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Locals honored for contributions to Fallbrook

FALLBROOK – The Fallbrook Historical Society announced the winners of its annual awards, including 2019 Pioneer of the Year Award winner Vince Ross; The Vintage Business of the Year Award winner David Mahr and the Member of the Year Award winner Marianne Dickey. They were honored at the group's annual Open House, following its annual general meeting, June 8.

Vince Ross

Pioneer of the Year Award, 2019

Vince Ross and his wife, Joy, moved to Fallbrook in 1964. They were looking for a place with a rural character and great schools for their four children, and that is just what Fallbrook had to offer.

Ross opened a real estate office on Main Street and continued his real estate and volunteer career.

"I have been fortunate in my life and have always felt that it was my duty to do things that will benefit others and my community," Ross said.

A partial list of his community involvement includes: founder and first president of the Fallbrook Village Rotary; founder, board member and vice chair of the Fallbrook Revitalization Advisory Council, which is now named the Fallbrook Community Forum; founding president and current vice president of the Fallbrook Village Association; co-founder and vice president of the Fallbrook Land Conservancy; Fallbrook Elementary School Board member, president of the 1967 Fallbrook Young Republicans and more.

"The question for me is, 'How can I help my community?'" Ross said.

Some of the lasting results of his efforts that have improved the quality of life in Fallbrook can be seen with the formation of the Fallbrook Revitalization Advisory Council in 1988, which is still meeting; the formation of the Fallbrook Village Association in 1992 that created the Fallbrook Art Center, School of the Arts, Art in Public Places, the Vince Ross Square, Jackie Heyneman Park; co-founder of the Fallbrook Land Conservancy and partnership contributor for the donation of the Palomares House and Park and the Monserate Preserve and Trail. The Fallbrook Land Conservancy has grown to now own 2300 acres composed of 14 preserves and 900 environmental easements and many trails.

Ross is something of a Renaissance man to Fallbrook residents. His pioneering legacy will endure, but he always gives credit to the many deserving people who have worked hard with him to make good things happen in Fallbrook.

Mostly Windows, David Mahr

Vintage Business Award 2019

David Mahr's father, Bill, opened a carpet store called, "The Carpet Company," on South Mission in 1984. David Mahr worked with his father in the store from the first day.

Three years later, his mother, Diana, and her business partner, Charleen Sharp, rented another storefront in the same building and began selling window coverings under the name, "Mostly Windows."

In 1998, The Mahrs bought the building at 110 N. Main and combined both businesses at that location.

"They chose to keep the name "Mostly Windows" because that was my mother's preference," David Mahr said. "And the store has been here on Main ever since."

Charleen Sharp is no longer part of Mostly Windows, but she continues to consult closely with them.

"Mom and Pop" shops come and go in Fallbrook just like everywhere else, so it is heartening when a family business is successful in town for decades and across generations. David Mahr has been running the store since his father's death and his mother's retirement.

"In a small town, it doesn't take long for word to get around about a business. We keep our doors open by making sure we have good prices, good installers and good service," David Mahr said.

The Mahr family roots in Fallbrook date back to 1919 when grandfather Harold moved here. Generations of Mahrs have been business owners in Fallbrook over the last 100 years.

In the early 1930s David Mahr's grandfather ran Mahr's Texaco and Auto Supply in the building that is now the Main St. Cafe. A great-uncle started Mahr Ranch off Live Oak Park in 1948. Uncle Eddie Mahr opened Texaco and Foodmart on East Mission. There was Texaco and Towing, Mahrs Tire and Auto and a cousin owned Sheri's Flowers on East Mission

The Mahr family owned the property where the emblematic fig tree grows on Ammunition Road near Albertsons next to the Carl's Jr. Planted more than 100 years ago, the tree was already large in the 1920s when the Mahr boys and the neighboring Clemmens boys played marbles in the shade under the canopy. A century ago, the tree was protected as a condition of any sale. An icon of that fig tree was the logo on the original business card for The Carpet Company.

"I love Fallbrook for the peacefulness," David Mahr said. "When you are young, there is plenty to do here. It is a great place to be a kid. When you are a teenager though, all you want to do is leave, and I did. I lived lots of places and commuted back to Fallbrook every day for the store. But, one day I realized that Fallbrook is a special place. It is our own little bubble and that is when I moved back."

Marianne Dickey

Member of the Year 2019

Marianne Dickey and her husband Bob moved to Fallbrook from Orange County when Bob Dickey retired in 2008.

"Fallbrook had just what we were looking for," she said. "We liked the small town feel, the trees and the open spaces."

Marianne Dickey continued working for several more years and commuted by train to White Memorial Hospital in East Los Angeles, boarding at 4:30 a.m. every morning for the long trip.

"I have always been a history buff, even in high school,' Marianne Dickey said.

When she finally retired, she visited the Fallbrook Historical Society Museum. She enjoyed the experience and decided to become a docent at the museum to share Fallbrook history with visitors.

Before long, she was elected to the Historical Society Board of Directors. In that capacity, Marianne Dickey is secretary and has the duties of the treasurer. She writes the newsletters and volunteers in the Historical Society booth at community fairs and functions.

"I really enjoy meeting and talking with folks in the community," she said.

When the caboose came to town, she volunteered to design and install the display inside.

"I rode trains a lot, but I didn't know that the caboose on historic trains was actually a home for the conductor and rear brakeman until I did that display," she said.

It has proven to be popular with the community, she said. Over 4,000 visitors toured the caboose during the 2019 Avocado Festival.

Marianne Dickey helps Fallbrook in another, more unusual way: she raises monarch butterflies in her home. She watches a butterfly until it lays eggs. Then, she collects the eggs, brings them inside, hatches the caterpillars and feeds them milkweed until the chrysalis stage. When the adult butterflies emerge, she sets them free and again watches for them to lay eggs.

"Last year I released about 400 healthy monarch butterflies," she said. "Although they are most active in summer and fall, I am hatching monarchs 12 months a year."

Her willingness to help out in any situation and the professional quality of her efforts have earned her the Member of the Year award.

"I think that a historical society is important for every town," she said. "A lot of people today do not have a sense of community. We are so lucky to live in a small town where we can know our neighbors and work together to make things better for all of us."

Submitted by Fallbrook Historical Society.


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