletic teams won numerous state championships, but his 1957 basketball team that defeated Reno, Las Vegas and Hawthorne will long be remembered.
Tedford said the Nevada Interscholastic Athletics Association inducted Arciniega into its Hall of Fame in 1994, and the new athletic complies at CCHS was named after him in 1996. Not only was Arciniega involved with athletics, but also Tedford said he served as president of the Churchill County Education Association for one year and was a member of the Parent Teacher Association for 37 years. In 1985 Arciniega was named Hispanic Educator of the Year.
Tedford also revealed a lighter side of Arciniega.
“He served as an announcer at football and baseball games and track meets,” Tedford said. “We can all recall memorable and comical moments when he was at the microphone.”
Afterward, the daughter of Charile Arciniega, Ed’s twin brother, read several moving letters sent between the two siblings over the years.
Math teacher Gary Butori, and Arciniega belonged to the Knights of Columbus.
“He was one of the first people I met in Fallon,” Butori said, adding that he began teaching in Churchill County during Arciniega’s final year. “
Butori said Arciniega was an inspiration to him: “Ed showed everyone how important it was to help others. That is the thing … ask and he would willingly help.”
Butori said everyone Arciniega touched in both the community and St. Patrick’s Catholic Church remembers him.
Former student and colleague Nancy Stewart said dedication is one word that describes Arciniega.
“He was always professional, someone you would look up to as a teacher,” she said.
When Stewart was a counselor at the old high school, she and Arciniega had hall duty together and learned much about each other during their conversations.
Rich Lee played on the starting five for the 1957 basketball team and remembers how Arciniega encouraged his athlete to play to their potential.
Lee said the 1957 team wasn’t as tall as Reno or Las Vegas, but the team succeeded with a team whose tallest player was 6-foot-1 inches.
“Ed was just an easy laid-back kind of coach who let you play your own ballgame,” Lee said, noting Señor took his players and what they could do best.
In looking back, Lee said he was fortunate to play for Señor on the basketball team and as a running back and defensive end on the football team. Lee said the class of 1957 was very close.
“We get together about every five years,” Lee said. “It’s like going to a family reunion.”
Lee said he also saw some players from the 1957 team at the funeral including Dave Lumos, who lives in Fallon, and Val York, who now resides in Montana. Arciniega made an impact on their lives, Lee said.
“I remember Ed not only as a devoted teacher but also a good family man,” Lee added.
Retired educator Gary Imelli played on Arciniega’s football team when he was a sophomore and took his Spanish class. After Imelli graduated from high school and then the University of Nevada, he returned to Fallon. Arciniega had moved to the athletic director’s position.
Teacher Bert Serrano’s room at the old school was next to Arciniega’s. They also shared hall duty together. He said Arciniega was a calm person who never became upset.
“He was always prepared for all his classes and would greet everyone at his door,” Serrano recalled.
Teacher and former coach Phil Pinder, who is retiring this year, said Arciniega was a major influence for him to stay in Fallon and offered sage advice during the good and bad times.
“He was always there,” Pinder said, echoing what many had said about their former coach, teacher and friend.