Wilbur Faiss, Nevada’s oldest former state legislator, has died.
Faiss died Saturday in Carson City, where he had been hospitalized for three weeks. He was 102.
He marked his birthday on Oct. 14 at Carson-Tahoe Regional Medical Center surrounded by family.
Faiss was being treated for a variety of ailments, but one doctor described the cause of death as “just old age,” the family said Monday.
His death comes about a year after the passing of his wife, Theresa. The two were honored in 2012 as the longest married couple in the United States, and President Barack Obama congratulated them on 79 years of marriage. The couple married in 1933.
When the president asked them their secret to marital longevity, Wilbur Faiss replied, “Compromise.” Faiss was a lifelong Democrat; his wife was a Republican.
Private services are planned, but the family said a joint memorial for both Wilbur and Theresa Faiss will be held in Las Vegas at a later date.
After retiring from the casino at age 65, Wilbur Faiss was elected to the state Senate in 1976 representing North Las Vegas. He was urged to run by a group of Democratic women who wanted Nevada to approve the Equal Rights Amendment.
Faiss later said that voting for the amendment was one of his proudest moments. The measure was adopted by the Senate but later rejected by the Assembly.
He served two terms in the Senate, from 1976-1984.
He was honored earlier this year in the Nevada Senate and Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval issued a proclamation declaring April 25, 2013, as “Senate Wilbur Faiss Day.”
Sandoval on Monday said that he was saddened to hear of Faiss’ death.
Faiss, he said, “had a tireless commitment to the state and its people, but most importantly, he devoted his life to his wife and children.”
Faiss was born in Centralia, Ill., on Oct. 14, 1911. He, his wife and their three sons, Robert, Donald and Ronald, moved to North Las Vegas in 1944.
Faiss opened a small business and was one of the town’s first volunteer firefighters.
He was also one of the first workers at the Nevada Test Site in the 1950s and was honored at the 2012 dedication of the National Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas by U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, who called Faiss a “Cold War patriot.”
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