On Palm Sunday, the Good LORD called our beloved brother, father, community leader, and friend into eternal rest. Gene was born on August 2, 1934 in Santa Maria (Grigsby's Hospital) to Peter and Laura (Paul) Mehlschau. Along with several nearby Mehlschau and Paul cousins, Gene spent his growing years in the Nipomo area. Inheriting his ranch from his father, Gene's entire career was spent in local and statewide agriculture.
Matriculating through local schools, Gene attended Nipomo Elementary School and Arroyo Grande Union High School (Paulding campus) before going on to Cal Poly SLO in 1952. Graduating in 1956 with a BS degree in Agriculture, he helped initiate the development of lemons and avocados in the Nipomo area. While at Cal Poly, he was very active in music (a lifelong piano player), and in Army ROTC. Summer training was at Ft. Lewis, WA.
Commissioned a 2nd LT, Gene and his new bride Nancy spent their first six months of marriage at Ft. Belvoir, VA, just outside Washington, DC. After 6 month's active duty, they returned to his family's ranch in Nipomo to resume farming. Sons Edward (1958) and Robert (1960) were born there.
Very active in Future Farmers of America (FFA) throughout high school (he received their State Farmer degree in 1956), Gene continued his professional associations throughout his adult life. He remained very active in the SLO County Farm Bureau (as director, president, and area representative), the CA Farm Bureau (director), the CA Avocado Commission, and various other farm industry groups. He was the longest-tenured (1966 - 2018) director for the Farm Supply Company of San Luis Obispo. In 2001, Gene was the SLO County Farm Bureau Agriculturalist of the Year.
In the early 70's, Gene and his close friend Mike Cavaletto started C & M Nursery in Nipomo, an innovative move at the time. His entrepreneurial spirit did not stop there; in the 90's he established the Ecospray Company for the Central Coast of CA. Ecospray was a spraying service for avocado, citrus, and grapes that specialized in using organic ingredients, wherever possible. The Mehlschau Ranch commercial growing operation continues today. Gene is survived by his sister Belva (Gary) Hanson, in their Mehlschau Ranch Partnership, and by his loyal staff: Pati & Eric Ochoa and Henry Guevara. His beloved wife of 55 years, Nancy, preceded him into eternal rest in 2011, and his sons Edward (Kathy) and Robert continue to reside in the Central Coast area. Various cousins survive, and three grandchildren flourish.
A Service of Celebration will be held at Nipomo Community Presbyterian Church on Saturday, April 28, at 11:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, we suggest that contributions be made to the Alzheimer's Association, in memory of Gene and Nancy.
To leave a condolence for the family visit www.dudleyhoffmanmortuary.com
Mortuary & Crematory