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Obituary: Former county commissioner Joanne Bond dies

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Joanne West Bond passed away peacefully, surrounded by family, on Dec. 30 in Seymour, Indiana. Bond served as a Washoe County Commissioner in District Five from 1996 until 2004. 

A friend and fellow commissioner said, “She could command a room just (by) walking into it.” 

She also served a long, meaningful career as a school teacher in the Washoe County School district that spanned 30 years.

Born in Santa Cruz, Calif. on August 26, 1935, Joanne was raised in Reno and lived in the apartment above the office of Reno Fuel with her parents and her brother. She went to Reno High School and upon graduation headed to San Francisco State where she got a BA in Sociology. 

She really wanted to study Archeology but her parents talked her out of it, a decision she regretted for some time. After she finished her BA, she moved back to Reno to begin teaching at Wooster High. She met her husband, Lee Bond, at Varios – a restaurant and bar where Brick’s now stands – where he was a bartender. She worked at Reno High and eventually The Children’s Cabinet with the WCSD truancy team.

She loved horses and rode them like she was born to it. She passed on her passion for them to her daughter, Alex Clark. The two rode all over the Sierra Nevada range and had many adventures together on horseback. 

Joanne was endlessly curious about the human condition. She enjoyed talking with people from all walks of life. She attended Burning Man in her 60s with her friend Joan Shonnard and talked often about the experience. The Black Rock desert was part of her district when she was a county commissioner so she spent many evenings at Bruno’s talking with the folks from Empire and Gerlach.

She also spent many hours painting with watercolor and acrylic paints. She played Bridge with Joan Shonnard, Ruth Miller, Millie McCustion and her daughter whenever she was in town. There were many nights spent playing Cribbage too.   

There are so many people whom she cared deeply about but to name just a few: Cheryl Lyngar of Reno was like a sister to her. She loved Cheryl’s family and it was mutual. Janet Ross and her family were her oldest friends, and Pam and Bob Shriver kindly offered to let her daughter bury Joanne’s ashes on their lovely property. 

She impacted many lives through her love and dedication to public service and education. She was a powerful voice in Washoe County and left a real impact on people and the larger community.

She loved flowers but hated gardening. She was a voracious reader and loved Masterpiece Theater. She adored travel and new experiences.

She is survived by her many dear friends and family, including her daughter, Alexandra, grandson Christopher, and son-in-law John, and her nephew Walt West (Laura) and sister-in-law Jackie Chavez. She is also survived by honorary daughter Susan Clarkson and God daughter Susan Ross. She was preceded in death by her husband Lee, brother Walt, and her parents, Harold and Sarah West.

There will be a Celebration of Life at some point in the Spring. Details will be announced at a later date.

Submitted by the Bond family.

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