Elwood Dryden

Obituary of Elwood Wilmar Dryden

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Elwood Dryden June 1, 1919 - April 20, 2024 Hollister native and long time local business man, Elwood Dryden, passed away peacefully at his Ridgemark home early Saturday morning, just weeks before his 105th birthday. Elwood was born June 1, 1919 to Leslie and Hallie Dryden on the family’s ranch and attended local schools, later pursing a degree in business studies from Heald College in San Jose. As a young man, Elwood enjoyed playing the piano and performing in small bands with his friends. He also enjoyed camping and fishing in the great outdoors, beginning a life long love for the Sierras, including Yosemite and Lake Tahoe. After college, Elwood landed his first job working for a company that was paving Kings Sequoia National Park and later went to work for Permanente Cement Company in San Jose. This is where he ultimately met the love of his life, Catherine, at a work dance and the two were married in 1943. The couple later moved to Berkeley to work for the Kaiser ship building yards in Oakland and Richmond during World War II. It was during this time, in the evenings, the young couple started experimenting with steaming and pitting prunes and dipping them in chocolate in their apartment, ultimately creating dried fruit packs they started selling to local gift shops. This sparked Elwood’s passion to return to his family’s Hollister orchards and the fruit industry, which became his career and lifelong hobby. The couple moved back to Hollister to the family’s ranch and started a fruit packing business, selling their products across the U.S. Then in 1963, they opened a small fruit stand on Pacheco Pass highway to sell their products to locals and travelers alike. This small fruit stand grew over the years and ultimately became the Sugar Plum Farm, a full scale restaurant and local landmark for nearly forty years. Elwood and Cathie worked side by side as partners for sixty years, until her passing in 2003. Elwood and Cathie enjoyed spending time together with friends in Maui each year and at their vacation home in Truckee. Elwood was an avid skier and would make many weekend trips with his children when they were young and later with his grandchildren, skiing until he was 90. Elwood was a fervent reader and enjoyed keeping current with local and national politics. In his later years, Elwood enjoyed the company of his many neighbors and friends in the community he loved. Elwood is survived by his three children, Barbara Villescas (Paul), Diane Schmidt (Ted) and David Dryden (Kim). He is survived by his seven grandchildren, Chad Hayden, Chris Hayden (Kristie), Dan Dryden (Sarah), Greg Dryden (Jayme), Jenna Keller (Ben), Blake Schmidt and Kate Barry (Raph). He is also survived by his 11 great grandchildren. The family will hold a private memorial at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Elwood’s name to the Central Coast Visiting Nurses Association and Hospice, ccvna.com/donate.
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Elwood Dryden

In Loving Memory

Elwood Dryden

1919 - 2024

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