It is with great sadness that we announce that local farmer Charles “Charlie” William Bontadelli passed away at Watsonville Community Hospital on Wednesday, February 26, 2020. He was born in June of 1928 in Watsonville, CA. He graduated from Watsonville High School in 1946.
In 1969 he met his wife, Marybeth Bowen Bontadelli. They were together for 51 years and lived in Aptos, CA. He is survived by his wife, 3 children; Diana Waage, Carol Smidt-Shaw and Kirkland Smidt, 5 grandchildren; Karen Waage, Asha Roberts, Robyn Roberts, Jason Smidt, and Morgan Smidt, one great-granddaughter, nephew Steve Bontadelli, and numerous other nieces and nephews.
Charlie farmed along with his father Earnest in the La Selva Beach area from a very young age. After high school, he began farming full time. He was joined by his brother Ernest, following the death of their father, and they formed the Bontadelli Brothers partnership. The brothers farmed many of the crops grown in the Central Coast area, leasing properties all along San Andreas Road. Charlie was a very dedicated and proficient grower. He excelled at farm mechanics, welding, fabrication, and just about anything needed to keep the farm running smoothly. He developed and built the first self-propelled Brussels sprout harvesting machine in the late ’60s and in the ’80s designed another, more modern harvesting machine. Joined by nephew Steve in the early ’80s, the brothers became partners in the Pfyffer Associates Brussels sprouts packing operation on the westside of Santa Cruz where they packed and shipped product for their own farm and several other growers up the coast from Santa Cruz.
Charlie could be found either out on a tractor or in the shop nearly every day, as his work ethic was unparalleled. He knew the effort needed to be a successful farmer and he earned the respect of fellow farmers. The fruits of his labor were evidenced by the immaculate look of the farms and shop in which he took tremendous pride.
Charlie was also a lifetime member of the Watsonville Elks Lodge. He was dearly beloved and respected for his kind and generous nature and was an excellent host to all who entered his home. He will be forever missed and remembered with love.
A Celebration of Life was held on Saturday, April 25, 2020, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Seacliff Inn in Aptos. Donations to Pajaro Valley Shelter Services would be preferred in lieu of flowers.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Charles W. Bontadelli, please visit our floral store.