Bill Dolan steps down from Nevada Day Board
Bill Dolan, journalist, teacher and native Nevadan is stepping down from the Nevada Day Board. A member since 1957, he now serves as historian for the organization. He plans on continuing as such, but in an advisory capacity.
A very spry 79, Dolan is soft-spoken and articulate with clear blue eyes and an encyclopedic knowledge of Nevada, its history and people.
“We need to have access to all the knowledge Bill has about the Nevada Day celebration,” said board president Virginia Nuzum. “But he has certainly earned the right to leave as an active board member. We will miss him.”
Dolan started working at the Nevada Appeal in the late1940s, serving as a reporter, photographer, advertising agent, advertising manager and assistant manager before his retirement in 1989.
He spent many years as promoter on the board, bringing the word to entities in Nevada and beyond including legislators, editors, West Coast newpapers and seventh grade teachers.
“When you work for a small newspaper, you’re involved with the community and this a major event,” he said. “Nevada Day was basically a hometown celebration. State employees ran the committee and everyone was involved.”
Dolan readily admits to being president of almost every club in Carson City at one time or another and one year co-chaired the Fourth of July parade, the theme a salute to children. No one knew the “Young Ladies of Mound House” float represented a brothel.
“It’s illegal to advertise prostitution,” he said. “That put me in a position. If I pulled the float out, it would have meant even more publicity for the houses.”
The float finished the route, a decision that drew comments from as far as North Carolina, he said.
Born prematurely, but of pioneer stock in Ely just before the Great Depression, Dolan weighed just two pounds. He said his mother kept him warm by wrapping him in sheepskins.
“When my mother was cooking at a sheep camp, she kept me in a wash tub with a Sears catalogue,” he said. “She cooked from 4 a.m. to 7 p.m. It was a rough life.”
He remembers moving often and spent many of his earlier years without radio or television, a fact that he said helped his verbal skills.
“The last light in Cherry Creek went off at 9 a.m. and the only light in the valley was miles away,” he said. “We grew up with the things most take for granted today, no doctors and often no electricity. All I did was read.”
He earned the highest score in reading and comprehension when he attended Virginia City’s Fourth Ward School in 1936, just before the school closed. He was in the seventh grade.
He acquired an amateur radio license before graduation from Carson High School in 1940 and during World War II, served in the European Front with the T-5 Signal Corp. After the war, he completed a degree in journalism and a teaching credential from the University of Nevada, Reno.
He makes his home with his wife, Dorothy, and has two grown children, Susie and Trent. Both live in Carson City.