Danilo "Doc" Santini among founders of Auburn Farmers Market

Doc?s legacy lives on through memories of family and friends
By: Kylea Scott Journal correspondent
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Danilo ?Doc? Santini was one of 22 area growers who founded the Auburn Farmers Market in 1989, according to Joanne Neft, former manager of the farmers market. She said he was always one of her all-time favorite Placer County growers. ?I remember him with so much respect and affection,? Neft added. According to Neft, the thing that was wonderful about him was his ever present smile and the twinkle in his eye. ?We had a lot of wonderful times together, we laughed a lot,? she said. Santini passed away Monday, July 2, at the age of 90. According to his son David Santini, old age was the cause of death. ?He worked every day of his life, and he just got tired,? David Santini said. Doc Santini was born in 1922, next door to the ranch he later owned on Chili Hill Drive in Ophir. He lived his whole life in this community, according to David Santini. On his farm they kept 2,500 chickens and 10 acres of various fruit, he added. Throughout his life, Doc Santini was very active in the community, David Santini said. In addition to helping found the farmers market, he was active in the early years of the Ophir 4-H club, he was a founding member of the Ophir volunteer fire department, where he volunteered for 25 years. He was also instrumental in the beginning of the 49er fruit trail, where he helped create and distribute fruit and vegetable maps to assist people in finding locally grown goods, David Santini said. Doc Santini also delivered fresh eggs to local restaurants, he added. ?Doc had the best eggs I had tasted in a long time. I made it my business to buy eggs from him,? Neft said. Doc Santini has left many fond memories with his friends and family members. His step-son, John Brifnek, was 11 years old when his mother, Mary, married Doc Santini. They spent many years working on the farm together, he said. According to Brifnek, Doc Santini was a wonderful teacher who taught him a lot about life. ?I remember the first time he taught me how to drive. I was in his Caterpillar gas rig and I ran right over his fruit trees? he had to put up with quite a bit to train me to be decent,? Brifnek said. Doc Santini is survived by his wife of 55 years, Mary Santini. She said she misses everything about him. ?Robert Burns said ?grow old with me, the best is yet to be,? but he lied,? Mary Santini said.