Legacy of Reno matriarch & civil rights activist lives on

Published: Feb. 25, 2021 at 9:52 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Dolores Feemster may have lost her second battle to breast cancer in 2018, but her legacy still lives on in northern Nevada.

“She didn’t have a lot of things, but she made a lot happen.”

Lonnie Feemster, Dolores Feemster's son

Wife, mother, mentor, community advocate, a civil rights activist. The list goes on for how Dolores Feemster touched the lives of so many northern Nevadans.

“It was just like she had another secret identity as a superhero out in the community,” Lonnie Feemster, Dolores Feemster’s son said.

She was born and raised in northeast Reno. As time passed, she raised 12 kids. Her doors were always open for area children who needed a warm meal or good advice.

Lonnie added, “She really left an indelible mark on so many young people.”

Feemster worked for the Washoe County School District for more than 30 years, helping integrate Reno’s schools and serving as a counselor at Hug High School. She positively influenced hundreds of students.

“She just left a long legacy in the hearts and minds of the students that came through and were touched by her care and love,” Lonnie said.

In all aspects of her life, Feemster strived to eliminate racial discrimination and stood for equal rights. She volunteered years of service to the Reno-Sparks chapter of the NAACP, the Northern Nevada Black Cultural Awareness Society, and more.

Lonnie added, “Helping people who needed help and having the empathy and compassion for anyone regardless of their ethnic background.”

Her love for community engagement continued beyond education and civil rights. Feemster received countless awards and recognition for her humble, humanitarian efforts.

“It’s one of the treasures of my life, having known my mother and having that opportunity to be her son and trying to follow in her footsteps,” Lonnie said.

She was committed to making a difference and overcame every obstacle in her way. Feemster has left behind a lasting impact for generations to come.

“She took care of her family and she showed love for a lot of other people.”

Lonnie Feemster, Dolores Feemster's son

You may also remember her name as a finalist for the renaming of the Career and Technical Education building at the existing Hug High School. District leaders said they’ll look into another way to honor her, as her name was not chosen.

She peacefully passed away on May 25, 2018, a day after her 89th birthday. To read Dolores Feemster’s obituary, click here.

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