Most famous residents of Paso Robles – Local legends
–Ever wonder how many local Paso Robles parks and schools got their names? In this special edition of ‘Notable Roblans,’ we look at the local legends who helped shape Paso Robles into what it is today.
Virginia Peterson is a former educator who now has a school site in Paso Robles named after her. Originally from North Dakota, upon her arrival in Paso Robles in 1939, she immediately became involved in community volunteer work which was to become her lifelong endeavor. In 1950, she began teaching first grade, and in 1965, she became Paso Robles’ first female principal and held the job until she retired in 1979.
Virginia Peterson Elementary School was dedicated on Sept. 5, 1989, the same year that Peterson was named Paso Robles Citizen of the Year.
Dale and Barney Schwartz
Dale J. Schwartz and his brother, Paso Robles Mayor Barney Schwartz, were founders of the Paso Robles Golf and Country Club and former owners of KPRL, a local radio station. Barney Schwartz Park, located at 2970 Union Rd in Paso Robles, was named after the former mayor.
Born in Paso Robles on Oct.20, 1905, Daniel Lewis was one of the original Paso Robles Bearcats, graduating from Paso Robles High School in 1924. After college, marriage, and serving his county in WWII, he was employed in Paso Robles as a 7th-grade teacher for 25 years, at what is currently Bauer Speck School.
He was active in the local Christian Church, a charter member of the Historical Society, and a founding member of the California Retired Teachers Assoc. and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10965. He was Pioneer Day Grand Marshall in 1985 and honored as Roblan of the Year in 1995. The one honor he was most proud of was when he became a “Living Legend” in 1995 at the opening of the Daniel E. Lewis Middle School. The Dan Lewis 3 R’s – “Respect,” “Responsibility” and “Reliability” are principles he taught by example.
He was also remembered for his beautifully lighted and decorated Victorian home. Dressed in Victorian Garb, he loved greeting and entertaining all passersby during the Vine Street Victorian Showcase, a Paso Robles tradition.
George H. Flamson was a former teacher and Superintendent for Paso Robles Public Schools. The large, stately red building on Spring Street is a middle school that was named for the former educator.
Cappy Culver was a long-time toddler story-time volunteer at the Paso Robles Library. She now has an elementary school named for her at 11011 Heritage Ranch Loop Road in Heritage Ranch.
Living legend Norma Moye is the Downtown Paso Robles Main Street Association Executive Director. Born Norma Della, to an Italian-American father and mother, she says her dad left Italy when Mussolini came into power. Moye grew up in Paso Robles. For the last several decades, she has coordinated countless Main Street-sponsored activities at the Downtown City Park. The alleyway where the entrance to the Main Street Association is in downtown Paso Robles is named “Norma’s Way,” in her honor.
Georgia Brown was an outstanding teacher, principal and was actively involved in the City of Paso Robles from 1925 to 1975. Georgia Brown Elementary was named after Georgia Brown in 1948. When Georgia Brown Elementary was established in 1948 the school mascot was a Brown Bronco.
For over two decades, Gil Asa was a Paso Robles High School teacher, coach, and later beloved counselor who is commemorated by a namesake gym on the campus of the high school.
Former Paso Robles City Councilwoman and Mayor Pro-Tem Elizabeth Anne “Betty” Cousins was a founding director of the Paso Robles Golf and Country Club. She was Club Champion five times and served twice as president of the Paso Robles Women’s Golf Association. In the 1990s, Cousins helped raise funds for the new library and other city projects. She co-chaired the steering committee formed in 1998 for the $103 million campaign for bond measures C&D to benefit the city and schools. In 1994, the Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce named her Roblan of the Year. She was elected to the Cuesta Foundation Board of Directors in 2000 and helped raise funds for the North County Campus in Paso Robles.
Pat Butler was born Luna Belle Beachum on May 22, 1921, in Dallas, Texas where she spent her childhood. She graduated from Adamson High in 1940. Butler’s next two years were spent at North Texas University where she received a bachelor’s degree in music and both high school and elementary teaching credentials in 1942. The summer following her graduation, Pat sang with and “fronted” the stage band at Radio Station WTAA in Dallas. This is when Luna Belle changed her name to Pat and the name stuck.
Special recognitions she received include the PTA Honorary Life Membership in 1962; the first Paso Robles Teacher of the Year in 1966; Roblan of the Year in 1985; Honorary Life Membership from the Paso Robles Teachers Assoc and in 1995 honored as the Woman of Distinction by the Tres Condadas Girl Scout Council, Inc. September 4, 1990 was a date Pat would never forget. She attended the dedication of a new school in Paso Robles – The Pat Butler Elementary School, named in her honor. Click here to read her obituary.
Read about more ‘Notable Roblans’ in this series:
If you would like to suggest a Notable Roblan for our list, email firstname.lastname@example.org.