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Nevada City loses its voice

Dave Iorns was always there when needed


Karen Newell Young

Nevada City Advocate

His family dubbed him the voice of Nevada City, his words announcing countless public events, from Mardi Gras to the Barbara Schmidt Millar Triathlon to Little League games.

The community lost not only its public voice, but many say, its public heart when Dave Iorns passed away Jan. 24 at the age of 72 of complications from pancreatic cancer.

His community involvement stretched like Spider Man from downtown merchant to pets of the homeless, to supporter of the arts, to leadership on countless organizations. When there was a need, he was there.

In addition to his many community accomplishments, he was famous for his hot dogs. He took his portable hot dog stand to events throughout the city.

Owner of Nevada City Crystal & Glass, Iorns was also a prominent actor in community theater, former president of the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce, active in Miners Foundry and a volunteer for several nonprofits. 

“He was a great Nevada City advocate,” said Cathy Whittlesley, the chamber’s executive director. “Anything we needed to make Nevada City shine, he was there. He was my good friend, and I am going to miss him.”

There were few corners of the community where Iorns did not shine.

“Dave was an incredible supporter of the homeless and pets of the homeless,” said Patti Galle, co-founder of Nevada County Pets in Need. “Anytime I found myself in need of funds to help the homeless and their pets, I would go down to his shop and he would give me whatever I needed. ‘Whatever the community needs I’m there,’ “ he would say.

“I’m going to personally miss him very much,” Galle added.

He helped found the Center for the Arts, lending leadership for the fledgling organization in its early days. 

“Dave was totally engaged in helping keep us as an organization on track,” said Jon Binder, who served with Iorns on the board of directors. “He was really good at helping us to continually focus on the mission. He was a tireless volunteer. Did more than his part at events. From setting up to breaking things down. All the kind of work the organization needed to get done.”

His wife, Maryann, and family are planning a memorial funeral mass Friday, Feb. 9, at St. Canice Catholic Church in Nevada City and a celebration of life at Miners Foundry later that day.

“Dave was a quiet behind the scenes kind of guy,” Maryann said. “He just did things that needed to be done and didn’t want a lot of attention.

“He was like that at home, also,” she added. “He made all of our lives easier.”

One of his sons, Daniel, said he was a most supportive father, taking him to every event, including field trips even through high school.

Iorns amassed numerous accolades and awards from his many community contributions: the Elza Kilroy Award for outstanding community service from the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce and the Dr. Leland and Sally Lewis Performing Arts Award. He was recently presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award, which will now be called the Dave Iorns Lifetime Achievement Award as a perpetual award.

“And don’t forget to mention the hot dogs,” Maryann said.

About the photo:

 Dave Iorns with his wife Maryann, son Daniel and Peter Ray at the family business, Nevada City Crystal & Glass