Noel Ryan says life is simple in the Paso Robles and Creston area — just the way he likes it.
“I grew up and people change,” he said. “But the people are still friendly. And it’s still rural even though we have grown.”
Ryan, 63, is general manager of Farm Supply Co.’s store in Paso Robles, a job he has held for the past 37 years. He has lived in Creston, a rural area about 15 miles out of the city, all his life.
As a child, he fished in rural farm ponds, climbed trees and went on adventures in the hills.
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“In our growing up years, we’d ride horses often without saddles,” he said. “We’d just hop on and go. You could go just about anywhere, and no one bothered you.”
And while he had the countryside’s wide open spaces at his fingertips, even as a young boy he was mindful to stay out of trouble.
“Back then, everybody knew everybody — so you had to be good,” he said with a grin.
“Those were always a big deal,” he said.
He recalls a time when Paso Robles’ only stop light was at 13th and Spring streets.
He was taught in Creston’s two-room schoolhouse — with just three students in his eighth-grade graduating class. After grammar school, Ryan took a bus into town to attend Paso Robles High School where he graduated in 1969. He enjoyed high school sports — competing in the swimming, baseball and football teams.
“I wasn’t a star, I just had a good time,” Ryan said. “When you’re part of a sports team you have friends that you have for life.”
He also married his high school sweetheart, Nancy Root, who accepted his invitation to attend prom even when Ryan had a broken leg in a cast. They married in 1974.
A year earlier, Ryan took a job as a fieldsman for a fertilizer company that was eventually purchased by Farm Supply Co. He became general manager of its store in Paso Robles in 1977.
Ryan enjoys interacting with the area’s farmers and ranchers at the store. But at the end of the work day, it’s all about the simple pleasures — time with family and tending to his garden with tomatoes, peppers and squash.