Assemblyman Bernie Anderson Dies at 71

By  | 

RENO, NV-- Former state Assemblyman Bernie Anderson passed away Friday morning after being in the hospital for several weeks.

The Democrat Assemblyman began serving in the Nevada Assembly, representing Washoe County, in 1991 before being term limited in 2005.

He taught history and government at Reed High School.

Governor Brian Sandoval released the following statement following Anderson's passing:

“It was with a heavy heart that I learned of the death of my friend, mentor and colleague Bernie Anderson. A graduate of Bishop Manogue High School and the University of Nevada, Reno, Bernie was also a member of the Nevada National Guard. Bernie dedicated his life and his career to education and received the Teacher of the Month award from the Reno/Sparks Chamber of Commerce in October 1985. I will always fondly recall his leadership as Chairman of the Assembly Judiciary Committee, his passion for his constituents and his respect for those who testified before the committee. Kathleen and I extend our deepest condolences to Bernie’s wife, Clyda, their children, and his extended family and friends.”

Anderson was 71.


SPARKS, NV - A Sparks native, Anderson taught in the city's schools for 32 years and represented it in the legislature during 10 regular and 10 special sessions.

At Reed High School he taught government and history.

In the Assembly he was a non-lawyer serving for years as chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

Colleagues in both arenas remember him as always well-prepared, a stickler for rules, a master of the process and a tireless advocate for education and his constituents.

"He was Mr. Sparks," says State Senator Debbie Smith.. "He loved our city."

""He was a teacher through and through and couldn't help himself," remembers former Senator Sheila Leslie. "He loved to get new legislators on his committee, so he could teach them the process whether they wanted to or not. He wanted everyone to shine."

"There was no messing around in his class," says Tim Griffin who was his principal for years at Reed. "Kids knew where to sit and they knew how to act and he made sure that they did. But he also made sure they were having a good time while they were learning what he expected them to be learning."

He was the kind of wise man of the legislative halls that you sought out for a straight forward take on the issue of the moment.

Term limited in 2010 he left a admirable record of legislative achievement concerning issues like domestic violence, the drug courts and, of course, education.

Serious topics all, but my favorite memory may be the 2007 session, when marking the 107th anniversary of the birth of Dr. Suess and Reading Across America Day, he read "Cat in the Hat" in costume to the lawmakers as if they were a group of first graders.

Bernie Anderson, lawmaker, but first and foremost always a teacher.