August 24, 1920 – July 26, 2009

Billy Post

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Named Joseph William Post III after his grandfather and father, Billy was born before there was a highway connecting Big Sur to Carmel. His great-grandfather, William Brainard Post, originally from Essex, CT, was among the first pioneers in Big Sur in the 1860s. His great-grandmother, Anselma Onesmio, was a native Costanoan from Carmel Valley. The family’s two-story home is a registered historical landmark, the last homestead still standing in Big Sur. It was a working ranch, and Billy was put to work at a young age. He drove out to gather firewood as soon as he was able to handle a team of horses (he was so young that someone else had to harness the team for him). Wood stoves consumed a lot of fuel, and keeping plenty of firewood on hand was Billy’s job. He spent time behind the traces of a mule pulling a plow, milked cows, took care of chickens and turkeys, gathered eggs and looked after livestock. He got up at 4:00 a.m. so he could finish his morning chores before the hour-long school bus ride to Monterey. After high school Bill studied animal husbandry at UC Davis. He hoped to become a veterinarian.  To finance his education he went raccoon hunting to sell the pelts and bought a bulldozer to grade and clear building sites along the coast. World War II put an end to that dream and he joined the Marine Corps and since he was a crack shot, he became a rifle instructor at Camp Matthews. He spent time in the Pacific at Nagasaki, Okinawa, Saipan, and Tinian, and he was one of the first to see Nagasaki after the bomb was dropped.

When he returned home to work on the ranch he helped build the Rancho Sierra Mar café and campground. He was employed for many years as a highway electrician for Caltrans. Bill wed in his middle thirties, and the next few years saw the birth of his two girls, Gayle and Rebecca. When that marriage ended, he raised his daughters alone.  Then he met Luci Lee, a business woman and mother of two daughters, Nancy and Linda.  In 1969 Billy married Luci, his sweetheart and the love of his life. Together they created a new family with their four daughters. In 1973 they returned to Big Sur to help his ailing parents. After their passing, Billy’s family moved into the home he had built for his parents, now called the Post House.  Later they moved to Carmel Valley.

As a man who lived most of his life far from town, Billy could fix, make-do, and repair practically everything. He loved equipment that could shape the earth.  He operated heavy equipment before and during World War II, built roads, cut fire lines, and prepared land for construction. All the tractor work in the development of Post Ranch Inn was done by Billy, and he operated the bulldozer, backhoe, and the auger that set the foundations for the inn.

Very committed to his family, Billy was a true and devoted partner to his wife Luci. They were always together and traveled extensively. He was very close to his sister, Mary Fleenor, and after her death, Bill, who hadn’t been able to finish college, put Mary’s estate into a trust to pay the educational expenses for eleven children of family and friends. He performed in many Big Sur Revues, loved to square dance, was a founding member of the Big Sur Grange and the Big Sur Historical Society, and was an active member of the Monterey Elks Lodge and Monterey Model A Car Club. He had a private pilot’s license and delighted his family by flying them on trips with their dog, Tini. Billy donated a site on the ranch for the Big Sur Volunteer Fire Department to build their firehouse, which was named in memory of his father.

Joseph William Post III