PROFILE OF A MUSEUM VOLUNTEER
Stan Coito was born November 29, 1931 at St. Agnes hospital in Fresno, California to Josephine and Joe Coito, Portuguese Immigrants from the Azores Islands. His parents owned a dairy farm near Easton where Stan worked milking cows, bailing and hauling alfalfa hay, working in the cotton field and harvesting the products at harvest time.
Stan attended West Park Elementary, Washington Colony Elementary and graduated from Washington Union High School in 1949.
After joining the Navy in March, 1951, Stan was sent to San Diego for his basic training. After completing basic training he was sent to Vallejo, California where he boarded the attack cargo ship USS Montague AKA98, dry docked at Mare Island. On June 9, 1951, Stan was assigned to the deck force as Assault Boat Coxswain on the 40MM guns. The Montague participated in assault landings in Korea and also in the evacuation of the Vietnamese from Hanoi to Saigon Vietnam in operation Passage to Freedom. Stan served on the Montague until he was honorably discharged at the rank of Boatswains Mate Second Class in March, 1955.
Stan continued to serve his country in the Naval Reserves, instructing classes at the Naval Reserve station in Fresno, California until 1959. During this time he met Loretta Merk, a sister of one of his fellow reservists. They married January 19, 1957 and have celebrated their 60th Wedding Anniversary. Stan and Loretta have five children, Carla, Bryan, Darin, Kim and Mari. They have also been blessed with ten grandchildren and thirteen great grandchildren.
In September, 1957 Stan enrolled in Fresno City College under the GI bill, then continued at Fresno State College majoring in Industrial Arts Education. He also took a little time during the late 50's, early 60's to enjoy his hobby of racing hard tops. After four years of full time college he went to work at Fresno Auto Parts as a salesman. He took evening classes for seven years, graduating in 1968.
Stan's teaching career began at Houghton Kearney Elementary School. After eleven years he accepted a position at West Park School District as Principal and Superintendent. He stayed with West Park until he had the opportunity to teach for the prison system, working at Avenal, Corcoran and Chowchilla; retiring in 1995.
After retirement Stan continued to be involved with the community by joining the Community Integrated Work Program; working with the developmentally disabled from 1995 until April, 2016.
Stan heard about the Veteran's Memorial Museum through his cousin Fred Machado, and joined the docent staff in August, 2016.