Agnes Elliott

Agnes Elliott

Community Service

Agnes Elliott was born in Alturas, California, on Friday, Oct. 13,1899.

Her entrance into the world turned into a stroke of luck for Lathrop when her family moved to the South County community to farm.

She worked for the Manteca Cannery for many years before being hired as head clerk and postmistress. She was forced to retire from her postal job in 1970 after 29 years of service due to the mandatory federal retirement age of 70.

In 1929, she became president of the Manteca-Lathrop Women's Christian Temperance Union, a position she held for 60 years. When she retired from the Post Office, she served for 17 years as president of the San Joaquin WCTU.

During World War II, she donated blood every six weeks and volunteered as an enemy plane spotter for San Joaquin County. She served as a Lathrop School District board member for 30 years and was instrumental in getting the first street light in Lathrop.

Benjamin A. Goodwin

Benjamin A. Goodwin


Benjamin A. Goodwin was One of the most prominent pioneer farmers. He arrived in Manteca in 1869 and immediately began harvesting wheat in the South County Fields. A few years later, he purchased his own farm.

He was one of the first to plant almonds, olives, and alfalfa in the dry valley. He soon found pumping water wasn’t practical for a big ranch SO he started working with others toward formation of an irrigation system. He served as the first president of the South San Joaquin Irrigation District. During his tenure as president. a dam named in his honor was built on the Stanislaus River.

He is often referred to as "The Father of the South San Joaquin Irrigation District."

He served for more than two decades as a school trustee - first for the Atlanta School District and later when a new district was formed at Calla.

He was active in the Odd Fellows Lodge, the Elks Lodge, and Republican Party politics.

One of his five children, Alfred A. Goodwin. was named to the Manteca Hall of Fame in 1994.

Dr. Robert C. Winter

Dr. Robert C. Winter

Health Care

When Dr. Robert C. Winter arrived in Manteca in 1946, the community was much like his hometown of Western, Nebraska, a small farming community in eastern Nebraska.

His community involvement included school board service, volunteering as a team doctor for Manteca sports, and being a friend of youth who just wanted to talk.

He was rewarded when the students of Manteca recommended the high school gym be named in his honor.

He was instrumental in the establishment of the Manteca District Ambulance as well as the hospital that would eventually become Doctors Hospital of Manteca. He gave free medical care to the clergy, members of the Manteca Police Department, and other needy members of the community. He often made house calls.

Dr. Winter served the United Methodist Church in numerous capacities including being on the finance committee for construction of the present church at North and Powers. He was a member of the Manteca Fire Department and Manteca-Lathrop Rural Fire Department.

Eugene Edmund Douglass

Eugene Douglass


Eugene Edmund Douglass was born on March 30, 1886 in Morristown, Vt.

When he died 75 years later, he established a place of prominence in the South County expanding a 57-year period in which he was a builder, attorney and finally a Municipal Court judge.

During his 34 years as justice of the peace, he was widely known for his stiff fines for speeding.

Douglass is credited with helping get John McFall - who was later to travel a political journey that would take him from the Manteca City Council to the whip's job in the House of Representatives - his start in law. Among the many structures he helped build is the two—story building housing Tipton’s at Yosemite and Maple.

He served on the Manteca Elementary School Board, was master of the Masonic Lodge, Worthy Patron of the Order of Eastern Star, Methodist Church board, and the Manteca Chamber of Commerce board.

Grace L. Rhoads

Grace L. Rhoads


Grace L. Rhoads came to Manteca in 1941 and was to spend 24 years not just teaching at Manteca High, but also helping shape the lives of hundreds of young people.

She was head of the English department and started the counseling program in 1945.

Rhoads was widowed before moving to Manteca. The strength she had as a single parent was the same that allowed her to have a strong influence in the lives of many young people. She supported new ideas and encouraged young women to continue their education and pursue their place in a changing society.

During World War II, she helped many foreign families gain their citizenship.

She supported women's rights and was a charter member of the Federated Women's Club.

John Gatto

John Gatto


John A. Gatto was born in Fort Bragg on October 12, 1906 and lived almost his entire life in the Lathrop-Manteca area until he passed away on September 20, 1983.

He was referred to as Manteca's Mr. Bank of America" where he served in many capacities including vice president and manager of the local branch. He served 44 years with the bank.

In 1933, he served as a member of the original Manteca Trade Association. Among his civic service was the War Bond Committee, Manteca District Chamber of Commerce treasurer, Salvation Army treasurer, Manteca Planning Commission, Manteca Sportsmen Association, U.S. Small Businessman Administration, Manteca Recreation Commission chairman, and numerous other committees.

Scott Brooks

Scott Brooks


Scott Brooks played guard on the Houston Rockets that won the 1994 National Basketball Association championship.

Presently in his ninth year of professional basketball, Brooks has played for the Dallas Mavericks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Philadelphia 76ers, and the Rockets.

He also played on the 1988 Albany Patroons who won the Continental Basketball Association championship. He received the best player in the league award in 1988.

As a senior at East Union High, Brooks averaged 28.1 points per game - the ninth highest in the state. Many who saw Brooks play in the Sac-Joaquin Section championship still say the 28 points he scored in the second half of the game was the best high school basketball play they have ever seen.

Brooks’ No. 1 uniform was retried in 1983, He was also the Manteca Area Athlete of the Year in 1983 and the Valley Oak League player of the year. He was an All Northern California prep pick and was a scholar—athlete award winner at the University of California at Irvine where he played basketball.

Velma Gordon

Velma Gordon


Velma Ione Gordon started painting when she was 60.

She started working in the fields of Arizona and California picking grapes and cotton before landing a job in a sewing factory in Sanger. From there, she was certified to teach home economics in Madera Schools - a job she did for five years before moving to Manteca.

By the time Gordon turned 81 in 1995, she had literally painted thousands of canvasses ranging from landscapes and florals to southwestern art and portraits. She has also taught hundreds of students despite the fact she has no formal training in art.

Gordon is active in the California Fine Arts League, Manteca Artists Guild, and has helped spark an appreciation of art by volunteering in her church, schools, and at the Manteca Senior Center.