Pete, the Face of Geyserville
If you happen to be on the streets of Geyserville at 6 a.m., you’re likely to see Pete Stone starting his daily rounds.
With garbage bags hanging from his pockets, Stone’s first stop is usually the Geyserville Market, where he gets his first cup of coffee. Just before 7 a.m., he comes back in time to help open the Geyserville Mud coffee shop, putting out tables and chairs before he sits down for breakfast.
On Mondays he helps store owners put out their garbage cans, and on Tuesdays he helps them take the cans in.
For as long as anyone can remember, Stone has been lovingly cleaning Geyserville’s streets.
A few years back, the Geyserville Chamber of Commerce purchased signs and Syar Industries erected them on both ends of town. “Geyserville thanks Pete Stone,” they say.
A man of few words, Stone has little to say about the honor, or about himself for that matter. Locals don’t ask, accepting him at face value and protecting him as one of their own.
Stone says his family was on its way to Oregon from Monterey in 1961 when they stopped in Geyserville. They bought a house and never left.
Stone graduated from Geyserville High School, spent a few years as an Army firefighter at Fort Riley, Kan., then joined the Geyserville Volunteer Fire Department. Forty years later he is still volunteering.
He didn’t learn to drive, so twice a day Stone walks into town from the house he shared with his mother until her death. In 1976, he says, “the town started looking like a dump, so I started picking up trash.”
Townsfolk have quietly supported him over the years, providing meals, work and hundreds of garbage bags, the type Stone prefers. No one speaks about it. They just do it, considering it part of life in a small town.
At a time when most people Stone’s age are retiring, the only thing that slows him down is bad feet. As he says, “It comes with getting old.”
Each year the Chamber honors him with a dinner and gives him a gift certificate to his favorite restaurant, Adel’s in Healdsburg. People protect him, and some wonder what will become of the place when Stone is too old to continue.
“It will look just like L.A.,” says Doug Waelde of North County Properties, only partly in jest.
Read about all 10 people chosen as Towns’ “Faces of Sonoma County.”