Joe Stancil Fondly Remembered - 1925-2018

by Placerville Newswire / Jul 02, 2018 / comments

[Cris Alarcon, PRpond. Img: Barbara Driskell Rogers "Joe Stancil Sr. with my son Kelley at Joe's Skatepark...May 2014"]

On June 26 Joe Stancil Sr. died following a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. He was 92.

I was in Business school in the '80s when my mother called to tell me she had bought a used car.  It had high mileage and I chided her for buying a soon-to-break high mileage car.  She then told me she had bought it from Joe Stancil and he would stand behind the car. I was shut down and shut up!  A rare occasion with this headstrong young man, but I grew up here and I knew of Joe's reputation and my mother was right.  Everyone knew Joe!  Everyone knew that Joe Stancil was the first Toyota Dealer in the United States!  And if somehow you did not know this, Joe would set you straight.

Joseph Stancil was born in 1925, moved to California in 1926 with one brother and two sisters born to Harry L. Stancil and Christina Eleanor Stancil. Joe grew up in Camino and spent his high school years at El Dorado High School in Placerville.

Joe served in the Navy with duty from 1942-46 in Guadalcanal, Guam, Saipan, Laite, Louisan, Okinawa, New Guinea, Holandia, Philippines, and Nagasaki, Japan.

Joe came back to Placerville in 1947 and lived here for the rest of his life. 

Joe grew up around Camino and worked for himself for all but 4 years of his life. He started as a general auto repair shop and went auto sales. Toyota recognizes Joe as being the first Toyota dealer in the USA. (WOW!). My advice to customers is, "leave a little for the other guy!"  One thing that most people may not know about Joe is that he was self made man, "I only worked for someone else for 4 years, then I was in business for myself during the rest of my working days." The thing I'm most proud of having done so far in my life is to build my own house in 1949. I did it all no contractors, no subs just me.

Joe had 5 children who live in Alaska, California, Utah and Hawaii. All five have participated in Rotary programs for the last 52 years.  In addition to his wife Marsha, Joe Stancil Sr. is survived by sons Joe Stancil Jr., Edward Stancil and Buster Stancil; daughters Elisa Stancil and Kelly Russell; and godson Dean Duncan, and several grandchildren and great-grandkids.

Joe served on the committee to remodel the courthouse, started Crime Stoppers, worked on Clyde Curtis Park, Lumsden Park, Diamond Industrial Park, and Joe's Skate Park.  The most unusual thing I've ever done was: Developed the Diamond Industrial Park."  Joe Stancil Sr. was happy when Joe’s Skatepark opened up in the early 2000s.  Along with turning that drive into an astonishing success, Joe Sr. turned his sights toward helping the community, with his efforts visible with not only Joe’s Skatepark, but with the refurbishing of the county Courthouse in Placerville, sprucing up the clock on Main Street that for years had kept the wrong time, the Hope House, the Boys and Girls Club and even the acoustic system at the county fairgrounds (with the help of former county supervisor Jack Sweeney).

Joe Sr. was a longtime member of the Placerville Rotary Club.  "I joined Rotary in 1956 in the Placerville Rotary Club. Rotarians Gordon Blair and Arnie Howe encouraged and gave me support to go into business for myself."  Joe was President of Rotary in 1967-68.

Joe Stancil Sr. understood the importance of enjoying life. “We worked hard all our lives — and we were lucky, too,” said wife of 46 years Marsha.

I got to know Joe in the Rotary.  I got to know many of our local luminaries on Rotary "Road Trips" when we would meet away from our local watering hole.  It on one of these Away meetings that I learned important things, like what year did Placerville have the most bars.  Danno and and a (unnamed) Judge were in a vigorous debate but it was Joe that could name off all the bars, when they opened and closed.  He was the final arbiter of local social history of Placerville.

Joe was the storyteller and my favorite story was about the Rotary.  Joe loved the Rotary and was a member for about 50 years.  He was the local President about the time I was born, but the tradition of "Debunking" an outgoing Rotary President was still alive and I had helped Debunk Manny Shaffer about 15 years ago.  Joe told me of the story of his so-called Debunking.  I am not sure who Debunked who.  As Joe told me:

"They took my wallet so I had no ID or money, drove me to Stockton, stopped on the side of the road, and said get out. We will see you when you get home...whenever that is. They drove off leaving me a stranger with no ID and no money. So I flagged down the first car driving by and explained to them what had happened and asked for a ride to the local small airport. Got that ride. Once at the little airport I explained my situation (knowing that all pilots LOVE to fly and just need a good excuse). Soon I had wrangle a private flight to Placerville, from a total stranger. I got home and was waiting for the guys that had dropped me off, to get home."

For me and MANY others, Joe's selfless contributions to the community, his plain-speaking frankness, and his endless good humor will be missed

Joe and Marsha's friends tell them how lucky they were to have retired so early! Joe's favorite Saying: "The harder I work the luckier I get!"

Joe Stancil Sr. used to laugh at what his high school peers had predicted long ago, that he would likely never be a success. He and another high school classmate, Ossie Scariot (owner of El Dorado Disposal), were voted the least likely to succeed by those attending El Dorado High in the mid-1940s.  “For a guy thought unlikely to succeed, I haven’t done too bad.”

Services for Joe Stancil Sr. are set for 1 p.m. Friday, Aug. 10, at Green Valley Community Church in Placerville.