Obituary: Mary “Bill” Jane Dewhurst
January 21, 1924 – January 18, 2022
With sadness, we share the passing of Mary “Bill” Jane Dewhurst 3 days before her 98th birthday. Born in 1924, she grew up in the Caretaker’s House on the Hellman-Ehrman estate in what is now Sugar Pine Point State Park. She served as a maid in the main house and lived on the third-floor of the servant’s quarters.
In 1916 Dewhurst’s parents Henry and Annie Soll and daughter, Agnes, 5, moved from Washington State to Lake Tahoe. In 1922 Alice (nicknamed Tator) was born, followed by the birth of Mary Louise “Bill” Soll on Jan. 21, 1924. With no nearby hospitals, Annie Soll traveled by train to Sacramento to give birth to her third child. Two weeks later, mother and daughter returned to Tahoe City where they were met by Henry in a motorboat as the road was closed for the winter. According to Dewhurst, she got her masculine name because her father was mistakenly told that the new baby was a longed for boy.
Shoveling was a family point of pride as Dewhurst shunned power snow blowers. Incline resident Skip Schamback, a close friend of Dewhurst’s, recalls their first meeting.“I remember asking her ‘who does your snow removal?’” Schamback, says. “She looked kind of puzzled and held up a small orange snow shovel, indicating that she did it. I couldn’t believe it.” Bill was a very special person. She appreciated nature.
Dewhurst went to the University of California, Berkeley in 1941. In 1942 World War II interrupted Dewhurst’s schooling and she married Dewey, the love of her life. Bill and Dewey were educators at Tahoe Lake School. The couple first lived in Ward Canyon, and later in the 1950s they purchased a lot from George Whittell in Incline Village where they built a house. The couple had no children and Bill lived in their humble home until her death.
“If anything her appreciation for this beautiful place has grown with time,” explains Kurt Heisinger, who spent his childhood summering with his grandparents, who were neighbors of the Dewhursts. “She told me she wakes up in the morning, looks at the lake, and tells herself how lucky she is to live here.’”
Bill is survived by her nephew, Sigurdur “Siggi” Adalsteinsson, living in Iceland.
Go visit https://youtu.be/N1mRuK8kRZY to view a video created in front of the Caretaker’s House in 2019 with Bill herself. Explaining her favorite memories and the importance in her childhood home.
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