John Valentine Stahl, Jr.

Date of Birth

October 16, 1942

Date of Death

June 11, 2022

John V. Stahl passed away at the age of 79, with his daughter by his side, after a month-long post-surgery battle made more difficult from his complex health care conditions.

John was born in Brawley, CA to John Valentine Stahl, Sr., and Maydelle (Phillips) Stahl, the first of two sons. The family moved all around the western states, but eventually settled in Lompoc, CA.  He and his younger brother, Charles, both graduated from Lompoc High. John loved the area’s natural beauty and the free-spirited, progressive minded people of Santa Barbara County. He spent most of his decades living in Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez Valley.

John met and married his first wife, Janette Carr in Santa Barbara. He graduated from University of Hawaii in 1966 with a degree in Political Science. They welcomed their only child, Sarah, in 1970. He took great pride in his role of Papa Bear for his entire life. In Sarah’s younger years, the family spent a lot of happy times van camping in California and Oregon, visiting friends and family, swimming, beach combing, listening to music, fishing, reading, and playing with their dogs and cats.

During the 1980’s, John and his second wife, Lorraine LaFargue, and his stepson John Paul LaFargue moved a historic Solvang house and a florist shop to Ballard- where they restored and remodeled them both. The whole family spent countless hours fund-raising and entertaining for multiple local political campaigns.

In the late 90’s, he met and married his third and beloved wife, Shelley (Rymer) Stahl.  They had sixteen happy and busy years together in Solvang and Arroyo Grande. They remodeled several homes and gardens, pampered their dogs and cats, traveled, and finally semi-retired. Shelley died far too young, in 2016, and John was never quite his whole self again after her loss. He moved to Bend, Oregon to be close to his daughter and relish in his role of Grandpa Bear to his only grandson, Ian Valentine.  He enjoyed the Oregon life, drank good wine, barbequed tasty salmon, adventured on several fishing trips, rambled down quite a few dirt roads scheming on projects, and cheered at Ian’s school events and baseball games.

John had a long career, in both the government and private sector. He worked for fifteen years for several Santa Barbara County Supervisors- Jim Slater, Bill Wallace, and Dianne Owens. He was a key player in getting both the Santa Barbara to UCSB bike route and the Goleta Valley Community Center built. He then used his knowledge of land use permitting processes and California law in the private sector as a consultant. He worked on a couple different oil pipelining projects in the 90’s, before finally pursuing his passion in renewable energy.  He started investigating the Lompoc area for wind power potential in 2000. Twenty-two years later, largely due to his dogged persistence, his legacy project the 98-Megawatt Strauss Wind Energy farm is set to be operational next year. He was still pursuing some solar projects in Oregon when he passed away.

A celebration of life will be held at Kaena Wine in Solvang on Sunday, November 20th. Friends and colleagues are welcome to attend, for details and RSVP- please contact Sarah Stahl at


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