Remembering a beloved mayor
Fallon paid its final respects Thursday to a former mayor who many said made a big difference in his “adopted” city, the Oasis of Nevada.
A memorial service was held at Smith Family Funeral Home to remember Merton E. Domonoske, 92, a California native who moved from California to Silver State in the late 1930s to attend the University of Nevada. Domonoske died July 16 in Reno after a lengthy illness. After serving as an infantry officer during World War II, he returned to Nevada to finish his senior year at the university and later accepted a position with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Fallon after earning a master’s degree at Washington State University.
When the Korean War began in 1950, Domonoske commanded the Nevada Army National Guard armory in Fallon before he received an honorable discharge in 1952.
Prior to Thursday’s service, an honor guard of five Fallon police officers assisted arriving mourners.
Fallon Mayor Ken Tedford said he has tried to follow in Domonoske’s footsteps as the city’s top official.
“I was raised to respect my elders,” Tedford said. “When it came to Mert, it was easy to do.”
Tedford said he always respected Domonoske’s advice on city matters although what was done in the early 1970s when the former mayor served could not be applied now.
“I will miss those times he called me, sent me an email or came to visit,” Tedford added.
As tribute to Domonoske, the Fallon City Council held a moment of silence before Tuesday night’s meeting.
Domonoske served on the Fallon City Council from 1960-71 before he was elected mayor until 1987, a span of three decades of public service. He was also involved with many organizations and boards.
Pastor Paul Slaton of the Fallon Church of the Nazarene said a parade of life would characterize Domonoske’s numerous accomplishments in his 92 years. As Slaton described Domonoske’s years in Fallon, he said it’s time for people to share stories of him.
Pastor Bob Prudler, brother of Domonoske’s widow, Paula, began his remarks by saying the former mayor “was an awesome guy.”
“He was one who always wanted to lift others up,” Prudler said.
Yet, Prudler asked a rhetorical question wondering what life would have been like in Fallon if Domonoske didn’t relocate to Churchill County with the USDA.
“He always strove to be better and to help others to come up to a higher place,” Prudler said. “Mert wanted to grow in knowledge, wanted to grow in wisdom and grow in every facet of life to become better in life.”
Prudler, though, said Domonoske cared about the city that adopted him.
Chris Wiltfang, who has worked more than 30 years at E.H. Hursh Insurance, the firm Domonoske and his late wife, Nadine, operated until 1995, said he was a very smart man, an intellectual at heart. She said Domonoske was very generous and helped her at least twice.
“I will always have fond memories,” she said.
Starlene Hanifan and her late husband, John, were friends with the Domonoskes. John Hanifan also served in local politics and in many of the same groups, and their paths crossed frequently.
Starlene Hanifan also said Domonoske was instrumental in helping her son receive an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.