I am a Reno native, attended Reno School, graduated from Reno High School, then the University of Nevada, Reno ('59BS, "74 M.Ed) after first attending University of Pacific for two years. In 1994, I retired from teaching after 34 years at Roger Corbett Elementary School. My companion, Ron Turek, and I keep busy with travel and golf. In addition there are home and community activities. FUMC has been my church home since 1942, the year my mother, Martha Jones, began playing the organ. I am one of the Hosanna Arch children. I served on Trustees and have been a member of the Foundation since 1997 when the second reorganization took place. My vision for the Foundation is that it will provide a strong base for the church building and help with programs.
Ralph Drake, born in Toledo, OH, is a graduate of George Williams College (B.S.) & Miami University, Oxford, Oh (M.Ed). He has lived in Reno for 28 years. Ralph was a YMCA Director 1961-95, serving in six cities: Dayton, OH, Wilmington, DL, New York City, Akron, OH, Detroit and retired in Reno. He Joined First Church in 1986 and has served for 14 years on the Foundation Board.
He enjoys racquetball and reading, and has been married to Barbara for 51 years. When asked what about First Church he'd like to see passed on to others, he said the sharing of resources for local, national & international 'good'; a welcoming place for worship; and volunteerism. At Ralph's retirement party, his high school mentor remarked that "Ralph couldn't hold a job."
Jim Ellis was elected to the Foundation board last year. He has been a member of FUMC for more than 25 years, and has served on a number of church boards and commissions. A native of Goldsboro, N. C. , Jim has lived in Reno since 1985 and is an emeritus professor of journal-ism at the University of Nevada. from which he retired in 2001 after 16 years as a member of the faculty of the Reynolds School of Journalism. He previously taught for two years at the University of Southwestern Lou-isiana but spent most of his professional career as a corporate public relations manager and is a member of the Nevada Public Relations Hall of Fame and the College of Fellows of the Public Relations Society of America. He has also been a newspaper and magazine reporter, editor and correspondent. Jim attended Duke University and subsequently received undergraduate and graduate degrees from East Carolina University. He is an Army veteran. Jim is married to the former Margaret Martin McCoy, a retired registered nurse and a native of Anderson, S. C. Each has three children from previous marriages and seven grandchildren.
Patti Hampton was born and raised in Denison, Texas. She attended the University of Texas at Austin and UNR. She has been both a resident of Reno and a member of First Church for 47 years. She was a teacher before retiring and enjoys travel, reading, walking and spending time with friends.
Patti has been on the Foundation Board "since Jacquie Meadows got it going again." She would like to see our church "continue to have a presence in the downtown area that exhibits a loving, caring and generous spirit to all."
I'm an "Army Brat" born in LA while my Dad was "guarding the coast" during WW2. Moved a lot, 12 schools by the end of high school, Germany, Japan and France, Georgia, Kansas, Washington. I do very well on geography quizzes. I went to college in Florida until I married "into the Navy" and we continued to move until my husband went to work with Western Airlines then Delta, which took us to Seattle, LA and we moved to Reno in 1977. I can't believe we've stayed here 36 years. I joined Weight Watchers in 1979 and have worked for them in one way or another since. I've always thought it was a cross between teaching and preaching and a natural fit for me.
I joined First Church in 1979. My children liked the balcony and I felt at home with the congregation. I taught Sunday School for many years. It was routine to come to church with a brown paper bag full of the snack or craft we would do that morning and disappear down into the basement. Both of my now grown children, Karen and Mike, were confirmed at First church. Throughout the years I've served on many committees, commissions, councils of the church. It's part of being a church member to give of time and talents. After my children were grown I started going to the "early" service. While I miss the music, we have a more contemplative, intimate service with communion and connection.
It's also part of being a church member to give of your resources. When the Foundation was restarted in the 1990's I was asked to be a part of that and have continued to this year. We have exciting, enthusiastic new board members who will take the work forward of providing a financial underpinning for the church beyond our yearly giving.
My hope is First Church will remain a place of refuge and restoration for those who are looking for that experience in their lives that goes beyond defining. I hope we can continue to express the diversity and openness to all people that is the gift from God.
I'm an Easterner – born and raised in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the heart of the Pennsylvania Dutch country, the daughter of farmers and local/state politicians. When a local physician offered to help me find the money to go to college, I agreed to attend Kent State University in Ohio, where I earned my undergraduate degree in homemaking, and later Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre where I earned a Master's Degree. Always interested in English and journalism, I've taught at the high school, community college, and university level off and on over my professional life, currently as an adjunct at TMCC and UNR. My professional life has also included some 30 years' work in educational television at PBS stations, from 1994 – 2011 at KNPB Channel 5 in Reno, where I served as Vice-President for Programming, Promotion, Education, and Outreach. Thanks to my KNPB colleague Ron Smith, I came to FUMC through the choir door about 10 years ago. About 3 years ago at Homecoming, I inquired about the FUMC Foundation, and soon found myself on its board.
Singing is my recreation and my lifeline, currently with Bella Voce women's ensemble, the Reno Philharmonic Chorus, and, of course, the FUMC chancel choir. My earliest memory of singing in church was when I was about 4 years old, and I've been doing it ever since.
FUMC is my church home; I love its social mission and its passion for reconciliation and acceptance. I love its downtown location and attitude. I hope these attributes are protected and preserved by and for future generations of FUMC members.
Ron Smith was born in Salinas, CA, but raised in San Francisco, graduating from Mission High School, and earning two degrees at San Francisco State. He has lived in Reno for 52 years, retiring as vice president for development & marketing at KNPB Public Television. Ron joined Reno First United Methodist Church in 1981, sings in the choir, served as chairman of the Administrative Board for eight years, and now serves on the Foundation Board of Trustees since 2012.
The Foundation is working to insure that the future of First Church will include a strong financial foundation through bequests from members' wills and trusts. Reno First Church is an important part of my life and a wonderful shared experience with my wife of 31 years, Pat.
Nicole Widdis-Hernandez, born and raised in Reno, received her undergraduate degree at UNR and attended law school at the William S. Boyd School of Law at UNLV. She is an attorney for the Family Division of the Second Judicial District Court and, along with husband Carlos, has been a member of First Church for almost 3 years. She and Carlos were married here. 2012 is Nicole's first year on the Foundation Board.
In addition to enjoying cooking, reading and spin class, she describes herself as a political junkie. Perhaps most importantly, though, Nicole is the new mother of Fia. She hopes for Fia and her peers to "have access to wonderful children's programs allowing them to grow in the Spirit and care for others."
"I hope that the Foundation can ensure resources are available for programs for the Church, especially for the youth and children. This is particularly important to me because I spent much of my youth participating in various youth programs, including mission trips and local outreach."