Grand Marshal Howie Steinbeck & Queen Bev Steinbeck
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.
The Paso Robles Pioneer Day Committee is proud to announce the 2022 Pioneer Day Marshal and Queen, as husband and wife team, Howie and Bev Steinbeck, long-time residents of the Paso Robles area.
The Marshal is Harold (Howie) Ernst Steinbeck. Born October 29, 1938 in Santa Barbara. His parents George and Hazel (Ernst) Steinbeck were Paso Robles pioneers from the Union Road area.
This year's Queen is Beverly Ann (Jespersen) Steinbeck. She was born April 3, 1940 in Atascadero and her parents are Francis Edwin and Edna Mae (Hopper) Jespersen.
Belle - Jenna Wilshusen
The Wilshusen Family pioneer history dates back to the mid-1920’s in the Paso Robles area. Arthur Otto Wilshusen, wife Nora May (Woods) Wilshusen and their three sons George, Jim, and Charley left Kansas to find opportunities out West. Jenna’s Great Great Grandfather; Jim Wilshusen married Ruth Spencer and took up residence in Tent City along the Salinas River where Jim found work as a Ranch Manager. Jim (Bampa) enjoyed working on the ranch, riding horses and being a member of the annual Paso Robles Trail Rides for 28 years.
Jenna’s Great Grandfather, Jimmie Spencer, grew up in Cholame and the El Pomar area, and in 1943 he married Elizabeth (Lib) Turner. They had three children; Sandy, Jimmie Carslie, and Cheryl. In 1958 Jimmie Spencer entered into a partnership with Pepper Martin to own a grocery and butcher store in Shandon. Jenna’s grandparents are; Jimmie Carslie Wilshusen and Alice Marie (Cannon) Wilshusen. They will be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary this year. Jimmie graduated from Paso Robles High School in 1966. They have two sons Jimmie Lee and Jeffery.
Jenna’s parents are Jimmie Lee Wilshusen & Cynthia (Cash) Wilshusen, who both graduated from Paso Robles High School. They have four children Codie (who was a belle attendant in 2016, Clay, Jenna, and Justin.
Related Families: Spencer, Brush, Bertoni, Savage
Belle Attendant - Graceann Cooper
GraceAnn is the seventh generation of the Edgar and Root pioneer families on her mother's side. Her great-great-great-great-grandparents (yes, four greats!) John and Hannah Edgar, moved to a farm in the Estrella area in 1883. They homesteaded several different places around the area with their seven children. Their oldest son, Glen, married Marguerite Fisher. They had four children, one of which was GraceAnn’s great-grandmother, Carol Root. Carol’s family moved to the Whitley Gardens area around 1927. All four of the Root children attended Phillips School, which was the hub of the community’s activities. Carol went on to graduate from Paso Robles High School and eventually Cal Poly, where she obtained her teaching credential. You will see that GraceAnn comes from a long line of teachers! Carol Root married Robert Smeltzer and they had four sons, Eldon, Paul, Glen and Allen. Carol taught for seventeen years at Glen Speck Elementary School. GraceAnn’s great-grandfather, Robert, was also a teacher.
GraceAnn’s grandfather, Glen, followed in his parents’ footsteps, he taught at PRHS for thirty-eight years. Her grandmother, Sandy, also worked for the Paso Robles School District. Glen and Sandy’s daughter, Heidi Smeltzer Cooper currently works as a first-grade teacher at Georgia Brown Elementary and GraceAnn’s father, Artie Cooper is a teacher at St. Rose School in Paso Robles.
Related Families: Root, Smeltzer, Edgar
Belle Attendant - Jane Foltz-Cary
Jane is the daughter of Matthew Cary and Noel Foltz.
Jane’s paternal great-great grandparents, Joe & Teresa Allen, settled in the Bee Rock area in 1881. They had three children, Audrey, Carol, & Ed. Their daughter, Audrey Cary, who was Jane’s great grandmother, was the Pioneer Day Queen in 2003. Audrey grew up riding her horse to the Adelaida School. Audrey had four children, Sheila, Bonnie, Bob, and Charles (who is Jane’s grandfather).
Jane’s paternal Grandmother, Ginni Rossi Cary also has a Pioneer Heritage. Her parents were Maurice Rossi and Margi Mulhall Rossi. Maurice Rossi’s grandparents Vicente Rossi and Angelina Coradi started the Crescent Farms Dairy in Templeton in 1886. Margi Mulhall’s grandparents, Emanuel and Sarah Kuhnle, settled on the Estrella Plains Ranch in 1890. This ranch is still owned by the family today where Jane’s father, Matt, still farms.
Related Families: Rossi, Cary, Ferrini, Mulhall, Kuhnle, Allen
Belle Attendant - Brooklyn Pesenti
The Pesenti family history goes back 5 generations. Pietro (Pete) Pesenti, Brooklyn's Great-Great Grandfather, immigrated from Italy in 1910 and found work on the Paderewski Ranch. By 1914 Pete had earned enough money to send for his wife and daughter to join him in America and in 1921, Pete and his wife Maria purchased land in the Willow Creek area. They made their living by farming and making and selling charcoal. They had seven children; Angelina, Peter Jr, Alma, Annie, Raymond, Mary Jo, and Gloria.
Brooklyn’s great-grandfather was Raymond Pesenti, Sr.. He spent his life in Paso Robles. In 1946 Raymond married Carmela Reynolds, daughter of Thomas Sr. and Mary (Presuhn) Reynolds of Templeton. They settled in the area in 1920 and had five children: Marcella, Thomas Jr., Barbara, Carmela and James. Brooklyn’s grandfather is Raymond Pesenti Jr. who married Pamela (Kirker) Pesenti and had three children: Matt, Greg, and Holly. Brooklyn’s father Greg was born and raised in Paso Robles and resides here today with his family. He is married to Laura Ambrose and they have 2 children: Brooklyn and Brysan.
With family history going back 5 generations there are lots of family stories! Raymond Pesenti Sr., attended the first ever Pioneer Day on October 12, 1931. He was nine years old and remembered his father hitching up the family wagon and driving them into town to attend the celebration. He recalled riding the merry-go-round in the city park and never forgot the taste of the delicious free root beer that flowed from the tap in the drug store.
Related pioneer families: Pesenti, Reynolds, Dusi
Belle Attendant - Ellie Sonnisken
Ellie’s maternal great great grandfather, Herman Heilmann moved from Germany to Creston in 1910. He made a trip back to Germany in 1913 where he met and married his wife, Margarete Negelke. He returned to Creston in 1914 and began farming. They had four children while living in Creston, Marie, Herman, Anna, and Ellie’s great grandmother Frieda Heilmann. Frieda and her husband Lee owned and operated a small dairy farm in the area and Frieda also worked at the Paso Robles Mercantile.
Ellie’s maternal great-great grandparents, Fedele & Antoinette Ostini were also early Pioneers, moving to Atascadero in 1919 and eventually settling in the Templeton area. The Ostini’s had five daughters, Marilee (who is Ellie’s grandmother), Sandra, Terri, Margaret, and Debbi. They resided most of their life on the Volpi Ysabel property. Ellie’s maternal grandparents are Chuck Van Tassel, who has spent most of his life working in the rock quarry industry, and Marilee Ostini Paver, who has owned Moore’s Western Nursery in Atascadero for 39 years. Ellie’s parents are Josh Sonniksen and Heidi (Van Tassel) Patti. Ellie’s mom, Heidi is the owner of a local favorite, The Full Belly Deli.
Related pioneer families: Ostini, Heilmann, Van Tassel
Belle Attendant - Kylie Stroud
Kylie’s great great grandfather, Louis Lauridsen settled in the Paso Robles area in 1898. He was a wheat farmer in the Union & Dry Creek area and was the founding director of the Farmers Alliance Business Association. Louis and his wife Maren Jenson had three children, Esther, Ingward, and Margrethe. Ingward Lauridsen and his wife Anna were Kylie’s great grandparents. They had three children, Lois who passed away at the age of 4, Kenneth who later married Caroll Rude, and Dorothy who was Kylie’s grandmother. Dorothy married William Stroud in 1958 and they had three children. Danna, Dewey, and Derek. Derek, Kylie’s father, married his wife, Lainey Rawister in 1998. Kylie has an older brother and sister. Her Aunt Danna was a Belle Attendant in 1977 and her sister Becca Stroud was the Belle in 2019.
Related pioneer families: Paulsen, Lauridsen, Lund & Rude
Belle Attendant - Emily Wilson
Neils & Mary Jane Johnson settled in the Templeton area in 1889. Neils had a great deal of timber on his land, and he cut a certain amount for wood each year, he has also engaged in buying wood on a large scale. Mr. Johnson supplied the Western Meat Co. with white oak wood for smoking their meats. His land included the area where Trader Joes is located all the way to the Vineyard Elementary School and the area off of Santa Rita Road called the 'Pits'. He also farmed 1200 acres on the Santa Margarita Ranch. In 1913 following the death of Mary Jane, Nels sold his property and moved into town, where his house still stands at the corner of Crocker and 3rd streets in downtown Templeton. Emily's great great grandfather, Joseph Nance, fought the great tank farm fires in San Luis Obispo 1926 he later died in 1928 of an unknown illness. Emily's Great Uncle, Harrison Wilson was the Grand Marshal of the Pioneer Day Parade in 1996. He also attended the first ever Pioneer Day Parade by riding his horse into town from his family's El Pomar Ranch when he was 10 years old. Emily's Uncle, Scott French, is a descendent of Dr. Edison French, the founder of San Luis Obispo's French Hospital.
Related Families: Johnson, Nance, Clausen, Anderson, Wessel, Bland, Werling, Warner, Wilson
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)