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All throughout greater Healdsburg are people who’ve been corrected, harangued, delighted, busted up, taken aback, enlightened and helped along by Barclay Nalley, a perspicacious former grade-school teacher, scion of Sonoma County pioneers and citizen of the world.

Nalley, who grew up mostly on the Russian River ranch his great-grandfather purchased in 1860, was a well-read and richly traveled man who held potent opinions about politics, honorable behavior and all manner of things, and who felt no compunction to keep them to himself.

“Barclay was one of a kind,” declared Healdsburg City Manager David Mickaelian, one of many public servants, elected officials, journalists and others whom Nalley would contact regularly to admonish, praise or vent to.

Mickaelian smiles as he recalls Nalley’s distinctive, gravelly voice, his passion and his stories.

Nalley, a Navy veteran and great believer in dessert, died April 2 at the age of 90.

The lifelong bachelor had no kin since the death of his older sister, Andree, but he was like family to the Seppi clan that has long owned and operated Healdsburg’s Costeaux French Bakery.

For a time after he retired from teaching on the San Francisco Peninsula, Nalley worked at the bakery cafe just north of the Healdsburg Plaza.

“I’ve got pictures of him wearing his beret behind the counter,” said Will Seppi, who once worked for his parents, Karl and Nancy, and now runs the business.

Several million times, Seppi witnessed Nalley pointedly challenge someone, anyone, who used improper grammar or stated something that Nalley felt certain was mistaken or untrue. It especially vexed the teacher of more than 30 years to hear people misuse words and foul their speech with “um,” “actually” and “like.”

An example: “I, like, told her I actually wanted to take her to the movies and, um, when she, like, said OK it, like, literally blew my mind.”

Seppi visited Nalley at Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital a few days before his lifelong friend succumbed to congestive heart failure, and he watched him take one of his nurses to task for uttering an offending “like.”

Nalley was a keen observer of human behavior, a man who traveled the world and felt connected to issues and crises everywhere. He had a laser wit and he could be extremely kind and generous.

About two decades ago he met a Costeaux employee, Liduvina Medrano, who’d come from Mexico and was working nonstop to support her two young daughters, Wendy and Adriana.

Nalley offered to assist the family by becoming a tutor to the girls.

“He always wanted to make sure we were learning,” said Adriana Hernandez, now 22. Nalley encouraged both girls to aspire to higher education, and it thrilled him when Hernandez entered the nursing program at Santa Rosa Junior College.

He insisted on buying her books. When the girls began to drive, he purchased them roadside assistance to help ensure they’d be safe.

Said Wendy Ponzo, now 25 and married, “He was there through my whole life, no matter what. He didn’t have to do that.”

“He bought my wedding cake,” added Ponzo, a real estate agent who’ll keep a promise to Nalley by pursuing a degree in business administration at Sonoma State University.

Her sister, Hernandez, will earn her associate degree in nursing from the JC in December. She said Nalley told her he was looking forward to nothing more than her commencement, so he’ll be in her heart when she’s handed her degree.

Said Will Seppi, whose children also considered Nalley a grandfather and pillar of their family, “He did so much for the people he loved.”

Alexander Barclay Nalley was born July 26, 1926, on his family’s hops, prunes, alfalfa, hay and grapes ranch on Eastside Road, south of Healdsburg. Generations of Nalleys had lived on the property since former gold-rusher and Sonoma County Undersheriff Alexander Bennett Nalley purchased it in 1860, just 10 years after California became a state.

Barclay Nalley would recall an idyllic early childhood with his sister and their parents Ned and Charlotte (Reeves) Nalley. He attended the one-room Sotoyome School at Eastside Road and Old Redwood Highway. Before and after class, he collected eggs, milked cows, rode horses and helped to maintain the vegetable garden and fruit orchard.

Nalley was studying at Healdsburg High School when, in wartime 1943, his father sold the portion of the ranch that he owned. The family moved into a house on Healdsburg’s Matheson Street.

Shortly after he graduated in 1944, Nalley joined the Navy and the war effort, serving for a time on a hospital ship. After the war he returned to California, continued his education and became a schoolteacher.

He taught first at a one-room school in Cazadero and for most of his career instructed fifth-graders in Sunnyvale and Cupertino. He retired in the early 1980s and came back home to Healdsburg.

In 2012, Nalley received a letter from one Christine Johnson-Lafranconi of Cupertino, asking if he was the Barclay Nalley who’d taught the fifth grade at Sunnyvale’s Panama Elementary School in 1960 and 1961.

An exceptional correspondent, Nalley wrote back in the affirmative.

Johnson-Lafranconi subsequently communicated that she and a few lifelong friends and former Panama School classmates had for decades spoken from time to time about Mr. Nalley and agreed that he was the finest teacher they’d ever had.

In 2012, a Google search led to the letter that Johnson-Lafranconi mailed to Healdsburg.

That August, Nalley, then 85, and three former students in their early 60s caught up and laughed over lunch at Costeaux.

Nalley was still exhorting public officials, reading and enjoying his friends until shortly before heart trouble put him in the hospital a few days before his death.

With his passing, Healdsburg lost a genuine character and adamant town advocate. City manager Mickaelian said he already misses picking up the phone to have Nalley demand to know why he wasn’t doing this or that, and then chat about favorite overseas travel, family and such.

“I will always remember him,” Mickaelian said.

There will be no public services for Nalley. Will Seppi suggested that those inclined make a donation to a nonprofit favored by his friend, the Healdsburg Museum and Historical Society, P.O. Box 952, Healdsburg 95448.

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