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Robert Stanley FerraroJuly 30, 1935 ~ April 29, 2017 (age 81)
Robert Stanley Ferraro, former mayor of Boulder City and one of the longest continuously elected local public officials in Nevada history, died of natural causes in Boulder City on April 29. He was 81. He was born on July 30, 1935 in Paradise Valley, NV to Ella and John Ferraro. In addition to his public service, Bob was a world-renowned bottle collector, co-author of two books on bottle collecting, and an acclaimed collector and authority of rare Nevada artifacts. While at the University, Bob was a proud member of the Sigma Nu fraternity, the Sheepherder’s Club, Coffin and Keys, and served as president of the Young Democrats. He earned his master’s degree in agronomy and range management from Nevada in 1959. He began his professional career in 1959 working as an assistant Churchill County extension agent for the University of Nevada’s College of Agriculture in Fallon, Nev. Three years later he was promoted to become the Pershing County extension agent in Lovelock, Nev. In 1966, with his wife Pat and their three young children, he moved to Lahore, West Pakistan, where he worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) as an agricultural adviser to the Pakistani government. A year after returning to the United States, he moved to Boulder City in 1969 to begin working for Pacific Engineering and Production Company of Nevada (PEPCON) in Henderson as a chemical engineer. During his 31 years working for PEPCON he traveled the world and was fortunately away on business the day of the plant explosion in 1988. Bob retired from American Pacific in 2000. Ferraro was appointed to the Boulder City Council in 1976 and served on the Council for 31 years, including six separate terms as mayor.
In 1999, he became the city’s first elected mayor. All told, he stood successfully for election nine times. Especially important to him was that during each campaign he knocked on every voter’s door in Boulder City. Bob handed over his gavel in June of 2007 ending a record three decades in public office. As mayor he led the effort to block large-scale development with a growth control ordinance that required voters to pre-approve the sale of an acre or more of city-owned land. Ferraro also presided over the 1995 acquisition of 200 square miles of vacant federal land south and west of the Boulder City Airport. The purchase made Boulder City the largest incorporated city in Nevada and one of the 50 largest cities in the nation in terms of land area. He enjoyed every day of his work on behalf of the citizens of “Clean, Green Boulder City”. He grew up in the ranching community of Paradise Valley, 40 miles north of Winnemucca. While attending school in a two-room school house, he would often remind friends that he was the only student in the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grades simultaneously. During his sophomore year of high school, the Paradise Valley School was notified it would have to close due to a new law that required a minimum of five students to keep a high school functioning. To complete his education, Bob was informed he would have to finish high school in Winnemucca. Without complaint, he began making the 80 mile daily round trip and quickly established a reputation throughout Humboldt County for driving the fastest car on the road. He graduated from Humboldt County High School in 1953 and from the University of Nevada in 1957 with a degree in agriculture. During his first two college summers he worked at the Getchell Mine in Humboldt County. Bob was elected president of the Southern Nevada Bottle Collectors Club in 1972. In that same year, he was elected chairman of the Western Region of the Federation of Historical Bottle Clubs. In 2002, he was inducted into the FOHBC Hall of Fame.
He was a past president of the Boulder City Rotary Club and was named 1980 Rotarian of the Year. Bob served on the Clark County District Board of Health for 19 years and as its Chairman from 1995 until 1997 and as Chairman of Southern Nevada Strategic Planning Authority in 1998. He was named Nevada Public Official of the Year in 1986, Community Leader of the Year in 2001, and served on the boards of numerous organizations in Southern Nevada, including the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor’s Authority and Nevada Development Authority. He was an active supporter of Boulder City Hospital, serving on its Foundation Board for 12 years. In 2013, Bob was honored by the Hospital Foundation with the “Heart of the Community” award. In 2008, Bob joined his son’s public relations and public affairs firm, The Ferraro Group, as a consultant and adviser.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his wife Connie, daughter Dr. Christi Matteoni (Eric Osgood) of Reno, son Greg Ferraro (Carolyn) of Reno, daughter Tacey Ferraro of Fort Worth, Tex., sister Jean Elges of Winnemucca, Nev. and brother Stephen Ferraro (Mildred) of Paradise Valley, Nev. Bob is also survived by his eight grandchildren Tommy Ferraro, Tisha Ferraro, Joe Ferraro, John Douglass, Stephen Douglass, Dominic Matteoni, Allison Matteoni, Anthony Matteoni, step-daughter Connie Johnson, and numerous nieces and nephews.
A celebration of Bob’s life will be held at the Boulder Creek Golf Course Pavilion on May 19, starting at 5:30 pm. In lieu of flowers and in memory of Robert S. Ferraro, contributions can be made to the Boulder Dam Hotel, P.O. Box 61530, Boulder City, NV 89006 or to the University of Nevada, Reno Foundation at Morrill Hall, Reno, NV 89557. Following a private family gathering, his ashes will be buried in Boulder City and in Paradise Valley, two of his favorite Nevada places. Bob Ferraro loved Nevada and all her people.