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Dolores Monica Mendocino Feemster


1929 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Dolores Monica Mendocino Feemster Obituary
DOLORES MONICA MENDOCINO FEEMSTER 1929-2018

Reno - Reno-Sparks NAACP matriarch and former president Dolores Feemster, age 89, passed away peacefully on Friday, May 25, 2018, at Northern Nevada Medical Center in Sparks. Dolores spent her birthday Thursday, surrounded by family and friends.

She was born to Louis and Mamie (Beery) Mendocino in a house on Morrill Avenue in Reno on May 24, 1929.

In 1948, she married Lonnie L. Feemster of North Carolina.

Dolores was beloved by her 12 children and more than 60 grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren.

As counselor for nearly 34 years at Hug High School, Mrs. Feemster was especially proud of the positive influence she became in the lives of hundreds of students who grew to know and love her.

In all aspects of her life, she strived to reduce racial discrimination and increase diversity and cultural training for teachers. Even in retirement, she was often called upon to help the school with family and student outreach.

Her home was always open to anyone, the door seldom locked. Neighborhood foundlings, needing a place to spend the night, were welcome at Mother Dolores' place. A who's-who of UNR athletic stars and students hung out there.

She turned her small dwelling into a true community center, displaying a sign in her front window reading, "The love of a family is one of life's greatest blessings."

Mrs. Feemster served on the Economic Opportunity Program board and originated many services for the young and elderly. As a social worker for the Washoe Association of Retarded Citizens, she was instrumental in the initiation of several programs for senior citizens.

Proceeding with her children as they grew, she started Cub Scout, Bluebird and Girl Scout troops. She also became a leader in Blue Birds, Campfire Girls and president of the Glenn Duncan Elementary Parent Teacher Association.

Dolores devoted many years to volunteering for a wide range of non-profit organizations. She served in various capacities in the Reno-Sparks NAACP, eventually rising to the presidency. She served on the board of the Nevada Parent Teacher Association and was honored for her work at the Nevada PTA annual conference. She was a founding member the Northern Nevada Black Cultural Awareness Society and also served on the boards of Washoe Legal Services and the Community Services Agency of Washoe County.

She was known for her calming influence which allowed her to positively address civil rights issues impacting Native American, African American, Asian and Latino cultures of northern Nevada. Long before labor legend César Chávez became an international figure, he visited Reno and met with Mrs. Feemster.

She was active with the Democratic Party of Washoe County, her fence was a coveted campaign sign location.

The Reno Gazette-Journal reported that "as a counselor at Hug High School, she helped countless children find a safe place to learn and earn a diploma. As a community activist, she helped galvanize civic leaders to build affordable housing for abused women, senior citizens and families in need. As a civil rights activist, she marched, painted over racist signs in the night and helped integrate Reno's schools."

She started an Adopt-a-Grandparent program after noticing that many older people had no one to visit with them or take them out to eat or shop. She recruited college students as volunteers.

In recognition of her community service, Dolores Feemster received numerous awards including Mother of the Year from the Reno Business and Professional Women's Club; the University of Nevada, Reno, President's Medal; and both Outstanding Achievement and Lifetime Achievement Award from the Reno-Sparks NAACP. In 1990, she was inducted into the Nevada Women's Fund Hall of Fame as Humanitarian.

In 1997, the Reno Housing Authority named a facility in her honor. The Northern Nevada Martin Luther King, Jr., Holiday Committee honored her with its 2015 Humanitarian Award.

"I donate my time because I have no money. If I had money, I would donate that," she once stated in a news article about her life of volunteerism.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Lonnie Feemster, Sr., sons Darryl, James and Ronald, and grand-daughter Eboni.

She is survived by daughters Lynette Cobb, Carolyn Page (John); Janice Pickens, Elaine Feemster and Cheryl Young; sons David Feemster (Barbara); Gary Feemster, Lonnie Feemster, Jr. (Debra) and Robert Feemster (Tess).

A memorial service will begin at 12 noon on Saturday, June 9, at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center, Peckham and S. Virginia Streets. Parking will be free and ushers will be available to direct and assist.

A reception will be held immediately after the service at the Hug High School cafeteria on Sutro at North McCarran in Reno.

Visitation will be take place from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Friday, June 8, at Walton's Sierra Chapel, 875 W. 2nd Street in Reno. Mrs. Feemster will be laid to rest at a private family ceremony at Reno's Mountain View Cemetery.

Additional information about Mrs. Feemster's life is also online at RenoSparksNAACP.org

Dolores Feemster's peaceful countenance and wise counsel will long be missed by everyone fortunate enough to have known and loved her during her nine decades in the Nevada she uplifted.
Published in Reno Gazette-Journal on June 6, 2018
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