Obituary: Maryanne Ingemanson, 80, was concert pianist, developer, community leader

Maryanne B. Ingemanson, a world-class concert pianist who founded a Sacramento land-development company and led a successful property-tax revolt in Nevada, died Oct. 2 of cancer, her family said. She was 80.

Mrs. Ingemanson was a musical prodigy who began piano lessons at 21/2 at the Chicago Conservatory of Music. Her early years of discipline and rigorous training as a performer helped prepare her for a pioneering career in the rough-and-tumble world of commercial real estate and a nine-year battle over property-tax bills in north Lake Tahoe communities in Nevada.

“She was a very determined and hardworking woman,” said Andy Matthews of the Nevada Policy Research Institute, a free-market think tank. “When she made up her mind that she wanted to accomplish something, nothing was going to stand in her way. She was very intelligent as well, a really gifted thinker.”

Born Aug. 13, 1933, in Atlanta, the former Maryanne Bullock moved with her family to Chicago and gave her first concert at 5. By 10, she had a manager and traveled the world as a professional classical pianist. She performed with major symphonies after settling in Sacramento with her family and graduated from McClatchy High School in 1950.

At 19, she won the Marie Morrisey Keith Award as the outstanding young piano soloist in the United States. In 1954, she earned a licentiate and fellowship – equivalent to American bachelor’s and master’s degrees – in music from Trinity College in London and began a tour in Europe.

She left the concert stage after marrying Larry D. Ingemanson, an Air Force pilot, in 1956 and settled in Sacramento. Besides raising their two children, she taught and lectured on music at universities, performed on a weekly TV show and started a piano school that trained hundreds of students.

While her husband completed studies to be an orthodontist, Mrs. Ingemanson earned a real estate broker’s license and began selling commercial real estate. In 1968, she started Ingemanson Enterprises and went on to develop commercial, industrial, retail and apartment projects throughout the Sacramento region. In an interview, she smiled when asked about the reaction she often encountered in the mostly male field of land development.

“At first encounter, some clients or sellers seem skeptical,” she told The Bee in 1968. “But I found out that once they realize I can make them money, they aren’t concerned.”

Mrs. Ingemanson settled in Incline Village, Nev., in 1984 with her husband after he retired from dentistry. She formed the Village League to Save Incline Assets and led the group’s efforts to keep the local hospital from closing and to protect homeowners’ private beaches at Lake Tahoe.

In 2002, she objected to a lack of uniform methods for property-tax assessments in Nevada that resulted in a $75,000 tax bill for her Washoe County home overlooking Lake Tahoe while a bigger, newer house on the lake in neighboring Douglas County was levied at $18,000. She spearheaded a lengthy legal fight over unequal assessments and won a landmark victory in 2011, when the Nevada Supreme Court upheld a lower-court ruling that ordered Washoe County to refund 2006 property taxes – plus interest – to 8,700 homeowners in Incline Village and Crystal Bay. The total refund amount, $40 million, was believed to be the largest such refund ever awarded.

“I saw it in the beginning and felt it was wrong,” she said about the tax assessments in the Reno Gazette-Journal in 2011. “I spoke with the assessor at the time and was effectively told to go pound sand. So I said, ‘OK, game on.’”

Mrs. Ingemanson was an active businesswoman, philanthropist and volunteer in north Lake Tahoe communities. She served on the boards of the Nevada Policy Research Institute, the Reno Philharmonic and the Incline Village Hospital Foundation. She received a 2004 entrepreneur award from the Incline Village/Crystal Bay Republican Women’s Club and was honored for community service by the Incline Village/Crystal Bay Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club. She was 2008 grand marshal of the Red, White and Tahoe Blue Parade.

“She loved people, and she would light up a room with this contagious laugh,” said her son Dean. “She was such a social, outgoing and gracious person that people gravitated to her. She was also very smart.”

Larry Ingemanson died in 2002. Besides her son, Mrs. Ingemanson is survived by her daughter Kathy Nelson-Burns, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

A celebration of life is set for 11 a.m. Friday at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, 341 Village Blvd., Incline Village. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Village League to Save Incline Assets, 77 Shoreline Circle, Incline Village, NV 89451.