Volunteer Spotlight: Stanley Oishi

Our volunteers have rich and diverse backgrounds. Stan Oishi is a native of Hawaii and proud of his roots. Since his youth, he has played the ukulele by ear and has for many years participated in a ukulele group in Orange County. At home, gardening and the care of fruit trees keep Stan occupied and he often shares his crop with the museum staff. Otherwise you may find Stan fishing anywhere from San Diego to Alaska to the San Gabriel Mountains where he has dedicated many a weekend over the years to the Fisheries Resources Volunteer Corps of the Angeles National Forrest. One of the responsibilities he loves most about this volunteer position is giving disabled children a fishing experience. Stan is a self-effacing guy and we are continuously delighted to have him as a valued member of our staff. 

Stan's smile sets everyone at ease!
Stan’s smile sets everyone at ease!

There are undoubtedly times when engaging friends or new acquaintances that the subject of your participation at the Homestead enters the conversation. How do you describe the museum to those who have never visited?

When friends or acquaintances ask me what I do; then I tell them about a unique type of museum that they should visit as usually everything is “FREE.” Truly, if they are interested in history or something that is different and unique, they should visit the Homestead.

Over the years you have participated in all sorts of museum functions. What keeps you coming back to the Homestead and what is your favorite event and why?

I usually come back to volunteer because it’s a pleasure to serve and do things you like. Example: greeting people at the rodeo [a popular off-site program], ukulele program, special events like Christmas, etc. Especially working with Craig Chyrchel, Karen Wade, Paul Spitzzeri, Alexandra Rasic, Steven Dugan and Robert Barron!

One of your many talents and interests is playing the ukulele, which you have repeatedly shared with visitors at the Homestead’s Ticket to the Twenties festival. Tell us why the instrument is so meaningful in your life.

Spending my youthful years growing up in the islands…what great times we had just having fun at the beach playing the ukulele. I never had the opportunity to have music lessons because I grew up on a great ranch and work came first, so no music lessons, etc., but “free” beach ukulele playing—and did we ever have fun just playing.

With forty years of teaching experience as part of your resume (2nd -6th grade, adult education, citizenship classes, English as a Second Language, just to name a few), what are some of the things you are excited for people to learn about at the Homestead?

The most critical aspect is the lifestyle of both the Workman and Temple families as ranchers, farmers, bankers, real estate developers, and even politicians… How things have changed from the 1840s until today. We pray for a great future for coming generations, for peace and happiness for all!

Over the years you have often found yourself assigned to greeting visitors, such as at festivals and the local rodeo. This job never seems to get old for you, in fact, you thrive in this role. Why is that?

People are always important to me and when you are able to greet and welcome them to any program, etc., with a simple smile or just “Hello,” it makes me feel the old “Aloha,” in Hawaii—Mahalo!

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Thanks to Public Programs Assistant Craig Chyrchel for this contribution.

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