How do you start a column about our late friend, Assemblyman Pete Livermore, who died from a sudden heart attack last Monday? Do you talk about Pete the person, Pete the businessman or Pete the politician? I’ll start with Pete the person, who lived the American Dream.
I didn’t know Pete during my first tour of duty in Carson during the 1960s, but I knew several Marines from the cold weather training detachment at Pickle Meadows near Bridgeport, Calif. That’s where New Orleans native Pvt. Pete Livermore was stationed before he mustered out of the Marines and moved to Carson to marry his lovely bride Laurie, a local girl. They were sweethearts for more than 50 years; it was an all-American love story.
Pete and Laurie invested in an A&W Root Beer franchise in Carson during the 1960s and it was a popular high school hangout. In fact, unbeknownst to me until much later, my son dated their daughter back in the day. Pete and Laurie soon began to support youth sports and he served as president of the local Youth Sports Association from 1988 until 2012.
Among other achievements, the Livermores were instrumental in construction of the Edmonds Sports Complex. I could relate to that project because I had coached Little League Baseball here in the 1960s, when we played our games on the Bordewich-Bray School baseball diamond. At that time I recruited a couple of Pickle Meadows Marines as Little League umpires. They did a great job and my late wife Consuelo, who loved Marines, invited them home for Thanksgiving dinner. Years later, we always befriended our Embassy Marines.
Some have labeled Pete as “Mr. Carson City,” but I think he’d have to contest that title with former Mayor Marv Teixeira and current Mayor Bob Crowell. I prefer to think of Pete as the “Everyman” of Carson City business and politics. He knew who he was and never put on airs; in fact, he wouldn’t have known how to put on airs. What you saw is what you got. As a politician he always tried to do what was right for his constituents and for Carson City, and as a fiscal watchdog on the Board of Supervisors, he opposed frivolous spending proposals; later, he played the same role in the Assembly.
“How am I doing, Guy?” he’d ask during our Monday encounters at Grandma Hattie’s. “Just fine, Pete,” I’d reply, but we didn’t try to lobby one another. I respected him as an elected official and he respected me as an independent observer of the local political scene. As time went on, I got to know him and Laurie better through shared dinners at the home of mutual friends. We compared notes on his service in the Marines and mine in the Air Force. My service was less stressful because we didn’t have to crawl around in the mud and run through barbed wire.
Pete the politician was transparently honest and accessible to everyone and all points of view, admirable qualities in today’s polarized politics. That’s why he has received so many heartfelt tributes from political opponents. One anecdote: I remember when one of his opponents accused him of wearing expensive suits, but that silly accusation quickly backfired because Pete wasn’t known as a fashion plate. His usual dress code was Carson City Casual featuring a colorful Nevada 150 windbreaker.
Pete Livermore was an all-American success story, someone who made it on his own through hard work while maintaining a high moral code and traditional family values. Semper Fi! Pete. You’ve only been gone six days and we think of you every day.
Guy W. Farmer is a 52-year resident of Carson City.