John DeTar 1925-2011

John DeTar, once Reno’s leading right wing fringe figure, has died in Hauser, Idaho, at age 86.

DeTar was founder of a Reno chapter of the new John Birch Society.

In April 1964, DeTar sought support at a Washoe County Young Republicans meeting for his proposed congressional investigation of communist influence in folk singing. Communists, he said, were using folk singing to “ensnare and capture youthful minds in the United States.”

He was involved in the Nevada Independent American Party, formed as a vehicle for George Wallace’s 1968 presidential campaign.

DeTar was a critic of the anti-drug organization known as Synanon, which for a time was chic in some circles and was given entrée to the Nevada prison system in 1963. It later evolved into a secretive paramilitary organization. DeTar wrote a pamphlet, “A Study of Synanon,” that he sold for 25 cents.

An opponent of the ecumenical council Vatican II and of the abandonment of the Latin mass by the Catholic Church, DeTar died Nov. 20, just a few days before introduction of a new translation of the mass that raised concerns about a papal retreat from Vatican II.

A longer obituary on DeTar is on our Newsview blog.