LaMerne Kozlowski (Class of 1955)
LaMerne Kozlowski was born LaMerne Sommerhalder on March 20, 1937 in Eugene, Ore. She moved to Sparks in 1947. She attended Robert Mitchell Elementary School and Sparks Junior High, and she graduated from Sparks High School in 1955. She took two years of criminal justice at Truckee Meadows Community College. LaMerne married Gene Kozlowski on March 3, 1956 and had five sons: Mike, Casey, Kris, Todd and Scot. LaMerne was the PTA president at multiple schools, and the president of the Sparks Advisory Council. LaMerne worked a total of nine years with Jack’s Carnival. Along with Bill Vallandingham, she developed a bicycle safety program that extended to all of Washoe County for which she received an award from the Washoe County Teacher’s Association.
She remains involved in SHS, having attended all 11 of the Quarter Auctions and served on the Hall of Fame Committee for three years. Her volunteer activities extended to sorting books for Friends of Washoe County. LaMerne worked in the post office, for Shelly’s Hardware and as a vault supervisor at Sierra Sid’s Casino. Since casinos weren’t really her thing, she started working for the state in the welfare department. She worked there for 17 years until retiring from Investigations in 2002.
Now she spends her time supporting her favorite hockey team, the Pittsburg Penguins, camping at Pyramid Lake with her family and friends, playing cribbage and bunco with friends, reading crime novels and attending Broadway Comes to Reno. Her favorite musical artist is Neil Diamond and she loves to travel. Most of all she’s proud of her children and grandchildren and the people they’ve become.
Marvin Moss (Class of 1948)
Marvin Moss was born on May 27, 1930, in Ogden, Utah. He moved to Sparks at the age of six months with his parents George L. and Veda Moss. He attended Sparks High School from 1945 to 1948. Moss was senior class president, on the Debate Team and the Boy’s Glee Club, part of the Boy’s Block “S,” and involved in a variety of theatrical events. He earned three letters in sports: football, basketball and track. Moss graduated in 1948 in the top five of his class. Afterwards, he attended the University of Nevada, Reno, where he joined the ROTC team and earned his BA in history.
Marvin Moss served two years with the United States Army as an officer in South Korea, 28 years in the U.S. Army Reserves and retired as a full colonel. He also taught as a member of the Command & General Staff College. In 1954, he became a sixth-grade teacher at the Sparks Intermediate School. In 1959 he earned his master’s in education and became the principal of South Side Elementary School. The next year he became the principal at Veteran’s Memorial Elementary School. Moss became the assistant superintendent for the Washoe County School District in 1975 and, in 1982, he earned his doctorate in education. That same year Moss was appointed as superintendent; Moss was twice named Outstanding School Superintendent in Nevada.
Moss is a devoted father and husband. He married his high school sweetheart, Barbara Albee. They had eight children. Moss later married Dixie Moss, and now has two step-sons with her.
After retirement, Moss was appointed by former Mayor Bruce Breslow to the Sparks Planning Commission and served there for 11 years. He has also represented the city of Sparks on the Regional Planning Commission. He currently volunteers at the Family Research Center. Marvin Moss was given a great honor by having a school named after him on May 16, 1992.
Neil Baker (Class of 1952)
Neil Baker was born on May 7, 1934 at Washoe Medical Center. He graduated from Sparks High School in 1952; his class was the last class to attend the old Sparks High building on 15th Street, between C and D streets. He lived at 13 E St., and went to Robert Mitchell Elementary and Sparks Middle School, so he was never more than two blocks away from his first 12 years of schooling.
Throughout his high school career, Baker was very involved in extra-curricular activities. He played the trumpet for the Sparks High band and played a part in all the theater productions. He was the manager for the football and basketball teams during his junior and senior years. He was known throughout his school years as an avid skier, and he received his pilot’s license at age 18 from the Sparks Airpark (where the Greenbrae Shopping Center is now located).
After graduation, Baker attended UNR for two years and studied electrical engineering. Afterwards, he was called on a Latter-Day Saints mission to the West Central Stake Mission in the Montana/North Dakota regions. Upon returning from his mission, he studied at Brigham Young University and graduated in 1958 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing.
He moved to Washington, D.C., shortly after BYU and worked at Andrews Air Force Base in the Air Guard. He met his future wife, Judith Smith, in D.C. They got married in the LDS temple of St. George, Utah. They had four children — Marni, Shauna, Michael, and Andrew — throughout the 1960s. Today, he owns an insurance office on Bible Street, and has been selling insurance for 26 years. He was the No. 1 salesman in 2004 and 2007.
Silviano Frediani (Class of 1943)
Silvano Frediani was born in Lucca, Italy, on Aug. 12, 1924. He immigrated with his mother, Adelina, and older sister, Pauline, through Ellis Island, New York, when he was only 3 years old. They then traveled to Floriston, Calif. Frediani attended Floriston Elementary School, but his family moved to Sparks during the Great Depression. Here he attended Sparks Junior High School and Sparks High School. During his high school years, Frediani was an active athlete participating in basketball, track and football (his favorite sport). Through athletics, he met Tip Whitehead — coach for all the sports he participated in. Tip Whitehead, besides his father, was one of the most influential people in Frediani’s life. After graduating from high school in 1943, he was drafted into World War II. He received basic training in Roberts Camp near San Luis Obispo, Calif. and was then transferred to Utah Beach for the D-Day invasion in 1944. While serving for his country, he was injured twice; his last injury — stepping on a land mine — was his ticket home in 1945. Frediani received two Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star, European Combat Medals, Good Conduct Medal, Expert Infantrymen’s Medal, and the Victory Medal. Upon his discharge, Frediani attended UNR for two and a half years, but was unable to finish his education due to financial problems. He became a football and basketball official for college and high school level for 25 years (1952-1977). Frediani was honored in making a training film on officiating football for the National Federation of State High School Associations in Arizona. After the war Frediani met Paula Cecchini, whom he courted for almost three years before marrying in 1949. Throughout those years, they had two children, Paul and Wayne. Fredianni then worked for the Mobil Oil Corporation for 13 years before working at the First Interstate Bank of Nevada as a mailman. Through hard work he moved up to become vice president. He is now retired after his 44 years at the bank and is living with his wife in Sparks.
Col. Darrell James Birch (Class of 1937)
Col. Darrell James Birch was born March 16, 1920 in Reno. He grew up in Sparks; he was the son of the late Josephine Martin Birch and William Russell Birch. He graduated from Sparks High School in 1937. He attended the University of Nevada, Reno, and received his bachelor’s degree from San Francisco State College. His military career — in the U.S. Army Infantry — lasted from 1940 to 1968. On June 6, 1944, Birch landed on Omaha Beach in the Normandy invasion of D-Day as a member of the Second Infantry Division. He fought in France and Germany until WWII came to a victorious end. He also served in the Korean War as a member of the 40th infantry division (1951-1953).
Colonel Birch earned several medals throughout his military career: a Purple Heart with Two Oak Leaf Clusters, a Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, a Legion of Merit, a Combat Infantry Badge with Star, an Army Commendation Medal with Three Oak Leaf Clusters, a Joint Services Commendation Medal, a French Jubilee Medal, and a Korean Medal of Appreciation (presented to him by the South Korean President Dae Jung).
After leaving the military, Birch decided to return to teaching. While teaching he coached numerous sports. He loved all sports and played semi-pro basketball after college. He devoted the rest of his life to inspiring the youth. He spent his final years with his wife in Columbia, S.C. Colonel Birch passed away Oct. 28, 2008, leaving behind his loving wife of 40 years, Ann Birch, and his three children, Stephanie Birch Sword, Weldon Birch and Jim Birch.
Deloy H. Anderson Jr. (Principal from 1951-1967)
Deloy H. Anderson Jr. was born on Nov. 15, 1925 in Ely, Nev., to Deloy H. Anderson Sr. and Anna Anderson. He is the oldest of three siblings: his brothers, Dick and Jerry, and his cousin, Florence, whom his family took in after her mother died. Anderson attended White Pine High School in Ely, where he participated in basketball, track and football. It was there where he met his future wife, Pauline Sirkegian. Anderson joined the United States Navy right after graduation in 1943.
While in the Navy, Anderson served in World War II and was deployed to Okinawa and Iwo Jima, Japan on the USS Rooks. After his time in the Navy, he returned to the United States and went to California to find Pauline so they could marry, which they did on June 19, 1948. After some time in California, they returned to Reno, where Anderson attended the University of Nevada, Reno, and majored in education. Throughout his four years at UNR, he played for the Wolf Pack football team and assisted children with disabilities through pool rehabilitation.
Once he graduated, Anderson began teaching history and coaching the football team at Sparks High School. Until 1948, Anderson remained at Sparks High, where he gave up coaching in order to take up his career as vice principal and later principal. He left SHS in 1968 to serve as assistant superintendent. He retired in 1984 and was able to spend time with his three children. In his retirement, he enjoyed watching his children’s games, reading, going to Lake Tahoe and watching football and baseball games. His wife remembers him as honorable, caring and steadfast, and to a large degree competitive — traits she is happy to see living on in their children, their four grandchildren and three great grandchildren.