On March 10, 2018, Roy W. Grisso passed peacefully from this life to be rejoined with his wife in the presence of Jesus.
The youngest of three boys, Roy was born August 23, 1921 in Roanoke, Virginia to Carrie and Jesse E. Grisso. At the age of two, his family moved to a farm in Mount Airy, Maryland where he grew up with his brothers tending the animals, vegetables and trees as well as attending school in a small, one-room schoolhouse. He left school in the 10th grade to help the family full-time on the farm.
In 1943, at the age of 22, Roy entered the U.S. Navy. He served as a Pharmacist's Mate aboard an attack transport ship, the U.S.S. Elizabeth C. Stanton. He served in active duty and Navy reserve and completed his service in 1947. By that time, his family had relocated to Evanston, Illinois. He joined them there and worked in the pharmacy at Walgreens close to their home. During that time, he saw an ad in California Cattleman magazine looking for help at the Bell Ranch in New Mexico. Roy headed out West and worked at the Bell, herding and roping cattle and living the ranch-hand life.
Roy eventually returned to Illinois and worked for the City of Evanston but missed the ranch life. A friend told him of a man with a large ranch in Wyoming looking for a ranch hand and Roy again headed West. He worked on the ranch for a year or so and then entered the University of Wyoming, starting out by taking Algebra, Geometry and Trigonometry all at once to complete his high school math requirements as well as working at a shipping company and also at American Express. He enrolled in the University's School of Pharmacy and then, during the summer of 1951, a beautiful young teacher from California named Jeannetta Milton drove back to attend summer school in Wyoming. The two met, fell in love, and when the summer session came to a close, Roy promised Jeannetta he would come out to California as soon as he could – which he did in December of that year. Roy met Jeannetta's family, received their blessing and Roy and Jeannetta were married in Carmel, California in August 1952.
Roy changed his field of study at that time to Agriculture and continued his education at Hartnell College in Salinas, California. They then moved to Atascadero so that he could enroll at Cal Poly. In June of 1956 their first daughter, Janice, was born and, along with becoming a new dad, Roy became a new grad – graduating from Cal Poly in 1957 with a B.S. Degree in Soil Science. Their little family moved for a short time to Paso Robles and then to Bakersfield where Roy worked for Shell until he was recruited by Frank J. Olocco to join his company in Santa Maria. Accepting the offer, Roy & Jeannetta settled in Santa Maria in 1958. Their second daughter, Nancy, was born in May 1963 and their family was complete. Roy worked at Olocco Agricultural Pest Control as an Agronomist until 1987 and helped to build that company through successful business relationships and was highly regarded by local growers and many in the Santa Maria agricultural community. Following his years at Olocco, Roy did various independent contract work including the USDA as well as other personal business ventures.
Family was extremely important and treasured by Roy. After challenging years growing up, and in a family of three boys, becoming a dad to two daughters was new – but a role he was so committed to. He is a true testimony to the healing and transforming power of love. Roy was Jeannetta's right hand – her strongest and most loyal supporter during her teaching career, and was the most devoted and loving Dad two daughters could ever ask for. He had a soft and understanding heart we will treasure forever.
Roy had the most wonderful sense of humor and loved to laugh – sharing stories, poems and songs throughout his days. He was genuinely interested in people, always wanting to know where each person he met was from originally. And his parting phrase at the close of every visit was “Keep smilin' now...” He loved music, especially favorites from the old West – Marty Robbins and the Sons of the Pioneers as well as the Oak Ridge Boys, Statler Brothers, George Strait and Alan Jackson. He enjoyed playing golf, fishing and sharing those with his daughters and grandsons and doing backyard barbeques for the family with his own signature seasoning loved by all. He was an avid reader, loved to learn and was always on the quest for improved health and nutrition, continuing to read the dictionary and his well-read “Stop Aging Now” book until very recently. Roy had a deep faith and was a long-time member of First Christian Church in Santa Maria where he served as Deacon and Elder and was a member of many Bible study groups with dear and treasured friends.
Roy was preceeded in death by his wife of 65 years, Jeannetta; his father and mother Jesse E. Grisso and Carrie Aeling; brothers J. E.(Bo) Grisso and Eugene (Tiny) Grisso.
Roy is survived by his daughters, Janne Pytell; Nancy Reilly and her husband Stephen; Grandsons Jarrod Pytell and Jeff Pytell; Grandaughter Stephanie Reilly; Great-grandchildren Viktor, Adrian, Nevaeh and Jaxon; Sister-in-law Barbara Milton; and many cherished nieces and nephews on both the West and East Coast.
A private family graveside service will be held. A memorial service celebrating Roy's life will be held on Friday, March 23, 2018 at 3:00 p.m. at First Christian Church in Santa Maria. Donations in Roy's honor may be made to First Christian Church in Santa Maria or In Touch Ministries, P.O. Box 7900, Atlanta, GA 30357
Saying farewell for now is so hard yet our joy is the promise of being together again. Rest well sweet Dad, Grandfather, Uncle and Friend ~thank you for a lifetime of love and wonderful memories...you will live on in our hearts forever.
“...I will miss you every day, but I know that you're alright
There's a new star shining up in Heaven tonight.”
~Oak Ridge Boys
Arrangements are in the care of Magner-Maloney Funeral Home and Crematory. Sympathy notes and words of support may be expressed at www.magnermaloney.com.
Magner-Maloney Funeral Home and Crematory
600 East Stowell Road, Santa Maria, CA 93454
Phone: 805-925-2753 Fax: 805-922-4930