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Doc Etienne . Esq

1924 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Doc Etienne . Esq Obituary
Doc Etienne Esq.
May 19, 1924 - Sept. 10, 2016
Carmel Valley
Doc Etienne departed this earth last Saturday surrounded by his loving family and listening to the music he adored. His legacy and contribution to the community in which he lived and beyond were formidable and grand in scope. In the short time since his passing, the tremendous outpouring of love and respect from those he knew and guided in so many capacities has been like the rising tide of the sea. Among his many remarkable qualities, the one that truly stood out was his unshakable optimism. His perseverance and diligence in the midst of life's many challenges extended as a beacon to those who encountered him. This quality was rooted deeply in his vocation and personal affairs; a keystone to those he counseled and to those he loved.
Myron Edward Etienne Jr. was born in Pasadena California, in the spring of 1924. The middle child of three brothers, his early childhood was happy and easy, among a family of great prestige and wealth. In 1929 the family was ruptured by the onset of the Great Depression and the silver spoons were sold for bread. His experience as a poor kid with two siblings, raised by a single mother in a ghetto of depression era Los Angeles served as the first chisel that cut his mold and formed the foundation of his character. At the age of eight, for eight hours, he would sweep the stalls of the local farmers market or peel russet potatoes for the grand total of $1 a day. He would bring his earnings home to his mother to help with household expenses; never a thought of keeping it for himself.
However, in testament to his optimism he would recount fond memories from these hard times. Tears would come to his eyes when he would tell the story of one Christmas where his mother had somehow managed to purchase second hand bikes for him and his brothers. After the exuberant yells and bear hugs they gave her; they quickly tore off down the street and up into the hills. They ate sandwiches that day on top of the iconic Hollywood sign which at that time was just ten years old.
On May 27, 1943, 18 years old and 15 days out of high school, he enlisted in the Merchant Marine. At that time and not advertised to the eager young cadets, the Merchant Marine was suffering the highest casualty rates of any branch in the military. Because they were losing ships at such an extraordinary rate he was presented with the opportunity to enroll as an officer. While the world raged at war he circumnavigated the globe more than a few times at fourteen knots an hour. In his precise words, "not very fast."
The Second World War and the roles he held during his service in the Merchant Marine were what informed the principles he demonstrated throughout his life. He would always carry an extra bottle of aspirin which he would freely share with his mates, earning him the moniker that he assumed for the rest of his life: "Doc".
After an honorable discharge, he went to Cal Berkeley and then to Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. He went on to become one of the most competent and respected attorneys in his community and beyond for a career that spanned more than 50 years.
Before commemorating Doc's many accomplishments in his professional life, a very special mention of his involvement in the Ranchero Vistadores must be noted. This organization and it's annual meeting was truly one of the highlights of his life. He was one the few selected as a Ranchero honorary member; an extreme distinction to those in that circle. The friends he made there were among those dearest to his heart. He was a member of the Los Bustardos camp and held numerous positions within the outfit. Without ever missing a year; from 1969 until 2013 at the age of 89, Doc would travel south to take part in their week long trek through the Santa Ynez Valley. The lore, legend, and era of the West were an integral part of Doc's soul.
Doc devoted his entire non-professional life to raising money and working pro-bono for various civic organizations throughout Monterey County. For example, as a 59-year member and Past President of the Monterey Jazz Festival (MJF) Board of Directors, Doc's leadership, guidance, foresight, and vision were paramount in the creation and funding of its music education programs. As a result of his leadership efforts, the MJF teaches and inspires young people in eight middle and thirteen high schools throughout the county. Doc believed that making such educational experiences accessible helps all young people to become better citizens, hopefully inspiring them to give back to their communities as adults. This conviction continually drove his persistent civic involvement to make such opportunities available.
Doc frequently provided pro-bono legal counsel for county seniors, indigent individuals and to other worthy public charities such as: Hidden Valley Music Seminars, Monterey Film Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival and the Mee Memorial Hospital, Public Recreation Limited, Friends of the San Antonio Mission, the Monterey County Fair, and the Monterey County Aids Project, to name a few. He was Past President (three terms), Member of the Board of Directors and General Counsel to the California Rodeo; Member, Board of Trustees, Medical Center Foundation of Monterey County; Member, Legal Services for Seniors Pro-Bono Referral Panel; Chairman, Humane Advisory Committee, Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association; Pro Bono Counsel to Salinas River Channel Coalition; President, Monterey Horse Park; Member and Board of Directors of the Friends of Historic San Antonio Mission. In addition, Doc served as a Past President or Past Member of the Board of Directors for such organizations as: Joe Gheen Foundation of Salinas (cancer and multiple sclerosis research); Salinas Valley Fair, King City (1968 - 1991); Center City Authority of Salinas; Moss Landing Harbor District (1957 - 1964); Rodeo Information Foundation (1966 - 1970); Hastings College of Law. He also chaired fund raising campaigns for the United Way, Alisal High School Bond Drive, Lion's Club and the Salvation Army.
Doc was honored for some of his past services. He was the Outstanding Young Man of the Year, Salinas Junior Chamber of Commerce; Alumnus of the Year Award, Hastings College of Law (1982); Chief Justice Phil Gibson Award for Outstanding Achievements in Community Service, Monterey County 1989; Standard of the West Award, 1991 (Outstanding Rodeo Committeeman); Honorary Member 1989, Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association; Inducted into the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Hall of Fame, August 2001; Citizen of the Year, Salinas Chamber of Commerce, 2002. In 2005 he was awarded the National Jefferson Award for Outstanding Community Service.
Doc Etienne will be honored and remembered at a private memorial on Sunday, the 18th of September and will continue to be honored at events and by organizations that he was essential to in so many ways. He is survived by his wife Charlene of 40 years, two sons, Victor and Dirk, and six grandchildren: Justin, Michael, Evan, Amanda, Vincent and soon to be born, Isaac. His was a lifetime of achievement and accolade; a luminary who portrayed the heights of what an individual can aspire to be.
All are invited to visit the website of Struve & Laporte at www.struveandlaporte.com to view Doc's obituary and sign the guestbook. In lieu of flowers the family would request a donation to the any of the following charities: Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer's Disease Research at UCLA, Public Recreation Unlimited (Non profit arm of the Salinas Rodeo) or the Monterey Jazz Festival All Star Band. He will be dearly missed.

View the online memorial for Doc Etienne Esq.
Published in The Monterey Herald on Sept. 18, 2016
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