Colony Days Committee announces king and queen
Henry Barba and Alice O’Dell are the 2014 king and queen of Colony Days
The Colony Days Committee announced the 2014 king and queen of this year’s event: Henry Barba, 100, of Santa Margarita and Alice (Kay) O’Dell, 85, of Atascadero. The king and queen, as well as the grand marshal, which will be announced next week, are chosen from people living within the Atascadero Unified School District.
“Our royalty need to have lived within the Atascadero Unified School District for a total of at least 50 years and the grand marshal in the district for a total of at least 25 years,” Colony Days Royalty Committee Chairman Kent Kenney said. “We have had royalty/grand Marshals from Carissa Plains, Garden Farms, east of the Salinas River and for the first time, Santa Margarita. Because of the former annual Days of the Dons parade, we had never chosen our representatives from there until this year.”
Kenney said that the kings and queens have sometimes been married to each other, sometimes they are unmarried or widowed people or even two women — sisters.
“I believe that we have had the crème de la crème of Atascadero citizens represent our community through their participation In our annual Colony Days celebrations,” Kennedy said. “Unfortunately, many citizens chose not to serve, passed away before being asked to serve or because of health reasons, could not serve and those circumstances are always the biggest disappointments to the committee.”
Though both Barba and O’Dell have lived their entire lives in the area, they did not meet until Wednesday’s press conference to announce the king and queen.
Barba, who’s cousins with Dolly Bader, well-known Paso Robles resident who died three years ago, was born in Santa Margarita on Oct. 19, 1913, and has lived there ever since. His dad’s family moved to Santa Margarita in 1870, with his father being born in 1876. He attended Atascadero High School when it was Margarita Black Union High School, graduating in 1934. While at AHS, he played and lettered in baseball playing third base.
“He played Hot Corner on the Greyhounds baseball team,” said Barba’s grandson, Dan Barba, who lives in Los Olivos but visits his grandfather three times a week, “to make sure he’s behaving. Dan said his grandfather still lives alone, shops and drives — he passed his last driver’s test with flying colors.
“I went through the depression here,” Barba said. “That was something. Things weren’t as good as they should have been.” Barba remembers when Levi jeans only cost $1. He was born the same year that Atascadero’s founder, E.G. Lewis, purchased the land that makes what the city. Barba said he’s honored to have been chosen as this year’s king. “I’m glad they chose me as king.”
O’Dell was born at William H. Lewis Atascadero General Hospital in 1929. Five generations of her family were served by the hospital before it closed. She graduated from Atascadero Union High School in 1947 and later attended Cuesta College.
“My mother, Pearle Schlosser, worked as one of Mr. E.G. Lewis’ secretaries,” O’Dell said. “My father, Charlie Kay, had a butcher shop in Mr. Pennington’s grocery store, in the Golden Way Hotel block.”
O’Dell worked a year as a nurse’s aid at Atascadero General Hospital and then in 1952, she went to work at Dr. Richard Walters’ office and stayed there for 26 years. “I watched young patients grow up to be fine men and women that are now in their 60s and 70s.” After Walters retired, she went to work at Country Care Convalescent Home for more than 13 years.
O’Dell said she shocked to be chosen as this year’s queen, though it wasn’t the first time she was asked. Several years ago, she and her husband were asked, but because her husband was having health issues, they declined. He has since passed away.
“We have been after Alice for a while,” Kenney said.
The Colony Days celebration will be held on Saturday, Oct. 18 with the parade starting at 10 a.m. and festivities in Sunken Gardens and Tent City going on from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, go to www.colonydays.org.
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