FUMC Biographies

Carol Barr


Margot Chappel, President

My name is Margot Ann Chappel. I was born in a small village in Malaysia called Kuala Lipis. My father was doing medical mission work there. Babies in Malaysia were dying from dysentery because many mothers believed that formula was better for babies than their own breast milk. The water was not sterile and the formula was often mixed at half strength to save money. My mother would breastfeed me outside of the clinic while my father worked so that families in the Malaysian culture would see a Westerner breastfeeding.

Before my sisters were born, we returned to the U.S.A. I was 18 months old. We lived in Boston for a year before moving to Chicago, which is where I started school. We moved to Reno in 1974, just before I started 6th grade. I've lived here ever since, with a short stint in Southern California for six months in my early 20s.

I have worked in the field of early childhood education since high school. I took my first child development course as a junior in high school. Teaching young children allowed me to use all of my skills and talents. I had a great time doing it and it was meaningful, fulfilling work! I am still in the same field, serving as Director of Head Start Collaboration and Early Childhood Systems for Nevada. However, the last time I made my living working directly with young children was 1997. Volunteering to teach Sunday school has helped keep me in touch with kids. Now that I have two grandchildren, I have a renewed passion for making things better for kids in Nevada! For fun, I like to read good books, walk, play with my dog Rowan, do yoga, but mostly spend time with my family.

The year after we moved to Reno, my family started attending FUMC. It has been my home church since! I went through confirmation and MYF here. My children attended Sunday school, went through confirmation and MYF here as well. Through those years, there have been four generations of my family sitting in the pews at times. In the 1970s, I was in the youngest generation. Now my grandchildren are in the youngest generation. I am serving on the FUMC Foundation board so I can help sustain the stability of FUMC for generations to come!


Barbara Drake

 was born and raised in Chicago, on the shores of Lake Michigan in the home my grandfather, an architect, built and in which my mother was born. My dad died when I was two so we lived with our grandparents until 1949 when we moved to Evanston. We were Unitarians but in high school I joined the large First United Methodist Church in Evanston to join my friends in MYF. I graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1960, spending my junior abroad at London School of Economics. (And hitch-hiked through Britain and Europe on breaks!) Several years later I received my MSW from Wayne State University in Detroit. Ralph and I met at a student YW-YM Conference and have been married since 1961 with 3 children and six grandchildren. His career took us to many cities/YMCA Camps. In addition to a long career with United Way I have always been active in community and church activities. I serve on the Board of Trustees of the Community Foundation of Western Nevada and the Board of Directors for TOCCATA. In the over 30 years we've been members of Reno First UMC, I have served as chair of several committees, church council and now lead the Writers Group and co-chair Simplicity. I participate in book club, quilters, United Methodist Women and when able, hiking group. Ralph and I "love this place and the people who enrich our lives" and have been long-time supporters of our church foundation.


Mike Faulstich

A native Reno-ite, Mike grew up in what was then country, on Holcomb Lane. He rode his bike to the bus stop and was transported to Huffaker School, a two room school house. He worked for family businesses including Faulstich Gardens where his art of landscaping was fully applied and was seed for a life time hobby. Here at Reno First United Methodist Church, he married Foofie. Three children arrived over the years, two daughters and a son. He's worked in construction for over 50 years and has owned and operated Truckee Meadows Construction, Inc. for 35 years. His hobbies include upland game hunting, traveling and collecting Native America antiquities. Working with Ridge House for over 35 years, he has seen it flourish from inception to a thriving substance abuse clinic as well as residential rehabilitation and treatment center for paroled felons.

Evelyn Grupe


  Fritz Grupe

I was born in New York City and lived there or in Suffern, New York through high school. I graduated from the State University of New York at New Paltz with a bachelor's and a master's degree in science education. I received a doctorate in higher education administration from the State University of New York at Albany. Evelyn and I have been in Reno since 1982. I've held a variety of positions that included being the Executive Director of the Associated Colleges of the St. Lawrence Valley, Director of Campus Computing at UNR. I retired from teaching as a full professor and chair of the Accounting and Information Systems Department at UNR. Since retirement I have been working part time as a consultant to Townsend Communications in Kansas City in the development of a National Science Foundation funded student advisement project. Evelyn and I joined RFUMC in 1999. I've been on the Foundation Board since January 2015. Photography, occasional bird watching and reading are my past times. Along with many others, I'd like to see that RFUMC continues to be a vibrant church filled with open minded, open hearted congregants.


Denise Hedrick, Past President

Denise Hedrick was born and raised in Houston, Texas, attending Robert E. Lee High School and then receiving her undergraduate degree in Child Development and Family Relations from Texas Tech University. She later attended graduate school at the University of Nevada Reno, where she earned a master's degree in Counseling and Educational Psychology.

Denise and Wyatt, her husband of 37 years, moved with their family to northern Nevada in 1988, living in the Virginia highlands for 11 years before moving to southwest Reno. She was a counselor at Hug High School for many years before becoming the Executive Director of the Education Alliance of Washoe County. This non-profit group, which primarily supports the Washoe County School District, is a public private advocate for primary, secondary and tertiary education.

Denise and Wyatt have attended Reno First Church for 23 years; both of their children were raised in the church. Denise hopes that our church passes on our traditional values as well as continuing the legacy of fellowship to future generations of church members. She also hopes that our beautiful church building continues to be well maintained. Denise has been a member of the Foundation board for 10 months.

In addition to spending time with their 2 grandchildren, she and Wyatt also love sailing in San Francisco.


John Helmreich

Shortly after moving to Reno, my family and I connected with Reno First church. The church has been an important element in our lives and has given much to us -- most notably many significant friendships which remain active and valued to this day. Our kids also made strong connections with others, enjoying many positive formative experiences growing up as part of this church.

My wife Nancy and I were born in Indiana and both of us attended Purdue University, where we initially met. We continued in the Midwest starting our careers there and lived in various communities in Indiana and Illinois until the mid-80's. I worked for a large manufacturing company based in Chicago. We transferred to Reno with my job and have lived here since 1985.
Our 4 children are now grown. Two still reside in Reno and the other two are spread – with one overseas and one in Denver. We have one granddaughter who is here in Reno.

First Church is the oldest church in Reno, having been established in the same year that Reno was founded. I am very appreciative that Reno First church was here and functioning when we walked in its doors. This was a result of hard work and support provided by many, many folks who valued it in their lives. I am on the Foundation Board, in part, to re-pay those who came before and to try in a small way to assure the continued future of this church community. 

Sheila Linn


Reverend Kris Marshall


Donna Quante, Treasurer

I was born and raised in East St. Louis, Illinois, which is just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Missouri. I attended grade school and high school in Illinois and received a BS in Business Administration from the University of Missouri. I worked for the telephone company my entire career in both the Accounting and Regulatory Departments. I started with Southwestern Bell in St. Louis, did a tour at AT&T Headquarters in Morristown, New Jersey, went to Dallas, Texas for a short time and then requested a transfer to Reno in late 1998. In Reno I was the Director of Regulatory Operations until I retired from SBC (now AT&T) in June of 2000 after 34 years of service.

I started attending FUMC in late 2001 (after 9/11) and became a member in February, 2002. I am a new member of the Foundation and will assume the job of Treasurer. For hobbies I enjoy downhill skiing, hiking, reading, movies, fine dining and traveling with old friends from grade school, high school, college and work.


In addition to being the Foundation Treasurer, I am involved in other church activities including: FUMC Financial Secretary, Church Council, Stewardship Committee, Finance Committee, Mission Team, Usher Team, Simplicity, Book Group. What I would like to see passed along to future generations at FUMC is a vibrant and active congregation in the current church building. We need to attract and keep younger families who are willing to get involved in church leadership and support the church financially.


Debbie Smith


Hello. My name is Debbie Smith. I am a new member of FUMC Foundation, since January 2015. I was born at Chanute AFB in Illinois. My father was in the military so we moved often in my early years. After Dad retired we settled in Southern California. I moved to Reno when I got married to David forty years ago. We joined FUMC in the late 1980s. I taught Sunday School when my children were young and I served on the Education Committee. David and I were ushers for several years. I worked for the WCSD for 30 years and retired about 6 years ago. My hobbies are dancing and going to baseball games. My goal for FUMC is to be a vibrant and growing church.


Nancy Wong

I was the first Chinese girl born in Boulder City, Nevada and the oldest of four. In the spring of 1967, my dad was transferred to the US Bureau of Mines in Reno. The first church we attended was Reno FUMC; while we were eating lunch, Dr. Orman Roberts, who was the pastor, came over to welcome us to Reno. I graduated from Reno High, UNR and University of California, Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco.

I have an accounting degree and have been a Nevada lawyer since 1982. Currently I am the supervising attorney for the Carson City Legal Section of the Nevada Division of Industrial Relations. We regulate workers' compensation matters, prosecute OSHA violations, and oversee Mine Safety and Training.

I was confirmed at Reno FUMC in 1968 and have been active ever since!

I've been on the FUMC Foundation Board since 2008 (Morton, my dad, was on the Foundation in the 90s). I became president in 2012.

One of my hobbies is making cards using rubber stamps and ink; my favorite stamp company is A|Muse Studio. Jay teases and says I only have to make another 8,000 cards to 'break even,' but I figure if I charge $50/hour for my time, my break-even point is a lot quicker! Since Alycia's attending Willamette University, she gets a lot of expensive "snail mail" cards!

I also enjoy cooking for others, which is probably why I coordinate the Casserole Brigade and Drop in the Bucket. I like "doing" and have been on five mission trips to New Orleans, North Carolina, and Montague, California. I've also headed up four "mini-mission" teams to Fernley and North San Juan, California. When I was the MYF leader in the 1980's, I chaperoned youth on three Sierra Service Project missions on California Indian reservations.

I usually have at least one pro bono case going at any one time. Since Jay and I don't watch TV, we are voracious readers and hope to travel to many of the places about which we have read.

What about First Church do you hope to see passed along to future generations?

FUMC's credo found in Micah 6:8 (seeking kindness, doing justice, and walking humbly with God) just about sums it up! My dream is for the Foundation to be able to raise a million dollars in the next 2 ½ years. Just think . . . if the economy improves so that the Foundation earned a 2% APR return on investment, a million dollar corpus would produce $20,000 in interest. . . . To paraphrase Dr. Seuss, "Oh the places we'll go!"