Obituary: Thomas Michael Yturbide
December 2, 1935 – November 14, 2013
Thomas “Tom” Michael Yturbide passed away November 14, 2013, just weeks before his 78th birthday, with his wife by his side. A first generation Spanish Basque American, Tom was born December 2, 1935 at a mid-wife’s home near Livermore, California. At age 4, Tom’s family moved to the Fly Ranch in Gerlach, Nevada where his love and passion for everything outdoors took root. Schooled early in raising sheep and living off the land, Tom learned the value of hard work, a Dutch oven, and a swimming hole at the end of the day. A cowboy at heart, Tom loved exploring hard to get to places and hunting with family and friends. For Tom, there was always something new just one ridgeline away.
By the third grade, Tom traded the one-room school house in Gerlach for school in Reno where he met his life-long friend and best man, Nick Rossi. Not one to shy away from hard work, as a young boy, Tom had a paper route that served 150 homes. He also continued work as a seasonal ranch hand, and while in high school, earned extra money working at a bakery.
Tom excelled in school and interscholastic athletics, especially football, track and field, setting state records in the high jump. Graduating from Reno High School, Tom married his high school sweetheart, his true love and partner in life, Paula. Tom passed up scholarships to start married life ranching in Oregon with his young bride. The couple worked a successful livestock ranch for several years, and returned to Reno in 1961.
Upon his return, Tom began what would later become his adult life’s work in the gaming industry. He started at Harrah’s Reno as a change boy. Tom quickly advanced, gaining first-hand experience in games, gaming operation, supervision and management. In 1974, he was promoted to Assistant General Manager at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe. Tom rose to Senior Vice President and General Manager and directed the company through several years of construction, development and expansion. Known and respected with almost three decades of experience, Tom was recruited by Harvey’s Lake Tahoe as Senior Vice President and General Manager in 1987. Reorganizing a successful revamped expansion, significantly increasing market share, adding properties outside of Lake Tahoe and developing a new marketing program “The Party’s at Harvey’s”, Tom earned recognition as “Hotelier of the Year” in 1994. Rising to President, Chief Executive Officer, and Chairman of the Board of Directors, Tom took Harvey’s public. In 1997, after a 37-year career in Nevada gaming, Tom retired.
After traveling and exploring new places, Tom and his wife, Paula, retired in Gardnerville, Nevada, where Tom enjoyed working on a portion of the original Mott ranch, surrounded by his children and grandchildren. Tom loved planting trees and landscaping, family meals and movies. Tom continued hunting, and after decades of trying to get a tag, he was thrilled to obtain one and hunt Nevada’s coveted bighorn sheep.
Tom was a member of the Carson Valley Gun Club, a supporter of the Nevada Chukar Foundation, Nevada Bighorns Unlimited, Ducks Unlimited, Barton Hospital Foundation, Douglas County Sheriff’s Advisory Board, China Spring Youth Camp, the City of Refuge, and athletics at the University of Nevada – Reno. Tom was a fan of Wolf Pack football and basketball, Giants baseball, but more importantly, any sporting event in which his children or grandchildren played. You often saw him in bleachers and stadiums throughout
Tom is survived by Paula, his wife of more than 59 years; and his children, Thomas Michael Yturbide Jr. (Sheri), Jennifer Yturbide Carlini (Tod), and Paul Yturbide (Wendy). He is also survived by ten grandchildren: Sarah Yturbide-Leniz (John), Thomas Michael Yturbide III (Jody), Alexander Yturbide, Marissa Yturbide, Olivia Wotman, Natalie Wotman, and Cooper, Matthew, Jackson and Tucker Yturbide; his sister, Jane Gamboa (Bob), and several great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
His son Christopher Yturbide (Kathy) preceded him in death; as did his grandson, Timothy Yturbide; Father, Augustin Yturbide; Step-father, Jake Haran; Mother, Vicenta Yturbide Haran; and two brothers, Francisco and Bonifacio Yturbide.
For their assistance in Tom’s care, the family sends heartfelt thanks to April, Leo, Linda, Mark, VistaCare Hospice (Gentiva), Dr. Daniel Caruso, Dr. Ronald Smith and Dr. Stanley Thompson.
Mass will be said for Tom on Saturday December 7, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Gall Catholic Church, 1343 Centerville Lane, Gardnerville, Nevada. A fellowship lunch will follow immediately afterward with photographs and stories shared in celebration of Tom’s life.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Tom’s memory may be made to the Northern Nevada Alzheimer’s Association or a charity of your choice. Please share thoughts, memories and condolences in the family guestbook at http://www.waltonsfuneralhomes.com.