Posted by: Bonnie Phelps | October 28, 2011

Friends of Calvin Rainford


Cal Rainford was one of our honorary ‘Mayor’s of the Mountain’  for about four decades.  He and his wife Doris moved to Palomar in the early 1970’s.


They lived in a tiny ‘caboose’ on their property while designing and building their home on Crestline.

Cal was a regular at ‘The Porch’ in front of the General Store.   The photos of him were taken when the David Letterman Show filmed on Palomar with Biff Henderson’s ”Small Towns of America’ series.

The Porch?  Oh, you know, that is where you go to learn all about things Palomar and more.  After listing a neighboring cabin to Cal, that had been closed up for over 10 years, I stopped by the  Porch one day and we had the following conversation:

Cal:  So you listed ole’ Pogeral’s cabin?

Me:  Sure did, what can you tell me about that cabin?

Cal:  I loaned my wood chipper to ole Pog, that son-of-a-gun.   He up ‘n died about 10 years ago and I sure would like to git it out of his workshop.  I’ve been meaning to use my bolt cutters on that padlock, and take it back.

(He took a puff on his cigarette)

 But if it was over at my place, I might think I need to use that chipper, and I really don’t want to do that…  

(Sip of coffee)

Don’t you go try turning on the water at that place.  The pipes froze up years ago and that would make an awful mess…  

(puff and sip)

That bedroom on the west side?  It’s on the neighbor’s land. I’ll show you the surveyor pipes that prove it.

Another story about Cal that perhaps many people do not know is what a beautiful voice he had.  One day I was visiting him at Villa Del Rey.  People from a church came in the dining room and gave a Christmas Program.  The group was playing instruments and singing beautiful old hymns and carols.  Cal surprised me and started singing along.  Not just on the chorus, but the verses too, all of them!  He knew every word and sang like he’d been practicing with them for weeks.  When the program was over, I looked at him in admiration and commented about his voice.  He had tears in his eyes and told me he sang in a men’s choir.  Thought about it for a minute then turned to me and said, in true Cal form, “Now don’t you go tellin’ everybody!”

Ah, many of us are missin’ ole Cal.

Calvin Rainford passed away Tuesday Oct. 25, 2011.

 Cal’s service was beautiful at Fort Rosecrans San Diego with a Military Flag Ceremony and Taps.

Following the service, his daughter Debbie had a reception at her home.

From: Debra Brandon

Thank you sooo much Bonnie, for attending my dad’s services and sharing what you did.  I did know that he could sing like a bird.  As a child, I knew when he came home from work because I’d hear him whistling a tune as he walked up to the front door, and after dinner, he’d go straight to his garage to work on some project each night…..while in the garage he’d have his music playing and sing along to every song.  The garage door to the kitchen was always open, so his voice was part of our family always.  I did NOT know he once sang in a choir, but then, you know my dad, and it is highly possible this was BS.  LOL  No matter, I simply wanted to thank you again from the bottom of my heart, for taking time, for being there, for sharing, for posting the info about him, and for loving my dad. Love to you….


  1. I met Cal four years ago when I started working @ Emeritus at Escondido (Villa del Rey). He was the light at the begining of my work day. He would come out and say hey kiddo( I promise it was’nt me) We here at Emeritus have thought of and missed him dearly. My condolences go out to Debbie and family. We will reunite in paradise soon.
    ~ Suzie~

  2. I met Calvin while he lived at Villa Del Rey (Emeritus @ Escondido) and missed him dearly when he moved away. He was always the bright side to my days working there! What a wonderful man, and what a goofy character… Love him and miss him!

  3. I am so sad to hear of Cal’s passing. My husband Ben and I lived on the mountain for about four years. (We moved from there in 1997.) Doris and Cal were very special to us. Our son, Cody was about four years old and Cal had taken a liken to him. That was his “buddy”. Cody is now 19 and still remembers his ol’ buddy Cal.

    My heart is so sad that I didn’t try to locate him sooner.

    Please give our condolences to the family.


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