Biggest area story last week was the passing of former Reno Mayor Bob Cashell. Unfortunately, in the first edition of the daily Reno paper the bulk of the obituary on Bob was left out. To their credit the paper apologized and ran the complete story in two later editions.
It isn’t often that the word “legendary” can be applied to a local citizen, but in Bob’s case it was appropriate. His name will be remembered along with other local legendary characters such as Senator Bill Raggio, newsman Rollan Melton, sportswriter Ty Cobb, coach Jake Lawlor and D.A. Jack Streeter to name a few.
For me, I first met Bob on a Pop Warner practice football field when our sons were playing. I found out that he had been a star grid iron player himself when he was in high school in Texas. The first thing I noticed about him was a firm hand shake, a booming voice and a very husky physique.
Over the ensuing years I got to know Bob very well, especially during his three terms as Mayor. He left a large void in Reno.
Although I followed Bob’s career during his political years, I have to say that at one time we were not on the same page. It occurred in 1982 when he was the Democrat candidate for Lieutenant Governor and I was doing publicity for his Republican opponent, Bill Boyd.
To say the least, it was a very spirited campaign that saw the underfunded Boyd against the well-heeled Cashell. When the results were announced Cashell was the obvious winner, but when it came to serving with Democrat Governor Richard Bryan sparks often flew forcing Bob to change his affiliation to Republican.
During Bob’s first appearance running a Senate meeting, I happened to go to Carson and sit with Raggio as his guest. Immediately following the session, we happened to bump into Bob in the hallway and he approached me and gave me a massive bear hug. This threw me off guard a bit, as the previous campaign had been so contentious. We both agreed that a political campaign is much like a sports contest in that the final score is determined by the vote count and when it’s over you shake hands and recognize the superior ability of the winner.
From that point on, for the next 38 years I felt that Bob and I had a warm relationship. While he was Mayor, he was very accommodating in signing Proclamations that I authored for a variety of events.
Probably the most time I spent with Bob was when he called me one morning and said that a motion picture crew was coming to Reno to film a TV special entitled, “When the World Breaks”. He said that I had a lot more TV experience than he did and would I serve as an intermediary between the City and the shooting company. When I asked him what that would entail, he noted that in addition to him being interviewed, it would be appropriate to line up other individuals such as Link Piazzo, because the theme of the show was to be how the current national recession compared to the great depression of the ‘30s.
When it came time for Bob’s portion of the show to be filmed, I got a call from him saying that he had a very important conflict of interest and would I sit at his desk and do my interview. I replied that I would be happy to and had a good time sitting at his large desk in his spacious office. The film crew consisted of a group of fairly young guys and I don’t know if the project was ever completed.
Guiding the crew to Link Piazzo’s house at Hidden Valley was an interesting adventure because the cameraman arrived late and a rather testy Link asked me why the long delay and the best I could do was tell him he was scheduled for make-up first and in his case it might take a long time. As Link and I were good friends he chuckled and said, “Let’s have a drink.”
When I bid the shooting crew adieu, they told me that of all the interviews they had conducted Link’s was the best. That was probably due to the fact that Link was the oldest individual to participate.
Getting back to Mayor Bob, he was one of those individuals who qualified as, “A man to match my mountains”.