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Memorial today for human rights advocate
by Tribune Staff
Aug 07, 2011 | 635 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print

SPARKS — The Reno-Sparks NAACP and the family of Mary Valencia Wilson will hold a memorial service in Sparks at 3 p.m. today at American Legion Duby Reid Post #30, 730 Fourth St. (next door to the Sparks post office, across from Sparks City Hall).

Gospel-blues-jazz diva Pat Esters will perform “Amazing Grace,” the classic hymn written by repentant slave ship master John Newton in 1773. Esters will also perform gospel legend Mahalia Jackson’s “If I Can Help Somebody.”

Rt. Rev. Sean Savoy, Chancellor of the International Community of Christ, will deliver words of reflection and inspiration.

Wilson was a longtime advocate of civil, labor and human rights. She died of cancer in Reno on June 10 at the age of 66.

The Sunday gathering needs volunteers and the family needs assistance with Wilson’s final expenses.

Those who can support the memorial service with setup, take-down and/or food, can call Joan Valencia Treptow at 775-560-0318, or NAACP Assistant Secretary Dolores Feemster, 775-323-3677.

Anyone wishing to attend should call ahead, especially those planning to bring food or beverages. Setup begins at 1 p.m. Today.

Contributions for Wilson’s final expenses, payable to Joan Treptow, may be sent to the Reno-Sparks NAACP, P.O. Box 7757, Reno, Nev. 89510. Donations via debit or credit card are being received via Reno Sparks Web contributors are asked to make sure to designate for Mary Wilson.

In her younger days, Wilson marched through California with legendary United Farmworkers Union leader César Chávez. In addition to her service as Reno-Sparks NAACP political action chair and executive committee member, she served on the board of the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada and was active with Washoe Legal Services and the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada. The Nevada Alliance for Workers Rights honored her with its Sentinel Award in 2002.

More information and a complete obituary can

be obtained at

Those who wish to send personal memories for permanent posting at the website may e-mail them to

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