Ira G. Salvini, Sr.

***** Please note the venue for Mr. Salvini’s service HAS CHANGED to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, February 2, 2019 at the First United Methodist Church, 946 Vermont Street, downtown Lawrence. *****


Ira George Salvini, Sr

A memorial service for Ira George Salvini, Sr., 84, Lawrence will be at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, February 2, 2019, at Coffin Sports Complex, Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas. He began his journey to the spirit world on Sunday, January 13, 2019, at his home. He is a proud Paiute Tribal Member/Native-Indigenous American.

Ira was born on February 28, 1934, in Wichman, Nevada – the son of Hazel Thompson and Lee Salvini.

Ira was born at home, grew up in the Smith Valley, Yerington, Pyramid Lake, and Schurz reservation areas. His mother, Hazel died in childbirth with Ira’s third brother. He and his brother, Gino, were raised by their grandmother, Louisa Thompson, and Aunt Jane Thompson. Following a tragic automobile accident, Ira and Gino were sent to the Stewart Indian Boarding School. When the brothers arrived at Stewart, they were fluent Paiute-only language speakers. Ira was released from the boarding school to a foster family in Fernley, Nevada where Ira was an outstanding football and basketball player. His football coach introduced him to Haskell Institute in Lawrence Kansas – and helped prepare him to attend after graduation from Fernley in 1954.

Ira studied auto mechanics at Haskell and graduated in 1956. He then served in the military (Army), stationed at Fort Riley and fought during the Korean War. He remained active with the Army Reserve in Lawrence for many years. After his service at Fort Riley, he moved to Pyramid Lake Reservation in Nevada with his family to begin looking for work. Haskell Institute asked him to return to teach Auto Mechanics in 1960. His family moved back to Lawrence where he was an Instructor in auto mechanics for many years while achieving a university education and at the end of his time at Haskell had become the Associate Dean of Business/Industrial Arts. He retired in 1989.

After retirement, he began his work with the Environmental Protection Agency as a Tribal Liaison. Ira was passionate about his work with the EPA, the tribal members/leadership he worked with and truly valued his colleagues at the EPA. He retired in 2014 at 80 years of age.

Ira graduated from Pittsburgh State University with a Master’s and Specialist degree in Industrial Education in 1974 and continued studying at the University of Kansas, in Education, ABD in the Ph.D. program.

Ira also worked on the weekends to support his family at Potter’s 66 Filing Station and valued his friendship with Don Potter and his family.

Ira was a long time member of the First United Methodist Church in Lawrence. He was a long time member of the Haskell Alumni and was awarded Outstanding Alumni of Haskell in 2001.

Ira deeply loved and cared for his children, grandchildren, and his great-grandchildren. They were his world. Supporting all of his children was his true passion and his greatest gift to them.

Ira was a stranger to no one. He was generous, kind, spiritual, reliable, loving, engaged with his family, active with his Paiute traditions, supportive, full of so much love, compassionate and so respected by all.

Ira married Barbara (Giddens) Salvini in Lawrence in July of 1956. They divorced in 2000.

Survivors include Tonia Leah Salvini, daughter, Lawrence; Ira George Salvini, Jr., Son, Hillsdale Lake; Grandchildren: Lauren Ballard (Baby Mae)/Caitlin, Brandon Salvini, Maggie Salvini, and Emma Salvini (children of Hiram Ashley Salvini/Michelle); Samantha Taylor/Joel, Sarah Salvini (children of Ira George Salvini, Jr./Lynn) and Hallie Kastanek/Lindsey and Hahna Lee (Baby Lukah) (children of Tonia Leah Salvini/Charles Lee). Ira was preceded in death by his son, Hiram Ashley Salvini, his brother, Gino Salvini, his mother, Hazel Thompson and father, Lee Salvini.

His Paiute relatives in Nevada and California are also survived: Lorenda Sanchez, Billie Hicks, and Leah Borden. Nieces/nephews: Greg Rupert, Anna Rupert, and Marty Rupert, Carson City, NV.

Memorials can be made in Ira’s name to the Hiram Salvini Scholarship Fund/Haskell Indian Nations University through the Haskell Foundation. They can be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044. Another opportunity for contributions in Ira’s name can be made at the time of the memorial service.

52 Condolences

  1. Heather Hamilton George on January 15, 2019 at 8:29 am

    Ira was one of a kind! There is so much I can say here but I will keep it at this – I am honored to have worked and known this special man for so many years. Thoughts and prayers to the entire family and community.

  2. Christine Schmaltz on January 15, 2019 at 9:52 am

    I am sorry for the family’s lies. I worked with Ira at EPA and he was the nicest man. RIP

  3. Christine Schmaltz on January 15, 2019 at 9:53 am

    I am sorry for the family’s loss. I worked with Ira at EPA and he was the nicest man. RIP

  4. Gay Ranes on January 15, 2019 at 10:20 am

    I worked with Ira at EPA. A sweet man. Sorry for your loss.

  5. Clenece and Jim Hills on January 15, 2019 at 11:32 am

    Jim and I extend our sympathies to the Salvini family. Jim worked with Ira at Haskell for more than 20 years. In 1984-85, Ira was the co-chair of the Haskell Centennial Committee. I coordinated events for the centennial celebration and worked frequently with Ira Salvini.
    We both remember him as a man with a great sense of humor, a deep love for Haskell, and a consistently kind and courteous man.
    We are thinking of all of you as you say goodbye.

  6. Karl Brooks on January 15, 2019 at 12:42 pm

    Ira was one of my most important advisors and teachers when we worked together at EPA. His wisdom and experience gave me valuable perspective. He always made sure I thought about how EPA actions would be perceived and received by Indian Country. Travels with him through Indian Country will endure as some of my most powerful lessons. Ira was dignified, thoughtful, careful, and funny. We shared a common heritage as sons of the Rocky Mountain West, and our differences enriched our friendship. I will miss him a lot, and wish his family all comfort during their deep loss.

  7. Paula Higbee on January 15, 2019 at 12:48 pm

    So many good memories of a loving and wonderful man. He will be missed by everyone who knew him.

  8. Wylma Dawes on January 15, 2019 at 1:53 pm

    Ira was a kind and thoughtful man. When my late husband Cecil and I would see him around town he always made a point to make his way over to us to speak and shake our hand. He always had a welcoming smile. He will be missed.

  9. Wendy Smith on January 15, 2019 at 6:28 pm

    Sweet, gentle Ira helped me be a better human. He is well loved.

  10. Carol Wahwasuck Shopteese on January 15, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    Mr. Salvini always has a smile and pat on the back when I’d see him at Haskell. He’d always tell me to keep my head up and to study hard. He told me I could be whatever I chose to be. His and other great Instructors’ encouragement helped me to graduate from Haskell and later from Washburn and Baker with Master’s degrees. He had a great Spirit! His warmth and generosity will be missed. Journey well, Mr. Salvini! Pama Mine’ (See you again later)!

  11. Jeannette Schafer on January 15, 2019 at 7:21 pm

    I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Ira was a wonderful, warm, caring and very special individual who always had a kind word and smile. He radiated goodness from his soul and was a true advocate for tribes at EPA. From his example, I saw true grace in the face of adversity. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends as you mourn his loss.

  12. Alan W Cattlett on January 15, 2019 at 7:47 pm

    Salute Mr. Salvini. Thank You for helping me and many others. Peace!!!

  13. Brian and Cheri Ezell on January 15, 2019 at 8:40 pm

    Ira was such a sweet, kind, generous and loving man…. he will be truly missed by all who knew him. Hugs and prayers to his family and friends❤

  14. Kathy Finazzo on January 15, 2019 at 9:19 pm

    I am so sorry to hear about Ira. He was an exceptional man! He was so kind and smart and so dignified – I remember him fondly and respectfully and I feel privileged to have called him my friend. Prayers to his family.

  15. marilyn taylor zwirek on January 15, 2019 at 9:19 pm

    What a beautiful tribute to a wonderful man. My heart feels for you. Sending you hugs and healing..

  16. Wendy Lubbe on January 15, 2019 at 9:21 pm

    Ira was an amazing teacher and friend. I was honored to work with him at EPA. So many people learned so much from Ira. I was lucky to know him.

  17. Russell Blackbird on January 15, 2019 at 9:58 pm

    I will forever remember Mr. Salvini, a kind, softspoken, gentleman with a big heart. He was supportive and advocated for the education of Native youth. He always had a smile for me, words of encouragement and praise. I was so blessed to have him in my life. God bless his beautiful spirit. May God bring to his family peace, strength and comfort. He is now on his journey to a beautiful place where he will experience a glorious reunion with Hiram and his other family members awaiting his arrival in God’s Holy Kingdom.

  18. Jill and Mark Schnieders on January 15, 2019 at 10:15 pm

    Mark and I extend our deepest sympathies to the Salvini family. While we didn’t personally know Ira, we knew very much of him through his son Ira Jr. and his family. His grand daughter, Sarah always shared wonderful stories about him and his accomplishments.
    Ira will be missed by all. May he Rest In Peace. God bless.

  19. Twilla Lieb on January 15, 2019 at 10:29 pm

    Mr. Salvani was an awesome man, he had a huge heart and always took the time to talk to the students, he also had a beautiful smile for anyone and that smile would always have me smiling back at him. He would always give a hug when I seen him years after leaving Haskell. He was always nice, he was friendly and had words of encouragement for anyone that might need them. When he spoke, I always listened. God bless his soul. Sending my condolences to his family.

  20. Tegan Vaughn on January 15, 2019 at 11:20 pm

    I learned a lot from Ira during our time together at EPA. He was so kind, wise, and cared so much for the work he did and those he worked with (both at EPA and the Tribal Natuons). I’m so sorry for the family’s loss. He was loved and respected by many. It was an honor to work with him and learn from him.

  21. Cecilia Quirarte-Ortiz on January 16, 2019 at 12:31 am

    I am so sorry to hear that Ira is no longer with us. He was such a nice man and he would always joke with me and give me a hard time at the coffee bar at EPA. Such a pleasant man and had a great spirit! He will be missed. Prayers for the family during this difficult time.

  22. Janet Hallier on January 16, 2019 at 3:49 am

    Ira was a good friend and person who I knew at epa. He had a great and kind spirit. He always treated everyone with respect and kindness. He had a lot of wisdom and knowledge. He loaned many books to me and information, he taught me more about the beauty of the world and our native peoples. For that and his friendship and kindness I am forever grateful. I am so very sorry to hear of his passing and my prayers and thoughts are with his family. Good journey Ira, I hope your next life is forever beautiful. This world is a lot less without you.

  23. Erin Mayer on January 16, 2019 at 8:51 am

    What a beautiful tribute, wish I would have known him! Love and prayers to all of you!

  24. Gayle Hubert on January 16, 2019 at 10:31 am

    I am so sorry to hear about Ira. Ira brought a positive influence to every meeting we had at EPA and much wisdom. I could always count on Ira for sound guidance. My sincere condolences go to his family and friends.

  25. Carrie Coffey on January 16, 2019 at 10:41 am

    Ira and my Grandfather Archie were very close friends, I remember my Grandfather introducing me to Ira way back in the early 80’s. I would see Ira at Dillons and he would always acknowledge me and I think to myself he has such a great memory. I will miss my run-in’s with him and his smile. Ira was always asking how things are going with myself and my family. May you rest in peace Ira Salvini, you will be greatly missed!

  26. Alison Nye on January 16, 2019 at 12:31 pm

    My condolences to the Salvini family. ❤️ I didn’t know Mr Salvini personally, but he was a mentor and friend to my youngest brother who along with Hiram, awaits him in life everlasting. My blessings and prayers to the whole Salvini family.
    A special family indeed.

  27. Kerry Girty-Cuny on January 16, 2019 at 12:42 pm

    The Lawrence Indian United Methodist Church has our monthly Indian Taco Sale and Ira was a frequent visitor. He would come and enjoy his lunch while visiting and sharing stories with his Haskell Alumni friends. He was such a sweet, kind person. We will miss him greatly at the monthly sales.

    We extend our thoughts & prayers to the entire Salvani family.
    Lawrence Indian United Methodist Church

  28. Jon and Laurie McMasters, Schurz, NV on January 16, 2019 at 11:58 pm

    Condolences to the family of Ira Salvini. Jon and I will always cherish our memories of Ira while we attended Haskell in the mid 80’s. love you Ira.

  29. Florence Glazier on January 17, 2019 at 1:18 am

    Condolences to family of Ira. My Grandfather Raymond Thompson of Smith Valley, Nv was his relation, our elders are all gone now, I remember It a as being very kind

  30. Kristina Stine on January 17, 2019 at 7:49 am

    Ira was a kind gental soul. Journey well my friend.

  31. Richard Payton on January 17, 2019 at 10:42 am

    Condolences to the family during this difficult time. Ira was a wonderful person that helped me when I needed it the most. I have many wonderful memories and moments with Ira!

  32. Curtis Wright on January 17, 2019 at 11:34 am

    Doug, and Curtis Wright We lost the best, Ira was our department leader for a while when we had Vocation
    he was also active with the Haskell Alumni , and a person who could carry a smile, and help you to have a better day

  33. Bob Thurber and Monica Davis on January 17, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    Tonia and family
    So sorry for your loss. What an interesting and generous life Ira lived! We always enjoyed chatting with him when he stopped by to check on you or the house. Hopefully, as time passes, the sadness will be replaced by smiles when thinking of fond memories. Our thoughts are with you.
    Bob and Monica

  34. George Lauppe on January 17, 2019 at 8:16 pm

    George Lauppe (Haskell retire)
    I first met Ira in 1960 when he was introduced as a former Haskell student , who was returning to teach auto mechanics. At that time I was teaching Driver Education in the school’s 1956 Ford, which had mechanical problems. At that time, auto mechanic instructors and students maintained all vehicles on campus. A couple weeks ago , during breakfast of retired Haskell retires at McDonalds, Ira told me he and his students maintained that Driver ED Car. In the late 1970’s Haskell build new auto mechanics shops. As one of the five auto instructors, Ira was still teaching in the same shop when I retired in 1985. It was my privilege to work with that “great guy” as instructor, see him regularly at church , then retirement events. He is greatly missed by all.

  35. Tony Wood on January 17, 2019 at 11:58 pm

    Ira was one of a kind. I spent a few years in Environmental Protection for our Tribe and he was as genuine a human being that you would come across. Quick with a joke and a smile and will be missef by many.

  36. Denise Jensen on January 18, 2019 at 8:38 am

    Ira, you are my hero. Until we meet again my friend.

  37. Jim Snow on January 18, 2019 at 9:00 am

    The Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska were saddened to hear of the passing of this good and kind man. Our thoughts to his family and friends through out the Country. The Tribes of Region VII have always valued his knowledge and friendship. He was a what the old timers use to call
    ” Good People”. Respectfully, Jim Snow, Winnebago Tribal Council

  38. Nolan Smith Jr on January 18, 2019 at 6:09 pm

    Ira and my father were very good friends in high school and after. He kinda looked after me when I went to Haskell. He was someone I could go to when I needed advice. Condolences to all his family.

  39. Noni Manning on January 19, 2019 at 8:56 am

    Heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of this man who touched so many lives.

  40. La-le Miller on January 19, 2019 at 10:36 am

    I served on Haskell Alumni Association with Ira Salvini. He was a kind and friendly man. He would always greet you with the warmest smile. My sincere condolences to the family. Mr. Ira Salvini you will be truly missed around Haskell’s community.. God bless.

  41. MIKE AND ROSEMARY on January 22, 2019 at 9:55 am

    Gear Tonia and family, so sorry for your loss…may he rest in peace….Mike Hadl…

  42. Patricia Hawkins on January 22, 2019 at 5:37 pm

    Patricia M. Hawkins
    I worked with Ira at EPA and as said before, he always had a smile and kind word for all. My condolences to his family on your loss.

  43. Craig Bernstein on January 23, 2019 at 1:42 pm

    Ira, I first met you as you stepped into John’s shoes to carry forward a great task. You became the lubricant between different cultures. Everyone was better off when you put your magic touch on the situation. I will miss your kindness and gentle sense of humor. Your spirit lives on.

  44. Deanna Dibble on January 27, 2019 at 7:25 am

    Ira was one of the kindest and authentic men I knew. Let me express my deepest sympathy for his family.

  45. Ted Fritz on January 28, 2019 at 10:26 pm

    Ted Fritz,
    Ira was all the great things said about him. I considered him a friend and counselor. He will be truly missed by those who worked with him at EPA and many more.

  46. Martin Kessler on January 29, 2019 at 5:20 pm

    Ira was one of those incredible souls you may meet only once in a lifetime, a constant wellspring of joy and optimism. Working with Ira at EPA, I could always depend on him to brighten my day with a gentle smile and hearty laugh. He greatly valued every person and every endeavor and was a friend to everyone he met. My heartfelt prayers go out to his family. It was a rare honor to know Ira and I’ll miss him dearly. May his spirit soar far and wide.

  47. Robert J Steinlage on January 30, 2019 at 12:03 am

    My condolences to you Tonia Salvini and family for the passing of your father. I wish now I would have taken the time to know him better. May our Lord’s peace be with you!

  48. Leslye Werner on January 30, 2019 at 1:13 pm

    My condolences to Ira’s family, have found memories of “Chief 2 Feathers” from our EPA “senior” senior staff meetings. Will miss him greatly.

  49. Tamara Freeman on January 31, 2019 at 7:05 am

    I worked with Ira at EPA. Ira always had a smile on his face and always made me laugh when we talked in the Market Place at work. Ira gave me the nickname “Jelly” because he knew I love grape jelly on my toast. He will be missed. My condolences to Ira’s family.

  50. Chris Taylor on January 31, 2019 at 7:28 am

    Ira was certainly one of the kindest and most authentic men I have ever known. His warm smile and genuine love for people were such a blessing to me and to all who had the privilege of knowing him. My condolences and prayers for his family and all who miss him.

  51. Leland Grooms on February 11, 2019 at 12:17 pm

    My posting is late and my apologies, I did not realize Ira had passed away until this morning. I worked with Ira for several years at the EPA. In most peoples’ lives (if they are fortunate) they may meet two or three people they can sincerely look up to and accept as a natural mentor. Ira was one of those individuals to me. He was an incredibly intelligent man who was no pushover in getting our mission accomplished, while at the same time very kind and fair. As we would talk about work and non-work issues it seemed like he had crammed every experience possible (good or bad) into his life. The world is a lesser place with the loss of this individual, I considered him a true friend. I hope his family can receive some assurance to the fact that Ira touched so many lives in such a positive manner.

  52. Shawn Spruce on July 15, 2021 at 5:13 pm

    Mr. Salvini was my auto shop teacher at Haskell in 1988. I can picture him now in his patented blue windbreaker parking his tan colored Toyota pick up at Winnemucca Hall each morning. He was a fantastic instructor, a consummate professional, a gifted technician, and a very caring man to all of his students. I am extremely privileged to have been at Haskell during the Salvini Era.

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