Roy Dean Enderlin, viticulturist and life-long Calistoga resident, passed away at his home on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018 at the age of 92.
Roy was born in the Old Calistoga Hospital on Aug. 19, 1925 to George J. and Altha R. (Tebow) Enderlin. He grew up in Calistoga during the Great Depression and at age 8, went to work as a prune picker working alongside his father for 25¢ an hour. In the late 1930’s he worked as a part time laborer at Mitchell’s poultry hatchery on Petrified Forest Road.
Roy attended the local elementary school and graduated from Calistoga High in 1943. During his senior year, he was employed as a clerk at the Calistoga Post Office. Working seven days a week and with the impending wartime draft, Roy decided to leave his job and have a little fun in life before ‘getting his tail shot off.’
Sure enough, less than one month after Roy turned 18, the draft notice arrived and on Mar. 3, 1944 he was inducted into the U.S. Navy. Roy attended basic training at San Diego, CA, aviation ordnance school at Norman, OK, machine gunnery school at Corpus Christi, TX, and torpedo school at San Diego, then in January 1945 he shipped out aboard the seaplane tender, USS Pocomoke (AV-9), serving in the Pacific Theater as Aviation Ordnanceman, 3rd Class. He was honorably discharged in May 1946, vowing he never wanted to see another palm tree covered island again!
Utilizing the G.I. Bill, Roy attended U.C. Davis in 1947-48, majoring in Poultry Husbandry. At the end of the year, he returned to Calistoga concluding that he could just as easily learn what he needed to know about farming on his own.
In 1948, Roy met Lucille Adele Jacobsen, who had moved to Calistoga from Pacific Grove two years earlier to accept a teaching position at Calistoga High School. They married in San Francisco on Aug. 20, 1949, and to this union a son, Dean Andrew, was born in 1961.
In Calistoga, Roy worked for poultryman Haven Chandler from 1949 to 1955, the Napa County Fairgrounds from 1955 to 1958 primarily as groundskeeper for the newly created Mt. St. Helena Golf Course, and lastly as a part-time laborer for various contractors around town. He used this income to supplement what he earned from orchard crops on his 23-acre ranch ‘Rattlesnake Acres’, which he’d purchased in 1952.
In 1967, Roy began replacing the French prune and walnut orchards on his property with wine grapes. This bold move into independent grape growing was timed perfectly with the 1970’s boom in the California wine industry, allowing Roy to pursue farming full time. He continued to handle all aspects of vineyard operations until his retirement in 1997.
Roy was an avid tennis enthusiast in his youth, playing on both the Calistoga Wildcat and U.C. Davis Cal Aggie tennis teams. He took up the game again in the 1970’s when his son, Dean, became interested in the sport. Roy was also an avid golfer, and for many years was a member of the Mt. St. Helena Men’s Golf Club. He was a formidable card player, and loved playing whist at the annual Calistoga Fireman’s Card Party as well as weekly poker, cribbage and pinochle games with friends and family. Other hobbies included hunting, fishing and camping and on a sunny day you could be sure to find Roy sitting on his back patio reading a good book and enjoying the beautiful view of his hillside vineyard.
Roy was an active member of Calistoga Lodge No. 233, Free and Accepted Masons. He held the office of Marshal and for many years served as a coach for member candidates. Roy celebrated more than 65 years of membership having continued in a less active capacity when Calistoga Lodge merged with Napa Valley Lodge, No. 93 in St. Helena. Roy was also a member of the California Farm Bureau and the Independent Order of Foresters.
Roy was a hard working, easy going, generous man who will be missed by his family and friends.
Roy is survived by his son, Dean Enderlin (Cindy), of Calistoga; brother Arnold Enderlin (Ann), of Calistoga; four nieces and one nephew. He was the youngest of 38 first cousins in the Enderlin family. He was preceded in death by his wife, Lucille, in 1983.
A memorial service will be announced at a future date. Donations in his honor may be made to the California Masonic Foundation, the Salvation Army, or to a charity of your choice.