Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Biographies


The life record of Otto D. Stoesser is the story of a man whose talents were used for the benefit of Watsonville and the Pajaro valley. He seemed to know intuitively when the time was ripe for the institution of a new project and his very personality was an inspiration to progress. Gifted with keen insight and a broad grasp of affairs, he was constantly increasing the scope of his activities and left the impress of his individuality upon many lines of the city's development. He sought no public office, preferring to keep his personality in the background, and his demeanor was ever marked by that courtesy which is the outward manifestation of a generous, kindly nature. His career was conspicuously useful and his death, on the 29th of January, 1923, at the age of fifty-four years, was an irreparable loss to his community and state.

Mr. Stoesser was a lifelong resident of Watsonville and a son of Otto and Elizabeth J. (Doran) Stoesser, pioneers in the settlement of the Pajaro valley. Of the children in their family, all have passed away with the exception of a daughter, Julia M. Stoesser. The father was the holder of much valuable real estate in Watsonville and rendered signal service to the city, which numbered him among its builders and promoters. In 1872 he erected the Stoesser block, which at that time was the finest in this locality and is still standing on Main street. He was also a forceful factor in the agricultural development of the valley and the large ranch on the Beach road was a part of his estate.

His enterprising spirit and business ability were qualities inherited in full measure by his son, Otto D. Stoesser, who attended the public schools of Watsonville and was subsequently graduated from the Santa Clara University. After his father's death he assumed charge of the estate and successfully administered the interests intrusted to his care, consisting of large business properties in Watsonville and many acres of farm land in the valley. For many years he was president and manager of the large retail business on Main street which his father had founded in the early days and which was afterwards merged with the Pajaro Valley Mercantile Company. He was one of the organizers and the vice president of the L. D. McLean Grocery Company of San Francisco and a stockholder in various corporations. He was the executive head of the Appleton Investment Company and was largely responsible for the construction of the Appleton Hotel & Theater building, which is a great asset to the city and stands on land owned by that company. He found much enjoyment in the solution of complex business problems and gave his best efforts to every task that he undertook, never failing to reach his objective, while the methods which he employed were always honorable and straightforward.

Mr. Stoesser was twice married, his second union being with Miss Anna M. Farlin, a native of Eureka, California, and a representative of one of the pioneer families of the state. They were married August 18, 1915, and became the parents of two daughters, Mary Elizabeth and Rose Anne.

Mr. Stoesser was a benefactor of the St. Francis Orphanage, and a faithful follower of the precepts of St. Patrick's Catholic church, which lost a tower of strength in his passing. He took quite an interest in politics and served on the county central committee of the democratic party. He was active in behalf of the Watsonville Chamber of Commerce and the Young Men's Christian Association. He was honored with the presidency of the California Apple Show and was also chosen a member of the Redwood Park Commission of California. He belonged to Watsonville Council, No. 953, of the Knights of Columbus; to the local lodge of the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, and was also a member of Watsonville Parlor, No. 65, of the Native Sons of the Golden West. He was a keen analyst of men and conditions and his mind bore the impress of sincerity and candor. His was a many-sided, forceful personality and his life was an inspiring example of good citizenship. Broad-minded, sympathetic and genial, Mr. Stoesser won friends wherever he went and the years served to strengthen his hold upon their esteem, for his was a character altogether admirable.

Source: History of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties, California : cradle of California's history and romance : dating from the planting of the cross of Christendom upon the shores of Monterey Bay by Fr. Junipero Serra, and those intrepid adventurers who accompanied him, down to the present day. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1925, 890 pgs.