Reno broadcasting legend Betty Stoddard Muncie died Wednesday night at a local hospital at the age of 90.
It may be that you had to have watched Reno television in its early decades to understand now her place in local broadcast and community history.
Those who were here know.
I first knew her the way most of northern Nevada knew her. I was a young viewer, seeing television for the first time in the mid-50's.
Ask anyone else who was around about Reno television back then, the first name you will hear is Betty Stoddard. She was quite literally the face of northern Nevada television from its infancy through more than two decades beyond.
She will be best remembered as host of an afternoon movie "Be My Guest" which aired here on KOLO for 18 years, followed by years more at Channel 2. But that hardly describes her impact.
"She was a broadcaster from the old school," says former KOLO-TV newsman and longtime friend Bob Carroll.
"She could do it all. She could write copy. She could adlib. She could go out and sell time."
Stylish, even glamorous in an all-American girl sort of way, she handled on-air assignments with a friendly, relaxed competence.
A welcome daily guest in thousands of Nevada homes she could handle a live commercial one minute, a celebrity interview the next. Big names in entertainment sat for talks with her, but so did major political figures. She handled both well.
"She was the consummate performer," says Reno publisher Connie McMullen. "She was the biggest little city."
Like me McMullen first knew Betty watching her on Channel 8. Later Betty would write a monthly column for McMullen's publication, Senior Spectrum. Even then, she was a work horse.
"How many peoiple do you know who still write a column at 90 years old and then get in their car and deliver it to you every day."
Ultimately it is hard to relate Betty Stoddard Muncie's place in local broadcast history in the context of today's fractured media, but at a time when the industry was still inventing itself here, there were few faces and voices. First among them was Betty Stoddard Muncie.
Himself a local broadcast icon, Bob Carroll has little doubt where she ranks. "If we were to put up a list of people even those on the air today, to my opinion she's right there at the top."
There will be a public memorial service October 4th at 2pm at the Little Flower Church on Kietzke and Plumb in Reno.