OAKHURST – A parade of tow trucks from all across Central California rolled through Oakhurst this morning in celebration of the life of Richard Stoddard, who passed away on March 26, 2015, at the age of 59.
Richard was a life-long member of the tight knit family at Doc’s Towing, a company started by his father Leon Ginn in 1959, and still going strong.
Nearly 25 trucks and operators gathered in Coarsegold this morning and set out with a CHP escort at 10:30, headed for the Oakhurst Community Center. As they passed by the Oakhill Cemetery with lights flashing, they sounded their air horns in one final salute to the long-time driver and dispatcher.
One of Doc’s flatbeds was filled with soil and planted with spring flowers surrounding a podium adorned with the patches from Richard’s uniforms over the years, and his various tools of the trade. An urn carrying his ashes was placed atop the podium for the ride over Deadwood to the cemetery in Oakhurst.
Richard was born and raised in Salinas, and went straight to work in the family business after graduating from high school. Doc’s Towing has operations in Oakhurst, Los Banos, Salinas and Paso Robles, and after years in the Salinas area, Richard came to work for the Oakhurst company, where he was employed at the time of his death.
Tow truck operators from Simonian Towing, Budget Towing, Sierra Mountain, Bulldog, Always, Eppler, USA, California and TNT Towing all joined the convoy in honor of a well-known and much-loved member of their larger family.
After the procession along Highway 41, everyone gathered at the Oakhurst Community Center to share stories and remember their long time friend.
Richard is survived by his parents, Paul and Nita Stoddard, Jean Ginn, and Leon and June Ginn; by siblings Cindy and Tom Easton, Tim and Melony Stoddard, Audrey and Dale Perry, Clifton Ginn, Terrie and Mike Perrone, and Shawn and Chris Ginn; by his four children Melissa, Emily, Alan and Paul Stoddard; and his many nieces and nephews.
After running the company for over 20 years, Richard’s brother Clifton Ginn sold the operation in 2012, including Doc’s Towing in Oakhurst, which continues under the leadership of new owner Jerry Corn.