John Peter DeVincenzo, 73, passed away from an apparent heart attack Saturday, Sept. 19, 2009. He was found in the back of his favorite truck, a ''58 Chevy, in the middle of his favorite apple orchard, Gopher Glen Apple Farm in See Canyon. John "Johnny" was born in Shafter, Calif., in September 1936, the eldest child of John and Anna DeVincenzo. He completed high school in 1954 and graduated from U.C. Berkeley four years later. Upon graduation he married "Bobbie" Lauchland. The couple''s three children were born in Loma Linda, Calif., while John was in dental school there. In 1970 John moved his family to San Luis Obispo and bought an apple ranch in See Canyon, which they affectionately called Gopher Glen because of the large number of gophers in the newly planted orchard. In addition to farming "Doctor D," as he was affectionately known by patients and numerous others, also began to practice orthodontics in San Luis Obispo. Later he expanded his practice to include Arroyo Grande. As time progressed Doctor D also acquired other properties and businesses around the area. Together with his second wife, Sally, he owned and operated Avila Valley Barn, SLO Maid Ice Cream and Froggies Cafe in San Luis Obispo. He also farmed apple ranches in Lodi and cherry orchards in Kern County. His creative mind had developed innovative orthodontic treatment plans for his patients for whom he cared greatly. John is remembered as a dedicated family man - energetic, funny, full of life and always pushing the limits on traditional thinking. He was passionate about everything he chose to do in life and always made time for people. He began each day with God and tried to honor God in all he did. He will be greatly missed by family members, patients, co-workers, church friends and all those his vibrant life impacted. Truly he was a unique man - full of innovative ideas, exuberance and seemingly boundless energy. John is survived by his wife, Sally, and her family; his mother, Anna; and sister, Mary; children Mary and Katie of Davis, Calif., and John of Memphis, Tenn.; and eight grandchildren Dane, Dawn, Shay, Luke, Jonathon and Natalie of Davis, and J.P. and Julia of Memphis. A celebration of John''s life will be held at 1 p.m. Monday, Sept. 28, 2009, at the New Life Community Church, 990 James Way in Pismo Beach. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions can be made to John''s favorite charities, Radical Reality or Discovery Institute.
Published in San Luis Obispo Tribune on Sept. 24, 2009