Nathan L. Topol, Reno-Tahoe developer, dies at 77
Ryan Summerlin August 7, 2013
Nathan L. Topol, known to many as a man of great vision, tenacity, and strength, a dedicated family man, and accomplished developer of southwest Reno and Lake Tahoe’s West Shore, was in a single-car accident on July 23 and later died from his injuries, surrounded by his family. He was 77.
Born June 6, 1936 in Brooklyn, New York, Mr. Topol came to Reno with his family in 1948 after a week-long train ride across the country. Led by his father Sidney Topol, an entrepreneur, and mother Lillian Topol, the family arrived in Reno following opportunity in the lumber business after the end of World War II. Mr. Topol attended Reno’s Billinghurst Junior High, then the family relocated to Sacramento, California, where he attended and graduated from McClatchy High School. From 1953–1957, Mr. Topol proudly attended Stanford University, where he graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, and formed a life-long allegiance to the Stanford community. While at Stanford, Mr. Topol rowed crew, and was a member of the Theta Xi fraternity. He remained dedicated over his lifetime to the university that gave him his education and such solid friendships, almost never missing a home football game in nearly 60 years—even on the day his second daughter was born, Mr. Topol managed to make it to the second half of the 1968 Big Game.
On receiving his degree from Stanford, Mr. Topol went to work with his father at the family lumber business in Truckee, California. Until the business was sold in the early 1970s, Mr. Topol ran all operations at the sawmill, participating in and witnessing the growth of the Tahoe-Truckee area, including the construction of Highway 80 through Truckee. His engineering training and lumber experience were the foundation for the next 35 years of his work in real estate development. Mr. Topol worked with long-term commitment and investment to build the businesses and the community that now forms Lakeridge in southwest Reno. With the construction of Lakeridge Apartments, Lakeridge Tennis Club, and Lakeridge Center Office Complex, Mr. Topol aimed to create a high quality of life in the greater Reno community. The same principles held true for the businesses and projects he built on Lake Tahoe’s West Shore, including Homewood High & Dry Marina, West Shore Café & Inn, and the lakefront property he donated for many summers to host the Lake Tahoe Summer Music Festival.
In 1965, Mr. Topol met and married Virginia (Berry) Topol, the love of his life, with whom he raised a family of five children, including Tami Topol, BJ Topol Blum (Jon), Byron Topol (Tiffany), Samantha Topol Chaffee (Ben), and David Topol. He is survived by his wife and children, as well as four grandchildren, Isabel and Alexandra Blum, and Justin and Cooper Topol. Mr. Topol valued family above all else, and while his professional accomplishments stand on their own, these achievements were motivated first by his devotion to providing for his family. This commitment to family extended beyond his immediate family to the broad network of employees and friends who were loyal to him for many years. Mr. Topol was proud of his service in the Nevada Air National Guard, and he held a deep respect for integrity, hard work, and for anyone engaged with the challenge of improving their lives and their communities. He quietly supported numerous organizations and causes in the Reno-Tahoe area and beyond; as he was known to say, “The bigger the man, the smaller the show.”
A memorial to honor Mr. Topol’s life will be held Sunday, August 11 at 2 pm at Temple Sinai (3405 Gulling Road, Reno, Nevada). A reception will follow from 3:30-5:30 pm at Lakeridge Tennis Club (6000 Plumas St, Reno, Nevada).
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts can be made in Mr. Topol’s honor to:
The Nathan L. Topol Memorial Fund in Stanford Athletics
Stanford University Department of Athletics
Arrillaga Family Sports Center
Stanford, CA 94305-6150
ATTN: Karen Recht
Arrangements are under the direction of Walton Funeral Home, Reno, NV.
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