Story by Don Diike-Anukam | Images by Ty O’Neil
Former Reno Mayor Robert ‘Bob’ Alan Cashell Sr. was given a hero’s goodbye Thursday at a funeral service inside St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in South Reno. Hundreds came to mourn and honor Cashell, who died Feb. 11. He was 81.
The funeral was preceded by a police-escorted motorcade from downtown Reno on Virginia Street through the city and to the church, located next to Bishop Manogue High School. The Reno Police Color Guard along with members of area fire and emergency services assisted in honoring the mayor.
Friends, business partners, community leaders, and public officials came out to eulogize Cashell, including casino executives Don and Gary Carano, developer Perry DiLoreto, and advertising executive Jim Minor. They shared fond memories and conveyed a deep sense of loss, but an even deeper sense of gratitude for the man they knew as their friend and as Reno’s leader for such a long time.
Robert Cashell Jr., one of Cashell’s sons, spoke on behalf of the Cashell family during the service.
After the ceremony, This Is Reno spoke to some of those who attended.
“I came to pay my respects to Bob Cashell, who’s a true Nevadan, somebody that I admired and respected, someone who mentored me through the years,” said former Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval. “I’ve known him since high school. I went to high school with his kids. He’s just meant so much to so many people and … [was an] honest man who loved, just dearly loved, the state from the bottom of his heart.”
Pat Cashell, another of Cashell’s sons, said, “I just want everyone to know that this community meant the world to my dad. He loves each and every one of you. And I’m going to miss him like crazy. So, he’s not just a dad, but a mentor and my best friend. Now I have an angel watching above me.
“Right now we’re taking care of mom. That’s what’s next,” he added. “This is a beautiful day. There’s no reason to be sad. It’s a beautiful day. Look at all the lives my dad’s touched.”
Washoe County Commissioner Vaughn Hartung remembered Cashell’s generosity.
“Well, it tells you what a giving person Bob was in our community. He defined Reno in many ways. He was such a huge giver. He gave in so many ways people have no idea.
“I went out to lunch with him one day and there was a person who needed some help, and Bob pulled money out of his pocket and helped this person with her car because her car had a dead battery. That’s just one example. There are many, many others, and Bob was just…he was just a giving soul.”
A celebration of life reception open to the public was held after the memorial at the downtown Reno Ballroom.
Cashell was born April 22, 1938 in Longview, Texas and came to Reno as a truck driver. He opened a truck stop in Verdi which developed into Boomtown Hotel and Casino, and founded several other casinos and properties under the umbrella of Cashell Enterprises.
Cashell became a leader in Northern Nevada and statewide politics. He served as a Regent for Nevada System of Higher Education from 1979-1982; Nevada Lieutenant Governor from 1983-1987; and Reno Mayor for three terms, from 2002-2014.
Don Dike-Anukam is a Reno native attending college in northern Nevada. He has been involved in activist politics for 15 years on and off, and has been involved in multiple campaigns in multiple positions in that time. He also was a college radio political, news, and talk-show host covering a range of stories from hostage standoffs, fires, interviews, and public speeches.