From: History of San Mateo (narrative & biographical) by Frank Stanger (1938)
John L. Debenedetti
No citizen of San Mateo County has given more intensive and unselfish effort to the promotion of the prosperity and welfare of the community than has John L. Debenedetti, who as general manager of the Half Moon Bay Artichoke Association has achieved most noteworthy results. He is a native of the locality in which his interests are centered, having been born at Half Moon Bay, San Mateo County, on the 14th of January, 1880, a son of Joseph and Teresa (Scarpa) Debenedetti, who are represented elsewhere in this work.
John L. Debenedetti received his educational training in the public schools of Half Moon Bay and in Santa Clara College, after which he took a position in the business office of the San Francisco Call, where he remained two years. He subsequently engaged in mercantile pursuits, conducting general merchandise stores at South San Francisco and at San Bruno, for eight years, when he sold out to his brother, in order to take over the management of his father’s estate, incorporated under the name of the Joseph Debenedetti Company as well as the management of the estate of of the Misses Cuneo and Mrs. Debenedetti estate. While managing these extensive interests he became connected with the Bank of Half Moon Bay, as vice president, and soon became president of the bank, which he later sold in order to devote his entire time and attention to the development of the artichoke business, which in this locality had been neglected, as well as to give his personal attention to the management of the aforementioned estates. He became the chief organizer of the Half Moon Bay Artichoke Association, of which he was manager in 1916, and from that time on has been a hard and persistent worker in his efforts to introduce the artichoke into the markets of the country, principally in the east.
He has been eminently successful and has been the means of promoting the growing of this vegetable in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties. Mr. Debenedetti pioneered the Santa Cruz fields. On account of the increased eastern demand for this vegetable he later extended his activities to the Salinas Valley of Monterey county and today is the leading spirit in the industry, which has become one of great importance.
The Half Moon Bay Artichoke Grower’s Association is a cooperative organization of growers. They have branch sales organizations in the largest cities throughout the United States and maintain headquarters in San Francisco. Mr. Debenedetti is still devoting himself untiringly to its interests. In this connection also he has been very much interested in the welfare of the Italian immigrants who have located in this section of the country and many of whom, through his efforts and influence, have become prosperous and contented citizens of their adopted land. His splendid work in this regard was recognized by the Italian government, which expressed its appreciation by conferring on him the Chevalier Cross, a highly prized honor.
Mr. Debenedetti was united in marriage to Miss Rose F. Cuneo, who was born and reared in San Francisco and whose father was a prominent capitalist and philanthropist of that city. To Mr. and Mrs. Debenedetti have been born four children, as follows: John L., Jr., Rose Marie, Loraine and Joan. Politically Mr. Debenedetti gives his support to the democratic party and is a member of the Benovolent and Protective Order of Elks. The only public office held by him was that of county tax collector, to which he was appointed on giving up his stores, but he has no taste for politics, and has never consented to accept other offices , his chief interests being his business and his home. Unostentatious in manner, he is nevertheless a man of strong character and agreeable personality, and commands the confidence and esteem of the people generally, who recognize and appreciate the service he has rendered to his community.