Edio Peter Delfino
January 3, 1930 – January 19, 2017
On Thursday January 19th 2017 Edio Peter Delfino passed away peacefully at his home surrounded by his family. He was 87 years old. He was preceded in death by his wife of 60 years Joan Christine Delfino, and is survived by his seven children Michael, Joanie, Annette (Annie), Christopher, Marguerite (Margot), Mary, and Edio Jr., his brother in-law John Stich, his sister in-law Claire Delfino; 16 grandchildren, and 10 great grandchildren. Edio was born on January 3, 1930 in St. Helena, CA. He was the third of four children born to Italian immigrants Frank and Dina Delfino. As a child and young adult he worked with his family on their small vineyard just outside of the town of St. Helena in the Napa Valley. His father worked as a night watchman for the mothball fleet in Vallejo, and farmed during the day with the help of his sons. Edio attended St. Helena Elementary School and St. Helena High School. He was a social young man and made many lifelong friends during his youth in the Napa Valley. While he enjoyed all sports, he was limited to playing football during high school due to his responsibilities on the family vineyard. He often told of his friend and working partner Nick the mule. He and Nick plowed the vineyard all through his school years. He often lamented that Nick passed away when he was a senior in high school, so his younger brother was the first to use a tractor to work the vineyard. After graduating from High School Edio went to college at California Polytechnic University. For his first three years he attended at the San Dimas Campus. As a senior he transferred to the San Luis Obispo campus. While in college he worked as a campus garbage collector to help make ends meet until he graduated in 1950 with a degree in Biological Science. During his college years he also spent weekends and vacations with his roommate, Jack Stich, and his family. On these visits he got to know and eventually fell in love with Jack’s sister, Joan. Edio joined the Air Force upon graduation from college. He and Joan Stich married on May 2, 1953 at Chanute Airforce Base, in Rantoul, Illinois. Edio completed his tour of active duty later that year, but remained in the Air Force Reserve until 1979 earning the rank of Lt. Col. After his tour of active duty he got a job with the Sonoma County Department of Agriculture and moved with his wife to Santa Rosa, CA. While living in Santa Rosa the first four of their children were born. In 1960 Edio was appointed County Agriculture Commissioner for El Dorado County and the Delfinos moved to the Sierra Nevada Foothills. At 33 years old he was the youngest person to attain this appointment. Originally the family lived in Placerville, moving to the Camino area and building a house there in 1962. Their remaining three children were born in the 1960s. Edio came to El Dorado County when it was embroiled in an agricultural disaster. The choice Bartlett pears that were widely grown here at the time were being killed by a terrible bacterial disease known as pear decline. In short, farmers were in danger of losing their livelihoods. Apples were a secondary crop that was successful in the area, so they became the crop to replace the formerly dominate pears. Edio, along with then County Farm Advisor Dick Bethell, and area farmers Gene Bolster, and Bob Tuck put their heads together and after much trial and error decided that ranch marketing was the solution to the county’s agricultural dilemma. Thus Apple Hill was born. The first officially advertised Apple Hill event was “Apple Smorgy Days” and was held at El Dorado Orchards. The apple farmers’ wives produced apple baked goods which were sold to the public on overturned apple bins. The event was a huge success drawing nearly 5,000 people. This event led to individual farms starting their own bake shops and the rest is history. In 1972 Edio and Joan Delfino opened their own pie shop and apple business with Joan as the chief baker. Their seven children worked alongside them on their well know apple ranch, “Kids Inc”. The common sense, determination and work ethic of Edio along with Bolster, Bethell, and Tuck led to the incredible success story known as Apple Hill. Apple Hill has grown from its original 16 ranches to 55 ranches and now includes Christmas tree growers, wineries, vineyards, and a spa. Edio served as El Dorado County’s Agriculture Commissioner for 33 years. During that time he also served as County Sealer of Weights and Measures, and Head of the Animal Control Department. In addition, he was in the Air Force Reserve for 26 years achieving the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and was recalled to active duty during the Cuban Missile Crisis. However, primarily he would describe himself as a farmer and an advocate of agriculture and the rural lifestyle. Both Edio and Joan were 4-H leaders encouraging their seven children to learn the value of raising their own food and taking care of the land. Edio was a larger than life individual. He wasn’t large in stature, but everyone knew when he walked into a room. He had a booming voice, a commanding presence, and a will to make things happen. And, when he was involved, they did! He was a visionary who helped save El Dorado County’s agricultural heritage. He has earned his rest. Picture him on a tractor riding into the sunset through his prized vineyard. At heart he was a simple farmer and happiest when doing just that. A funeral mass will be held Friday, January 27, 2017, at 11:00 a.m., vigil at 10:30, at St. Patrick Church, 3109 Sacramento St., Placerville, CA followed by interment at St. Patrick Cemetery in Placerville. In lieu of flowers the family request donations be made to Snowline Hospice. Online condolences may be posted at chapelofthepinesfunerals.com.
- Vigil Friday, January 27, 2017
- Funeral Mass Friday, January 27, 2017
Edio Peter Delfino
Jim & Diane Strauss
January 27, 2017
Our sincere condolences to the Delfino Family. Ed was a good family man and an important part of our community. I always enjoyed meeting with him and talking about old times. Our very best.
January 26, 2017
What a wonderful, thoughtful, and caring family. Salt of the earth kind of folks, these Delfinos. It was an honor to have befriended Mike and Joan when in middle school. The children inherited their parent's ethic of hard work and love of the land. An era is passing...but the Delfino children are a testament to Edio and Joan. May Edio rest in peace and continue to be, forever more, an inspiration to the Delfino children. John Paiva
James and Carol Dayley
January 26, 2017
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Delfino family and we feel so fortunate to have Edio, Jr. as part of our family.
Ron and Judy Sbragia
January 24, 2017
Our condolences to the Delfino family. Edio Delfino serves as an example to all of us and will forever be missed. What a wonderful legacy he has left his family, friends and community!
January 24, 2017
Dear Delfino family. Sorry to hear about the loss of your father. He was a good man. I am an ex-Kid's Inc.'er and have fond memories of your father. I can still hear him singing "Mamas don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys" during those memorable fall days of my youth. God Bless.
January 24, 2017
Our deepest Sympathies to the Delfino family. I only met Edio one time but have been good friends with Edio junior for many years. The one time I met senior he treated me and my family like he knew us forever. It's not very often you can say someone makes an impression on you after one meeting with them but I can honestly say it was a true privilege for me and my family to have spent time with him and yes he made an impression on all of us. During our little over an hour visit last summer he shared with me and my family his great stories of some of the things he has done in his lifetime. He was truly one of the good ones and the world was a much better place with him in it. Thank You Edio senior for being someone we should all inspire to be like.You will be missed. With sad hearts The Goch Family
January 23, 2017
RIP Ed, he was my USAF Commander at the 65 APS, McClellan AFB, CA from 1971 to 1978, Ed always took care of his troops, during the Apple Hill season, he would fill his pick up truck loaded with apples and let his troops enjoy
Wilkie A. Liang, SMSgt, USAF Retired, Sacramento, CA
January 23, 2017
Dear Delfino Family, I am sorry to hear about your loss. I have fond memories of the Kid's Inc. Barn from my High School Days. My thoughts and prayers are with you in this time of sorrow.