Auction to benefit charities, university

In life, Claudine Williams was known for her generosity, particularly toward education. A dormitory at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas is named for her.

Williams, the first woman to serve as president and general manager of a major Las Vegas casino, died May 13 at the age of 88. But her philanthropy continues through an auction of her belongings set for Friday at the Elks Lodge, 4100 W. Charleston Blvd.

Proceeds from the auction will benefit St. Jude’s Ranch for Children in Boulder City, Opportunity Village, the UNLV College of Hotel Administration and The Nature Conservancy.

Between 600 and 700 items are included in the collection, according to Guy Deiro, president of Deiro Auctioneers, which is handling the event. It is an estate sale, which means every item will be sold, he noted.

Previews of the collection will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday and Friday, with the auction from 6 to 11 p.m. Friday.

Born in Louisiana, Williams began dealing cards while just a teenager. She and her husband, Shelby, moved to Las Vegas in the mid-1960s, owning the Silver Slipper before selling it to Howard Hughes and buying the Holiday Casino. When her husband died in 1977, Williams ran the casino herself until selling a portion of the property to Harrah’s in 1979 and the remainder of her interest in 1983. However, she remained chairman of the property and continued to have an office there.

The auction includes casino memorabilia and historical items from early Las Vegas, Deiro noted. Among the more unusual items is a personalized autograph photo of Frank Sinatra and a Fleetwood Mac-signed guitar.

Williams also was known for her jewelry and both fine jewelry and costume pieces are included in the auction. Designer accessories, including scarves, purses and shoes, are available as well, along with furs.

Further details about the auction are available at www.deiroauctioneers.com/willp.

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