‘Dick’ Nock, a Legacy, Mentor and Friend to All •


On a cold morning in Cayucos, California, old friends sat around a campfire at their friend’s ranch. As the polenta stirred and cooked in the pot, they laughed and shared memories of a man who will never be forgotten.

On paper, Richard Dick Leo Nock was a cattle rancher, a cattle industry advocate, a stockman and an Army veteran.

Richard Dick Nock

For those who knew him personally, Nock was a lover of eggs that needed to be broken, horns that needed to be beaten, nicknames, and most of all cattle.

There were also many things Nock was not a fan of. Like half-empty cans of soda or slamming the door of his Jeep Cherokee because it wasn’t a ranch!

But deep down inside, Nock was a good man.

Jo-Ann Switzer said: Since Dick’s death, many people around the world have called to tell him how much he had done for them and that they would not be where they are today without his help – he truly had a heart of gold underneath.

Nok was born and raised on the Phelan Ranch in Cambria, California, where her great-grandfather, Jeffrey Phelan, settled in 1858 after emigrating from Ireland.

As a child, Nock worked on the Fiscalini ranch. And for a brief time, at the age of 14, Nock worked at Hearst Castle for the greatest man, William Randolph Hearst.

But his stay at Hearst did not last long and ended, to make a long story short, with a broken nose!

After graduating from Santa Clara University in 1953 with a bachelor’s degree in economics, Nock served in the U.S. Army as a pilot from 1953 to 1957.

At the time, Nock served in the U.S. Armed Forces in Korea and then as a flight instructor at the U.S. Army Flight School at Fort Rucker, Alabama.

Nock then returned home and served as a logistics officer for the U.S. Property and Finance Administration (USPFO) at Camp San Luis from 1959 to 1966.

Under the guidance of his father-in-law, Henry Gilardi, Nock began raising cattle and hams in the Cayucos in 1957 and created his T-Diamond Cattle brand.

In 1966, Nock got into the cattle business by purchasing Templeton Trading Yard, the epitome of cattle farming and everything he loved.

Dick and Claude

Over the past 20 years, we’ve all had to deal with a sales camp – it would have meant something to us, says Jesse Renteria, the longtime manager of the Nock ranch.

Then Claude Loftus laughed and said that if you were connected to Nock, you had to work at the shipyard for at least one weekend.

There was almost always a blow in the yard, whether it was a crow’s nest or a broken egg in Hoover’s cattle yard.

Pete Clark said: Dick’s other great passion was the Templeton depository. When they decided to take him down, he almost killed him.

Ahead of his time, Nock founded SLOCO Fed Beef, a leading consumer beef company, in 1974. This company was the first and only in California with a fully integrated beef production and sales operation.

In 1989, Nock joined Clark in Paso Robles, where he worked closely with Pete Clark.

When Dick joined me in real estate, we sold the ranch, and somehow he was always the first to rent it, Clark laughs.

Dick and Pete

While Nock worked for the Clark Company, his cattle and sheep business continued to expand to 4,500 acres on three farms in the Cayucos, Morro Bay and Cambria, California, and raised and fed cattle in Colorado and Nebraska.

Nock’s passion for beef has led him to serve on numerous boards, including the California Cattlemen’s Association and the historic Osos Club. With his good friend John Lacey, he even advocated beef on a national level.

He liked to explain to people why they should eat beef, and that’s where his passion came from – it was his passion to convince people that beef was the right choice, Loftus said.

Nock was named Breeder of the Year by the San Luis Obispo Breeders Association in 1979, and the list of his accomplishments is virtually endless.

But one of his proudest accomplishments was organizing the Young Livestock Support Club in 1970 to serve 4-H and FFA kids at the California Mid-State Fair (CMSF) livestock auction.

Along with the Booster Club, Nock helped organize the first day of the Farmer’s and Breeder’s Fair and the Heifer Replacement Project.

It was Dick’s passion, 4-H kids and cows. Everything is arranged for him, Loftus says.

Thanks to Nock, CMSF was the first to implement a heifer replacement project, followed by numerous grants throughout the state.

Dick and Machado

Nock is a past president of the National Livestock Marketing Association. In 1980, he organized a national convention on the Central Coast, and the West Coast World Champions Auction was first held at the Templeton Cattle Market. The event attracted people from all over the world and 4,500 head of cattle were auctioned on the day of the competition!

Nock was a partner with John Lacey for many years on the Santa Margarita ranch and other businesses. He has been fortunate to have cattle on some of the largest and most prestigious ranches in the area, including the Jiminez ranch on Highway 166.

Nok has mentored numerous pastors and shepherds, both locally and nationally. He influenced countless generations, and when he died, many children of the SLO County Breeders’ Association flocked to Nok when they saw him.

Dick Nock was a unique and genuine man. With a cigar, which he rarely smoked, in his mouth and a whiskey in his hand, Nok continued to smile at his friends and family. His intriguing nicknames and even more interesting euphemisms are only part of what he leaves behind.

Nock is survived by his wife of 65 years, Yvonne Gilardi Nock; his daughters, Brandelin Thronstad (Tom), Mark Molodanof (Jack) and Brett Nock; and his granddaughters, Nicole Thronstad (Adam), Olivia, Sophia and Yvonne; Julien’s great-grandchildren; his sister, Patricia Marlo; his nieces, Kimber Collins, Cami Davis, Bridget Caro; and his nephew, Jock Marlo.

A special fund has been established to honor the memory of Nock and his many contributions to agriculture. The funds will be used to assist members of 4-H and FFA in the beef industry.

Contributions can be sent:

Dick Nock Memorial Fund C/O San Luis Obispo County Cattlemen’s Association, P.O. Box 302, Paso Robles, CA 93447

Richard Leo Nock
3. September 1931 – 28. December 2020
San Luis Obispo, CA – Richard Leo Nock, Dick.


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