Paul Joseph Leavens, Jr.,
March 24, 2000

Santa Paula High School
Coming from a third generation Santa Paula family, Paul was raised on La Vuelta Place in a loving home with his father, Paul Sr., Class of 1916, and mother Anne Oberhelman, a large imposing woman of German stock, who was a good cook and loved children. Three sisters, Mary Anne, Class of 1945, Dorothy, originally Class of 1946 who graduated early in 1945, and Sarah, Class of 1949, complete this family group. Next door were Mike (‘45) and Jake (‘50) Kaplan, and on the other side lived Jim (‘37) and Sally (‘49) Lincoln. The house was always full of friends of all the children. Paul also grew up in a community with many aunts, uncles and cousins. Paul began his schooling at McKevett, but when World War II came along Paul Sr. was recruited as a Navy captain and the family moved to Jacksonville, Florida. When Paul Sr. finished his service in 1945, the family came back to resume their normal life, and the children completed their education at SPUHS.In high school Paul kept busy in FFA, Hi-Y, baseball and football, including playing on the Ventura County Championship team his senior year under the legendary “Dink” Walker and John Burleson.After graduating, he went to Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington, where his two older sisters were already attending. He graduated with a degree in Business Administration, and it was here he met his future wife, Carolyn Douglass, whom he married in 1950.After graduation Paul went into the Navy, and served two years on a ship that was home ported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and operated in the western Pacific from 1951 to 1954. Paul left the Navy as a Lieutenant JG. While stationed in Hawaii, Paul and Carolyn shared many fun times with old friends Hoot (‘47) and Donna Bennett. Hoot was in charge of a radio station on the island of Oahu at this time.Following discharge, Paul came home to farm the family farm west of Santa Paula. His $250 per month salary was quite a comedown after pulling down $450 a month in the Navy. Starting with 100 acres of lima beans, Paul increased the company’s holdings to over 1,000 acres in Ventura and Monterey counties. The crops now are all lemons and avocados.
Paul has served on the Calavo Board for 15 years, serving a term as chairman. He was on the Production Credit Association Board for 15 years, the majority of time as chair. He also served on the Sunkist board for 17 years and the Executive Committee as vice chairman. He is presently on the Saticoy Lemon Board as a director, as well as the chairman of the Ventura County Republican Party.Paul and Carolyn have been busy raising their four children: “Link” of Ventura, who plans to take over as the general manager of the Leavens Ranches on Paul’s retirement this year; Tina, who lives in New Hampshire; Leslie, living in Ventura; and Heather, who lives in Denver, Colorado.Paul was selected Agriculturist of the Year 1999 by the Ventura County Fair Board of Directors; and Carolyn was the founding president of the Ventura County California Women in Agriculture, local and state president of American Agri-Women, and is well known as an advocate of business, women’s issues and education.

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