In 1912, the Champo family, Jacina and Manuel, along with their baby daughter immigrated to Las Vegas. They lived first at the Union Hotel downtown, at Main and Bridger. The family then bought a ranch three miles south of what is Henderson today. Manuel Champo raised produce and sold it in Las Vegas.
In 1918, Stella Champo began attending school at the Las Vegas Grammar School. When in high school, her family paid for her to board with families in town during the week. In 1927, her mother died and Stella decided to quit school. Maude Frazier, the principal at the High School, tried to persuade Stella to stay at school. However, Stella had no more interest in school and at eighteen years old, she started her career as a waitress.
Her first job was at a small Italian restaurant at the Union Hotel where she learned the business. She worked as a waitress and cashier and when P.O. Silvagni opened the Apache Hotel at Second and Fremont, she went to work there. Stella continued to work at the Apache until she moved to Los Angeles where she worked as a waitress for eighteen years.
Stella married John Iaconis in 1953 and both John and Stella went to work at the Sahara Hotel. Stella was a showroom waitress and John was a tailor with his own valet shop in the Sahara Hotel. Stella worked in a showroom at Sahara for three years because it was physically demanding work. Stella went to work at Larry’s where she stayed for twenty years.
Stella continued to live in Las Vegas until her death on January 18, 1998.
Photo courtesy of UNLV Special Collections.
May not be reproduced without the special permission of UNLV Special Collections.