Neva M. (Heidenreich) Wilcox passed away on May 9, 2019, in Las Vegas following a short illness. Born on April 3, 1935, she spent her formative years in Pioche, graduating from Lincoln County High School in Panaca, where she was a popular, beautiful and talented student, both musically and scholastically.
Graveside services are planned for 10 a.m., June 29, at the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Pioche.
Music played an important part in her life: She played the organ for services at Christ Episcopal Church in Pioche, performed in LCHS’s trophy-winning marching band, and accompanied fellow students in their solo performances at school concerts.
In those years, the LCHS marching band participated in the annual Helldorado Days in Vegas. The band was permanently awarded the Garheime Revolving Trophy, which the recipient must earn three years in a row.
She shared her love of music with husband Max, son, George, and father-in-law Frank “Prof” Wilcox, who was principal at LCHS, music teacher, and musical director of the early Union Pacific Band based in Caliente. He also led the Wilcox Orchestra, which played for local dances in Thompson’s Opera House in Pioche. Max’s musical ability was recognized when he joined the U.S. Army in 1954, where he was stationed in Puerto Rico, and was selected to play in the 79th Fighting U.S. Army Band.
The annual Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena played an important part in Neva’s history. Her mother, Betty, was an “Indian” maiden on a 1930 float depicting Cathedral Gorge, sponsored by the City of Caliente. It received a Special Award for Civic Bodies. George would carry on the tradition when he was a student at UNR and a member of the UNR Band and was chosen to represent Nevada for trumpet in the United Way FanFare band, Tournament of Roses.
In later years, family and friends would gather at Neva’s home in Las Vegas to sing carols on Christmas Eve; George accompanied her on the trumpet.
During her high school years, Neva was active in clubs, took leadership roles in organizations and student government, and was chosen prom queen. She also participated in the drama club and had an important part in her senior play, which turned into a race to see if she could recover from a case of measles before opening night.
After graduation in 1953, Neva went on to receive her R.N. degree from Holy Cross Hospital in Salt Lake City. She worked at the Pioche Hospital from 1956-57 before she married Max in 1957. Neva was an exceptional nurse with great instincts. She helped numerous friends and relatives who appreciated her generosity and skills.
When Neva and Max moved to Las Vegas, she worked for Dr. Robert O’Donnell, a respected obstetrician. In later years, she spent nearly three decades processing medical disability claims at University Medical Center for the State of Nevada.
Although physically they resided in Vegas, the couple never missed an opportunity to travel north to Lincoln County where they shared a love of camping, hunting, skeet shooting, exploring and fishing. Neva griped about the cold weather, but never missed a chance to ice fish at Eagle Valley Reservoir. Her first love was pine nut picking, and when there was a shortage, she would even pay the outrageous prices charged by commercial pickers so that family and friends could have a bag of pine nuts for Christmas. Max and Neva also spent countless hours on the boat exploring Lake Mead as well as spending time in Gold Butte where after a long day of hunting they could be found dancing polkas with their good friend Charlie Brown.
Neva loved the history of the Pioche area. A member of a pioneer Nevada family, Neva’s lineage can be traced to the 1800s before Clark County was formed and the area was still part of Lincoln. Frontier lawman Jake Johnson and his wife, Elizabeth, were Neva’s great-grandparents. Her father, George Heidenreich, worked for the Lincoln County Power District from 1952, serving as manager until 1973, continuing on the board of directors until his death in 1985.
Neva is survived by her son George, beloved daughter-in-law Shannon (Hoolihan); sister Ann Henderson; nephew Mark Henderson (Charlene); niece Staci Wozniak (Todd); great-niece Breanne Bush and great-nephew Bryant Bush.
She was preceded by husband Max Wilcox of Caliente, son of Mary and Frank Wilcox. Her parents, George and Betty (Lloyd) Heidenreich; maternal grandparents Edna (Johnson) and Alex Lloyd; paternal grandparents Maren and Frank Heidenreich, who was stationmaster at Pioche’s historic mill when it processed ore from the early mines in Pioche, and then transported by rail spur to Caliente.
Other family members who played an important part in Neva’s life include: Myrna Scott (Lee Heidenreich); Darlene Reidhead (Arlena Heidenreich); Joe Heidenreich; Betty Hatch (Heidenreich); Mary Lloyd (Bill); Mick Lloyd (Frank); John II and Paul Christian (Mary Louise Wilcox); Richard Wilcox; Robert Wilcox; Frank Wilcox Jr.; Suzanne Sloan (Wilcox): Mary (French) Vincent (Dolly Franks); John Franks; John Lloyd (Bud); Tom Hutchings (Sue Lloyd).
In lieu of flowers, the family requests a donation in Neva’s name to Christ Episcopal Church in Pioche, NV, 89043. The Church is remembered for many of the happy and important memories of Neva’s life.