Cover photo for Stanley Winton Reifel's Obituary
Stanley Winton Reifel Profile Photo
1969 Stanley 2021

Stanley Winton Reifel

December 31, 1969 — May 17, 2021

Stanley Winton Reifel, 87, passed away Monday, May 17th, 2021, at home, surrounded by his family in the beautiful house he built.

He was born May 13th, 1934 in Upland, California, to Philip J. Reifel and Eileen Young Reifel and older brother Philip J. Reifel II.

He was always a man of his hands. His unparalleled craftsmanship began young. He could build anything, from a horse trailer to a sail boat, with fun and wonder along the way. He married Betty Miller in Riverside, California and had Lisa and Stan Jr. in Santa Barbara. He graduated from UC Santa Barbara and started Stan Reifel Furniture Designs in 1957.

He was first and foremost a ‘wood man’. His furniture designs were executed with care and a human touch. They are works of art and transform the spaces they inhabit. Today, they live in collections around the world. Just last year, his family was able to bring home one of his early chairs from a Midcentury showroom in Manhattan. The beautiful chair will remain in his Arlee home, as will his spirit.

All who knew Stan encountered his gentle heart and welcoming smile. He was forever humble and many close to him may not have known his many glittering accomplishments. These include prototyping the first Hobie surfboard, building the furniture for Billy Wilder’s home, designing the American Wing of the San Francisco DeYoung Museum, creating furniture collections with Paul Tuttle and publishing a book on exhibition design.

In 1971, he moved from Santa Barbara to New York City to start the Fairtree Fine Art Institute & Gallery, the preeminent fine craft space in America. He discovered and launched the careers of countless American craftspeople with enthusiasm and a sense of purpose.

While in New York Stan met, Dana, the love of his life and was lured by her to Montana with a Jack Daniels Ditch and the dream of building a ranch on 60 beautiful acres in the Mission Valley. He married Dana Boussard in 1978 and together they transformed a 1916 split log cabin into a spectacular home, Two Heart Creek Ranch. He called it his greatest pride, not because of its architectural beauty, but because of the life that they lived within the walls. This included the birth of his youngest daughter, Ariana. His incredible skill and unwavering support, coupled with Dana’s artistic talent, allowed them to build an important art career as well as a life of creative collaboration.

In Montana, his work transformed from fine furniture to woodworking of the land. He built several homes in the Mission Valley, as well as one on the beach on the Sea of Cortez and an apartment in Manhattan. Each spoke to their sense of place with a sensitivity that was innate to Stan’s vision.

Throughout his life he traveled America and the world with his family. He opened the eyes of his family to human diversity and instilled a sense of compassion and tolerance in each of them.

He acted as father and mentor to all who needed one and he guided many though the years with an open mind and the salve of hard work.

The best of him will live on in his children, who each grew up in the sawdust of his woodshop. In Lisa his keen eye for curation, in Stan Jr. his purposeful and meticulous hand and in Ariana the ability to turn scrap into something special.

He is survived by his loving wife of 45 years Dana Boussard and his three children, Lisa Reifel, Stanley Reifel Jr. and Ariana Boussard-Reifel, his son-in-law Yasser Ansari and his 4 granddaughters, Maggie Clarke, Meriwether Clarke, Zoe Shu-Reifel and baby Anaya Ansari, who made his last year one of great joy.

There will be a celebration of his life on his land in sunnier times.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Stanley Winton Reifel, please visit our flower store.

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