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Nevadans riding off into the sunset
by Harry Spencer
Apr 23, 2011 | 1050 views | 1 1 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The late Odile Frost Brady was Reno Rodeo Queen in 1950.
The late Odile Frost Brady was Reno Rodeo Queen in 1950.
The past 30 days have seen an inordinate number of well known northern Nevadans departing the scene. Among them were Odile Frost Brady, Milton Glick, “Dutch” Simon, Bob Winkel and Jan Savage.

Odile Brady was the widow of the late Pat Brady, who was a former university and Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback best known for his record-setting punting ability. Milton Glick was the well respected president at the University of Nevada, Reno, while “Dutch” Simon operated one of the more popular bar/restaurants in southwest Reno. Bob Winkel was a member of the family owners of Winkel motors, one of the longest franchised new-car dealers in the area. Jan Savage was a top tier entertainer who had performed since she was 5 years old and is currently best remembered for the successful Savage and Bob Braman duo of entertainers.

Of the fivesome mentioned, I knew Odile Frost Brady the longest time. I worked closely with her father, Harry Frost, the owner and operator of the Reno Printing company. In fact, Frost was the chairman of the board of athletic control that used to fund the scholarships at the university for major sports athletes. I was fortunate enough to attain one of those scholarships in 1945.

Following the end of World War II, I also became acquainted with the entire Frost family when I used to witness quarter horse breeding sessions between Harry’s Diamond F steeds and those of the Double Diamond Ranch, now the South Meadows Development. On one instance I witnessed Odile win the Miss Reno Rodeo Queen title in 1950. She was an excellent horsewoman and continued to enjoy that sport even into her declining years. She and her husband Pat raised their family on a small ranch just south of her dad’s Diamond F property. When the priest that married them told them to “Go forth and multiply,” they did just that, having five children, 14 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.

Appropriately, her Celebration of Life service was held on the grounds of the Bartley Ranch Regional Park at the base of Windy Hill.

By coincidence, the Bartley park is just a few hundred yards from the small strip mall in which “Dutch” Simon’s well known eatery is located. “Simon’s,” as it is called, is a gathering spot for “old Reno” types. It is always jam-packed at lunchtime and also does a thriving business for dinner. Up until just before his death, “Dutch” was the daytime chef and also participated heartily in the liar’s dice and domino games that were a daily occurrence in the bar area. As for the bar, it best resembled the one that dominated the TV show “Cheers.” Invariably, the same customer would be in the same seat at the same time every day. The bartenders and waitresses are also longtimers who know their customers by name and can serve the proper drinks and meals without ever having to take an order.

Of those leaving us this month, the most abrupt and shocking departure was that of UNR head man Milton Glick. At one minute he was enjoying dinner with his wife and shortly thereafter was pronounced dead after suffering a major stroke. The outpouring of admiration and respect came from all parts of the community. On campus he was fondly remembered for his engaging and caring personality, all the way from the youngest freshman to the chairman of the University Board of Regents. Although his tenure was relatively short at just five years, he witnessed an incredible spurt at the school both in terms of enrollment and the opening of massive new facilities.

He will be difficult to replace.

For many years the singing husband and wife team of Jan Savage and Bob Braman entertained locally as well as on the road. The two talented singers blended their voices perfectly and they had some good comedic repartee between them. I recall first seeing each of them prior to the time they teamed-up as both were booked at different times in the Mapes hotel. Braman usually played the casino lounge as he headlined his own group and I best remember Jan as a solo piano player and singer in the coach room of the hotel before she, too, became head of her own trio and, later, quartet.

In addition to live performances, the couple recorded and appeared at numerous benefits and social events. Their best routine was when they parodied Steve Lawrence and Edyie Gormè. In addition to having equally compelling voices as the more famous duo, they played instruments with great verve, with Bob being an adept trumpeter, particularly when he did some old Harry James pieces. Bob is still with us and many feel he will continue his live performances.

Bob Winkel is best remembered for the many charitable and civic contributions that he made to his hometown of Reno. For many decades the Winkel Pontiac/GMC store was a top dealership and I recall first visiting it when it was located on Center Street, just behind the now gone Tower Theatre, which fronted on Virginia Street.

The Winkel name is now removed from the GM franchises but Chris Winkel is still operating Winkel Family Motors at the former Saturn store on Kietzke Lane.

This handful of departed souls made many contributions to the warp and woof that is the tapestry known as the “Biggest Little City in the World.”

Harry Spencer is a freelance writer in Reno. His column about the past and present of northern Nevada appears weekly in the Tribune.

Editor’s note: Opinions expressed in Harry Spencer’s column are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Tribune.
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September 06, 2012
Thank you so much for honoring this amazing woman she meant a lot to me and will always be remembered.
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