CARSON CITY — Wilbur Faiss, believed to have been the nation’s oldest living legislator, died Saturday at age 102. Faiss’ family said the cause of his death was described by one of his doctors as “just old age.”
Faiss served two terms in the Senate from 1976 to 1984 as a Democrat representing North Las Vegas.
Faiss and his late wife Theresa, who died in October 2012 at age 97, were recognized as one of the longest married couples in the United States. They were married for 79 years.In an interview with the Review-Journal a few months after his 100th birthday, Faiss had some advice for those who would listen: “Always look on the good side of people. Don’t believe what everyone else says about them. I never dealt on the negative side of politicians, whether they were Democrat, Republican or independent. They were all good people. And compromise. Whether you are in a marriage or in politics, that’s the big secret.”
Faiss said one of his proudest moments was voting for the Equal Rights Amendment in 1977. That measure was approved by the state Senate but rejected in the Assembly.
His name is on two important laws from his time in the Legislature. He was one of the authors of the 1979 law that allows pharmacists to substitute lower-cost generic drugs for name-brand drugs. He also wrote a law that allowed senior citizens free admission to state parks and their campgrounds. Today, seniors pay just $30 for a season pass, instead of daily fees of a minimum of $5, and can stay seven to 14 days for free in park campgrounds.
He celebrated his 102nd birthday in Carson-Tahoe Hospital surrounded by members of his family.
Faiss’ last visitors were two of his great-great grandchildren, Malia and Dylan Haskins, of Gardnerville, who were accompanied by their mother, Stephanie Haskins.Faiss died in Carson City after moving to the capital to live with the oldest of his six grandchildren, Michael and his wife, Kandy. Faiss spent a number of his last days serving as a greeter at their Carson City restaurant, Khristopher’s Café.
Prior to the move, Faiss had lived in the Las Vegas area for 68 years.
Walton’s Funeral Home in Reno is in charge of arrangements. Services will be private.
A joint memorial service for Wilbur and Theresa Faiss will be held in Las Vegas at a time not yet determined. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting support for Wilbur and Theresa Faiss Middle School in Las Vegas.
Faiss is survived by three sons, six grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and four great-great grandchildren.
The late Sen. Bill Raggio, R-Reno, said in January 2012 of Faiss: “He was always a gentleman and a pleasure to work with. He never raised his voice.”
Contact Capital Bureau reporter Sean Whaley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 775-687-3900. Follow him on Twitter @seanw801.