A prominent Sparks resident of some eight decades passed away on March 16 of this year. His name was Silvano “Syl” J. Frediani.
I first became acquainted with Syl way back in the 1950’s when I was Reno City League Softball Commissioner and Syl was an excellent player on one of the top teams. He was a powerful hitter and a nifty defensive powerhouse.
The last time I saw him was on February 10 at the Celebration of Life for his departed son Wayne.
I was unable to attend Syl’s final services on March 24 as I had a conflicting hospital appointment.
Syl’s obituary was a well-crafted account of his many athletic achievements, work history, Army service, devotion to family and community involvement.
In essence, Syl was typical of what has been called, “The Greatest Generation”. It has been applied to individuals who were born in the 1920’s and eventually survived WWII. In fact, Syl was one of those brave men who stormed Normandy at Utah Beach on D-Day. I believe he still carried some shrapnel in his body from that event.
In the present-day heated discourse about immigration, it might be well to note that Syl was an immigrant from his birthplace of Lucca, Italy at the tender age of 3 or 4. At that time, all immigrants were duly processed and eventually attained legal US citizenship.
Syl was about 13 years old when he first arrived in Sparks. He was a graduate of Sparks Junior High School and Sparks High School. He was such an outstanding athlete in a variety of sports that he attained All State Honors in football. He was inducted into the Sparks High School Hall of Fame in 2012.
Following his two-year Army career, he had a variety of jobs before joining First National Bank in 1969. He had a full twenty-year career at the bank, which saw him rise to a Vice Presidency and Branch Manager. A sturdy individual with a solid build, Syl continued his participation in athletic endeavors as a referee for high school and college sports. His stamina enabled him to do that for some 25 years. I remember seeing him on several occasions when he was officiating on various football fields and I noted that whenever one of the coaches became too obstreperous, Syl was quick to “tee him up”. I understand that he was also equally capable of tossing coaches out of the game whenever they directed foul language his way. Although I only saw Syl occasionally on the field of play or at his banking chores, I reconnected with him socially through his son Wayne some fifteen years ago. The three of us would lunch together, attend banquets and go to University games of football and basketball. Since he and his son Wayne were University grads, we also attended several annual UNR athletic events at the Governor’s Mansion.
There will be a large void in Sparks community activities due to Syl’s absence.