Ed Stokes' 90th birthday is so big, it takes up a couple of weeks on the calendar.
"When you turn 90 years old, you can't have a birthday in one day," said Stokes. "You've got to celebrate the birthday for a few weeks. We've been doing that."
For the birthday lowdown, Patch did a little telephone interview with the founder ofinterrupting a little birthday celebration Tuesday afternoon at Postino Restaurant. The actual birthday is a week from now, Nov. 20, but that's one of the busiest days of a grocer's year two days before Thanksgiving — so the Stokeses and Diablo Foods low-key it then. Diablo will offer some festive cupcakes and candies to mark the 90th, said daughter Connie Stokes Collier.
For decades Stokes has been known as the "honorary mayor" of Lafayette for his diverse civic involvement. Official recognition of the honorary mayor's 90th birthday is on the agenda for tonight's City Council meeting. The council meets at 7 p.m. tonight (Tuesday) at the community hall of the Lafayette Library and Learning Center, 3491 Mount Diablo Blvd., Lafayette.
"I feel very honored," said Stokes. Decades ago, "all the service clubs had people who ran for honorary mayor. Votes were a dollar apiece, with 90 percent of that going back to the city. I raised a few thousand dollars more than anyone and that's why I'm the honorary mayor."
Stokes, who founded Diablo Foods 44 years ago, was named the 2010 retailer of the year by the California Independent Grocers Association. The Diablo Foods and Stokes family tree is explained on the Diablo website.
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