Slain Reno couple had lived at Tahoe
March 30, 2006
INCLINE VILLAGE – The retired couple found shot dead in their Montreux home, a gated golf and country club community south of Reno, had previously lived at the North Shore, where they raised two daughters and two sons.
Albert and Joan Musalo, both 75, were found dead in their Montreux home at 7:20 p.m. Tuesday by daughter Joanne Kohls and her husband, both of Reno.
As of press time Thursday, investigators said they had no suspects or motive in the deaths.
The Musalos were described by Incline residents as outdoor enthusiasts, family people and frequent skiers, golfers and tennis players.
The couple, high school sweethearts from New York, had been married for 53 years and spent some of their child-rearing years in Incline Village as some of the area’s original full-time residents, moving here in 1973 with three other families who worked for Pan American airlines.
“There were four Pan Am families that were based in Berlin, Germany,” said friend of 36 years, and Incline resident Jim McConnell. “We were on the same crew there in 1970 – we all started skiing in Europe and we all wound up moving to Incline, supposedly to ski for a few years – but we lived here ever since.”
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McConnell described the Musalos as one of “Incline’s pioneer airline families.” The trend of airline employees living in Incline Village continues today as some 300 full-time families employed by a major carriers still call Incline home.
“The (Musalos) were active way back when we all were with kids in school, ski club in the winter, the Tahoe Racquet Club in the summer,” McConnell said. “Incline seemed to be a little younger back then, more families.”
Other Incline residents remember the couple as “always active, always friendly.”
“They’d been here for a few years when I arrived in 1974,” said Incline resident Dan Schwartz, who, along with his wife Irene, played tennis with the Musalos several times a week for almost 15 years. “They lived in the Lakeview subdivision, they had a big family – the only thing I can say … these people were saints.”
Incline resident and friend to the couple Georgia McGregor described the couple as “75 going on 50.”
“They were a wonderful family of active people,” McGregor said Thursday. “This is just horrible.”
Albert Musalo, a retired flight engineer for Pan Am, was always “active with the schools and community,” Schwartz said.
“They were very family oriented,” he said. “They did a lot of things as a family. The kids grew up to be upstanding citizens, which says a lot these days.
“They both really had a zest for life and were always doing stuff.”
While living in the Incline area, the couple also owned a the Holiday House motel, Laundromat and adjoining property by the La Petite Pier restaurant near Tahoe Vista, McGregor said.
The couple eventually moved out of Incline to the motel property, and also bought homes and spent time on the San Juan Islands in Washington state, as well as Tucson, Arizona and Naples, Florida.
“Al always had a wild hair to do something,” McConnell said. “It’s kind of ironic, they sold their really large home in Genoa about a year ago and my wife and I went down to Montreux to visit.
“Joan kept saying ‘we’re not moving again’ – I guess it was true, but not in the way we’d envisioned.”
Realtor McGregor sold the couple their first home in Incline on Freels Peak in 1973.
The couple moved from Incline to Genoa in the early 1990s and spent a few years living in Glenbrook on the East Shore of Lake Tahoe before settling in Montreux. While living in the gated golf community, the couple still had more than a dozen real estate holdings in Douglas County and last year sold their 14,000-square-foot Genoa home.
The couple had seven grandchildren and were making plans to visit family.
Detectives found no signs of a forced entry, said assistant sheriff Jim Lopey of the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office.
“They were the type of folks that left their door open or invited someone in if they knocked,” friend of 36 years McConnell said. “They were just that friendly and trusting – just well-thought-of people.”
Some items appeared to be missing from their home. Sheriff’s officials would not comment on what these items were or whether detectives believed the couple was robbed.
“They are just simply the last people I would think of being involved in anything that would result in what happened to them,” Schwartz said. “Neither of them had a bad word to say about anyone.”
There are no specific plans for a memorial, although friends of the Musalos report the family has congregated in Reno as of Wednesday.
– The Associated Press contributed to this report.