On April 29th, 2020, long-time board member, Eugene Stanley will finish nearly 27 years of service to the Grange Co-op. He became a board member after his dad, Darrel Stanley, passed away in 1993. The month of May will also bring the first time in over 55 years that a Stanley hasn’t been on the board.
Eugene grew up on and still works his great-grandfather’s homestead ranch in Eagle Point. From a young age, he learned the diversity in agriculture. In addition to growing corn and hay, the Stanley family raised Jersey milk cows, beef cattle, chickens and turkeys as well. In 4-H and FFA, Eugene showed Hereford and crossbred cattle, along with raising sows and market hogs. In high school, he exhibited the champion market hog at the Jackson County Fair. He was president of the Eagle Point FFA Chapter during his senior year and he also enjoyed playing baseball. After graduating from high school in 1971, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. He was stationed at Beale Air Force Base where he met his wife, Connie. They were married, and soon after, he was stationed in England. After 4 years of service, they moved back to the ranch. Over time, the focus of the ranch narrowed to just beef cattle and hay production. In 1979, Eugene and Connie had a daughter, Jennifer.
In 1993 Eugene began his term on the board of directors, taking the place of his dad. During his time on the board, 15 years was spent as Chairman. Eugene has cared deeply about Grange Co-op as a whole and has always been concerned about all aspects of the company and its success. Over the years, he has served with many great people on the board and made lifelong friendships during that time. He has been and continues to be a loyal customer by purchasing as many ranch supplies at the Co-op as possible. He has been involved in expansions, contractions and changes in the business model during these past years. He and Connie have shopped at all the retail stores. One of Eugene’s memorable moments during his time on the board was the addition of the Yuba City Grange Co-op. Eugene was excited to share the Co-op with Connie’s family who lives there.
Eugene continues to run the ranch similarly to the way his dad did. There have been a lot of challenges over the years, as there are in most agricultural sectors. Eugene winters cows at the home place and uses a combination of private and public lands for spring pasture. The cows spend their summers in the mountains on BLM, Forest Service, and private timber company land just as Eugene’s family has done for more than 100 years. Along with pickups and trailers, the cows have been hauled to and from the mountains in a 1969 Mack truck the ranch bought used from the Co-op in 1979. Because of Eugene’s continued maintenance and care, he is still able to use the barns, houses, and shop that his family built so long ago.
Today, he works alongside his wife – Connie, his daughter – Jenny, son-in-law – Jeremy Kennedy, and sister – Susan Kendle. Eugene’s seven-year-old grandson, Callan, is the sixth generation. He is learning a lot from working beside his grandpa and the rest of the family. Eugene also has some friends and high school students that help when needed.
Grange Co-op CEO Neil Itzen stated “Eugene was involved in hiring me 10 years ago, and he was a key part of hiring me as CEO. I am very grateful for the opportunities he has helped create for myself and so many others. Eugene’s positive attitude and desire for the well-being of the Co-op and its employees will have a lasting impact.”
Grange Co-op recognizes the commitment Eugene Stanley has put into Co-op and the community over his 27 years of board service. We hope he will be able to spend his extra time with his family and continue the legacy of ranching here in the Rogue Valley.