If you have ever been to a coffee shop between Greenfield and Twain Harte, you have probably met Dick Shaug. He was born June 5, 1930 and raised in Cambria, California as the oldest son of a family of eight children.
Dick started off his career at a very young age farming in the Salinas Valley until he joined the Army at the age of 19. Wanting to follow in his cousin Mervyn’s footsteps who was a paratrooper in WWII, Dick joined the 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment (Rakkasans) in 1949. He spent almost two years in Korea with H company and fought in several major battles during the war. During this time, he became pen pals with a sweet Italian girl named Dolores Rava, whom he quickly married after he returned home. Dick was proud of his service but never talked much about the war. He had fond memories of friends lost in combat as well as friends he had during the almost 50 years of reunions he attended after the war.
In 1954, Dick and Dolores married and settled down in Greenfield, California. In 1956, their twin boys Jerry and Larry were born. Dick went back into farming initially and then ended up at NH3 welding and fabricating. Dick wasn’t a man to sit around, so he also volunteered as a firefighter and sheriff in town. He also owned and operated a small equipment repair machine shop and nursery. In 1989, he sold his shop and retired to Twain Harte, California, with Dolores.
Dick was Mr. Congeniality and had just about as many friends as he did coins, knives, memorabilia, collectibles and random odds and ends. He was a man of many talents and ideas, but also an extreme hobbyist who considered his junk a valuable collection.
Dick will be remembered by his wife and sons as a husband and father who you could count on and never leave you with a dull moment.
His grandkids have fond memories of their time with their Nonno. He was a great storyteller who would share amazing stories of his younger days, such as swimming in the famous pools at Hearst Castle, where his uncle worked as a groundskeeper. He liked to show his incredible strength with his vice grip hands, squeezing their shoulders and knees or karate chopping people who would cut him off on the road even in his 80s. They will remember how proud he was of his Native American heritage as a member of the Xolon Tribe, and all of the arrowheads and peace pipes he would make with things he found in nature. They will also remember his passion for collecting and creating. He found lots of joy in repurposing just about anything a man could think of and would often share his creations with his grandchildren. They will remember all of the fun times spent barbecuing and exploring at his home which, to them, had all the whimsy of a Disneyland junkyard.
He will be remembered by his extended family and friends for his charisma and strong personality. There wasn’t a person who knew Dick that didn’t know he was a badass. He was tough as nails, did not easily show emotion, and was not someone to be messed with. Although he had a rough exterior, he also had a softness that showed through his appreciation for nature. He would pull massive rocks from creek beds just to see the beauty in them after they were cleaned up. He was always digging up or hauling something, collecting coins or random things he found, and keeping busy inventing and creating all sorts of interesting items. Dick lived the life he wanted to live and was ornery til the end. This is who Dick Shaug was, and no one was going to change that. He will be missed.
Dick is survived by his wife Dolores, his sons Jerry (Carol) and Larry Shaug, foster son Carlos Partida, grandchildren Ryan (Amy) Shaug, Amanda (James) Hill, Matthew (Rashell) Shaug, Jenna (Michael) Locke, Chelsea Partida, seven great- grandchildren, his brother Carl Shaug and family, sister Aurora Bernal Casper and brother Daniel “Danny” Bernal.