Colony Days Royalty: Chidlaw, Reynolds to be crowned King and Queen; Tanimoto to serve as Grand Marshal

© 2017-Atascadero News

BY BETH GIUFFRE

OF THE ATASCADERO NEWS

The Colony Days committee announced this week that local retirees Doris Reynolds and Ed Chidlaw will serve as the 2017 Colony Days Queen and King respectively and retired teacher and Greyhounds football radio announcer Jerry Tanimoto will serve as the parade Grand Marshal.

The Colony Days celebration is set to begin Oct. 15 with Atascadero Quota Club’s Colony Days Founders Tea at Atascadero Bible Church and will continue Oct. 21 with the Colony Days Parade and the Tent City recreation at Sunken Gardens. The parade begins at 10 a.m. and Tent City will open at noon.

KING ED CHIDLAW

Retired San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge Ed Chidlaw has been chosen as the 2017 King of Colony Days.

“I was very much honored,” Chidlaw said of the appointment. Royalty will be awarded at the Quota Club’s Colony Tea at the Atascadero Bible Church on Oct. 15 at 2 p.m.

Chidlaw’s favorite memory of Colony Days has always been “a good parade.”

Chidlaw was born and raised in Chowchilla. He received his bachelor’s degree in business and economics from Fresno State University and his Doctor of Law from UC Hastings Law School in San Francisco. His early career accomplishments include running a private law practice in Chowchilla for 15 years and assisting the Madera County District Attorney for four years. Early on he was involved in community in full: He served on the Board of Directors for the Madera County Fair and became the Chief Deputy County Counsel with Placer County.

He and wife Emily, who passed away two years ago, moved to Atascadero in the 1970s. Chidlaw ran a private practice in town for 10 years.

In 1986 he was appointed by Governor George Deukmejian as Superior Court Judge of the San Luis Obispo Municipal Court (in 1989 he was elected Presiding Judge), where he served more than 13 years on the bench before retirement.

“So many people around town here wrote letters to the judge and to the governor, I found out,” said Chidlaw. Apparently, the town saw the potential in Chidlaw. “For me, the people in Atascadero were just super. So many great friends and so many supportive people and the like.” He came from a small town when he moved here in the mid-70s. He felt at home with the festivals and the Colony Day Parade. He loved the way the seasons change.

“We picked here. We weren’t disappointed. It was a good ride,” Chidlaw said. “My best memory of Atascadero was how completely we were welcomed here. They were so nice and we got acquainted with a lot of people.”

Chidlaw remembers a few things about the historical City Hall Building. He remembers the impressive room upstairs, a ballroom with crystal chandeliers where he would swing dance with his wife and 49 other couples in a group called “Club 50.”

“Everybody had their satchel with their booze in it,” Chidlaw said. “Those were good times.”

His involvement in the county has been rich. Chidlaw was a member of the Lions Club and the Elks Lodge. He was a Trustee with the Presbyterian Church of San Luis Obispo. He was on the Board of Directors with the San Luis Obispo Bar Association as well as the Estrella Warbirds Museum. He assisted in organizing Hospice in San Luis Obispo County and the Colony Days legal organization. He was named Professional Man of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce and appointed by the Governor onto the Mid-State Fair Board of Directors. Since his children were have always been a part of the Mid-State Fair, that particular appointment made Chidlaw very proud.

Chidlaw’s back yard at his home on Santa Lucia Road has been known as “Chidlaw Stadium” for decades. During home Greyhound football games he would host a social affair to watch the games. His backyard has such a perfect view of the stadium that it could be considered part of the bleachers. During the get-togethers friends would collect donations for the Atascadero High School Athletic Fund.

“It wasn’t tightwad hill,” Chidlaw joked, as he and his barbeque friends collected a sum in the realm of $20,000 for the Athletic fund over the years. “I was in charge of the hot dogs,” Chidlaw said of his halftime duty. His barbecue tradition has been going on until the the last two years. “I tried to figure out how many hot dogs I put out over a period of about 41 years,” Chidlaw said, as he went over the math. It came close to 4,000 hot dogs.

QUEEN DORIS REYNOLDS

Doris Reynolds has been an established member of the Atascadero community for years. At 96, she is as energetic and bright as ever. She had been the Branch Manager of Security Pacific National Bank in Atascadero since 1941 when she retired in 1985 and 25-year member of the Colony Days Committee. On Oct. 15, at 2 p.m. she will be officially crowned Queen of Colony Days for the 44th Annual Colony Days Celebration during Quota Club’s Colony Tea event at Atascadero Bible Church.

Reynolds was born in San Francisco and spent her early childhood in Colorado before moving to Southern California at the age of seven. She earned a college degree from Compton College and began working at Security Pacific National Bank in Los Angeles as an Escrow secretary during WWII. She married her husband when he returned from the war, and spent time raising her two children in San Luis Obispo. From 1960 on, she worked at the bank in San Luis Obispo, an old-fashioned bank with gilded teller cages, but gladly took the opportunity to transfer to the Atascadero office in 1974 as bank manager.

“We always came up (to Atascadero) on the Fourth of July,” she said. “When we had friends and family visit us we came to Atascadero Lake. My husband and I liked the weather much better up here so we always told our kids, ‘When you’re out of school, we’re moving, and that’s exactly what we did.’”

By the time she retired in 1985, she had doubled the staff and tripled the assets. In 1992 Bank of America and Security Pacific combined so Reynolds is technically a retiree of Bank of America even though she never worked for them.

Reynold’s husband, who was known as “Brother Jim” to Atascadero locals, owned the old Country Market, a place with shelves full of candy.

“My husband and I loved it here and we were always happy here,” she said. “My husband probably knew more people than me in the end because everybody went into that store. He’d cater to kids. He would buy all kinds of candy and there’d be a half a dozen kids sitting on the floor and he’d say, ‘I’ll give you twenty minutes and you’ll have to decide.’”

Reynolds said her job at the bank in Atascadero gave her the opportunity to get involved in the community. Her good friend, Maggie Vandergon, the founder of Colony Days, helped her get acquainted with many active locals, and soon she found herself participating in Chamber activities and the Colony Days Committee. She served as Chairman for two years, but was on the Colony Days Committee for 25 years. She doesn’t recognize many people in town anymore, the town has grown so much, but she and her Colony days committee used to go to Denny’s once a month to plan the event.

Reynolds recently had a scare with her health. She had been given two months to live, so Hospice came to her home to help her with her last days. She laughed when she said Hospice had the reverse effect on her. Her health recovered, and aside from having to use a walking cane, she has been out of Hospice and feeling much better.

GRAND MARSHAL JERRY TANIMOTO

Beloved Atascadero High School Teacher Jerry Tanimoto has been named Grand Marshal for the 44th Annual 2017 Colony Days Celebration. He will be officially recognized at the Colony Tea, the kickoff of the annual Colony Days celebration at the Atascadero Bible Church on Oct. 15 at 2 p.m.

Tanimoto spent his childhood in Sanger. He graduated from Fresno State in 1970 with a desire to go into education. He took his first teaching job in Orosi. There he taught English, history, and algebra for five years before moving to Atascadero in 1976 to teach history, geography, political science, economics, leadership and physical education. He taught at Atascadero High School and has seen his students grow up, leave town, and come back to raise their families. He has always encouraged travel and exploration for his students, and his favorite thing is to see his students return to describe their adventures. But he also created expeditions of his own. During the years of 1977-2013, in the summer when he wasn’t teaching, he would take groups of students to Europe for an entire month. There are grown ups now who remember their high school European adventure with Mr. Tanimoto as one of the highlights of their lives, and for Tanimoto, those trips were high points in his life as well. Within his 31 teaching years in Atascadero, Tanimoto also served at Activities Director ten of those years. He also taught many children to drive as a driver’s training instructor.

Tanimoto had a firm, but loving approach as a teacher and his students respected him in return. He is sharp as ever, personable, fun-loving, and full of positive energy. And when anyone in town would ask Tanimoto for help, you get the feeling, he rarely said ‘no.’

Many also knew him as ‘coach.’ Tanimoto coached football, basketball, tennis, softball, wrestling, golf, cheerleading, and majorettes. Tanimoto still proctors the AP tests for Templeton High School every May.

“When I retired, everybody thought I moved back to the Valley – teachers too – and I go, ‘Why would I do that? I moved here – why would I want to move back?” Tanimoto said. “I was so involved with school. I was coaching three sports every year and teaching six classes. We had no prep periods — they took them away — so I was involved with trying to keep my head above water in terms of school and grading papers and lesson plans and everything else, but I enjoy being here because the kids were great, the parents were very supportive, I couldn’t have asked for a better place. It was the same in the valley, but that was a small school, 500 kids — (I) came here, we had 1,000 here already. And I’ve seen it grow. At one point Atascadero got to be 1,800 before I retired. It was always a welcoming town. The more people I got to know, it was more fun. People would say, ‘Hey you want to do this? You want to get involved with this? And I’d say, hey, what do you need?”

Tanimoto has been the announcer for the Colony Days parade for 15 years now and his volunteer work is a mile long: He’s been on the board of Big Brothers/Big Sisters, the YMCA North County Advisory Board, member of the Friends of Atascadero Lake, charter member of APACC, committee member of the Atascadero Wine Festival, charter member of the Atascadero Optimist Club with six years as president, charter member of the Atascadero Community Alliance, member of the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce, meal server at ECHO, working with Loaves and Fishes and Coats for Kids at the Armory, working with the EF program to bring students from foreign countries to Atascadero, financial supporter of ECHO, the Atascadero Library, the Atascadero Greyhound Foundation and Friends of Atascadero Lake.

He has been one of the radio announcers for the Atascadero Greyhound Football team for 30 years.

It was the father of a high schooler he coached who called Tanimoto about announcing football games on the radio three decades ago. The announcers were retiring and since Tanimoto knew the students so well and was so big on football (a huge Green Bay Packers fan), the parents wanted to recruit him as an announcer.

“I said, tell you what, I’ll make you a deal... I said, ‘Gary, I’ll do it. And I don’t know who I’ll do it with, but I’ll do it, but if you don’t like what I’m doing you can fire me and that’s fine. It doesn’t hurt my feelings because I’ve never done this before in my life.’ So he had a lot of trust in me and I felt that way about a lot of people in the community.”

You may reach Reporter Beth Giuffre at [email protected] for questions and/or feedback.

You may contact Reporter Beth Giuffre at [email protected] for questions and/or feedback.


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