2021 Royalty

Marshal Tom Flynn Sr.
Queen Irene Marquart

2020: Jenna Smith

2021: Isabelle Stemper

Belle Attendants 2020

Ardis Warner

Belle Attendants 2021

Mia Lojacono-Smith

Avery Hambly

Megan Hewston

Hailey Hodel

Vanessa Mowreader

Since the first Pioneer day in 1931 a Grand Marshal and Queen have been chosen from families who have settled our area to reign over the celebration.

A Pioneer gentleman is chosen from the community and is honored with a beautiful Marshal’s badge that is presented at the Pioneer Royalty Dinner.

This year’s Marshal is Tom Flynn Sr.


Tom Flynn Sr. was born in San Fernando Valley (Van Nuys) at home on January 13, 1938. He was number 10 of 13 children (7 boys and 6 girls). His dad Elmer Daniel Flynn was from Minnesota. His mother, Marie O’Hanlon was from Winnipeg, Canada. Both parents, born to great wealth who saw family fortune wiped out in the Great Depression. By the time Tom met his future wife Sharon Phillips in 1955, his mother widowed and raising the children on her own. She had always taught her children the meaning of hard work and they all had jobs and helped support the family.


After high school, Tom joined the US Navy for 2 years, Sharon graduated high school in 1960, they got married 2 days after that. They have been married 61 years. Tom and Sharon started their landscaping business in the San Fernando Valley soon after they got married.


In 1961, Tom Jr. was born and in 1963 Marty was born. The boys showed an affinity for working with their dad from the time they were old enough to walk.


By 1978 the crime down south was getting so bad so they left Tom Jr. a high school senior, in charge of the family business and came north with Marty. Sharon’s father Jack Phillips was involved in the Oak Shores and Heritage Ranch developments. Sharon’s Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Alan Robertson had a small ranch off Cripple Creek in Paso Robles. They came up for Thanksgiving found 25 acres off of Linne Road (across from what is now Cass winery). Tom said they loved it high up on the hill, they had all the farm animals, big garden, quite the experience plus a beautiful home. They still missed their big family down south, but they did come to visit.


Tom Jr sent them half of the money he made from the business down south, then moved to Paso Robles after he graduated. Tom Sr went to work with Uncle Alan building houses and Sharon’s dad Jack Phillips got him lots of work in Heritage Ranch doing landscaping.

Both boys then started working for the family business.


Tom and Sharon went to their first Pioneer Day in 1979. They had so much fun, and met many new friends. They then got involved with Pioneer Day, the Lions Club and Paso Robles Downtown Main Street. They dove into the town’s activities following the lead of people who set an example, like Ben & Judie Holsted, Jerry & Kathleen Reneau, Larry Eastwood, Ole & Sandy Viborg, Tom and Roslyn Moore, Terry & Sue Minshull and of course Main Street’s Queen lady, Norma Moye, just to name a few who in Tom’s view helped shape modern Paso Robles from a small town to the explosion we see today. Although he misses the old days, when you knew everyone in town; the Main Street’s BBQ on Friday nights during the Farmer’s Market, Crazy Days, Lions Club Chicken BBQ in the Park, all fun memories!


Tom Jr. and his wife Rosie have three daughters, Jenny (deceased) Marie and Eryn. They have 3 grandchildren. Marty and his Teri have 2 daughters Angee and Nikkie. They are blessed with four grandchildren, and Tom and Sharon have 7 Great-Grandchildren to love and spoil.

The Flynn Family has pitched right in and joined in with anything that will make our town of Paso Robles the special place it is. The family has flowed Tom and Sharon’s example of partnering in work as well as family. Together they manage the cemetery under contract with the Paso Robles District Cemetery Board.

A Pioneer Lady is also chosen from the area to reign over the Pioneer Day festivities as the Queen. The Queen is honored at the annual Pioneer Ladies Luncheon and Tea.

This year’s Queen is Irene Marquart. Irene Elizabeth Smith Marquart was born November 24, 1921 in Fulton County, Arkansas. Her family moved to the Creston are in 1930, after a very brief stay in the San Joaquin Valley on a ranch near Corcoran. Irene’s father was a farm laborer, and she remembers both her father and mother worked very hard to support and raise a family of eight children; Virgil Smith, Grace Stanley, Gladys McMillan, Geraldine Keeling, Evelyn Muir, Irene Marquart, Doyle Smith and Doris Anderson.


Irene’s mother was a great seamstress and a very good at remodeling and remaking second hand clothes. Because of her mother’s talent, Irene always felt as well dressed as her friends. One of Irene’s fondest memories of her mother is of her playing hymns on her organ, which is now on exhibit at the Paso Robles museum. Another fond memory is of her mother sitting at her quilting table, quilting beautiful quilts that were made from pieces of left over fabric from the clothing she sewed for her family.


Irene attended elementary school in Creston and Linne and then went to Templeton High School, where she graduated in 1939. While she was in high school, Irene spent summers with her sister Gladys McMillan at the Carissa Plains cooking for a harvest crew of up to 16 men. It was during this tie that she credits learning how to cook well.


Irene met the handsome and loveable Nick Marquart at the Saturday night dances at the Templeton Legion Hall. They were married in September 1939 and lived on the family ranch that Nick was managing for his parents. The ranch is located west of Templeton between Paso Robles and Cambria, within the Josephine area, which was homesteaded by Nick’s grandfather Nicholas A. Marquart in the early 1870’s. Irene still lives on the family ranch that is noew being run by the 5th generation of Marquarts.


When they were first married Irene and Nick milked a herd of 60 cows. They also had a herd of beef cattle and farmed hay. In the early 1950’s Nick and Irene decided to quit dairying and start a chicken business of 800-1,000 laying hens. But when the feed bill for the chickens got bigger than the money they received for the eggs, they stopped raising chickens and started a Christmas tree farm that they ran for about 20 years.


Irene and Nick have three children; Nancy Louis Otto, a graduate of St. Luke’s Hospital and CSU San Francisco; Lucille Ann Milani, a graduate of UC Davis and teacher at UC Merced; and Nicholas Andrew Marquart Jr., a graduate of CSU Fresno and member of law enforcement in Berkeley and San Luis Obispo County. 


Irene was a homemaker, and supported and helped Nick on the ranch until their son, Nick Jr., started school. Then she went to work outside of the home with various jobs at the poultry plant, Sid Nichols Chevrolet, the Agriculture Extension Service and Dr. Spencer until 1970.


Irene and Nick loved to travel and enjoyed spending time at the beach. When there was a low tide they could often be found clamming, fishing, or abalone hunting. Irene remembers one of the last times she and Nick went clamming, “We had to fight the sea otters to keep them from stealing the clams from our clamming forks before we could get them into our clamming bags.” But one of her greatest hobbies for the past 40 years has been woodcarving.


 Nick and Irene were always very active in community affairs. They have been Farm Bureau members since 1939 and held various leadership roles over the years. They were community leaders for Templeton 4-H Club, members of Happy Trails RV Club, and charter members of the Do Paso Square Dance Club. Irene was active in the Paso Robles Women’s Club, Paso Robles Republican Women, a docent at the Templeton Historical Museum and a member of the Central Coast Woodcarver Association.


Today Irene has six grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, and is expecting her first great-great-grandchild this year. At the age of 98 Irene says, “My life has been a long happy one for which I am very thankful!”

Belle 2020:


Jenna Denise Smith

Representing the Adelaida Area.


Her parents are Jeff and Jill Vierra Smith.

Her Grandparents are Dave and Shirley Brown Pina and Dennis and Susie Pangburn Smith.

Mildred “Mickey” Florence Schroeder, Jenna’s great-grandmother, was born on the Kentucky Ranch in Adelaida in 1916 to John David Schroeder and Ada Rebecca Heaton Schroeder.  She was one of nine children.  “Mickey” was close to her cousin Lydia Claassen Franklin, Megan Hewston’s great-grandmother and cousin El Casteel who did most of the beautiful rockwork at the Mid-State Fairgrounds.  R.C. Heaton, Mickey’s uncle, owned the famous Heatons Hardware Store which was located on the corners of 13th and Park Streets.  Jenna’s great-great Aunt Ellen Hansen Schroeder was the 2017 Pioneer Day Queen.

Jenna graduated last year from Paso High and is now attending Cuesta College.  She plans to transfer to university and pursue a degree in elementary education.

Related families:  Heaton, Schroeder, Franklin, Claassen, Morehouse, Bonnefield, Brown Pangburn and Smith


Belle 2021:

Isabelle Katheleen Stemper

Representing the Creston Area.

Her parents are Chad and Kathleen Weyrich Stemper.

Her Grandparents are Les and Dawn Montague Stemper and David and Mary Martin Weyrich.

Isabelle’s X3 great-Grandparents, Pete and Mary Giger, came to the Creston area from Luxembourg in 1892.  They bought a homestead for 82 dollars.  This left them pretty much penniless, but after 13 years of working hard and saving they bought the only Hotel, Saloon and Livery Stable in the town.  Isabelle’s great-Grandfather, Russell Stemper, met and married Helen Perry in 1039.  Russell was a rancher and construction worker. His business moto was “We move Earth”.  He worked and ran this business for many years along with his six sons. When Isabell’s Grandparent’s, Dave and Mary Weyrich first came to the area in 1980, they were greeted by the young woman representing the Welcome Wagon Committee, Dawn Stemper and her young son Chad, Isabelle’s Dad.  Mary was pregnant at this time with Isabelle’s mom, Kathleen. It was fate in our small world.

Isabelle’ is also a senior this year attending Paso High.  


She plans to attend college and major in Biomedical Engineering and go on to become a surgeon.


Related families: Giger, Wells, Schlegal, Perry, Montague, Weyrich and Stemper.

Belle Attendants:


Avery Louise Hambly

Representing the Paso Robles Area


Her parents are Milton and Gina Horzen Hambly

Her grandparents are Tony and Karen Mastagni Horzen and Les and Sandy Conover Hambly

The Mastagni family settled on a portion of the Blackburn Ranch, south of Paso Robles, near the Salinas River in 1896 where they had a dairy farm. Avery’s great-great grandmother, Attilia Bassi, immigrated to the United States thru New York, traveled by train to San Francisco, then traveled by boat to San Simeon.  She worked on the Smith Ranch in Adelaida where she met and married Bernardo Mastagni.  Their family farm along the Salinas River sold in 1983 and is where Firestone Walker Brewery is located today. Avery’s great-Grandparents Armand and Mary Mastagni owned and operated from 1968-1975 the Paso Robles Nursery located at the corner of Spring and 4th Streets.  They also owned and ran the Style Center, a downtown dress shop for 25 years.

Avery’s great-Grandmother, Mary Drake Mastagni, was Pioneer Day Queen in 2015 the same year her older sister, Mary was the Belle. 

Avery is a senior at Paso Robles High School. She plans to attend college and pursue an education in Agriculture.


Related families:  Wilkinson, Drake, Morris, Conover, Mastagni, Horzen and Hambly


Megan Nicole Hewston

Representing the Willow Creek Area


Her parents are Michael and Jill Franklin Hewston

Her Grandparents are Leonard and Linda Franklin and Mike and Pam Hewston.

Megan is the sixth generation to represent this area through her mother’s family.  The Claassens’ and Franklins’.  Her great-great-grandfather, Abraham Claassen was born in Paso Robles in 1875 and latter settled in the Godfree Ranch area with his family in 1896.  This is the area where Heritage Ranch is and where Megan and her family live today.  Her great-grandmother Lydia Claassen Franklin was born in the Willow Creek area at the family home on Dover Road in 1918.  Megan has many relatives who have lived and still live these areas today.  She feels deeply rooted to her community and hopes to someday live and raise her family here.

Megan is a senior, attending the Trivium Charter School.  She also attends Cuesta College as dual enrollment. She plans on attending Nursing School.


Related families:  Franklin, Claassen and Hewston


Hailey Rose Hodel

Representing the Keys Canyon in the Estrella Area


Her parents are Henry and Tamara Marks Hodel.

Her Grandparents are Ronald and Joan Testerman Hodel and Anya Light Marks and Robert Marks.

Hailey traced her pioneer ancestry on her grandmother Joan’s side back to the 1870’s. Her X3 grandparents, Charles and Victoria Games Testerman first came to Paso Robles at this time.  Other related families are John and Catherine Sauret who settled in Oak Flat in 1888, William and Amelia Horstman who settled in Templeton in 1886 and Henry and Marie Hodel who settled in Keys Canyon in the Estrella area in 1898.

Hailey attends Paso High as a senior.  She plans on attending university to study psychology or something in medicine.


Related families:  Testerman, Sauret, Horstman, Mack and Hodel


Vanessa Janae Nicole Mowreader

Representing the San Miguel Area


Her parents are Eric and Kelly Welch Mowreader.

Her Grandparents are Greig and Gwen Long Welch.

Vanessa is a 5th generation Paso Roblan through her X3 great Grandparents, John and Zora Lee Strain Meeks, who came here in the late 1930’s.  Her great-great-Grandparents Nicholas and Ida Daves Chames also came to the San Miguel area around the same time. Nicholas Chames immigrated from Greece when he was 13 years old, coming thru Ellis Island and making his way to San Francisco where he survived the big earthquake in 1904.  Nicholas and Ida came to San Miguel and opened the Chames Barberhop and Soda Fountain when the area was booming with the influx of military personel during World War II.

Vanessa is also a senior at Paso High this year.  She is planning to attend college in Santa Barbara and pursue a career as a surgical nurse.


Related families:  Chames, Meeks, Long and Welch


Mia Marie Lojacono-Smith

Representing the Hesperia Area


Her parents are Ashley Lojacono and Jed Smith.

Her Grandparents are Rick and Brenda Lojacono and Clay Smith and Lora Jones 

The first Smith to come to the Hesperia area in the late 1800’s was Mia’s X3 great Grandfather, John Parks Hamilton Smith the second.  He and his wife Dora Ray, along with their children raised cattle and horses on their ranch.  Many of their children and grandchildren attended school in the Hesperia area.  Mia’s great-Grandmother, Babette Smith, along with other family members still live in the area today.


Mia is a Senior at Paso High School this year.  After graduating she plans to enlist in the military and eventually attend college.


Related families:  Roth, Weferling, Ray, Lojacono and Smith


Ardis Jaycee Warner

Representing the Templeton Area


Her parents are Ellsworth and Jesse Warner

Her Grandparents are Renee Nance Warner and Ellsworth Warner.

Ardis’s ancestor, Niels Johnson, he X4 great Grandfather came to the Templeton area in 1889.  He came to the United States from Denmark in 1869, traveling from Wisconsin, to Northern California, to the Salinas area and finally the Templeton area.  He was quite the entrepreneur and a hard worker.  He purchased 1000 acres of land South of the town and grew grain crops. He also cut and shipped White Oak wood for smoking meats to the Western Meat Company of San Francisco for many years.  Over the years he owned and farmed parts of the Santa Margarita Ranch and the Carissa Plains area.  Her great-great Aunt Beverly Lyle Turnquist was the Pioneer Day Queen in 2008 and her great-great Uncle Harrison Wilson was the Marshal 1996.

Ardis graduated from Paso Robles High School last year.  She is planning on attending Cuesta College and transferring to Cal Poly to study Ag Business.


Related families:  Johnson, Lyle, Nance, Wilson and Warner


Past Royalty

Dating back to 1931, each year long-time area families are honored for their contributions to the community. It is time to honor those that exemplify a true pioneer spirit, and those that work to preserve our local heritage and traditions. 

A Marshal and a Queen are chosen, as well as Queen's attendants, a Belle, and her attendants. 


The photo shown at left is of Dean Thackery, the original Pioneer Day Chairman in 1931. 

(Photo is courtesy of St. James Episcopal Church and the book Paso Robles, by Andrea Hobbs and Milene Radford) 

Donations are accepted with thanks and pleasure

We are a 501 (C)(3) Non-profit organization 
Fed ID # 95-6097022