This year’s Senior Mr. and Mrs. Escalon, Doug and Diane Alcorn, were feted at a Tuesday luncheon, July 9, recognized for their involvement in and contributions to the community. They will also take part in the Escalon Park Fete parade on Saturday morning, July 13, scheduled to ride along the parade route in a horse drawn carriage.
Doug and Diane met while attending Modesto Junior College. Music has always been a big part of Doug’s life and he played tuba in the Wind Symphony each semester. Their first date was when Doug asked Diane to attend one of his concerts. Tradition was that the members of the Wind Symphony would gather at a local restaurant for dessert after the concert. Doug’s car was not working that evening and he had to borrow his dad’s work truck. Diane remembers Doug having to move tools so she could sit in the passenger side of the truck. She rode to the local restaurant with her feet on top of a coil of rope that was sitting on the floor board. This was nothing new to Diane since she grew up on a ranch and was used to riding in the ranch pickups.
Doug was raised in Modesto graduating from Downey High School and then MJC. He worked summers picking peaches, filtering honey and then for Olander and Williams Roofing Company which had been purchased by his dad. Doug eventually went to work full-time for the roofing business and years later he and Diane purchased a portion of the company from his parents. After a number of years, Doug decided to leave the company to work as a controller. He retired in 2013.
Doug is one of the founding members of Knight Sounds which began as a Downey Alumni band for Downey’s 40-year celebration. The group had such a great time playing that they stayed together and in 1991 became a local Big Band Group, playing for many, many events at all type of venues. The group is a non-profit providing scholarships for local students studying music. Doug was fortunate enough to play with the group when they made a C.D. Doug no longer plays with the group but he and Diane were in attendance when they made their debut at the Gallo Center in Modesto.
Doug has been member of the Masonic Lodge for over 40 years. He has served Escalon Lodge as Master and became Secretary over 20 years ago. He has been named “Mason of the Year” twice for his contributions to Escalon Lodge. He was the chair of the Public Schools Program for over 10 years. Each school in the Escalon district was asked to select an outstanding student representative. That student, their family and teacher were invited to a dinner held at the Masonic Temple Building. At the dinner each student was honored by having their teacher speak about the student prior the student receiving a certificate.
Diane was raised in Escalon on the family almond and walnut ranch. Her family has been farming on the same ranch since the early 1920’s and will soon celebrate 100 years. She graduated from Escalon High School, Modesto Junior College and Oregon State University. She completed her intern work in Dietetics through the University of California, Berkeley. For the last 39 years she has served as the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and the Director of Nutrition and Food Services at Oak Valley Hospital in Oakdale. She is also a Certified Diabetes Educator volunteering numerous hours at health fairs and local programs to provide education for people with diabetes.
Doug and Diane were married in September of 1976. They were living in Modesto when they decided to start a family. Diane asked that they move to Escalon in time for the children to begin school. They made it with a year to spare. Diane’s parents were kind enough to allow them to build on the ranch. At first they lived in 700 square feet. Ten years later they remodeled. Doug did most of the work himself, adding a second story expanding the footprint of the home. They have lived on the family ranch for over 30 years.
As their two girls grew so did their involvement in the Escalon community. This came naturally to them as they were raised in families that were active in the community in which they lived. Doug and Diane were both leaders for Van Allen 4-H. Diane also helped out as a co-community leader and assisted the members in carrying on the tradition of the Hunter’s Breakfast which is still held each fall. They spent countless hours each year before and during the San Joaquin County Fair assisting the 4-H members with their exhibits.
In order to support education in Escalon, Diane served on the site council for Van Allen School. She later served for 12 years as a member of the Escalon Unified School District School Board during the time the district was successful in completing the Performing Arts/Library/Cafeteria building. She served as President and was the first member to complete the California School Board Masters in Governance Program.
Together Diane and Doug volunteered as Band Booster parents and chaperoned numerous band trips.
Doug and Diane are both members of the Escalon Sunrise Rotary Club. Being members has allowed them to focus support for the local community over the years through a large variety of hands on projects. The most memorable project was the two student health fairs, chaired by Diane. The first was held at Dent and the second for the rural schools at Van Allen. As members of Escalon Rotary they participate in the fundraising activities such as Oktoberfest and Super Bowl Breakfast. They often take on leadership roles. These activities allow support of high school scholarships, opportunities for high school juniors to attend leadership camps, Escalon Youth Center, a Christmas dinner and summer BBQ for the seniors in the local community. Diane is once again serving as one of this year’s presidents. They both volunteer at the district level on the Sergeant-At-Arms team.
Doug and Diane are longtime members of the Friends of the Escalon Library as they recognize the importance literacy plays in the success of the members of the community.
They have also provided long term support for Escalon Community Ambulance. Diane has been a member of the Board for a number of years and currently serves as President.
Doug and Diane will soon celebrate their 43rd wedding anniversary and are extremely proud of their two daughters, their two son-in-laws and their two granddaughters.