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The Story of the Rice and Corey Families

Mary Long was only 17 years old when she joined a schooner wagon convoy heading West from Ohio with her family. She rode her horse the entire journey and helped herd cattle along the way. With a reputation for fine horsemanship, she was even proposed to by and Indian chief who offered 6 choice ponies for the “pale faced girl.” Thankfully her father politely declined and they were allowed to pass, continuing their journey until they reached California in 1864.

Family PhotoJohn and Mary Rice arrived from the Salinas Valley in1873 and settled near present day Orcutt to begin farming the fertile land. They had six children, several of whom continued farming and others who became involved with banking and education in the Santa Maria Valley including William H. Rice. William also had six children with his wife Florence, four boys and two girls. One of their sons, Marion Rice met his sweetheart at a dance after a baseball game in Orcutt during the year 1906 as a student at Santa Maria High School. Clara Stringfield belonged to the 3rd graduating class of Cal Poly in 1908 where her father was a professor for many years. She and Marion often wrote postcards back and forth from San Luis Obispo and Santa Maria, California. They married after her graduation and soon started a family, living and working in Santa Maria for the rest of their lives. Most notably, Marion became the Mayor of the city and held that office from 1932-1943. They celebrated 72 years of marriage until Clara passed away in 1980.

In store Family DisplayTheir youngest daughter, Lyndall “Bunny” Rice married Robert Corey in 1937, son of Harry and Gertrude Corey. At the time, the Corey family owned H. C. Corey Jewelers located on Main Street. In 1941, Bob Corey was born and charmed everyone as a small child, known to many in town as the “Little Mayor”. Exactly 20 years later, Bob married his high school sweetheart, Melinda Amelia Turchi and the couple had their first baby, David Michael. Melanie Corey Ferrini and Sherri Corey Pinero were born within the next eight years and completed the Corey family. Dave and Becky Corey met in 1999 at a grape grower conference held in Santa Maria. In 2001, they married and also started their first label CORE with 250 cases of wine. Through the years, they have developed three additional labels, two of which are family wine projects with Dave’s mom and uncle & his two sisters. Their first assistant winemaker was born in 2005, Fletcher Cesare Corey. His brothers, Nolan Michael joined the ranks in April of 2007 and Kellen Davis in 2010. The three are a fearless crew, who have attended more wine festivals than most adults and love spending time at the winery and tasting room.

Grandma Bunny is still a resident of Santa Maria and is full of stories and memories of bygone eras. This display is dedicated to her and highlights the six generations that have lived and worked in the Santa Maria Valley.