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Halby loved insurance, giving back

Anthony Halby, who founded his Halby Group Inc. insurance company half a century ago, has died just three days short of his 72nd birthday.

He was an intergral part of the local social fabric, especially with his philanthropic contributions and volunteer work on behalf of first responders, friends remembered.

The cause of his death Nov. 19 was attributed to complications from pneumonia, according to his family.



Friend Jo Ann Rebane said his business “served just about everyone in the county.”

Tom O’Toole, who served with Halby on the board of the Nevada County Law Enforcement and Fire Protection Council, said Halby’s expertise in insurance was obvious to anyone who sought his counsel.



“He was not an avid reader until it came to a catalog about insurance,” O’Toole said. “Then he was probably one of the more knowledgeable about insurance.”

O’Toole described Halby as “an excellent salesman with integrity” whose vocational success came from honesty and respect between himself and his clients, of whom O’Toole was one.

“He was out to help people more than he helped himself,” O’Toole said. “Being that good, he became very successful.”

O’Toole said these professional attributes helped him succeed not only financially, but with his many friendships.

Financial analyst Lucas Mijares said he knew he had big shoes to fill when he took over from Halby as president of the nonprofit’s board in June 2020 and appreciated the easy rapport his predecessor had with him.

“I remember calling him for lunch and picking his brain for business stuff, and learning more about his five kids,” Mijares said. “I’m one of five kids, and now I have five kids. We just became good friends. He’s a solid guy.”

Mijares said Halby was organized and “a great public speaker” — two valuable skills when directing candid conversations between different emergency service agencies.

Since its inception in 1999, the council has purchased or donated more than $1 million worth of equipment, support, and training for local first responders, according to the group’s website at http://www.nclawandfire.org.

MADE THEIR HOME HERE

Halby and his wife, Charlene, raised five kids in Nevada County after starting his insurance business in 1981. His oldest daughter and four sons — including a pair of twins — attended Nevada Union High School, Rebane said.

One of the twins, Mark Halby, a financial planner in Solana Beach, will continue to help with his father’s still-active insurance business.

Charlene said that, like O’Toole, she remembers her husband toting relevant literature to keep his and his clients’ understanding of insurance policies up to date.

Charlene, an attorney before becoming a stay-at-home mom, said her husband worked in insurance for the entirety of their 50-year marriage.

They met at Woodbury University in Los Angeles and married shortly after. She said they fell in love with California’s 1st Congressional District while on vacation and moved north after the birth of their first child.

As deep into his insurance career as he was, Charlene said, they both were deeply involved in their children’s schooling and sports growing up, including him coaching wrestling at Nevada Union. In his free time, Anthony played any and all instruments by ear, she said.

He is survived by his wife and five children, their five spouses and eight grandchildren. Their eldest daughter, Gabriella Stockdale, 39, and husband Jonathan have three children in Nevada County.

Charlene said her husband’s death was a surprise, as he had just traveled via plane earlier that month. His celebration of life will take place in the spring, although the date is yet to be determined to avoid the risk posed by COVID-19.

“Particularly over the holidays, we don’t want to put together big groups of people in the winter,” she said. “We’re going to put his celebration of life off until sometime in late March or April.”

Rebecca O’Neil is a staff writer with The Union. She can be reached at roneil@theunion.com

Then-Nevada County Law Enforcement and Fire Protection Council President Anthony Halby (center) presented Nevada County Consolidated Deputy Fire Chief Jerry Funk with a check for $5,000 several years ago. From left are the council’s founder, the late Willard Drown, Nevada County Consolidated Fire Chief Jim Turner, board member Mark Heauser, Treasurer Gordon Beatie, Secretary Donna Roach and board member Marty Lombardi.
Submitted by Brian O’Brien

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