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Luis Felipe Villafuerte, also known as El Vasco (his mother’s maiden name), was born in Ecuador in 1908.  At 19, he set off to Europe to study Graphic Arts. The ship from Ecuador to Europe stopped in Valparaiso, Chile where he was robbed and left behind.

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His dream now on hold with no money and in a different country, he asked the local Catholic church for help and got a job and a place to live. He worked hard for a few years and met his beautiful wife, Yolanda.  They were married in 1936 and went on to have 17 children. For 40 years in Santiago, Chile, he worked for an advertising company, an educational book publisher and a school as the editor of the art department. In 1963, El Vasco got a visa to come to America with one of his daughters and her family. He lived in San Mateo and started working at a gallery in San Francisco where he created a lot of art work of the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge. Those paintings became top sellers.

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He moved to Santa Clara in 1968 where he started working in a San Jose art gallery where he also taught. His artwork was displayed in museums, libraries and art shows.  One collection he made was the Don Quixote de la Mancha artwork, a set of seven beautiful pieces. The movie came out in 1972 and he displayed the artwork at the premier.  The two menu signs you see at Stan's Donut shop in Santa Clara were painted by El Vasco at the request of Stan who met him at St. Justin’s church.  Stan and El Vasco had much in common.  They were both men of faith, business minded and had large families.   

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El Vasco had a wonderful life with his beloved wife and always said “love art”. He died on January 27,1995.

Stan’s Donuts is forever thankful to El Vasco for creating the wonderful, antique menu signs that many people have inquired about.  We are also very thankful to the Villafuerte family for sharing this story.  Although we don’t still sell many of the items on the signs, they are priceless pieces of art to us.  They also add to the history of the shop and pay homage to a great man and a wonderful story of the importance of family, resilience and faith.   

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