Gardnerville rancher killed in car crash
Nevada Appeal News Service
GARDNERVILLE – Rancher Ted Bacon was remembered Wednesday as a private man with a passion for cars and the Carson Valley.
The 83-year-old Gardnerville rancher and car collector was killed Tuesday in a head-on crash north of Los Angeles.
According to initial reports, Bacon’s sports utility vehicle veered into oncoming traffic on Highway 138 and hit a truck carrying members of an inmate fire crew.
One inmate firefighter was killed, seven inmates and a Los Angeles County firefighter were treated and released.
A coroner’s spokesman said Bacon was heading to Santa Barbara when the crash occurred.
Bacon’s neighbors and friends in Northern Nevada were saddened by the news.
Laurie and Dan Hickey became neighbors of Bacon’s Jubilee Ranch when he moved into Carson Valley in the 1950s.
“He was a very good neighbor,” Laurie Hickey said. “He was a very nice, honest, straightforward fellow. He was a very nice and charming person.”
Hickey said Bacon allowed her to include the Jubilee Ranch barn on the historic barn tour.
“He was tremendously easy to work with. Anything we wanted, he was willing to do. He was hoping it (the barn tour) would raise a lot of money.”
Hickey said Bacon didn’t attend the most recent barn tour because he was at a class reunion.
Bacon attended a June fundraiser for Dan Hickey who is recovering from a ski accident.
“He didn’t have to do that,” Laurie Hickey said. “He always did the right thing. As neighbors, we didn’t see each other every day, but we would honk when we passed each other.”
Jackie Frady, executive director of the National Automobile Museum in Reno, said Wednesday the board, staff and volunteers were “deeply saddened” by Bacon’s passing.
Bacon was instrumental in creating the museum, which opened in 1989 to house William Harrah’s car collection.
“He was highly respected as a knowledgeable director, judge of collectible automobiles and a true gentleman in everything he did. He will be missed in many, many arenas,” Frady said.
“Bill Harrah influenced Ted in becoming a collector and Ted was instrumental in forming the museum,” she said.
Bacon served on several committees before the museum opened and officially joined the board of trustees in 1993.
“I’ve known him for 29 years,” she said. “He was the dearest man. He deserves to be recognized and remembered. Ted will leave a real absence in the world. He was a model to many of us. If we could live to the standards Ted lived in caring for his fellow human being – he was passionate about the things he believed in – the world would be a better place.”
Minden Town Board Chairman Bob Hadfield said he came to know Bacon in the last few years. Bacon housed his extensive car collection on County Road.
Hadfield referred to Bacon as “a new old-timer.”
“He came and purchased all this property. He was born into it. He chose it. He loved this place so much.”
He said Bacon’s car collection and land holdings were more than just a hobby.
“Everything he did, he had a passion for. He had a real passion for the land, this area, and, obviously, collecting cars,” Hadfield said.
He said Bacon enjoyed his privacy.
“He was a very quiet, little-known prominent citizen of this community. You didn’t see Ted out stomping the bushes or jumping up and down. He was very dignified, very honorable and led by example,” Hadfield said.
Hadfield said Bacon enjoyed talking about Minden, but never complained.
“I never saw him disrespectful of anything,” Hadfield said. “He was a very private person, just like Brooks Park. Men like that never lost their common connection and never forgot where they came from. They were self-made men.”