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February 28, 2020
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A proud Cotatian

  • John Allred in his Cotati Framing shop. Photo by Robert Grant

By: Irene Hilsendager
October 25, 2019

A tall lanky silver haired gentleman with a soft voice greets you with a hearty hello. That gentleman is Cotatian John Allred born in Wichita Falls, Tx. and grew up in Iowa, the son of a livestock auctioneer. His first job at the age of 14 was clerking and pushing cattle into the auction ring. He ended up in Galt and Stockton and was pretty darn proud that a young whippersnapper such as he was allowed to be around the large animals.

You can almost picture John on a horse, slouchy hat and raising calves. The family moved around while doing jobs of moving irrigation rigs; going to Modesto Junior College, moving to Fresno and went to schools in Stockton to be a civil engineer.

John moved to San Francisco during the hippie era and said, “I won’t drop names, but I did know Janis Joplin, Phyllis Diller, Dooby Brothers and James Hatfield from Metallica all while going to school to be a dispensing optician and working for the United States Postal Service.” 

Allred said in 1969 he was tired of the rat race and drove to Petaluma to rent a house, but he had to go back to making signs, decorating windows and milking cows to earn a living for his family. 

Then he made a decision to move to Calaveras County to manage a cattle ranch. Things didn’t work out, so he came back to Sonoma County and went to school and received an AA from Santa Rosa Junior College and a general in psychology and also in pharmacology at San Francisco State. He interned at a Mill Valley psychologist in family marriage therapy and received a license and set up a practice. Eventually he became dean of student admissions department at Columbia Pacific Union practicing in family counseling. John became disgruntled and bailed to find something else. He had five mouths to feed so he went in Industrial Lighting, inking and painting special effects and painting cells. He set up light paintings for musical events also.

John got a frame job in Novato, tinkered in little shops and managed a gallery in Petaluma.

In 1991 he started his own frame shop in Novato, framing family heirlooms and collectibles. While in Terra Lina in a warehouse district, the economy took a nosedive and he only worked by appointments with just collectibles.

One day John came to Cotati and ran into Lloyd Draper at the old bead shop. This was Burt Chadwick’s, the first Cotati fire chief, house and it was for rent. John jumped on it. He has his professional framing service in a small but cozy store front at 8172 La Plaza, Cotati.

Allred was involved in the Calaveras County frog jumping competition for many years. Mark Twain’s stories put Angel Camp on the map, as the first Jumping Frog Jubilee in 1928. If you want to know more about frog jumping, engage John in a lengthy conversation.

John is one of those “silent” volunteers. He has been involved in the July Cotati Kids’ Day Parade, Bingo for 12 years, The Sonoma County Youth and Adult Development and worked with Cecelia Bell, involved in the Church of the Oaks, board assistant to the minister, performed weddings and received the Business of the Year award from the Rotary Club of Rohnert Park-Cotati.

John says, “he loves Cotati, always makes him feel at home and is blessed to live here in his newly purchased home.”