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Placer County grower leaves behind legacy

By: Bruce Warren, Journal Staf Writer
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The man given the honorary title of “Mayor of Bowman” died July 7 at age 85, yet Gil Machado lives on in the hearts and minds of those who knew him best. He had a collection of old cars, was mechanically inclined and built floats for people around town. He and his surviving wife Bobbi, 77, worked to establish Machado Orchards and the Apple Barn in Bowman, which became an area landmark. But his son Gary Machado remembers his father for other things, such as the tractor he made for him with the 3.5 horsepower motor on it, which Gary started riding when he was just 4. “It had a gearshift just like a car,” Gary Machado said. “I put many miles on that around the farm.” He remembers the 4,000 chickens his father had and picking up all the eggs. Gil Machado used to deliver those eggs all over town, his son said. He also remembers the time his father would be out late at night picking up night crawlers that would be out lying on the ground, and they would put them in buckets and sell them, later. “Everybody knew him,” Gary Machado said. “I’m not very sociable, but my Dad could talk to a telephone pole for an hour.” For Gary Machado’s sister Susie Krezman, it was the roadster her dad made for her. “He built me a 1912 Ford Speedster. It was like a Model-T roadster,” Krezman said. Gil Machado was a charter member of the Mother Lode Model-T Club and the Auburn Chamber of Commerce, but more than the car memories, it’s her father she will miss. “I’ll miss the time we spent together. It was a privilege to be his daughter,” Krezman said. “For other people, I think they will remember the way he led his life. Everyone was a friend and he treated everyone equally. He always had time to talk with people. He said his main job in our family was to be the PR person.” Ron Brown Sr., former shop teacher at Placer High School, knew Gil Machado for 60 years. The first time he met Gil, he was delivering eggs in his Studebaker. When Brown discovered that Machado was interested in older cars, that started a friendship which would last more than half a century. “We talked about Model-Ts a lot,” Brown said. For years, Brown and Machado went to Sacramento to participate in the Horseless Carriage Club that required that members have a car made in 1915 or older, according to Brown. “He was a very friendly person,” Brown said. “He was never bossy. He was just a good friend that you could count on.” Shawnie Kale, 52, who is Gary Machado’s fiancée, knew Gil Machado since she was 18, and recalls the tractor rides he used to give on his farm. “He loved people and would give them rides out to the mill pond on one of his tractors,” Kale said. “He would just pick up a customer and take them for a ride.” In April of 2000, Gil Machado was picked by his peers in the PlacerGrown to receive the Friend of Agriculture Award at a dinner hosted by the Auburn Chamber of Commerce. He was an active member of the chamber for 25 years, according to chamber CEO Bruce Cosgrove. “I always found him very warm, yet quiet,” Cosgrove said. “But if he didn’t like something, he let you know. He was always keenly interested in what the business community was doing, and wanted to be a part of it.” A rancher for 62 years, Machado was born on Feb. 27, 1923 in a farmhouse on Ridge Road in Newcastle. He had been at the Siena Care Center for the past two-and-a-half years before finally passing away of natural causes, his wife Bobbi, 77, related. The Machado family moved to Bowman in 1925, when Gil Machado’s parents purchased a pear orchard. Gil Machado began his education in 1931 at Bowman Elementary School, when there were just two teachers at the time He was a graduate of Placer High School, and the only time he left the country was when he served as a U.S. Marine, in the 6th Division, 22nd Regiment, during World War II. His family originally moved to the states from the Azores of Portugal. He is survived by his wife Bobbi, 77, and two children, Susie Krezman and husband Gary, Gary Machado, fiancée Shawn Kale, grandchildren Robert Krezman, Mindy Krezman, Buster Machado and Libby Machado. Great grandchildren include Macy, Cameron and Zerek Krezman. There will be an 11 a.m. memorial service today at Lassila Funeral Chapels on Grass Valley Highway. The Journal’s Bruce Warren can be reached at brucew@goldcountrymedia.com, or comment at AuburnJournal.com.