Former Malibu resident R.C. Stanley passed away May 31, 2022, two weeks after celebrating his 92nd birthday. He lived in Malibu from 1962–1986 but was born in Chicago. His family relocated to San Diego, Calif., for the 1935–36 California Pacific International Exposition, where his parents, who were from the Czech Republic, hosted visitors to the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages — a complex of cultural hospitality cottages in San Diego’s Balboa Park. It was during this time that his parents became interested in the teachings of a world-renowned Indian yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda, and regularly visited the Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) Encinitas Retreat, north of San Diego.
As a teenager, R.C. studied with Yogananda and later became a reverend. In 1949 he was invited to help build a new retreat center in Pacific Palisades, Calif., called the SRF Lake Shrine. Upon its completion in 1950, Yogananda asked the young 20-year-old Rev. Stanley to become the shrine’s minister. Through the church, he met and married Joyce Shanks from the Pacific Palisades, and they started a family. During his time at the Lake Shrine, he enjoyed creative pursuits such as landscaping, writing poetry, playing the organ, and palette-knife painting in oils. It was the latter vocation that called him next.
Though he had no formal art training, he was determined to make his mark as an impressionistic artist, but he needed a studio. He set his sights on Malibu, searching for a small home with space to build an art studio. He found the perfect scenic location in Malibu Park on Morning View Drive overlooking Zuma Beach. The budding artist began exhibiting his work at his home studio but quickly formed a group of fellow artists and coordinated traveling art shows throughout the West.
He enjoyed mixing art and travel so much that in 1973 he conceived an idea for an ongoing art program whereby his group of artists would provide art lessons and demonstrations to passengers aboard Pacific Far East Lines cruise ships. The concept took off, and he toured the world as the company’s professional art advisor. He served a similar role with other cruise lines for over 20 years. His travels took him through Europe, the Mediterranean, Central and South America, the Caribbean, the South Pacific, Asia, Northern America, and Canada.
In between his travels, he served as an art instructor for Emeritus College, Santa Monica College, where he taught palette-knife painting from 1979—1986. In 1983, he met Alison Gregory while traveling on the iconic Orient Express, and they married the following year. In 1986, they relocated to Derbyshire, England, near Alison’s hometown, where he continued to paint and tour the world.
R.C. is survived by his wife, Alison; his children, Robert Stanley, Eileen Hubbard, and Scott Stanley; his grandchildren, Kyle Stanley, Heather Stanley, and Arthur Stanley; and his great-granddaughter, Bobbie Stanley-Sandberg. He was laid to rest on June 24, 2022, at All Saints’ Church, Curbar, Calver, Hope Valley, UK.