Lafayette Fetes Ed Stokes On 90th Birthday

Recognition for 'honorary mayor' and founder of Diablo Foods is on the agenda of tonight's Lafayette City Council meeting.

Ed Stokes' 90th birthday is so big, it takes up a couple of weeks on the calendar.

"When you turn 90 years old, you can't have a birthday in one day," said Stokes. "You've got to celebrate the birthday for a few weeks. We've been doing that."

For the birthday lowdown, Patch did a little telephone interview with the founder ofinterrupting a little birthday celebration Tuesday afternoon at Postino Restaurant. The actual birthday is a week from now, Nov. 20, but that's one of the busiest days of a grocer's year two days before Thanksgiving — so the Stokeses and Diablo Foods low-key it then. Diablo will offer some festive cupcakes and candies to mark the 90th, said daughter Connie Stokes Collier.

For decades Stokes has been known as the "honorary mayor" of Lafayette for his diverse civic involvement. Official recognition of the honorary mayor's 90th birthday is on the agenda for tonight's City Council meeting. The council meets at 7 p.m. tonight (Tuesday) at the community hall of the Lafayette Library and Learning Center, 3491 Mount Diablo Blvd., Lafayette.

"I feel very honored," said Stokes. Decades ago, "all the service clubs had people who ran for honorary mayor. Votes were a dollar apiece, with 90 percent of that going back to the city. I raised a few thousand dollars more than anyone and that's why I'm the honorary mayor."

Stokes, who founded Diablo Foods 44 years ago, was named the 2010 retailer of the year by the California Independent Grocers Association. The Diablo Foods and Stokes family tree is explained on the Diablo website.

The comment section is below if you want to wish Ed Stokes a happy birthday.

Burt Kaufman November 15, 2012 at 08:40 AM
Congrats to a real great senior success story -http://www.SeniorCountry.org
Nice and Rough November 15, 2012 at 09:18 AM
I don't know Ed other than what I've read about his contributions to various groups, such as Town Hall Theater, and what not. Maybe somebody can answer a question for me. Is he still active and able to get around? I hope so. He sounds like a nice man and I wish him many more wonderful birthdays. I hope I can get around and be part of a community when I'm 90. Nobody in my family (4 grandparents & 2 parents) has made it beyond 73 despite being physically fit so odds aren't in my favor. But, I can hope.
Love Lafayette November 15, 2012 at 04:20 PM
The night of the Loma Prieta earthquake, Ed and Betty drove to Diablo Foods after business hours, set up tables with free flashlights, batteries, candles, and water; gave them out, and asked people if there was anything else they needed ... I could tell you 25 more stories like that, but the bottom line is, Ed Stokes has lived his life looking for ways to give to others. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MR STOKES !
Shirley Sutton November 16, 2012 at 03:04 AM
Ed and Betty Stoked are a gift to this community. Not only for their generosity, but for there many kindnesses to everyone. I am proud to call them my friends/family for many years. I love you Big Ed! Happy, happy Birthday and many more to come. Shirley Sutton
Shirley Sutton November 16, 2012 at 03:12 AM
Correction - I know better, Stokes, not Stoked, my typing!!!! Tsk, tsk.


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