Haven E. BEST
BEST, Haven E. Longtime West Sonoma County apple farmer and Masonic brother, took flight into "the wild blue yonder" Saturday, February 4, 2017. His enormous heart and buoyant smile inspired all who met him! Just a few weeks ahead of his 97th birthday, he passed away peacefully at his home on the Best Ranch near Graton with his family at his side. Haven was born March 3, 1920. He graduated from Analy High School 1938 and then attended Santa Rosa Junior College where in 1941, he pursued his lifelong dream of learning to fly. He became intrigued by airplanes at the age of 8, when he received a "ridable" toy airplane that he "flew" often during his childhood! "He loved flying any type of plane - especially when he was in control!" said daughter Pat. At the outset of World War II, Haven was recruited by the U.S. Army Air Corps to train pilots. At the end of the war, he served in Japan, flying A-26 planes and training pilots in anticipation of the Korean War. Before his deployment in July 1946, he convinced his superior officer to give him 3-4 days leave so that he could stop over in Sebastopol to marry his high school sweetheart, Esther Hallberg. After his military service, he returned to Sebastopol in June, 1947 to assist his father-in-law, Alfred Hallberg, with the family apple ranch, eventually taking over full management of it in 1956. Always observant, Haven knew each detail of every apple tree under his care regardless of the season. "Trees are like people," he liked to say. "If you take good care of them, they live a long time." He served on the California Apple Advisory Board and was vice-chairman of the California Apple Growers Association always promoting local apples - especially his favorite, the Gravenstein. He stayed fit into his late eighties by walking "three times around the orchard, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 9 a.m., rain or shine!" With his keen sense of awareness, he seemed to know what Mother Nature might have in store for the orchard and his prized trees. He always had the biggest and juiciest apples, which in later years, he loved to package up in brown paper grocery bags and deliver to all sorts of folks he knew around town! Haven was a member of the Masonic Lodge in Sebastopol for 68 years, where he became legendary for his feats of memory, easily reciting the longest rituals of the Lodge. Haven is remembered with love, admiration, and wide smiles by all who knew him. "I never heard him speak a bad word about anyone," said son-in-law Jim Costello. In the words of a close family friend, "The world lost a good man. Your father was so much more than what anyone could say of him. We feel so privileged to have known him!" Haven was preceded in death by Esther, his wife of 62 years. Always embracing life anew each day, at the age of 90, he married Billie Moore Herring of Sebastopol. Together they enjoyed lots of smiles and many wonderful adventures together. He is survived by his wife, Billie; daughter, Patricia, son-in-law, James Costello, and their sons, Chris, his wife Cheri; Casey and his wife Jennifer; son, William, daughter-in-law, Karleen and their daughter, Kimberly Best; by great-grandchildren, Mason, Haven, Cooper, Naia and Morgan Costello; and by his sister-in-law, Louise Hallberg. A celebration of his life will be held March 4, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. at the Masonic Hall, 373 N. Main Street, Sebastopol, and reception to follow. All attendees are welcome and encouraged to bring written stories of their favorite moments and memories. If anyone desires to make a donation in Haven's name, the family wishes that they be made either to the Sebastopol Royal Arch, 373 N. Main St., Sebastopol, CA 95472; or to the Methodist Church, 500 N. Main St., Sebastopol, CA 95472. We will all remember Haven's engaging smile and sparkling presence! He lived life with a contagious joy for which we will always be grateful!
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