Native Maderan Darwin Shebelut, a business leader who built a car dealership, a housing development and two shopping centers, and helped build Madera Community Hospital, died Monday, Dec. 16.
I remember him well. When he had his Shebelut car dealership across from the post office, I always used to take my wife’s car and my pickup there for repairs. A friend of ours, Mr. Paul Vizcarra, who lived one block from my house, was a mechanic there and always would take care of our cars. Also a good friend of mine, Henry Soto, worked there as a car painter; and he and I used to play softball with the Owls softball team — 1952, 1953 and 1954, in Madera, in the Night Ball Association.
Mr. Shebelut was a very active member of the Rotary Club. In 1977, my brother Oscar and I were coaching the Rotary baseball team in Babe Ruth League and won the league championship. Mr. Shebelut call me and told me and my brother Oscar that the Rotary Club had invited us to Lucca’s Restaurant and bring the Rotary team as their guests. When we got there at Lucca’s, they had little baskets going around the tables, collecting money to send us to go see the San Francisco Giants.
After the meal, Mr. Shebelut called me the next day, and he told me that he had an advertisement with his Shebelut car dealership with the Giants, and all that money they collected at Lucca’s ... they saved all that money for 1978 and bought us new uniforms.
Playing with that Rotary 1977 team were Randy Alexander, Alex Chapa, Freddie Chapa, Eddie Espinosa, Ernie Espinosa, Mike Gillilland, Brett McCullough, Wayne Padilla, Danny Pitman, David Ramirez, Manuel Rivera, Mark Rivera, Oscar Chapa, manager, and Eddie Chapa, coach.