Memorial services are scheduled Thursday in Montecito for Dr. Carey Stanton, a Santa Barbara-area philanthropist and cattle rancher who died unexpectedly Tuesday on Santa Cruz Island, the largest of the five Channel Islands, where he lived. He was 64.
Stanton was a dedicated preservationist who allowed limited access to Santa Cruz Island, the bulk of which he owned, in order to maintain the pristine atmosphere of the 61,000-acre island.
Although he maintained his medical license, Stanton devoted much of his life to the island, located about 25 miles offshore from Santa Barbara. His island ranch included about 1,000 head of cattle and was reminiscent of a 19th-Century California ranch. In addition, he supervised numerous botanical and historical projects there.
The University of California established a field station on the island for research purposes in 1966 with Stanton’s permission.
A bachelor, he was the island’s only registered voter for many years.
Under an agreement reached in 1978, a private, nonprofit organization, the Nature Conservancy, based in Arlington, Va., will take over control of Santa Cruz Island as a result of Stanton’s death and will maintain it as a private natural and historic preserve.
The 360,000-member organization maintains numerous private nature preserves in the United States, including 40 in California, said Bob Hansen, the group’s field representative in Santa Barbara.
Friends said the gesture was in keeping with Stanton’s keen interest in preservation. “He’ll be best remembered by future generations for his magnificent gift to the Nature Conservancy to keep (the island) preserved,” Los Angeles attorney David Watts said.
Hansen said public access to the island, as in the past, will be available by permit to boaters, people on daytime nature outings and sportsmen interested in overnight recreational activities and sports hunting.
Born on Feb. 23, 1923, in Los Angeles, Stanton was graduated from Stanford University in 1944 and later received his medical degree from Stanford’s School of Medicine. He practiced internal medicine and pathology for 10 years, but he put them aside for his first love, Santa Cruz Island.
His father, wealthy businessman Edwin Stanton, bought 90% of the island for an estimated $1 million in 1937. He inherited the holdings and managed them since 1957 as head of the Santa Cruz Island Co. The Gherini family of Santa Barbara owns the remainder of the island, which eventually will be acquired by the National Parks Service.
Stanton was a trustee of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History and a member of the Santa Barbara Historical Society.
Memorial services are scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday at All Saints by the Sea Episcopal Church in Montecito. Private interment will be on the island.
Contributions in his memory may be made to the Santa Cruz Island Foundation, P.O. Box 435, Port Hueneme, Calif. 93041.