State’s first Department of Commerce director dies at age 97 |

State’s first Department of Commerce director dies at age 97

Appeal Capitol Bureau

Walter Wilson, who served in a number of state posts including as the first director of the Nevada Department of Commerce, died this week at age 97.

Services will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday in Walton’s Sierra Chapel in Reno.

Wilson was born Nov. 22, 1908, in Tonopah and received his college education including a doctorate degree from the University of Nevada.

He taught at the University of Delaware, Colby College in Maine and the Teacher’s College in Connecticut before returning to the University of Nevada as an economics professor.

He held several positions with the state of Nevada including executive secretary for the Nevada Gaming Commission and as the state’s first Department of Commerce director.

He was a speech writer for Gov. Grant Sawyer and chairman of Gov. Charles Russell’s Group Insurance Committee, served as a Reno City Council member and member of the Reno Planning Commission.

Wilson wrote “The Oneness Trail” documenting the importance of the Washoe Indians to Nevada.

Wilson was a member of numerous community clubs and organizations from the scouts to Rotary and a former President of the Carson City Chamber of Commerce.

He was preceded in death by his wives Dorcas Wilson and Helen Wilson.

He is survived by wife Shirley Heany Wilson, daughters and sons-in-law Cindy and Bob Byington and Devon and Rob Parke, son and daughter-in-law Calvin and Sue Wilson, sister Alma Barry, eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.