Tom Flynn Sr. and Irene Elizabeth Smith Marquart are named Paso Robles 2021 Marshal and Queen

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PASO ROBLES — On Sunday, Aug. 22, the Paso Robles Pioneer Day Committee announced this year’s Pioneer Day Royalty at the annual royalty dinner.

Tom Flynn Sr. is this year’s Marshal, with Irene Elizabeth Smith Marquart standing by his side as this year’s Queen!

Since the first Pioneer day in 1931, a Grand Marshal and Queen have been chosen from families who have settled our area to reign over the celebration.


A Pioneer gentleman is chosen from the community and is honored with a beautiful Marshal’s badge that is presented at the Pioneer Royalty Dinner.

A Pioneer Lady is also chosen from the area to reign over the Pioneer Day festivities as the Queen. The Queen is honored at the annual Pioneer Ladies Luncheon and Tea.

Tom Flynn Sr. 

Tom Flynn Sr. was born in San Fernando Valley on Jan. 13, 1938. He was number ten of 13 children. His mother always taught her children the meaning of hard work, and they all had jobs and helped support the family.

After high school, Tom joined the US Navy for two years and married his wife Sharon in 1960, just two days after she graduated high school. The two have been married for 61 years now. 

In 1961, Tom Jr. was born, and in 1963, their second son Marty was born. The boys showed an affinity for working with their dad from the time they were old enough to walk.

In 1978 Tom Sr. and Sharon brought their family to the Paso Robles area where Sharon’s father, Jack Phillips, was involved with the Oak Shores and Heritage Ranch developments. The Flynn’s came up for Thanksgiving and ended up purchasing 25 acres off Linne Road (across from what is now Cass Winery).

Tom said they loved it high up on the hill. They had all the farm animals, a big garden, quite the experience plus a beautiful home. 

Tom and Sharon went to their first Pioneer Day in 1979. They made new friends and had a great time. Soon, they then got involved with Pioneer Day, the Lions Club, and Paso Robles Downtown Main Street. 

The two dived into the town’s activities, following the lead of people who set an example, like Ben and Judie Holsted, Jerry and Kathleen Reneau, Larry Eastwood, Ole and Sandy Viborg, Tom and Roslyn Moore, Terry and Sue Minshull, and of course Main Street’s Queen lady, Norma Moye.

Although he misses the old days, when you knew everyone in town, the Main Street’s BBQ on Friday nights during the Farmer’s Market, Crazy Days, Lions Club Chicken BBQ in the Park are all fun memories!

Tom Jr. and his wife Rosie have three daughters, Jenny (deceased), Marie, and Eryn. They have three grandchildren. Marty and his wife Teri have two daughters Angee and Nikkie. They are blessed with four grandchildren and Tom Sr. and Sharon have seven great-grandchildren to love and spoil.

The Flynn Family has jumped right into anything that will make our town of Paso Robles the special place it is. Together they manage the cemetery under contract with the Paso Robles District Cemetery Board.

Irene Elizabeth Smith Marquart

Irene Elizabeth Smith Marquart was born Nov. 24, 1921, in Fulton County, Arkansas. Her family moved to the Creston area in 1930, after a very brief stay in the San Joaquin Valley on a ranch near Corcoran. 

Irene’s father was a farm laborer, and she remembers both her father and mother worked very hard to support and raise a family of eight children.

One of Irene’s fondest memories of her mother is her playing hymns on her organ, which is now on exhibit at the Paso Robles museum. 

Irene attended elementary school in Creston and Linne and then went to Templeton High School, where she graduated in 1939. While in high school, Irene spent summers with her sister Gladys McMillan at the Carissa Plains, cooking for a harvest crew of up to 16 men. 

Irene met the handsome and loveable Nick Marquart at the Saturday night dances at the Templeton Legion Hall. 

They were married in September 1939 and lived on the family ranch that Nick was managing for his parents within the Josephine area (located west of Templeton between Paso Robles and Cambria).

Nick’s grandfather homesteaded the area in the early 1870s. Irene still lives on the family ranch that is now run by the 5th generation of Marquart’s.

Nick and Irene were always very active in community affairs. They have been Farm Bureau members since 1939 and have held various leadership roles over the years. 

They were community leaders for Templeton 4-H Club, Happy Trails RV Club members, and charter members of the Do Paso Square Dance Club. In addition, Irene was active in the Paso Robles Women’s Club, Paso Robles Republican Women, a docent at the Templeton Historical Museum, and a Central Coast Woodcarver Association member.

Sadly, Nick passed away in 2006 at the ripe age of 90 years. The two had three children together, Nancy Otto, Lucille Milani, and Nick Jr.

Today Irene has six grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, and recently welcomed her first great-great-grandchild. At the age of 99, Irene says, “My life has been a long, happy one for which I am very thankful!”

2020 Belle

Pioneer Day Belles

In addition to a Queen and Marshal, a Pioneer Day Belle is chosen along with her Belle Attendants.

Belles are young ladies representing a local Pioneer Family that came to the area between the 1880s and 1930.

Two belles were chosen this year, one for 2020 (since we missed last year) and one for 2021.



  • Jenna Smith – Adelaida Area / Related families: Heaton, Schroeder, Franklin, Claassen, Morehouse, Bonnefield, Brown Pangburn and Smith


  • Ardis Warner – Templeton area / Related families: Johnson, Lyle, Nance, Wilson, and Warner
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  • Isabelle Stemper – Creston Area / Related families: Giger, Wells, Schlegal, Perry, Montague, Weyrich and Stemper


  • Avery Hambly – Paso Robles Area / Related families: Wilkinson, Drake, Morris, Conover, Mastagni, Horzen, and Hambly
  • Megan Hewston – Willow Creek Area / Related families: Franklin, Claassen and Hewston
  • Hailey Hodel – Keys Canyon in the Estrella Area / Related families: Testerman, Sauret, Horstman, Mack and Hodel
  • Vanessa Mowreader – San Miguel Area / Related families: Chames, Meeks, Long and Welch
  • Mia Lojacono-Smith – Hesperia Area / Related families: Roth, Weferling, Ray, Lojacono and Smith