- Associated Press - Thursday, May 7, 2015

RENO, Nev. (AP) - Oliver Aymar went sledding one day in 1923, hitching his sled to a car. The sled tipped and dumped the 7-year-old on the street as the car continued down Sixth Street.

More than 80 years later, Aymar made another mark on the world of transportation, loading up a limo with some friends and riding out to the Black Rock Desert to see what Burning Man was all about.

“That was something to see,” Aymar - Ollie to his friends - told the Reno Rotary Club in 2011 when the club celebrated his 96th birthday and rehashed stories such as the Burning Man visit.

Last month, Aymar celebrated his 100th birthday. His secret: a martini a day keeps the doctor away.

He’s a nearly life-long Reno-area resident, a graduate of Reno High School and the University of Nevada where he earned a business degree. Except for his time spent in the military in World War II and the Korean War, and the U.S. Diplomatic Corps, he’s lived here.

And when he was 88 or 89, “he and some of his equally elderly friends went to Burning Man,” his son Ed Aymar said. “They were quite the attraction.”

But back to that sledding adventure.

The Feb. 4, 1923, edition of the Nevada State Journal carried the headline, “Help! Help! Help! Oliver has lost his sled and some Reno man has it.”

The story went on to explain that the boy had called the newspaper wanting to place an ad so he could find his sled.

“I saw it go down the road,” Aymar said on Wednesday when asked if he got the sled back after chasing the car from the ATO frat house on University Avenue to Saint Mary’s Hospital.

“Eventually, I guess I got a new one,” he said just before his 100th birthday celebration at Cascades of the Sierra, the retirement community where he lives in Spanish Springs.

Aymar was born April 15, 1915, in Auburn Calif., where both of his parents worked for the Southern Pacific Railroad. The family, including Aymar’s brother, John, moved to Reno when the boys were young.

He joined Troop 1 of the local Boy Scouts, which worked on forestry projects in the area.

After earning his university degree, Aymar joined the U.S. Diplomatic Corps in 1940, serving at the American Embassy in Chunking, China, his son Ed Aymar wrote in a short biography of his father. Oliver Aymar later joined the Army Air Corps and assisted with the recovery of downed American pilots in China.

After the war, he helped locate the graves of Air Corps crash victims and other missing U.S. personnel in Asia.

His job, Ed Aymar said, was to locate bodies and bury them so they could later be recovered.

“I was in China for three years, then South Africa and different places,” Oliver Aymar said.

When he returned to Reno in 1946, Aymar married his sweetheart, Ellen Louise Mornston . They settled in Sparks a raised two sons, Edward and Robert.

He was recalled to active service during the Korean War. When he came home, he worked first for Alpine Glass Company and later for Desert Glass Company until his retirement in 1985.

He studied to become a certified public accountant, wrote and played golf. He became a 32nd degree Mason, a Rotarian and a member of the Navy League.

Louise died in 2001.

“Ollie never missed a Saturday ‘Texaco Metropolitan Opera’ broadcast, or a San Francisco Giants and ‘49ers game,” Ed Aymar wrote.

In 2011, the Reno Rotary Club celebrated Aymar’s 96th birthday and the City of Reno declared April 11 Ollie Aymar Day, Ed Aymar said. A Reno Gazette-Journal brief about the Rotary celebration noted that members shared stories that day, including ones about Aymar’s trip to Burning Man.

___

Information from: Reno Gazette-Journal, https://www.rgj.com


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