Pam Emmerich: The Biggest Energy in the Room

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A SHINING LIGHT: Always ready with a smile, many will miss longtime Tahoe resident, community leader, bike and music enthusiast, and everyone’s “first friend in Tahoe” Pam Emmerich. Courtesy photos

On July 5, 2020, the Reno/Tahoe area lost Pam Emmerich, a shining light in our community, after a courageous battle with cancer.

It was never a surprise to run into Pam, no matter where it was. Whether it be working the community pancake breakfast, dancing in the crowd at a concert, working a government board meeting, killing it on a mountain bike trail, kicking back on a beach in Thailand, working the gates at a festival, serving beer at Music on the Beach, helping a touring band sell merch, laughing at a comedy show, finding her Zen in a yoga class … Pam was there … with the biggest, most welcoming smile you’ve ever seen.

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Pam was born Dec. 25, 1970, in Cincinnati, Ohio to John and Connie Emmerich. Growing up a lover of the natural world and community, she excelled in both the competition and instruction of sailing and horsemanship. She graduated from Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio in 1995. Afterwards, she made her way west in her Volkswagen bus, landing temporarily in Arizona and Alaska before growing roots at North Lake Tahoe in 1997, lured by family and the outdoors.

Here in Tahoe, Pam immediately became an integral community member. She was assistant, then quickly head, registrar for Sierra Nevada College, helping students navigate their college careers. Many people claim Pam as their “first friend in Tahoe” and credited her in easing their confusing first years. Pam was warm, genuine, helpful, and encouraging to new and continuing education students.

After seven years at Sierra Nevada College, Pam became a connector and community leader as the public information officer for the North Tahoe Public Utility District beginning in 2004. She also spent over a decade as a board member and volunteer for the North Tahoe Business Association. In these roles, Pam helped realize many of the improvements in Kings Beach and Tahoe Vista, including enhancing local digital communications, the creation of new trails and parks, the redevelopment of North Lake Boulevard in Kings Beach, and the Music on the Beach series, to name just a few!

In addition to these professional accomplishments, for “fun” Pam was a co-owner with her brother of Fresh Bakin’, a local Reno/Tahoe music and events promotions company that has produced over 1,000 live and electronic music shows, comedy and storytelling events, and fundraisers over the last 18 years. She could also be found volunteering or working at various festivals such as The Bounce, High Sierra Music Festival, Dirtybird Campout, and more.

All this action didn’t seem to slow her relationships down, as Pam cherished her decades-long friendships from across the country. She regularly traveled nationally and internationally, mountain biked, rode horses, supported theater and charitable causes in the community, and could still be found in the front row of bluegrass shows with the biggest energy in the room.

Everyone who knew Pam felt connected to her. They were inspired by her gigantic heart, infectious smile, hard work, and how she lived life to the absolute fullest.

She is survived by her parents, John and Connie, her brother Steve, loving cousins and myriad of friends and colleagues from all walks of life.

In lieu of flowers, the family will be announcing soon a few organizations the community may donate to in Pam’s memory. There will also be a socially distanced celebration of life, memorial bike ride, and announcement of a permanent dedication in the coming weeks.

~ Steve Emmerich

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