Paso Robles native is ‘humbled’ and ‘honored’ to represent local community
When one has lived a full life, it’s easy to be known by many different names. It’s true, yet again — in this case with the 2017 Pioneer Day Grand Marshal, DARYL STINCHFIELD.
“That ol’ lop-eared monkey” is one name he’s known by. “The guy with the best disked property in the entire county” is another. “Mr. Lucky to be married to Charlotte” is yet another.
While these and others are surely true and accurate, perhaps the most significant enduring title that could be assigned to Daryl is “Mr. Stability.” Let’s take a look at this quiet — unless you know him — man who generally stays out of the limelight.
Daryl was born in the Paso Robles Community Hospital, which was at 12th and Chestnut streets, on July 8, 1940. His parents, L.M. “Buster” and Nancy (Jenkins) Stinchfield brought two older siblings, Larry and Marlene, into the world some six years before it it was time for Daryl’s arrival. It seems they needed some hands-on practice to be ready for this unique child! Daryl’s dad came from Minnesota and his mom from outside Bakersfield. “Buster” literally worked his way across the USA by driving a Model T and fixing others’ vehicles as a mechanic along the way. It took him a year, but he finally arrived in Atascadero in 1921.
Nancy Jenkins was a teacher at the one-room school in Creston. The two met and subsequently married in April 1931 and were married for over 50 years. Buster and Nancy bought a home at 1843 Locust Street, and that’s where Daryl grew up. He stayed in that home through his school years and until he married.
Daryl was a Bearcat of course, but those were the days when the high school was what is now Flamson Middle School. Graduating in 1958, Daryl wasn’t at either end of the “brains curve.” He was average with the books, but he was really good with his hands. Buster was a mechanic in town and he built a repair shop in 1940 at what is now Tozzi Automotive at 1346 Railroad St. Young Daryl learned a lot about cars by being under them as the “kid who changed the oil, and cleaned the undersides.”
As a youngster, Daryl’s mom taught school at the Oakdale School and she needed someone to care for him during the day. Herman and Ina Claassen lived nearby and they agreed to care for him while Nancy taught. Nancy had been hired by Miles Barlogio for her teaching position. Those three intertwined families began what became life-long kindred-friendships.
Daryl’s love of farming came from the Claassens and his time with them. Daryl worked at their farm every summer from the age of six straight through high school graduation, doing every job that was required on a farm in those days.
After Daryl’s graduation in 1958, his father transformed the automotive repair business into an upholstery shop. Daryl was now a full-time employee working for Buster and he did what his boss said. Thus, Daryl segued into the upholstery business at the new venture — Paso Upholstery Shop. By 1970, Daryl was running the shop. He’d also concluded that if Buster just gave him the whole place and all the business, he’d still go broke!
Meanwhile, the saga of young Mr. Stinchfield had taken the best turn of his life. Back as a senior in high school, Daryl started to date a pretty little gal named Charlotte Roeder. She had decided to become a nurse after graduation so, off to Santa Barbara she went to get her credentials. By 1962, that was accomplished and Charlotte was a fully registered nurse, and headed back to Paso full time.
While Charlotte had been studying and Daryl was working in town, they stayed on the course of a more permanent union with visits as often as they could. After Charlotte’s graduation, the two married that same year. That was 55 years ago and through a ‘life full of what life gives you,’ they are an inspiration of “this is how you’re supposed to do it!”
In 1962, the young Stinchfield couple was looking for a house of their own. They’d been searching all over but nothing was quite right. One day, during lunch hour, Buster told Daryl to close up the shop; they were going for a drive! Out onto Adelaida Rd. they went. They drove to the top of an almond ranch that had a house on it which had been built in 1915. Buster said, “How do ya like it?” Daryl liked the rural setting and says he knew what Charlotte would like —generally a massive mistake — so, just like that, he put in an offer without her seeing it!
After they got the renters to move out, they began a remodel project. It turns out Charlotte did like the place, and after 55 years, they are still in that house. They raised two grown daughters, Cynthia and Lori in that home. I trust that by now, you are seeing signs of the “stability side” of Daryl.
While the Stinchfields were concluding that they’d never get ahead with the upholstery shop, a new door opened with Cecil Boatman. Daryl joined him and started a whole new career at Boatman’s Furniture Center, then located at 910 Park St. That was July 1970.
Paso’s Fire Department is on that site now. The 1980s saw a move of Boatman’s to Theater Drive where ultimately, Daryl became the manager. Twenty years after he started, Daryl retired in July,1990. Those 20 years with the Boatman family also led to another long term bond. More stability in his life!
The retired Mr. Stinchfield soon found himself a bit bored and wanted to do something new. The respect and friendship plus years of fond memories with Herman and Ida Claassen and the Barlogios re-emerged. No stranger to tractors, crawlers and dozers, he bought his first Cat-D4. For the next two years, he threw himself into getting it “Daryl-ized” along with a truck and trailer to haul it.
By Spring of ’92, Daryl was officially headlong into the disking and custom dozer work. Vineyards were popping up and they needed endless hours of work to get the soil prepped. Daryl still does disking, and when you drive down Adelaida Rd. and see the yellow house on the left with the immaculately manicured dirt — guess who lives there! That makes 25 years of tractor work. Another look at Daryl’s stability.
There are other sides to Daryl as well. In January 1960, Daryl joined the Army Reserves and he stayed with that for a full six years until January 1966. He’s been attending the same Live Oak Christian Church, on 15th and Oak, since his parents first brought him there as a toddler. For the last 30 years, Daryl makes “the skinniest pancakes in town” for the mens’ breakfast and bible study on Thursday mornings. Funds from this weekly meal help support a missionary in Texas.
Additionally, Daryl has been a docent at Pioneer Museum for the last 10 years. And, because he likes the Museum campus so much, Daryl has been helping Pioneer Day Committee get the equipment ready for the parade. He’s been doing that for twenty years!
To fill any-other un-available hours, Daryl is a volunteer driver for Paso’s Senior Nutrition program — Meals That Connect. Charlotte started 20 years ago and Daryl joined her a dozen years back. Daryl also has been on the Cemetery Board for 20 years. Pretty impressive and yet-again stable resume!
Daryl knew that to be able to work hard, one has to stay in shape. He became an avid biker with Charlotte as his wing-woman and he even completed the Wildflower Triathlon at Lake San Antonio in 1991.
Mr. Stinchfield is humbled to be this year’s Grand Marshall. He says when he thinks about the wonderful Paso men who have preceded him, it is a great honor to represent El Paso de Robles. Daryl says he is truly happy in being surrounded by many who have done so much. He is grateful to his God for being a Roblan and we are equally grateful that he has been here. Daryl is a man’s man — a man to whom we can look up to for staying the course and doing the right thing.
Well done Mr. Daryl Stinchfield! Congratulations to you and your wonderful wing-woman, Charlotte