Stanley E. Stearns Stanley Edwin Stearns, 89, passed away on July 14, 2013 at his home in Exeter, CA surrounded by his family. He was born on June 10, 1924 in Upland, CA to Willis and Joyce (Birdsall) Stearns. Stanley grew up in Anaheim, CA in a citrus family. He remembered driving mules on his father's citrus ranch at age seven. Upon graduating from Anaheim High School in 1943, he continued to work for his cousin on citrus ranches across Orange County until 1944 when he entered the Army. He joined the Pacific Theater of Operations during WWII, and became a combat infantryman during the conflict on Luzon Island, Philippines. In 1945 he relocated to Tokyo, Japan during the American Occupation and Reconstruction where he was responsible for the motor pool for the Provost Marshal's office. He was honorably discharged in 1946. On March 20, 1948, Stanley married Betty Jean Hylton in Anaheim, CA. Stan and Betty bought their first citrus ranch in 1952 on Ball Road, about where Disneyland is now. In 1955, they purchased a Citrus and Egg Ranch in Anaheim. Then in 1963, they purchased a Citrus Ranch in Lindsay, CA, today known as Stearns Foothill Farms. In addition, he worked for Lindsay-Strathmore Irrigation District as a Water Treatment Plant Operator from 1975 to 1989. Outside of spending time on his ranch, Stanley loved spending time with his family, watching his children participate in 4H and sports, hiking and camping in Mineral King, and skiing at Mammoth Ski Resort (well into his 80s). He was a humble, hard working man, with a gentle soul and a great sense of humor. He recently began selling his avocados and citrus at local farmers markets where he loved talking to people, sharing his produce, and sharing his experiences. He continued farming and working the farmer's markets until April 2013. Stanley is survived by his wife Betty Stearns; son Charlie (Patty) Stearns of Exeter, daughter Peggy (Arthur) Escobedo, and daughter Sheila (Joe) Gonzales; grandchildren Jennie (Dane) Clacken, Kristie Gonzales, Sarah (Raul) Tarin, Joshua Escobedo, Joyce Escobedo, and Sierra Stearns; and great grandchildren Isabella Clacken and Matthew Tarin. He is also survived by his brother Milne (Judy) Stearns, sister-in-law Lenore Stearns, and multiple nieces, nephews, and many friends. He is preceded in death by his brother Robert, sister-in-law Mary Stearns, mother and father. A viewing will be held on Wednesday, July 17, 4:00 - 6:00 PM at Smith Family Chapel, 505 E. Pine Street, Exeter, CA. A celebration of life will be held on Thursday, July 18 at 11:00 AM at the Exeter Veterans Memorial Building, 324 N. Kaweah Ave., Exeter. A reception will be held immediately following. Stanley will be buried at the San Joaquin Valley National Veterans Cemetery in Santa Nella, CA. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Optimal Hospice Care. Services by Smith Family Chapel. Condolences may be made at smithfamilychapel.com.
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Smith Family Chapel
505 East Pine Street Exeter, CA 93221
Published in Visalia Times-Delta and Tulare Adv-Register from July 16 to July 17, 2013