Everyone knew Vic Pozzi as Farmer Vic.  To the thousands of people that visited his farm while spending vacation time at WorldMark Resort on Shiloh Road, he was the caretaker of 15 brahman bulls, dozens of sheep, gaggles of domesticated geese, a few emus (Elvis and Priscilla among them) and a dog named Jeffrey spread over 20 acres of land.  Vic passed away October 4, from complications of a massive stroke on July 3.   Vic was part of Windsor, the town built around his ranch.  His 40 years spent with the Windsor Fire Protection District, which he helped to found in 1965, solidified his standing in the community.   He was a friend to everyone, a stranger to no one.

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Longtime Windsor rancher Vic Pozzi gives his brahman a treat feeding them french bread, Tuesday March 20, 2007 on his ranch off of Shiloh Road in Windsor during the first day of spring.  (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2007

In this business of photojournalism, we come in and out of people’s lives quickly.  We tell their stories of heartbreak and fortune.  None stands out more than Vic for his friendly smile and steel handshake.  I met Pozzi when I noticed he was feeding his brahman full loaves of French bread (above).  It made a great photo, one that I sent out on the Associated Press network many years ago.  The photo was not only published in the Press Democrat, but worldwide.  I get letters occasionally from people who see it on the web or pull old news clippings from family belongings.   Over these past years, I would often stop and talk with Pozzi about whatever was going on in the news, with his animals, you know, just shoot the bull (no pun).

Vic and his close friend Dean Crothers would get together and paint either a sheep or a cow every July, around Pozzi’s birthday near the Fourth of July and 9-11.  It’s really something you only see in small towns.  By far, the American flag painted on the animals are some of the most unusual and lighthearted images I’ve made. I didn’t know Vic incredibly well, but knew him enough to appreciate the kind of person he was;  A sincere man who just wanted to please everyone.

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Windsor ranch owner Vic Pozzi is nuzzled by “Little Guy” after being painted with colors of the American flag, Friday Sept. 9, 2011 using biodegradable marking paint. Friend Dean Crothers paints the sheep for 9-11. The sheep will be on display in Pozzi’s front 40 through the weekend off Shiloh Road in Windsor. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2011

 

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Brahma “Norma” shows her true colors on the Pozzi Ranch in Windsor, Thursday June 27, 2013. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2013

Driving by the ranch daily, we all kept an eye on the land after Pozzi fell ill to make sure nothing was out of place.  On Thursday  Oct. 9, as the sun was ready to drop below the horizon, I drove by again.  The light was just right; beautiful hues a light warm wind and a colorful sky.  The scene struck me as a photographic epitaph to Pozzi’s link to the land and his bond with community.

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Vic Pozzi’s Ranch in Windsor, Thursday Oct. 9, 2014. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat)

Rest in Peace Vic.

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Vic Pozzi with Elvis the emu. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2014

-Kent Porter