Stanford E. Steinbeck, cousin of author John Steinbeck, who had been living in Atherton, died September 27, 2003. He was 96. "He was a true gentleman. A rare breed you don't find anymore," said Gail Steinbeck of Southern California, whose husband, Thomas, is John Steinbeck's son.
Stanford Steinbeck grew up near Hollister, in the same Salinas Valley as Salinas, John Steinbeck's birthplace. His father, Charles Minor Steinbeck and John Ernst Steinbeck, the author's father, were brothers. Like his famous cousin, Stanford Steinbeck attended Stanford University. A former investment manager, Mr. Steinbeck lived in San Diego for many years. He was past president of the San Diego Art Museum, a member of the San Diego Historical Society and the San Diego Yacht Club. He moved to Atherton seven years ago to be with his niece, Carolyn Countryman.
Mr. Steinbeck is survived by his sister, Helen Solomon of Bakersfield; several nieces, great-nieces and nephews. His wife, Beatrice, preceded him in death.
Stanford Steinbeck Visits the Historical Society Museum
On March 28, 2001, the Historical Society welcomed Stanford Steinbeck to Hollister after nearly 40 years absence. Stanford and his "surrogate grandson" David Countryman, visited all the old familiar places in the county, including a stop at the Museum. Bill Martinie and Sharlene Van Rooy greeted Stanford as if he were an old friend; Stanford's friendly personality was infectious.
A display of photographs from his grandparent's 50th wedding anniversary, the year before Stanford was born, was particularly interesting. The party took place in Hollister at his grandparent's home on Line Street. Stanford's mother and father, as well as several older siblings are pictured among the other family members. His famous cousin John was also in attendance. "I am so happy to see these pictures."
As Stanford moved from the "Steinbeck Room" into the living room of the Museum, the hosts learned that this was not the first time he had been in the Wapple House. Stanford used to deliver drugs for Mr. Wapple during the Influenza Epidemic, circa 1918. Stanford was only in grammar school, but remembered Mr. Wapple's display case as soon as he saw it on display in the Museum.
After his visit to the museum, 93 year old Stanford attended the public meeting of the Historical Society at Dunne Park and enjoyed the program presented by Judge Breen. It was a long day, but Stanford touched many hearts with his recollections of yesterday's Hollister.