Karl Allen Von Dollen was born July 28, 1956, in Paso Robles District Hospital to Arthur and Florence Von Dollen of the Estrella area of San Miguel. His great grandfather, Johann Von Dollen, homesteaded on the Monterey San Luis Obispo county line in 1885. The Von Dollen family has maintained a presence in the area ever since. Karl passed away at his home on March 23, 2022, while being cared for by his family after a short battle with cancer.
As Karl requested, he was interred in a private ceremony at Pleasant Valley Cemetery, Estrella Road, San Miguel, on April 6, 2022. Karl’s oldest brother, Dr.Lawrence Von Dollen, led the group in reminiscing about their favorite memories of Karl, followed by the Lord’s Prayer. As different people spoke, it was interesting to hear what a multifaceted person Karl was. He was a farmer, a historian, a good friend, and most of all, someone always ready to lend a hand. In closing, Cousin Rev. Donald Brown gave the Benediction. Karl is the 4th generation of the Von Dollen family to be interred in Pleasant Valley Cemetery.
Karl attended Pleasant Valley School for elementary school, one of the last one-room schoolhouses in the area. He attended Glen Speck in Paso Robles for grades 6-8 and graduated with the Class of 1974 from Paso Robles High School. Following high school, he attended Cal Poly SLO graduating with a degree in Ag. Business Management.
Karl’s informal farm education began during his childhood on the family farm. From his father, he gained experience in the operation of agricultural equipment, grain farming, and agribusiness. After graduating from Cal Poly, he farmed with his younger brother Roy for a number of years. When family grain farms became unprofitable, they left full-time farming to pursue other interests.
Karl was very involved in his dual communities of San Miguel and Paso Robles. He was a San Miguel Lion’s Club member, helping with their annual BBQ.
He was an enthusiastic Regan supporter and member of the Young America’s Foundation. For many years he served on the election board.
His lifelong friendship with Bonnie and Kerry Nelson and Paul Ernst and his interest in local history led him to volunteer at the Paso Robles Pioneer Museum. He seemed to find a whole new career in delving into local history and lore. He pursued researching questions regarding old-time people and events with the enthusiasm of a treasure hunter. Although he did not like to be in the spotlight or call attention to himself, so to speak, he was called upon to do research for the Paso Robles Historical Society. He was a contributor to the research of the books written about the original one-room county schools by Debbie Soto, Milene Radford, and others. He enjoyed working with his friends of the Rio Caledonia Adobe, supplying the juice to make Cactus Jelly. He was part of the volunteer “Sound Crew” for the Pioneer Day Parade for many years. He drove his father in the parade when Arthur was Pioneer Day Grand Marshall in 2011.
Although Karl had no children of his own, he enjoyed being Uncle Karl to nine nieces and nephews Don, Andrea, John, Cameron, Catherine, Elizabeth, Scott, Christopher, and Emily. He was a very special member of their extended family.
Karl was preceded in death by his Father, Arthur Von Dollen, in 2014. He is survived by his mother, Florence Von Dollen. By his brothers Dr. Lawrence (Michelle) and Roy (Joann) Von Dollen. By his favorite sister Elaine Rickard (Don). By his aforementioned nieces and nephews. Numerous cousins and great-nieces and nephews.
A large part of Karl’s life was helping other people, whether it be family, friends, or neighbors. From growing flowers for this mother’s enjoyment, taking friends to appointments, or doing detailed historical research, he will be greatly missed by all who knew him.