There's a whole lot of Dutch in Adrian Van Houten's blood. Many people of Dutch descent have settled in Escalon and Ripon, and Van Houten's family is no exception.
An Escalon resident since 1955, both sides of Van Houten's family came to the United States from Holland. His son married a Dutch woman, and so did one of his daughters. Another daughter has a Dutch fiancé.
Van Houten, 64, moved to Riverbank from the Southern California community of Artesia when he was 2 years old, and later moved to Escalon. His father started a dairy in Escalon and later converted the property to an almond orchard.
However, Van Houten went into a completely different field: He became a bean counter.
After 22 years as San Joaquin County's auditor-controller, Van Houten is calling it a career on Friday.
As the county's bean counter, Van Houten oversees a staff that processes payroll for the 6,000 county employees, plus another 1,000 employees of rural fire districts, Stockton East Water District, the county's law library and Health Plan of San Joaquin. The non-county agencies have their own district budgets, but the revenue and disbursements go through the auditor-controller's office.
His department of 25 employees also includes a property tax division that determines property assessments. He also oversees employee travel reimbursement and processes bills.
Although he grew up up to his eyeballs in dairy cows and almonds, Van Houten became a bean counter extraordinaire after taking an accounting class during his senior year at Ripon Christian High School. That class resulted in Van Houten majoring in accounting at Modesto Junior College and California State University, Stanislaus in Turlock.
Van Houten spent a semester at CSU Fresno to pursue his master's degree in accounting, and was working at a dairy when he heard of an opening at the county auditor-controller's office. He joined the county in January 1974, and the rest is history.
He became assistant auditor-controller in about 1988 and ran in the 1990 election for the head position when the late Paul Heurlin retired. He's been elected six times.
Van Houten is the 19th known auditor-controller in San Joaquin County. The first one was A.A. Mix in 1850. There were more auditors during the county's long history, but county records include a gap — the auditors between 1879 and 1898 are unknown.
Van Houten is a proud Escalon resident, noting that Heurlin, the previous auditor, lived there, too. Heurlin died in 1999.
Van Houten said he thinks this is the perfect time to retire. He needs to take care of his wife, Valerie, who needs a liver transplant. His son needs help with his backyard, and he'll maintain his mother-in-law's house.
The Van Houtens have a son, Chad, a CPA for Croce & Co. in downtown Stockton. He lives in Ripon. They also have daughters, Lindsey Sieperda of Sonora, and Janna Van Houten, who lives at the family home in Escalon, though she plans to get married in 2013. They have two grandchildren.
Another daughter, Alison Freeseha, was shot to death in 2009 while playing pool at a friend's house. Two suspects were convicted of murder and face a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at email@example.com.