Harold James Biaggini

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The circle of life is complete for Harold James Biaggini. He was born in Cayucos in December 1923 to Edward R. Biaggini and Stella Negranti. He had a wonderful time growing up on the family ranch, The San Geronimo, in Cayucos. He took great pride in being a second generation Californian, descendent of Swiss Italian grandparents. Harold attended Cayucos School (the old school on E Street!) and Coast Union. He also attended Iowa State (both months) but was brought home by Ed and Stella when World War II broke out to work on the ranch. They thought his brother, Ed, had a better chance of coming home from the War. Harold had developed a reputation for being a tad reckless with a "Go for it; All or Nothing" attitude. His favorite saying was "God hates a coward." After the War, when brother Ed was back on the ranch, Harold decided to join the U.S. Army, where he served as a motorcycle MP. His experience of riding motorcycles with his lifelong friend, Hank Macagni, served him well in the service. Although he loved cattle ranching and the rural lifestyle, when he finished his time in the Army he was impatient to get his life going, so took up his second passion, mining with his good friend, Rudy Ruda. He and Rudy worked several claims up the coast and some chromite claims in San Luis Obispo County. Then he heard the government was subsidizing mercury mining, so he went out to the Adelaide area and started looking around. Things didn't look too promising at first - a lot of non-productive cores were drilled. Then with a book on geology given to him by the wife of Gordon Davis, a friend of his fathers, he went back out to the Adelaide and studied the ground some more. He dug some more holes and there was that beautiful red mineral cinnabar. He took his samples to Cal Poly where a teacher showed him how to volatilize the cinnabar in a jar into mercury. The assays proved to be very high grade. As Harold liked to say, the Buena Vista Mine was very kind to him. Harold married Patty Pierce, little sister of friend Hank's wife. He and Patty had two sons, Edward C. Biaggini III and Kenton L. Biaggini. Kenny was born with disabilities and Harold was outraged that he couldn't get insurance coverage for him, so he decided to start a health insurance company, the National Health Insurance Company. It too, was a success. They were making inroads into the union markets in Las Vegas, Nev. when some of the boys from the Strip came to Harold and said "We hear you're looking to sell your business." Harold, being the bright man that he was, said "How did that get out so fast; of course I want to sell." He had insurance for his son, Kenny and it was time to step away from Las Vegas. Harold's friend, Hank, was working in the dairy business in Guadalupe, so Harold decided to try dairy farming. With Hank's hands-on management, the Oso Flaco Dairy became one the finest in the region. It was time to start playing. With Hank and Hank's wife, Shirley, hunting, a natural for ranch boys, became the game of choice. They hunted big horn sheep in Alaska, the Yukon and Mexico, but the favorite spot was deer hunting in the Kaibab Forest in Utah. Many times they went back and explored those canyons. When son, Ed was old enough, he went along too. Harold also started taking trail rides - he participated in Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo and the Rancho Vistadores ride. Oh, the stories! Then he tried international rides with the Cabalgatas, owned by his great friend, Ray Corliss. Harold and Ray discover the reconnaissance was better than the trail ride! That started a love of travel that never diminished. Always a new horizon to explore, a new friend to meet, he had itchy feet to the end. Harold went into a very successful partnership with his son, Ed, and decided to go into the hotel business. When the Embarcadero Inn opened in 1986, neither of them had any experience in the business, but jumped in and learned fast, with Ed taking the lead. Ed became very involved in the hospitality business and its effect on the community. Then they decided to build some homes in Atascadero. A general contractor's license (for Ed) and 42 homes later, Patria Village, was complete. Someone who knew Harold and Ed well said of them "They have formed their own mutual admiration club" - such was their respect for each other. Thirty plus years ago, Harold met the lady who was to become his third wife, Karen. They have had the great good fortune to share a passion for travel, a spirit of independence and a love of family and friends. They felt so lucky to share many of their adventures with good friends Richard and Deanne Gonsales, Carson and Ellie Porter and son, Ed and wife Jonni. They realized the dream of taking a raw piece of land and building a home. The "Cabin that might be someday" was born on their little piece of paradise. In their short time together, they helped one another through the tragic loss of Harold's sons, Ed III, and Kenny and Harold's brother, Ed. Harold was an extraordinary man with a passion for life. He never stopped exploring, never stopped thinking if you want to do something, give it a try. He had a creativity and knack for innovation that was unbounded. He had a generous heart and a truly kind nature. He was the kind of man that is the best example to family and friends of life well lived. Harold died Tuesday, March 11, 2014, and is survived by his wife, Karen; sisters Eleanor and Kathleen; son Ed's wife, Jonni; and many nieces, nephews, great nieces, great nephews and many wonderful friends. A service will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 18, 2014, at Benedict-Rettey Mortuary Chapel, 1401 Quintana Road in Morro Bay. In lieu of flowers, donations to "California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom" or your are encouraged.

Published in San Luis Obispo Tribune on Mar. 15, 2014
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Benedict-Rettey Mortuary & Crematorium
1401 Quintana Rd Morro Bay, CA 93442
(805) 772-7382
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