Lee and Ruth Haggin were originally from Iowa, arriving in Carpinteria in 1950 in their retirement years. They appear to have followed their son, Vin, to California. Vin had captained a PT Boat in WWII and made a rather late-life decision, entering a California seminary after the war.
“Mom” and “Pop” Haggin, as they became affectionately known to Carpinteria, settled in Serena Park and became the proprietors of the Cottage Bakery on Linden Avenue. They were recognized for their generosity, mixing donations with their sales. They made their greatest impact in Carpinteria in the late 1950s and early ‘60s as parish members of St. Joseph Catholic Church.
During Vin’s years at the seminary, he spent his summers as a ranch counselor at the St. Vincent de Paul Circle V Ranch Camp in the San Fernando Valley. The idea of the Circle V had spiritual meaning, and Mom and Pop decided to start a Circle V Boys Club at St. Joseph’s. The Bernadettes Club followed for girls under different leadership. These clubs were forerunners of the Carpinteria Boys and Girls Club and Girls Inc. of Carpinteria.
The Haggins advocated fiercely for “their boys.” They raised funds to sponsor them every summer at the Circle V Ranch Camp. They took them to a Dodgers game in 1959—that was a World Series championship year. They scheduled field trips, often to wealthier citizens’ homes. Mom and Pop opened a new world of experiences for the boys.
The roughest, toughest boys received regular visits from Mom. She changed lives! But it was Pop who received recognition as Carpinterian of the Year in 1959. Sadly, Pop was struck and killed by a train in 1961 on Padaro Lane. Mom carried on.
As for Vin, who was responsible for bringing his parents to our fair city, he became a pastor in El Monte and later became a chaplain in the Vietnam War. He had quite an illustrious life. One can read about it on the Internet: Chaplain (Major) Melvin V. Haggin.