“The Second Twenty-Five Years”
Golden Anniversary, 1962 – 1987
The Rotary Club of Niles Fremont, California
Published by The Rotary Club of Niles
The completion of this retrospective recital of the Second Twenty-Five years of History of Niles (Fremont) Rotary Club has been made possible by the persistence of its President Chuck Kraft, and Past Presidents Chet DiGiulio and Rich Brunelli.
- The scrapbooks of Past Presidents Chuck Kraft, Don Billings, Dick Warren, Don Amsbaugh, Chet DiGiulio, John Marlett, and Joe Cowan became available, as did material from Mike Schafir.
- Especially valuable were the files of PINIONS from 1970-1986 supplied by Nick Stratigopoulos.
- Pictures from the files of Chuck Kraft and Bill Clark contributed to the research.
- Dick Aston designed and printed the typescript and reproduced the illustrations.
- Don and Babs Amsbaugh verified as many historical references as feasible. Babs personally prepared and re-typed the copy.
Historical Research Committee: Chuck Kraft, Chairman; Babs Amsbaugh, Bill Clark, Don Amsbaugh, Otis Highbaugh, Dick Aston, Dick McKay, Weity Weitmann as committee members; and President Jerry Haley, 1988-89, ex-officio.
The Club Presidents
Elwood Weitmann, 1962-63
Elwood “Weity” Weitmann was the President of the Niles Rotary Club in 1962-63. Serving as officers during his term were Richard Brunelli, Past President and Chet DiGiulio, President Elect. Anthony Scafani was Secretary and Claude Spencer was Treasurer. Other Board Members included Brad Agrella, Rev. Noel Glover, John Hillman, and Bill van Doorn. Among the members in 1962-63 were nine future Presidents of Niles Rotary: Chet DiGiulio, Ray Boege, M.O. Sabraw, Don Driggs, Don Emerson, Don Amsbaugh, Hal Fudenna, Steb Loze, and Carl Flegal. Weity’s talented Rotary Ann is Grace.
During the term of President Weity the Board of Directors decided to invite Gladys Williamson, South County reporter for the Oakland Tribune, to write a history of the Club. This history, “They helped to build three cities”, was published in December 1962.
The Club was meeting at the International Kitchen on what was then Peralta Blvd., but has since become Mowry Avenue. In June 1963 President Weity and the Niles Club sponsored a second Rotary Club in Washington Township. This was the Fremont Rotary Club, with its members mostly coming from the Centerville-Irvington districts of Fremont. The first provisional president of the new Fremont Rotary was Maurice Marks, a member from the Niles Rotary from 1950 to 1962 with a senior active status. The new Club was chartered with thirty-one members. Other Niles Rotarians joining the Fremont Rotary to get it started were Wallace Pond, Pharmacy; Brad Agrella, Building Maintenance; as well as Harry Feinberg, Jeweler; and Gordon Agrella, Additional Active.
“Weity” Weitmann is a native son of the Golden West, having been born in the State Capital, Sacramento, in 1916. He attended local public schools, graduating from Sacramento Community College with the Class of 1936. His major was business administration. He entered the training program at Bank of America, pursuing his career in banking at various BofA branches and the Bank’s San Francisco Headquarters until 1956 when he was transferred to the Bank’s branch in Fremont. One year after arriving in town he was invited to join the Niles Rotary Club. He served as Secretary-Treasurer in 1961, becoming President of the Club in 1962. He became a Paul Harris Fellow in 1977; his wife, Grace, was honored with a Fellowship in 1982. Grace also supplied some of the sketches in “They helped to build three cities.”
President Weitmann has been active in community affairs, including being President of the Fremont Chamber of Commerce and the Centerville Businessmen’s Association. He became a member of the Centerville Presbyterian Church in 1958. Weity was a Club golfer until his retirement. He has ‘owned up’ to liking to garden and to travel. These days he spends hours dallying with his home computer and fishing.
Caesar (Chet) DiGiulio, 1963-64
There were seven of the sixteen charter members still active in the Niles Rotary Club when Chet DiGiulio took over the oaken gavel. These seven members of the Club posed under the big Rotary Wheel, which had been transplanted from the original Belvoir Hotel to the parking lot of the International Kitchen on Peralta Blvd. (now Mowry Avenue). These seven members were Charter President Chuck Kraft, Terra Cotta Manufacturing; Tom Wilson, Dentistry; Gene Grau, Physician; Dixon Bristow, Education; Bob Blacow, Banking; George Smith, Roofing Tile Manufacturer; and George Bonde, Sr., Senior Active. Chet’s Rotary Ann was the delightful Susie.
Serving as Officers during Chet’s term were Weity Weitmann, Vice-President; Anthony Scafani, Secretary; and Tom Barlow, Treasurer.
At this time, Niles Rotary was included in District 516, and was still functioning as Niles Rotary Club. During Chet’s administration Rotary International suggested the Niles abandon its traditional name and become Fremont North Rotary Club. With many misgivings and arguments among its members, the Club revised its name to Niles (Fremont) Rotary Club, thus retaining the historic title of the Club and the identity of the Niles District in Fremont.
By 1963 the Niles Club had become favorably known in District 516 for its phenomenal support of the Rotary International Foundation. Early in the DiGiulio presidency the Club achieved the 200% plateau. This meant an average contribution of $200 per member to the Foundation. By February 20th of 1964 the Niles plateau had reached 300% of $300 per member, making Niles Number One in the District for this activity.
In January President Chet announced that the Board of Directors had decided to participate in the District Project of gathering and shipping “Books to India.” He selected Ray Boege to chair the activity of gathering and shipping new and used text books to be sent to the inadequately equipped school libraries in India. In the three months from January 16th to March 15th, over 5,000 books were collected and sent to India for distribution by the Indian Rotary Clubs.
Chet and twenty-four other Rotarians from Niles enjoyed the Bay Area Sunday-Monday rail trip via the Feather River Canyon route to meet with the Reno-Sparks Rotary Clubs. This Inter-City meeting was held at the Mapes Hotel. Total cost of the Reno Trip was $33, which included train fare, hotel room, and the scheduled luncheon. The Sparks Club hosted a gin fiz buffet breakfast.
During President DiGiulio’s term the Niles Club continued its fund raising activities. The pancake breakfast netted $2,100.00.
The District Conference that year was held in Red Bluff. The theme at the meeting was Western – décor and dress. Chet attended the bar-b-que, the hoedown, rodeo, bull sessions, and golf tourney. Rotary Ann Susie enjoyed the historic house tour, the fashion show, and the bridge tournament.
During the year of 1963-64, momentous social changes were taking place in the United States. Many of these were reflected in the election of the young, idealistic John F. Kennedy to the Presidency in November 1960. This Democratic President had survived the ‘Bay of Pigs’ fiasco and the Cuban Missile crisis. It was the year of Birmingham Civil Disobedience confrontation and the emergence of Martin Luther King, Jr., as one of the black leaders heading the ‘March on Washington.’ In the same time span our United States space scientists sent the first space vehicle into orbit…to circle Earth.
Demotion found Chet dressed in a flowering toga, resplendent on a Roman couch. Rotary’s own Julius Caesar was fed his banquet dinner by a team of lovelies, catering to his every whim!
Caesar DiGiulio was born in Niles in 1918. His family had immigrated from Italy, moving to the Fremont area just six days before the San Francisco earthquake and fire. Chet attended the old Niles Grammar School, Washington High School, and the Cogswell Industrial Academy in San Francisco. His first job was at the Newark PG&E substation. When World War II erupted, Chet joined the US Army Signal Corp Division attached to the US Air Force. His service took him to the China-Burma-India Theater and the China Airlift.
When he returned from the service in April 1946, Chet joined his brother in the garage business in Niles. A year later the partnership secured the Pontiac Sales Agency for South County; later the brothers added the GMC Truck Dealership.
Chet has a son and a daughter. His son Rich, also a Rotarian, runs the auto agency. His hobbies include golf, gardening, and spectator sports. In community service he has been President of the Fremont Chamber of Commerce (1968), and the Presidency of the Men’s Club came next. He also became active in Pathfinder Days. He has long been an active member of the Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Niles. He was a member of the Board, which built the Fremont Civic Center, and both a Director and a Past President of the Fremont Parks and Recreation Commission. Over the years he has been instrumental in recording and preserving the history of the Niles (Fremont) Rotary.
Chet is a Paul Harris Fellow, and has also provided his daughter, Arlene, with this distinctive honor.
Ray Boege, 1964-65
Ray Boege held the classification of Sanitary Engineer. He joined the Niles Club in 1957 and he and his Rotary Ann, Helen, were immediately active in all Club projects. When President Ray returned from the Atlantic City International Convention he set forth enthusiastic plans for the new Club year. Vice-President was Chet DiGiulio; Tony Scafani was Secretary. Meetings were being held at the International Kitchen.
The big, annual fundraiser was the customary pancake breakfast cooked and served at the Elk’s Club. The “News Register” of March 25th 1965, carried a front page picture of President Boege, President Elect M.O. Sabraw, Chet DiGiulio, and Vernon Ellsworth presiding over the pancake griddles. During Ray’s term the creation of the Interact Clubs in Rotary International for high school students was implemented with the Charter of the first Interact Club in Melbourne, Florida.
Ray considered three events during his administration characteristic of his term. First, he recalled the very large sum which resulted from the afore mentioned pancake breakfast. Second, he was proud of the International Service project to finalize the District “Books for India” campaign. Third, he recalled the catastrophic fire, which destroyed the Club’s meeting place, the International Kitchen, on November 7th 1960. Lost were the Club files, past issues of the PINION, the Club banners presented by ‘making-up’ Rotarians, the podium, and the gavel. Ray retrieved the Club opening and closing bell, badly singed. To this day the Rotary Bell remains scorched and dull on one side and brightly polished on the other, as a reminder of this tragedy. This was considered newsworthy enough at the time to be reported in “The Rotarian” magazine.
The years 1964-65 were full of notable events both in Fremont and in the Nation. Fremont Mayor Don Dillon approved a letter to then President Lyndon B. Johnson, drafted by Rev. Donald Holly of St. James Episcopal Church, requesting that Federal funds be sent to rebuild churches in the South burned as an aftermath of the ‘March on Montgomery.’ The city of Livermore denied that it was polluting Alameda Creek by dumping effluent from their sewage treatment plant along side Las Positas Creek. As a sanitary engineer this bothered President Boege. It was during this period that Montgomery Ward announced that it would open a retail outlet in “the Hub” around November 1965 with an expected payroll of 400 employees.
Across the Nation the successful ‘Moon Probe’ electrified all Rotarians. President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, calling his program “The Great Society.” In Sacramento, Governor “Pat” Brown was silent on a third term.
Ray’s demotion was truly an evening to remember. Although in full view of everyone in the audience, he spent the entire time in resplendent isolation on center stage – regally enthroned on his very own “one-holer.”
Ray Boege, now deceased, was a Paul Harris Fellow.
Attorney M.O. Sabraw headed the Niles (Fremont) Rotary Club during one of the most tumultuous years of social unrest in the United States. President Lyndon B. Johnson had been re-elected in November 1964. President Sabraw took over the direction of the Club in July 1965. Despite the feelings of uncertainty, President M.O. Sabraw ran a happy ship at Niles Rotary, ably assisted by his Rotary Ann, Betty.
Serving as Vice-President that year was Ray Boege; Secretary Tony Scafani; Treasurer Fremont Postmaster Frank Siatt. Meetings were conducted at the International Kitchen.
The usual annual Club activities continued. In the fall the District Governor’s visit was observed with effectiveness and aplomb. The quota of thirty slots for the Inter-City trip to Reno was filled by January.
The Christmas Party ushered in the holiday season, with special attention being paid to the Rotary Anns in attendance. During the Spring, the Valentine Party was a success. The pancake breakfast raised about $2,500 to fund the YMCA, Boy Scouts, scholarships, and various civic needs.
The Vietnam conflict was escalating. The United States sent the Marines to the Dominican Republic to preserve order and tranquility there. Martin Luther King, Jr., led the Civil Rights March from Selma. Congress passed the Voting Rights Act. It also created the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
In California, members of the Club were discussing the Watt’s riots; the United Farm Workers initiated the grape pickers strike; in Oakland the Black Panthers organization was founded.
And in Fremont in June the demotion was a more controlled extravaganza with a “This is your Life” approach bidding farewell to our popular barrister President.
Mody Sabraw was born in Canada in 1926. He came to California in 1937, and graduated from Santa Rosa High School. He served in World War II in the United States Army Paratroopers in Okinawa, the Philippines, and the Japanese-Pacific Theater. Then followed his attendance at the University of California in Berkeley where he received his B.A. in 1950 and later an L.L.B. in Law in 1953. After his graduation from law school, he served as Deputy District Attorney in Sonoma County. He came to Fremont in 1955 to practice law. Soon after joining Niles (Fremont) Rotary in 1961 he became a member of the Board of Directors, followed by President in 1965-66.
He was appointed Judge of the Fremont-Newark-Union City Municipal Court by Governor Ronald Reagan in February 1968 and was elevated to the Alameda County Superior Court by Governor Reagan in December of 1970. In December of 1984 Governor George Deukmejian appointed Mody a Justice of the California Court of Appeals, a position he held until his retirement in March 1988. He continues to be active as a retire judge in private judging.
Mody has always been active in the community serving as President of the Fremont Board of Education in 1967. He was President of the Washington Township Bar Association, and was on the Board of the Fremont Chamber of Commerce. His hobbies include raising and riding Arabian horses at his home in the Mission San Jose hills. The Sabraws have four children, two sons and two daughters. His son, Judge Ronald Sabraw (President of the Fremont Rotary, 1988-89), presented Mody with a Paul Harris Fellowship.
Don Driggs, 1966-67
Fremont City Manager Don Driggs became the President of the Niles (Fremont) Rotary Club in July 1966. Serving as officers during his term were M.O. Sabraw, Vice-President; Tony Scafani, Secretary; and Elwood Weitmann as Treasurer. Meetings were being held at the International Kitchen. Don’s Rotary Ann is Patricia.
President Don returned from the International Convention in Denver and called a club assembly to outline the policies which would be in vogue for the new term. He guided the Club into many municipal projects including the Pathfinder Days celebration, improvement for Lake Elizabeth Central Park, and the participation in many local fundraising activities. Don joined Niles Rotary in 1963, shortly after being selected the Assistant City Manager. Within three years his enthusiasm for Rotary had resulted in his being elected President of the Club. During his trem the Niles Rotary continued its preeminence in contributing to the Rotary Foundation preserving the high plateau of member contributions in District 516.
The customary social events of the Niles Rotary were completed successfully. Among these were the Ladies’ Barbeque, the District Governor’s visit, the Christmas party, the trip to Reno, the Valentine Day Luncheon, Secretaries’ Day, the pancake breakfast, the District Conference, and Don’s Demotion. In all of these events Don ha the strong support of his Rotary Ann Patricia.
The city council participated in President Don’s demotion, which was conducted with dignity and good taste.
On the national scene, President Lyndon Johnson was in office. By the spring of 1967 anti-war demonstrations and urban rioting were plaguing our cities. The year 1966 was notable for ushering in the sexual revolution when Masters and Johnson authored “Human Sexual Response” which received wide media attention.
Since his retirement from city government in 1980, Don has devoted his time to a variety of hobbies: woodworking, carving, remodeling, gardening, tennis, swimming, bridge, movie-going, and competition volleyball – the Driggs family openly challenges all comers to a ‘friendly’ game of volleyball.
Don and his Rotary Ann Patricia have four children: Donna, Debra, Dana and Dorn. They have seven, soon to be eight, grandchildren.
Don Emerson, 1967-68
Don Emerson presided over the Niles (Fremont) Rotary Club during the fall of 1967 and the spring of 1968. His Vice-President was Don Driggs. The Board of Directors included John Kimber, President-Elect; Tony Scafani, Secretary-Treasurer; and Don Amsbaugh, Gordon Lindsey, Mike Schafir, Bill van Doorn as board members. His term marked the 30th Anniversary of the founding of the Niles Club in December of 1937. Don’s Rotary Ann is Mary.
The observation of the Club’s 30th took place on December 8th at the annual Christmas party. The Niles Club was joined by the Fremont Rotary Club in the special recognition of the contributions to the community made by the seven charter members of the Club still on the active list. These ‘survivors’ were presented commemorative plaques during this celebration: Charter President Chuck Kraft, Charter Sergeant-at-Arms Tom Wilson, Bob Blacow, George Bonde, Jr., Gene Grau, and George Smith who were present, and Dixon Bristow in absentia. In charge of general arrangements were Co-Chairman Don Driggs and Harry Feinberg, representing the Fremont Club. Joe McCord, Charles McCrory, Elwood Weitmann, Frank Siatt and Peter Jacobsohn handled decorations. Larry Milnes and Harry Feinberg headed the Promotions Committee. President Don welcomed the members and guests, Phil Ockerman led the group in singing “God Bless America”, and Carl Flegal gave the invocation. Gordon Agrella, President of the Fremont Rotary, introduced the head table. Carl Rehfuss, District Governor of 516, was the distinguished speaker. Chuck Kraft, Mike Schafir and Phil Ockerman presented a Historical Review “30 Years of Service Above Self”. At the conclusion of the serious portion of the evening, the Rotarians and guests sang Christmas carols and danced to the music of the Lou Earl Combo until midnight.
During President Don’s term, the Niles Rotary Club constructed an elaborate parade float to liven up the Pathfinder’s Day Parade, which was staged to develop civic pride in the romantic history of the area. The parade float carried the motto “Our Platform is Service”. A thirty-foot long Golden Key covered with colorful flowers was shaped into the word ‘Participate’. This float received accolades and a first prize award in its category.
Niles Rotary began the project of landscaping the entrance to the newly completed city government building. This included the gift of a commanding flagpole, which had to be taller than the building itself so the flag would be visible from all angles, and the construction of benches to augment the flowerbeds and trees in the courtyard. The Club budgeted $1,500 for the project the first year, and pledged an additional $1,500 for the following year to make a total of $3,000.
True to the Rotary tradition, President Don’s demotion was conducted with all the dignity befitting the popular Obstetrician-Gynecologist. Chet DiGiulio, the ever smiling auto dealer, appeared early in the festivities dressed as a very pregnant harridan, crowned with a mop of blonde, curly hair and dressed in a form fitting maternity gown which failed to cover his knobby knees or his stockingless hairy legs. After a suitable period of painful and noisy ‘labor’, Chet was delivered a beautiful bouncing baby basketball to the great relief of all in the audience.
Don and his Rotary Ann Mary have five children: Marianne, Mike, Craig, Beth and Steven. Mary specializes in being an expert Mom, photographer, the practice of Gung-Fu, and flower arrangements. In addition to his medical practice and Rotary, President of the Birthing Center Medical Advisory Board. Both Don and Mary are Paul Harris fellows.
Robert John Kimber, 1968-69
Robert John Kimber’s year as President was known as the “Year of the Rooster”. This was because the ancient Chinese calendar so designated and according to the PINION, there was to be no ‘fowl’ language at the Kimber meetings! Vice-President that year was Don Emerson; Treasurer Peter Jacobsohn; very able Club Secretary Steb Loze. The much respected Cliff Dochterman was District Governor during this year. His fall visit and subsequent appearances during the spring brought a great rush of enthusiasm to the Club members, and Cliff remained a treasured friend of the Niles Club. (In 1987, Cliff was the keynote speaker at Castlewood for the 50th Anniversary Celebration.) Budget for the year was $22,610 and dues were $35. His hard-working Rotary Ann Joan assisted President John throughout his year.
During the year, another annual pancake breakfast fundraiser was successful. Harry Cesari was chairman of the Club’s Pathfinder’s Day Committee and produced a magnificent blue and gold float whose theme was “Service to the Community”. The Club completed the landscaping at the city government building. In this year Lake Elizabeth was named in honor of Fremont’s sister city in Australia. The Niles Club hosted a gala reception for the Mayor of Elizabeth at the Kimber home.
With the help of Gordon Lindsey, Director of Community Service, the Club established a Rotary Book Shelf at Washington High School in the Centerville District. Carl Williams helped him in this activity. John’s administration owed much of its success to Vernon Ellsworth, International Service; Bob Sandholt, Vocational Service; and Mike Schafir, Club Service. Under the direction of Frank Serpa, a Rotary Grove of shade trees was established in Fremont’s Central Park.
During they year, the Club staged a ladies barbeque, a Christmas party, enjoyed the Reno inter-city trip in January and hosted the Valentine Luncheon.
Robert John Kimber is a native son, having been born in Sacramento. He is the son of the late George Card Kimber, a professor and Dean of Liberal Arts at Sacramento Community College. His mother was an artist. He is the nephew of John Kimber, a charter member of Niles Rotary and founder of Kimber Farms. A suggestion made by the elder John Kimber that the stretch of freeway between Oakland and San Jose, then known only as State Route 17, be named for Admiral Chester A. Nimitz, a World War II hero, was acted upon and so it is today through all the changes on that busiest of freeways.
John attended schools in Sacramento, and graduated from C.K. McClatchy High School in 1950. He met his future wife, Joan Ford, in junior high school. He attended Sacramento Junior College for two years and then U.C. Berkeley. He graduated from “Cal” with a Bachelor of Science degree in business and political science. Following graduation, he entered the United States Army with an ROTC commission as a 2nd Lieutenant. He completed his hitch as a First Lieutenant, and returned to Sacramento. In 1956 he joined the family firm, Kimber Farms, a pioneer hybrid poultry breeding company, in Niles. While working there, he attended the University of Santa Clara, receiving his Masters degree in Business Administration. He became President of Kimber Farms in 1964. When Kimber Farms was sold to DeKalb Research, based in Dekalb, Illinois, John changed his career to real estate so he could remain in Fremont. In 1981 he formed Kimber Associates, a real estate brokerage and investment company.
John has always participated in Fremont civic and business activities. He was President of Washington Township Industries, President of the Fremont Chamber of Commerce, member of the Finance Advisory Committee of the Fremont Unified School District, Treasurer of St. James Episcopal Church, and a member of the Washington Township Men’s Club. His hobbies include weekend tennis games with friends, an avid snow skier and an enthusiastic computer buff. The Kimbers have a daughter, Janiece, and a son, David.
John and Joan are both Paul Harris Fellows, presented jointly in a “double ring” ceremony. An appropriate end to John’s ‘fowl reign’ as Rotary President occurred when dozens of baby chicks participated in the entertainment of the assembled group.
Don Amsbaugh, 1969-70
The President of the Niles (Fremont) Rotary at the turn of the sixth decade (1969) was Don Amsbaugh. His classification was Medical Laboratory and he had joined the Club in 1961. His Rotary Ann is the ebullient Babs. Vice-President under Don was John Kimber; Steb Loze Secretary; Peter Jacobsohn Treasurer. Meetings were at the International Kitchen.
The District Governor of 516 was John Moore, MD, of Lafayette, then in our District. 1969 was the last year in which the Niles Club was listed as being in old District 516. The District Conference was held at Hoberg’s Resort in Lake County. There are some very interesting stories about shared bathrooms having doors without locks – doors that did not even latch properly. The new District 517 include Santa Cruz, San Benito, and the County of Alameda except for the incorporated limits of Albany and Berkeley; and that portion of Santa Clara County south of Redwood City. The Rotary International President was James Conway of New York. The International Convention was held in Honolulu with President Don and Mary Emerson, Gene and Jeanne Rinaldi, Mike and Jan Schafir, and Ken and Fran Weiss.
The major fundraiser was the annual pancake breakfast, which showed a profit of $1,370. This was donated to the City of Fremont to finance a “Youth Fishing Pier” at Lake Elizabeth. Other community projects (which were financed to a total of $8,050) supported the YMCA, the Boys’ Club, the Boy Scouts, High School Scholarships and of course the building of the fishing pier. An on-going community project was the raising in two years of $3,000, which was donated to the City of Fremont to help pay for the flag pole, benches, and landscaped areas in the courtyard of the new city governmental building. President Don very graciously gave every Rotary Ann a single red rose in a bud vase on her anniversary, which he hand delivered on the appropriate date. Likewise, Babs sent each Rotarian a birthday card signed “Love, Babs”, letting them guess who the secret admirer was.
During Don’s year, former President Ray Boege and intrepid song leader Phil Ockerman were elected to Senior Active membership. This was the year the luncheon price at Club meetings was raised from $2.75 to $3.00. In April of 1970 Art Mendonca chaired an ‘International Day’, which brought twenty foreign students from Ohlone College to a Niles Rotary luncheon.
During 1969, the infant City of Fremont achieved a population figure of 100,000. This was in contrast to the 22,400 souls in the city at the time of incorporation in 1956. One of the most important events in the city in 1969 was the Washington Hospital Bond Issue, which passed after two previous failures. Done was President of the Hospital Board at this time. The bond issue for 9.5 million dollars provided for the expansion of the Hospital from 136 beds to the potential of 400 beds. The Niles Club members gave their unqualified support of the passage of these bonds.
Nationally, President Nixon initiated his “Nixon Doctrine” and the ‘cold war’ was our policy regarding the Soviet Union. In 1969 Rotarians were appalled by the behavior of dissidents and the use of drugs at the large ‘gatherings’ at Woodstock, New Jersey and at nearby Altamont. In 1970 Kent State and Jackson State were the scenes of disruptive riots on campus. The economy was strengthened by the introduction of electronic processes in industry.
Don’s demotion was held, appropriately, in the ‘Bucket of Blood Saloon’, a trendy establishment where the wine was stored in Erlenmeyer flasks and served through intravenous tubing.
President Don Amsbaugh was born in San Francisco, a third generation Californian. He graduated from Mission High and attended San Francisco City College. In World War II, Don enlisted in the United States Navy N-12 Program and was sent to the University of Notre Dame. Here, on a blind date, he met his future wife, Babs. During the war he served in the Navy Medical Corps and was subsequently assigned to the Fleet Marine Force. He saw duty in Hawaii, Guam, and the China Theater. After the Peace Treaty was signed he spent some time in Occupied Japan.
Upon receiving his discharge, he and Babs were married; he resumed his education at UC Berkeley, graduating in 1950 with a degree in Bacteriology. Following this, he did graduate studies in Public Health and Laboratory Science. In 1959, Don purchased Fremont Medical Laboratory located on what was then Fremont Avenue. This was the first medical laboratory in Fremont. Six months after this laboratory was established, Washington Hospital was opened.
Professionally, he is a member of the California Association of Bio-Analysts, the American Association of Bio-Analysts and served as President of each organization. He is a member of the Alameda Lodge, F & AM and is a Shriner. He is affiliated with the Fremont Fisherman’s Fishing Club, the Washington Township Men’s Club, Bay Area Soaring Associates and the South Bay Soaring Society. He is Chairman of the Citizen’s Committee for a Fremont Airport.
Don flies single engine planes out of San Jose International Airport, and uses a Citabria based at Amelia Reid airport for aerobatics. He is always ready to take willing passengers soaring over the Mission San Jose Hills from Fremont SkySailing, promising to indulge in glider aerobatics only when he has no passengers. His newest hobby is building and flying remote control model gliders.
He and Rotary Ann Babs have two sons and one daughter. Their older son, Scott, is a Fremont Fireman and younger son, Jon, is a Fremont Policeman. Daughter Linda Noël Nephew is a paralegal assistant, now retired and living in Santa Rosa with her family. The Amsbaughs have seven grandchildren – five girls and two boys.
Don became a Paul Harris Fellow in 1977, and Babs followed suit in 1983.
Hal Fudenna, 1970-71
The Niles Rotary Club was at the International Kitchen in 1970 when Hall Fudenna took over as President of the Club in July. His administrative staff consisted of Don Amsbaugh, Vice-President; Steb Loze, Secretary; Peter Jacobsohn as Treasurer. Meetings were held at the International Kitchen. Hal’s Rotary Ann is the vivacious Sue.
In this year William Walk was elected International President and Sidney Mitchell was our District Governor. President Fudenna had a very good historical committee consisting of Harry Cesari, John Brahmst, Gene Grau, and Vern Ellsworth as Chairman. During President Hal’s term the attendance at Niles Rotary was 92.7%, keeping the Club in the high ten of the District. New members were Rich Hubbard, Veterinary Research; Nick Stratigopoulos, Secondary Education. Nick served for many years as the prize winning editor of the PINION, and as a Youth Services committeeman. He also served on the Scholarship, Speech Contest, and Interact Committees.
It was obvious during Hal’s first official meeting that he was in very serious trouble – no one could seem him when he stood behind the podium. A compassionate Rotarian soon solved Hal’s dilemma by building a solid, wooden box complete with the Fudenna Farms logo for him to stand on during meetings, thereby sparing Hal from any future indignity.
The April 4th 1971 annual pancake breakfast was the usual high money maker. During the spring term Bill Fiset, columnist for the Oakland Tribune, wrote a very complimentary article on the community activities of President Hal. The most publicized community service of the Fudenna administration came toward the end of his spring term. Some sixty members of Niles Rotary move down to Lake Elizabeth after the regular meeting and met with the Mayor of Fremont, Gene Rhodes, to celebrate the completion of the Rotary city improvement projects. The first project was the dedication of the Rotary flowering crabapple trees planted in the park at a cost of $1,300. Hal secured these from Rotarian Frank Serpa’s Edenvale Nursery, and the 400 trees were planted throughout the park. The second was the dedication of the Youth Fishing Ramp and Fishing Float, a project started under the reign of the previous President Don Amsbaugh.
Harold Fudenna was born in the Irvington District of Fremont in 1918. He attended the Irvington and Warm Springs Grammar School, and then graduated from Washington High School in 1936. After World War II broke out, he enlisted in the Intelligence Branch of the United States Army in January 1941. He served in the decoding and translation activities until the end of the war in 1945. He and Sue were married in August 1946. After mustering out of the service Hal enrolled at UC Berkeley and received his BA degree in 1949. He then joined the family business as sales manager in marketing agricultural products raised on their own and other South County farms.
President Fudenna has been active in most local fundraising and social organizations, including the Boy Scouts, Washington Township Men’s Club, Irvington Business Association, Fremont Chamber of Commerce and the Masonic Lodge. He became a Paul Harris Fellow in 1980 and Sue received her Paul Harris Fellow in 1987. The Fudennas have three grown sons. Hal’s primary hobby is gold, which he plays weekly at Castlewood.
Niles Rotarians gave Hal a resounding send-off at demotion, including Happy Coats for everyone and parodies of many Gilbert and Sullivan tunes; and a surprise visit from his old friend Hiro Yamamoto who had flown in from Hawaii for the event.
Stebler Loze, 1971-72
Steb Loze became the President of the Niles (Fremont) Rotary Club in 1971, just ten years after he had joined the Club. He held the classification of “Adult Education”. His Rotary Ann is Virginia.
The officers serving under President Steb were Hal Fudenna, Past-President; Will Simpson, Secretary; Peter Jacobsohn, Treasurer. The District Governor was Clarence McGilliard, and the President of Rotary International was Ernst Breitholtz. For the first nine months, the Niles Club meetings were held at the International Kitchen. In the spring of 1972 Niles Rotary moved to the Villa del Greco on Mission Blvd., in the Niles District. Steb continued the custom of the President of the Club paying $100 for each Niles 100% meeting; and further, a missed and not made-up meeting would bring a $10 fine when the culprit returned.
An important community service project in 1971-72 was the raising of funds to finance the City of Fremont signing at the entrances to the city. The large highway signs proclaimed, “You are now entering the City of Fremont”. One of the attention getting signs was erected on Mission Blvd. at the north city boundary. The second was placed on Stevenson at the Nimitz entrance to the city from Newark. The Fremont Chamber of Commerce augmented the Rotary effort by placing smaller signs at other strategic traffic concentrations leading in to the city.
In 1971, the Washington High Athletic Stadium was completed and named in honor of the Fudenna Family, which had contributed so much in the history of the township agricultural predominance. The Niles Rotary Club provided a permanent cluster of six flagpoles at one end of ‘Tak Fudenna’ stadium. On these flagpoles each of the Athletic League High Schools could fly its own banner at community sporting events. These high schools were Washington, Irvington, Mission San Jose, Kennedy, Logan and Newark. As an educator, President Steb was particularly interested in building pride in each of these secondary schools.
The Ladies Day Luncheon was successful under the chairmanship of Karl Olson. The program, “Time to Stand and Stare”, is remembered to this day as Will and Rae Lamoreux presented a selection of nature slides. In April the annual pancake breakfast was held at the International Kitchen. Harry Avila was not the editor of the PINION. In April six Rotary visitors from Brazil were honored at a luncheon held at Silver Pines Country Club in Newark. During the spring Rotarian Bill van Doorn declined to run for his second term on the city council, joining the ranks of other former city councilmen and mayors Carl Flegal and Jack Parry, members of the Niles Club. The District Conference during Steb’s spring term was held at the Edgewater Hotel in Oakland. The International Convention was in June in Houston, Texas. New members that spring were Cliff Vaughn and Warren Peters.
In 1972 the Social Security Tax had risen to $1,100 per hear from the $60 per year in 1937 when it was initiated.
Steb Loze suffered through his demotion at Castlewood Country Club. Past President Hal Fudenna conducted the demise on June 29th. Following an original script written by Art Mendonca, Steb was roasted under the theme “School Days”, ending up in the corner wearing a large, pointed Dunce Cap.
Steb was born and raised in Oakland, California. His education included attending the University of California, Berkeley, graduating with an AB degree in 1938. His career in Public School Education began in 1939 and ended with his retirement in 1974. Interruptions included four years of service with the United States Army Signal Corps during World War II and one and a half years in the Korean War.
He and Virginia Price of Berkeley were married in 1946. They have two daughters: Elizabeth Holguin and Erica Loze, plus one grandson, Heath Loze Holguin. Heath is currently in the first grade at Niles Elementary School.
During his career he taught math and science at Washington High School. In 1961 he became the principal of Washington Evening High School. This was also his first year in Rotary. When he retired in 1974, he was principal of the Fremont Adult School of the Fremont Unified School District.
His Rotary activities included being Secretary and PINION Editor. He and Virginia have attended the Rotary International Conventions in Mexico City (1968); Sydney, Australia (1970); Lausanne, Switzerland (1973); San Francisco (1978); and Rome, Italy (1979).
President Steb became one of the first Paul Harris Fellows in 1975. He was the eleventh Niles Rotarian to be so honored, a surprise from Rotary Ann Virginia who joined the ranks of Paul Harris Fellows during the 50th Anniversary Celebration of Niles Rotary in 1987.
Carl Flegal, 1972-73
The thirty-fifth birthday of Niles (Fremont) Rotary Club occurred during the Presidency of Carl Flegal, who filled the classification of Certified Public Accountant. He had joined the Club on January 1st 1955. His Rotary Ann is Elizabeth. During Carl’s administration Steb Loze was Vice-President; Will Simpson both Secretary and Treasurer.
Halsey Burke was District Governor and the International President was Roy D. Hickman. A committee headed by Harry Avila, Verne Ellsworth, and Jud Taylor edited the PINION. Flegal’s budget for the year was set at $4,604. The International Convention was in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Carl’s year was notable because it marked the thirty-fifth anniversary of the Club and a gala party was held on November 16th. At this banquet a surprise presentation of a Paul Harris Fellowship was made to Founder President Chuck Kraft. Immediate Past-President Steb Loze passed on the idea for the gift to Carl. This was the first Paul Harris Fellowship bestowed by the Niles Club, as the idea was still new a unstructured. At this time, the Fellowship was usually conferred by the individual Club on a Rotarian member who had a long record of service to the community and to his own club.
“When I presented the idea to the Board of Directors,” wrote President Carl, “they immediately approved and quietly and promptly the members contributed the $1,000 amount of the presentation.”
The Club’s major community project during Carl’s term was a major improvement to the dock facility at Lake Elizabeth. Part of the funds for the boat dock project were raised by an auction at a Club meeting of a watercolor painting of the dock by Ted Harpainter, the City Park Superintendent and a noted Fremont artist. The active bidding for the watercolor became a two-person contest between Bill Smith and Don Amsbaugh, with Don topping the bidding. The irony was that Bill knew how much Don wanted the watercolor painting and he was trying to get it so that he could give it to Amsbaugh as a present. He ended up simply upping the price that Don eventually paid.
The Flegal fall term started with a Ladie’s Bar-B-Que at the Weibel Winery picnic facility on September 14th. That was also the week that BART trains started operation to Fremont. In December an elaborate Christmas party was held at La Fuente restaurant in Fremont. The George Smith Memorial Golf Tournament was revived, and scheduled for the Silver Pines Golf Course in Newark.
The inter-city Reno trip was made on February 1st-2nd with fifteen Niles Rotarians enjoying the fellowship and scenic snow ride through the Feather River Canyon. The per-person tab was $52.50. The District Assembly that year was held at the San Jose Hyatt and during the meeting the PINION was honored as the best club bulletin in the District. Jud Taylor, Harry Avila, and Vernon Ellsworth took bows. Just after the District Assembly a tightening of the attendance rules resulted in the Club losing Gail David, Ken Marr, John Ratekin, Murray Rosenblum and Ronald Terry.
In April the annual pancake breakfast was held at the Elk’s Club. It brought in a net of $1,300, which was applied to the cost of building the boat dock.
During the spring term new members Al Fisher, Convalescent Hospitals; John Griffin, Department Store; David Perry, Newspapers; Rich Keller, Law; and George Urquhart, Banking joined the Club. In June, John Savage, Auto Association; Willard Austin, CPA; and Earl Riggs, Ambulance Service were also added to the Club roster. Just before Carl’s administration ended, Bill Borne, Religion; Bill Smith, Hardware; John Marlett, Psychologist; and Judge Joe Jay, Municipal Court brought President Flegal’s campaign quota of new members to completion. The total was twelve. During his term the Club met at the Villa Del Greco on Mission Blvd.
President Carl was born in Auburn, California, the year that World War I broke out in Europe. He attended local schools and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, Phi Beta Kappa, with the Class of 1938. His major was Economics.
During 1942-45 President Flegal served in the United States Navy. He came to reside in Fremont in 1954 and a year later was invited to join the Niles Rotary Club. He served enthusiastically on many committees and held various offices until elected President in 1972.
Carl became involved in civic affairs and was elected to the city council during the years 1959-62 and served as Mayor in 1962. He also served as President of the Centerville Business Association.
He became a Paul Harris Fellow in 1977 during the presidency of Dave Dall. His wife, Elizabeth, joined the Paul Harris Fellowship ten years later in 1987. Carl’s hobbies are playing golf and tending to his extensive garden. Carl and Elizabeth are now living in Santa Rosa.
Ken Weiss, 1973-74
The dynamic Ken Weiss served as President of the Niles (Fremont) Rotary during the fall of 1973 and the spring of 1974. At that time he was the promotions manager of the Fremont HUB, the central shopping mall in Fremont. He joined Rotary in 1968 and after five years of dedicated service was elected to the presidency. His Rotary Ann was Fran, who was an exceptionally busy hostess during Ken’s term.
Carl Flegal was Vice-President; Will Simpson Secretary and Treasurer. The PINION Editor was Jud Taylor with support from George McKinnon and Rich Hubbard. Wally Hall was District Governor and William Carter was International President. His motto for the year was “Time for Action”.
During Ken’s term Niles Rotary met at the Villa del Greco (now Papillon’s) on Mission Blvd. In his first month the Club upped the luncheon price to $3.00 and a $1.00 for non-eaters. New fines imposed were $3.00 for a missed meeting, $1.00 for being late and $2.00 for leaving early. Ken agreed to pay $100 for every 100% meeting. The idea of a “mystery greeter” was initiated with a $1.00 fine for each member who didn’t shake the designated person’s hand before the meeting. During the fall Tom Wilson, Ted Larson, and George Bonde were made Honorary Members.
District Governor Wally Hall visited the Club on September 6th. On September 13th, Mike Kitsuris of the South Hayward Club brought six Brazilian exchange study men to the meeting. The first social event of the new term was the Ladies’ Barbeque held at the Weibel Winery picnic area on September 20th. Ken had emphasized the importance of attendance and by September 20th the Club was boasting of 96.9% attendance for the previous month.
At the Club Assembly held in the Fremont Bank Community Room, it was decided to redesign the visitor’s flag (given to visiting Rotarians from distant Clubs). At the same Assembly it was decided that the photo roster was too expensive and it was discontinued.
In October a trip was made to San Quentin where the inmates furnished the dinner and entertainment. In the same month new members Bill Richter, Bill Rodes, Will Austin, Jim McVey, John Savage, Wes Sears, Gene Cowell and Earl Riggs joined the Club.
On December 14th the Christmas party was enjoyed at the Union Station, Decoto. The Reno trip was held in January. Bill van Doorn changes jobs and resigned from the Club. Joe Cowan took his place on the Board of Directors. The Club had its first 100% luncheon on November 1st and its second on November 29th. The third 100% meeting was achieved on January 24th and President Ken duly coughed up $100 for each of these.
In February, the Valentine Luncheon was held at the Union Station with forty-seven in attendance. In the spring Ken initiated a raffle at each luncheon for a ‘Mystery Gift’. On March 30th forty brave Rotarians and Rotary Anns went on a ‘Mystery Trip’. They traveled by chartered bus into the wine country where they met their hostess for the evening festivities – a notorious former San Francisco Madam who not only entertained them but also supplied a gigantic and delicious prime rib dinner! All this and heaven too for only $20.00 per person.
Also in March the Club celebrated its 6th meeting with 100% attendance. President Weiss’ term provided the best attendance record up to that time.
The Club’s main fundraiser was held on April 28th raising over $2,000. At the breakfast, held in the Elk’s Club on Farwell Drive, raffle tickets were sold and this addition brought in the highest net up to that time for the pancake breakfast. The monies raised were used to purchase furniture donated to the new Fremont-Newark YMCA. Some audio-visual equipment was also bought for the same organization.
The Rotary International Convention was held in Minneapolis on June 24th. It was revealed in the new format PINION that John Kimber had donated 20,000 eggs during the ten years of the pancake breakfasts and that Weity Weitmann had concocted ten gallons of maple syrup for the same events. The venerated Rotarian Vern Ellsworth died. New members joining the Club were Bob Pfeffer, Hobby Goods; Walt Texera, Clothing. On June 29th, the demotion of Ken was held at Castlewood Country Club. It was a memorable evening full of fun and satire. The theme of the demotion was “The Eight Ball Society”.
Ken was born in New York City where he attended school, later moving to Los Angeles. He graduated from Los Angeles City College and then entered a school for broadcasting obtaining his license in First Class Radio Broadcasting that made him an engineer. He and Fran moved to Fremont in 1966 via Palm Springs and Tucson and became affiliated Fremont’s own radio station KFMR. From broadcasting he turned to shopping center marketing and management and was associated with the HUB and several shopping centers across the Bay. He has worked with mentally disabled adults and abused children. He is currently teaching part time at Ohlone College and is part owner of a bed and breakfast inn in Sebastopol. Ken is the very proud father of one son, Craig.
Don Billings, 1974-75
With his enthusiasm, showmanship, and quick wit, Ken Weiss gave Don a tough act to follow; but with the inspiration infused in us by District Governor Mike Kitsuris Don came out swinging with a super-duper effort on behalf of the Rotary Foundation that made a lasting impression on the Club and the District. Six new Paul Harris Fellows were presented at Don’s first meeting: Don Bodily, Rich Brunelli, Guy Clouser, Chet DiGiulio, Frank Serpa, and Bill Smith. Before the year was over, three more were added: Harold Faria and Don Amsbaugh, and in memorium the long time secretary of the Niles Club Vern Ellsworth who was so honored by some of the guys who chipped in with a private collection. Rotary Ann Midge competently assisted President Don with all of his Rotary projects.
Thanks to Don’s scrapbook we have a complete record of the events of his term. Club Secretary-Treasurer was Will Simpson. The President of Rotary International was William Robbins. At the District level, three new Rotary Clubs were formed: Santa Clara West Rotary Club, Scott’s Valley Rotary Club, and Villages/Evergreen Rotary Club. Don and Midge attended all three Charter Nights.
The Club Assembly was held at the Villa del Greco. In an attempt to maintain out high attendance record the Club voted to charge those who did not make-up a missed meeting a $5.00 fine. To provide for a balanced budget, the Club Directors voted to change the by-laws to fix the new initiation fee at $50, and dues at $40 annually. The by-laws were also changed to make the Vice-President of the one year the automatic President of the Club the following year. Board meetings were now being held in the Eureka Federal Savings Community Room. Don’s yearly budget was a whopping $10,946.
Friendship dinners were started during President Don’s year. These were potluck dinners held in the Billings home for small groups so that members and their spouses could visit and become better acquainted with their counterparts. The Rotarians and Rotary Anns were most appreciative of a chance to get to know others in the Club. The mixture of older members with the newer members was extremely successful, and these casual pot-lucks were thoroughly enjoyed by all.
On September 12th, the President of Ohlone College provided a tour of his college campus for members of the Club. Steve Epler hosted the luncheon and spoke of the accomplishments of the students and faculty. The first social gathering including Rotary Anns was a Chuck Wagon Party staged at the Big Oak Stables, in Cull Canyon near Castro Valley. At the hayride and supper George Kritikos showed up announcing his return from a six-month visit to his native Greece.
In October three new members were admitted to the Club. The new members were Don Gustafson, Building Materials; Russ Lloyd, Food Specialties; Wally Terui, Banking.
The Christmas party was held at Brawley’s restaurant. As a prelude to the dinner, Club members and their Rotary Anns hosted a series of cocktail parties in their homes.
In January it was announced at a Club meeting that old-time Rotarian Will Lamoreux had died. In the same month donations were collected for the relief of earthquake victims in Honduras. Niles Rotary collected $1800. District 517 raised a total of $4,611. At $52 per person, the Reno inter-city trip was a success. Everyone won because no one admitted to losing! A new Club project was initiated when the Niles Rotary Blood Bank was established for the benefit of local Rotarians and their family members. The Valentine Day Luncheon was at the newly constructed YMCA building in Fremont.
During March founding President Chuck Kraft celebrated fifty years at Kraftile in Niles. He presented all Club members with a gold pen at the Club’s first 100% meeting of Don Billing’s year. Don paid $25 for this record perfect attendance.
The major community service project for Don’s year was the financing and installation of ten substantial public benches for weary pedestrians along bus routes. Members of the Niles Club personally set up the benches during work parties scheduled on two successive weekends. Bronze plaques were affixed to the benches to designate Rotary sponsorship. Funds for the construction of the benches were raised from the annual breakfast of pancakes and eggs, which was at the Elk’s Club on May 4th. $2,200 was netted from the activity.
There were more new members in the spring term. Among these were Gerald Jensen, Dentistry; James Deaver, Auto Clubs; Jack Peters, Banking; Ken Page, Travel; Jim Dyer, Railroads; Troy Lee, Construction; and Lyle Edmunson, Colleges. The gain was offset by the resignations in June of Ken Weiss and George McKinnon. The Club also observed the death of Tom Wilson, founding members and second President of the Niles Rotary.
During President Don’s regime the District Conference was held in San Jose at the LeBaron hotel. The Niles Club packaged special gif baskets for all VIPs. Don served as Sergeant-at-Arms at the International Convention in Minneapolis. Club Secretary Will Simpson recorded that the Club donated $200 to the Caravanna Mexica, a local youth organization which donated materials and supplies to impoverished youth in Baja California.
The Warren Gravestock Memorial Fund was cashed in for $2,228.64. In 1975 $750 was given to Ohlone College to administer as student loans. The balance went into a time deposit in a savings and loan for maximum interest.
When engine rebuilder Don Billings took office, inflation in the United States had reached 11%, and record-breaking unemployment was at 7.1%. The Watergate break in and resulting cover up brought political turmoil.
All is well, however, at Niles Rotary. Demotion was held at the Holiday Bowl in Hayward, where Don was enthroned in a special, authentic racecar during dinner. The evening included an especially hilarious appearance by Gypsy Fortune Teller Sarah Marlett.
Don was born in Paso Robles, where he spent his early childhood and his teenage years, graduating from Paso Robles High School. He attended Cal Poly. He enlisted in the National Guard serving for twelve years. He met his Rotary Ann Midge the day he went to the Chevy Dealership to purchase a new convertible – she was the starry-eyed gal behind the counter. The new convertible accompanied them on their first date. They moved to Arcata, where they lived for the next fourteen years. Don was employed in a machine shop. He joined the Arcata Rotary Club in 1950. The Billings family moved to Fremont in 1963, establishing Billings Automotive and becoming part of the Niles Rotary. Older members will remember that Don’s parents, Henry and Dorothy Billings, were also part of the Niles Rotary family.
Don and Midge have four children. They also have four granddaughters. Don’s hobbies include fishing, boating up at Lake Berryessa, woodworking, and traveling in their mobile home. He is still active at the District level, working in various capacities at the District Conferences.
Both Don and Midge are Paul Harris Fellows.
Joe Cowan, 1975-76
Joe Cowan, President of the Niles (Fremont) Rotary Club for the years 1975-76, joined the Rotary in 1970, and proved to be such an enthusiastic member that he was elevated to the Presidency just five years later. Joe’s Rotary Ann is the buoyant Dorothy. His classification was Public Utilities (PG&E).
Dick Warren was elected Secretary, and Gene Cowell became Treasurer. The PINION Committee was composed of Jud Taylor, Peter Adgie, Steb Loze, and Walt Texera. Earl Goodell, of Cupertino, was our District Governor and Rotary International President was Ernesto de Mello from Brazil. For the first time the ‘early leavers’ were assigned to Table #1 and a missed meeting cost the culprit $5.00. The Club budget for the year was $12,635.
It announced that the Niles Rotary Blood Bank at Washington Hospital had been replenished during the month b twenty-three pints. District Governor Goodell visited the Club on July 31st. During the Governor’s visit the ladies toured the Kraftile Company where Jan Schafir won a lovely tile painting of the Madonna, donated by Chuck Kraft.
Maurice Marks, former Niles Rotarian, was honored on his big 80th birthday at a dinner at Castlewood on July 29th. Dick Jolly, the Niles President from 1947-48, announced his retirement from both Jolly Pharmacy in Niles and Niles Rotary, as he was moving to Placerville. Old-time member John Brahmst was reported to be confined to a bed in Washington Hospital.
In September the Ladies’ Barbeque was held in Gorden Lindsey’s penthouse. During the fall Chet DiGiulio and Rich Brunelli participated in a weight losing contest. Chet went from 222 to 204, losing 18 pounds. But Rich won the contest by going down from 247 to 222 pounds.
On December 14th the Christmas party was staged in Brawley’s banquet room. Preceding the dinner, cocktails were served at the members’ homes. Hosting these get-togethers were Rotarians and their Rotary Anns Harold Fudenna, Don Amsbaugh, David Dall, Gene Cowell, Jim McVey and Don Gustafson. The balance in the Club treasury hit a low of $528 in December.
In January the Niles Club sent twenty-one members to the 34th Annual inter-city meeting in Reno. The stay-at-home gamblers gave Don Emerson and John Marlett each $10 to play the Big Spin, but received no return on their investment.
The travelers did enjoy the traditional gin fizz breakfast courtesy of the Cal-Neva Club.
The Valentine party was held at Brawley’s restaurant. A unique feature of Joe’s term was the present given members of the Club on the occasion of their wedding anniversaries. The gift was a ‘limited edition’ Rotary Wheel Tile produced at the Kraftile factory. Dorothy Shannon of the Ohlone College Art Department created the artwork. The tile also celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Kraftile Company in Niles.
The District Conference was held at the Hyatt House in Palo Alto. During this the Niles Club was rated first in attendance in the District with 99.6% and two 100% meetings in January. At the April 9th Assembly the Club was awarded a plaque for the best International Project – the raising of funds for the medical materials sent to Mexico. This project with Richard Warren in charge resulted in Phil Ockerman and his wife Doris driving a U-haul truck to the village of Puerto Penasco, delivering three x-ray machines to local hospitals and clinics. The retail value of the donation was $30,000.
The annual pancake breakfast at the Elks’ Club this year netted $2,400. This sum was donated to the local Senior Citizens Meals on Wheels Project. The Club furnished a $300 scholarship to Elizabeth Wogen of American High School.
During the year there was a net gain of nine new members. Among these were Nat Daniels, Russ Lloyd, Joe Silva, and Nat Peters. Steb Loze and Dave Dall became Paul Harris Fellows. Chuck Kraft reported that Niles Rotary had reached a plateau of 1700%.
During the last half of Joe’s term the Nation began to celebrate the 200th Anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Visiting Rotarians were presented with the Niles Club banner on which were portrayed George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin. There was a reproduction of Independence Hall also on the flag. This banner became an immediate collector’s item. Underlying the wide celebration remained the fact that unemployment in the United States had reached an appalling 12%. In 1975 the Communists, backed by Mainland Chinese troops, took over the government of Vietnam. President Gerald Ford acknowledged that this action made fruitless our years of fighting for democracy in that country. In California the grape workers, led by Cesar Chavez, instituted a nationwide grape-buying boycott.
The demotion of Joe Cowan took place at Brawley’s. On June 24th we saw Joe dressed as Reddy Kilowatt, sitting in an electric chair. Much was made of the fact that Joe had levied fines averaging $92 per week. The cost of the demotion dinner was a lowly $22 – per couple!
Joseph C. Cowan, the son of Corbett O. and Ella C. Cowan of Glen Ellen (Sonoma County), was born in San Francisco on March 11th 1924. Two years later the family moved from Sonoma County to Marin County where they remained for the next 32 years. Joe attended St. Raphael’s School in San Rafael and graduated from San Rafael High School. After graduation, he served in the United States Navy, attached to the Fleet Marine Force. On April 1st 1944, he married the former Dorothy J. White of San Quentin. Following World War II, Joe attended the College of Marin, Santa Rosa Junior College, and subsequently Santa Clara University where he received his degree in Business Management in 1969.
His career has been long and varied, although continuously with the same company. He joined Pacific Gas & Electric Company in 1946, beginning in the gas department. In 1958 he transferred to the marketing department and from there moved to the position of Manager in Guerneville in 1963. He transferred to Santa Rosa in 1964, Los Gatos in 1968, Fremont in 1970, and Monterey in 1977. After forty years of service, he retired from PG&E on May 30th 1986 as District Manager of Monterey. His first office in Fremont was located on Peralta Blvd in the Centerville district. He later moved his office to its present location on Paseo Padre Parkway. He participated in numerous organizations and community service activities in each area, serving on many commissions and boards.
He served on the Board of the Fremont Chamber of Commerce; the Union City Chamber of Commerce, the Newark Chamber of Commerce, the Selective Service Board in Hayward, the Centerville Businessmen’s Association, the Fremont-Newark Unified School District Data Processing Board, the Fremont Police Department Oral Board, the Union City Police Department Oral Board, the Washington Hospital Authority, the City of Fremont Thermal Insulation Commission, etc. Joe’s association with Rotary began in Guerneville in 1963, and continues to this day. In addition to serving as President of the Niles Club he has been active in the Monterey Rotary, as well as continuing to serve on other Boards and Committees in the community. Joe became a Paul Harris Fellow in 1977.
Now retired and living in Salinas, he retains his membership as Senior Active in the Carmel Valley Rotary Club. He continues to play an active role on the AT&T Golf Tournament Committee, the Spaulding Golf Committee, Monterey Sheriff’s Advisory Council and the Carmel
Joe & Dorothy have one married daughter, three grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
David Dall, 1976-77
Dr. David Dall, a Paul Harris Fellow, had the distinction of presiding over the Niles (Fremont) Rotary during the fall of the momentous bi-centennial year of 1976, and the spring of 1977. Dave filled the classification of dermatologist and had been a member of the Club for seven years having joined in 1969. His Rotary Ann was Gerri.
The Club was still meeting at the Villa del Greco. Dave Ditto of San Jose was the District Governor. The president of Rotary International was Robert Manchester from the United States. In the Niles Club Dick Warren was secretary and George Urquhart was treasurer. The PINION Committee was composed of Jud Taylor, John Marlett and Nat Daniels.
Dave and his Rotary Ann Gerri attended the June 1976 International Convention in New Orleans. On his return he was sick with the flu which he caught at the super dome, where 30,000 Rotarians had been in attendance.
The main community service project was the financing of a jogging course around the lake in Fremont’s Central Park. Later in the 1980’s the Niles Club improved this exercise course with the installation of needed information sigs. It was determined that the PINION would cost the club at least $2,700 to publish during the year. The Club donated $2,400 to Annabel Wiles, the coordinator of the Meals on Wheels program. This money had been raised at the previous year’s pancake breakfast.
District Governor Dave Ditto visited the Niles Club on September 9th. The same week Doug Hill chaired the committee handling the Niles flea market booths. Beer and soft drinks were sold to an estimated 20,000 visitors to this community event. On September 18th the Ladies’ Day party had a Hawaiian theme and was called the ‘Ladies’ Luau’. This feast was held at past-president Amsbaugh’s tiki hut. Professional talent, ably assisted by Wally Terui, provided the food and entertainment. On September 25th, Richard King’s fundraising ‘Bi-Centennial Review’ was presented at DeAnza College auditorium. New members brought into the Club during the early fall were Bert Harper, Warren Hudson, and Jim Snell. The 5th Annual Avenue of Service was held with the Santa Cruz clubs hosting the event.
The Christmas party was held on December 14th at Harlow’s restaurant in the Fremont Fashion Center. Pre-dinner cocktails were artistically served to all members and their Rotary Anns (who, incidentally, supplied all the homemade hors d’ourves for the party) at Hal Fudenna’s ‘Octagon House’ situated high atop the cauliflower building in beautiful downtown Irvington.
In January, Peggy Crane, an honorary Rotarian who had played the piano at regular Club meetings for thirty years was honored for devoted, reliable ‘Service Above Self’.
At the March 3rd Board of Director’s meeting it was proposed that the Niles Club by-laws be changed to allow an annual dues price of $75.00 per year. Fines were fixed at $100.00 per member. It was agreed that each member be responsible for the sale of $40 worth of tickets for the pancake breakfast. Each member’s birthday and anniversary would cost him $10.00. During March Doug Hill invited the Club members to an open house at the Hill Chemical Company’s new plant. And Doug Gustafson announced that he was moving to Auburn. Also during March four perfect attendance meetings were held and Dave ponied up $400 to commemorate this achievement.
Chuck Kraft announced that the Niles Rotary Club contributions to the Rotary Foundation amounted to $19,462 to date.
The annual pancake breakfast was held on April 24th at the Elks Club. A net of $2,200 was raised. The committee was under the direction of John Marlett and Chet DiGiulio and served 1,400 breakfasts.
New members during the spring were Doug Piggot, Gary Lindahl, Robert Page and Dave Brazil. John Brahmst, President of Niles Rotary 1955-56, passed away.
Five new Paul Harris Fellows were added: four Past Presidents Don Billings, Joe Cowan, Carl Flegal and Weity Weitmann plus Rotary Ann Anne Kraft.
The International Convention was held in San Francisco from June 5th thru June 9th. Fifty-two Rotarians from other countries were brought from San Francisco to Central Park in Fremont by bus. They were taken to twenty-six Niles Rotarians’ homes for an overnight stay and home entertainment. Additional new members were Bruce Bell and Bob Wasserman.
President Dall’s demotion dinner was held at Brawley’s on the night of June 25th with Joe Cowan presiding. To the lilting strains of Humoreque, to which Babs Amsbaugh had added some racy lyrics, Dave was demoted while sitting in the rather bare bones of an antique automobile. His life was reviewed along with his penchant for promptness and not tardiness. “Reverend” Harry Avila gave the ‘benediction’, as well as making assorted pertinent comments throughout the evening. All from the beginning notes of “Hello Dall-y” and the finale “Good-bye Dall-y” had a good time.
Harry William Smith, 1977-78
President Bill Smith returned from the San Francisco International Convention in late June 1977 to hold his first meeting. He brought to the Club thirty-six different Rotary Club banners exchanged at the convention. Bill joined the Niles Club in 1971 holding the classification of Hardware, Retail. His Rotary Ann was Dede. Early meetings were held at the Villa del Greco.
Officers in the Club under President Smith were Doug Hill, Secretary; George Urquhart, Treasurer. Rotary International President was Jack Davis of Bermuda. District Governor was Kenneth Thompson from Oakland. In an effort to bring more diversified programs to the Club, President Smith increased the Program Committee from twelve to twenty-four. Each committee member was charged with scheduling two outstanding speakers during the year. The idea worked out and more interesting and informative programs marked the 1977-78 year. He also instituted the biweekly printing of the PINION instead of its being issued every week as formerly.
At the July 14th meeting Bill brought in four new members. These were George Kato, Agriculture; Bill Clark, Portrait Photography; Stan Saylor, Civil Engineering; and Calvin Delcinio, Retail Hardware. On August 4th, District Governor Ken Thompson made his official visit to Niles and gave the Club a high rating, especially in the Rotary Foundation effort. On August 28th the Club members manned two booths at Niles flea market. One booth sold ‘white elephant’ items and the other sold beer and soft drinks. The net profit from this fundraiser was $1,850. Joe Cowan, past-president in 1975-76 was transferred by PG&E to Salinas and resigned from the Club.
In October, Paul Weisshaur, Engineering; Ted Findley, Pathology; Bill Collins, Community College Administration; Dave Morrell, Ben Buck, Henry Cheung and John Lingli were added to the Club roster. The Ladies Barbeque was on October 1st at Andrade Ranch. At the event each Rotary Ann brought a special picnic basket – President Smith auctioned all off.
During Bill’s term the meeting place of Niles Rotary was changed to a more spacious facility at Harlow’s. At the December Christmas party held at Andrade Ranch in Sunol Valley the Club observed its 40th anniversary. The one hundred Rotarians and Rotary Anns present honored Peggy Crane, Club pianist, with a Paul Harris Fellowship on her 75th birthday.
In January the Reno trip was held. Niles Rotary membership was now 104 with the addition of Ken Rankin, Private Education; Chuck LeCroy, Auto Repair; Hal Vargas, Periodontist; Wayne Johnson and Wayne Haytib as new members. Joe Lewis moved to Idaho and Henry Billings left the area and thus were lost to the Club. Members of the Rotary Blood Bank donated Seventeen pints of blood.
In March the District Conference was held in Monterey, jointly with District 522. At this time Niles Rotary named Chuck Kraft as Rotarian of the Year. President Smith went on a junket to Paris with Rotary Ann Dede and Vice-President Dick Warren presided over the Club. It was announced that Al Lopez, Jim Deaver, and George Kritikos had resigned from the Club. However, twenty new members had been added during President Bill’s term bringing the membership to 109 at the end of the year.
A very unique fundraising project essayed by the Club during the year was the purchase of a ‘pong game’ machine, which generated $1,500 in profits within six months of its placement. Another unusual fundraiser was the weekly drawing of a ball from a lottery machine. This chance cost each member $100. By the end of the year this drawing had netted the Club $1,000.
President Bill Smith had a very exceptional year in promoting Paul Harris Fellowships. In addition to the Club having made Peggy Crane a Paul Harris recipient, non-Rotarians Midge Bilings, Herb Kraft, Jim Kraft, Garth Smith and Martha Faria were added to the fellowship rolls. From the Club John Marlett, Dick Warren, Joe Silva, Bill Williams, Art Mendonca and Bob Hall became Paul Harris recipients. In all, twelve one thousand dollar fellowships were recorded and this brought the Club a special plaque from the District Governor for being number one in the District with this achievement. President Bill was already a Paul Harris Fellow.
During this period the voters of California were hotly arguing the merits of the Jarvis-Gann amendment – the so-called Proposition 13. On the national level the country was crippled by the oil energy crisis. Long lines at the gas pumps resulted in rationing and higher gasoline prices were an embarrassment to President Jimmy Carter. On the plus side these years saw the introduction and wide sales of microcomputers. Calculators for home use were introduced and photocopiers for office reproduction of documents were common.
Bill’s demotion took place at the Rendezvous on June 24th. A rousing musical skit was written and orchestrated by Dave Dall – a very light and fun filled evening.
Born and raised in San Mateo, Bill came to the Centerville area to open Dale Hardware in 1955. He and Dede had four children, two of whom live in Fremont and are involved in carrying on Dale Hardware.
Bill passed away in 1983.
Richard Warren, 1978-79
Dick Warren, Administrator of Washington Hospital, wielded the Niles (Fremont) Rotary presidential gavel from July 1st 1978 to June 30th 1979. Serving with President Warren were John Marlett, Vice-President; Doug Hill, Secretary, Weity Weitmann, Treasurer; Joe Silva Sergeant-at-Arms. Steb Loze was chairman of the PINION editorial committee. Dick’s Rotary Ann is Shirlee.
Glen Wirt from the Sunnyvale Rotary Club was the District Governor. Rotary International President was Clem Renouf from Australia. He selected the theme “Reach Out – The Four Avenues of Service”.
At the July 13th meeting President Warren announced his objectives for the year. These were to increase membership by a net of five during the 1978-79 term and to present quality programs of substance and value. He installed Red Jones (service station) to start his new year. On August 25th the Club members manned the beer booth at the Annual Niles flea market. With the profits realized from this venture the Club donated $1,000 to the Serra Presidential Center to help in the purchase of a fifteen-passenger van.
The Club Assembly was held on September 7th. Here it was decided to charge early leavers $4.00 per violation. Also the Club dues were set at $75 per year. A decision was made to use the net amounts from fundraising to “assist small and sometimes unpublicized local social and health oriented agencies”. This was to alleviate some of the problems of finance being experienced due to the recent passage of state Proposition 13, designed to cut the ‘fat’ out of government expenditures.
One International Avenue of Service was initiated in the Club during Dick’s administration. This was the Niles support of HHA program of Rotary International. This meant initiating World Health improvements and pushing economic redevelopment in emerging nations. The Club also began making plans for the celebration of he 75th year of Rotary International by getting a head start with the appointment of appropriate committees and planned fundraisers to observe this occasion in 1979.
On September 23rd the Club staged the annual Ladies’ Barbeque at Andrade Ranch with 129 in attendance. New members initiated to date were Ron Hayman, Behavioral Sciences; Ed Fernandez, Retail Food; Dick Lucia, Family Restaurant; Dave Novanty, TV Broadcasting; and Wayne Jaton, CPA.
The Christmas party was held at Harlow’s restaurant. Three hundred Rotarians and their Rotary Anns attended, each bringing a present to be distributed at Christmas to the needy children in the community.
It was announced that the 1979 Rotary International Convention would be held in Rome June 10th – 14th. The January 14th-15th annual inter-city trip to Reno drew forty members and guests. Back at the Club in January Phil Ockerman sang a program of New Year’s songs. Harlow’s restaurant was the site of the Valentine Luncheon on February 14th. At this party, Babs Amsbaugh was named by President Warren as the first “Rotary Ann of the Year”.
During the spring new members initiated were Mike Tennant, Scouting; Dick Aston, Printing; Arnold Wong, ENT Medicine; Ken Weiss, Public Relations; Gene Andre, Food Merchandising; Art Culver, Merchandising Roof Tile. The Club community project was furnishing the funds for the landscaping of the Municipal Court building. Other community donations included $400 for the Tri-City Volunteers, $250 to the Boy Scouts for a movie projector, and $200 to the Fremont Philharmonic Orchestra.
The District 517 Golf Tournament was held at Hollister, and eighteen of the Niles members participated. The District Assembly was held at Foothill College on May 19th. On June 7th, two new members were added to bring the roster to 109, thus achieving President Warren’s goal. The new members were Albert Sebesta, Autos; and Frank Pirrone, Pharmacist. Bill Richter, of Ohlone College, retired, giving up his classification. The six group study members arrived from India and were entertained in the homes of Carl Flegal, Doug Hill, Carl Olson, Jim Dyer, Ron Hayman and Mike Schafir.
Personal computers began to sell in sizable quantities and Southern Alameda County and Fremont began to attract Silicon Valley industrial spillovers. Jimmy Carter was serving out his term as President. Nuclear energy escalation suffered with the breakdown of equipment in the 3-Mile Island nuclear complex.
Six Paul Harris Fellows were added to the Niles Rotary’s credit: members Bill Collins, Jim McVey, Ray Boege, and Phil Ockerman plus non-members Mary Kraft Peltzer and Charles S. Kraft.
The demotion of President Dick Warren was held at the Andrade Ranch on June 23rd 1979. The program notes referred to Doctor Dick from Tennessee. A reward was offered for the apprehension of ‘Desperado Dick’ charged with “selling patent medicines without FDA approval”. The description of Dick given was “medium height, medium weight, blue beady eyes, long white hair (probably a wig), gets lost easily, cheats at golf, speaks only southern Americanese, approach with caution – could be dangerous.
Dick and Shirlee and daughter Tammy are all Paul Harris Fellows. Dick was born in Amarillo, Texas on October 24th 1929. He moved to Tennessee as a youngster. He attended various schools and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Hospital Administration from Northwestern University, Chicago. The Warren family arrived in Fremont by way of the Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital in Samoa. After spending most of a day being interviewed by the Washington Hospital board of Trustees, Dick, picked up Shirlee and their two small daughters at the San Francisco airport in the late afternoon. Shirlee deplaned to discover that her husband had a new job and that she had thirty minutes to prepare herself and Keely and Tammy for dinner with the Board of Directors and their wives.
During his health care career, Dick has accumulated more than thirty-five years of experience and has held the chief administrative position at Washington Hospital since 1969. Under his leadership, the former 156-bed hospital has grown into a healthcare system including a 256-bed hospital, a radiation oncology center associated with Stanford University, an out-patient surgery center, a free standing birthing center and three health centers located throughout the hospital district. Currently (1988) he serves as chairman of BETA Council for the Association of California Hospital Districts and is a member of the Marketplace Task Force Committee for the California Association of Hospital and Health Care Systems; American Hospital Association; Hospital Council of Northern California; California Hospitals, Inc.; College of American Hospital Administrators; Private Industry Council; and the Niles Rotary Club. In addition he served, by government appointment, in 1985, on the Alternative Birthing Method Study Committee for the State of California. Dick wears many hats – all of them well.
John Marlett, 1979-80
John Marlett’s term as President of Niles (Fremont) Rotary extended from July 1st 1979 to June 30th 1980. During his administration Doug Hill was the Vice-President/President-Elect. Serving as Secretary/Treasurer was Weity Weitmann. Bruce Bell was Sergeant-at-Arms and Charlie Snow was in charge of the PINION. John’s Rotary Ann is the ever-helpful Sarah.
The Governor of District 517 was Walter Schultz, a Past-President of the Mountain View Club. Rotary International President was James Bonner, Jr. The International Convention was in Rome, and John and Sarah attended. And, of course, John got into trouble. While in Rome arrangements were made to meet D.G. Schultz and his group for dinner at a little restaurant across town at 6pm sharp. John and Sarah and two other couples were there punctually at 6pm. By 7pm, the rest of the group still had not arrived so the six went ahead with their dinner. Entertainment was being supplied by a large group of Canadians who were celebrating a birthday. Unbeknownst to our Rotary group, preparations had been made for someone to throw a pie at the birthday boy later in the evening. Walter and his guests arrived just as the Marlett party was leaving. As the evening wore on, the Canadian party became more and more exuberant. The pie was thrown, the birthday boy ducked and guess who was hit? Walter Schultz, that’s who. For once President John was completely innocent and every effort was made to explain the incident to Walter – who was decidedly cool toward John for the rest of the convention and probably never fully believed the true story. Besides, if John had planned this he would have certainly stuck around for the fun!
During this administration the Board of Directors decided to discontinue the pancake breakfast in favor of having the booths at the annual Niles flea market. The Rotarians sold beer, soft drinks, collectables, and antiques. $2,200 was netted from this activity. The Club funded may local projects. Included in these were the sponsoring of both Boys and Girls Little League baseball teams, and the furnishing of Christmas presents and financial aid to the Rubicon Children’s Center. The Club bought gymnastic equipment for the Fremont-Newark YMCA and rebuilt the score booth at the Mission San Jose Little League ballpark. From the treasury the directors appropriated $1,750 for the 3-H Banner Clubs, and funded a Young Life Program for teenagers.
The Ladies’ Barbeque was held at Weibels. A banjo player entertained one and all – and Bingo was the game of the evening. President Marlett’s term coincided with the 75th Anniversary of the founding of Rotary International in Chicago in 1905. Rotary clubs from the tri-cities joined to celebrate this momentous event at Castlewood on December 6th.
The yearly Christmas party was a Sunol Country Club on December 12th. Richard King led the assembly in the singing of Christmas carols. On February 12th we celebrated Valentine’s Day at Harlows. At that luncheon Midge Billings received the second annual “Rotary Ann of the Year” award for service above and beyond the call of duty! The Ohlone choral group supplied the entertainment.
In April, forty Niles Rotarians and their guests attended the “Richard King Show” at Chabot College Auditorium, raising cash from the sale of the tickets. During the same month the flyers in the Club participated in a “Fly-In” to the Nut Tree and an inter-city meeting with the Davis Rotary club. Among those making the flight were John Marlett, Joe Silva, Dick Warren, Doug Hill, and Pilot Gary Lindahl.
The continued interest by the Niles Rotary in the Baja, California town of Colonia Guerrero was furthered by the donation of a refurbished school bus for the orphanage there. The trip down to Mexico with the blue bus was a great experience. When President John and Phil Ockerman arrived, they were told that the children had been praying for a blue bus. The refurbishing committee knew nothing of this when the paint was donated, but the looks on the children’s faces when their blue bus arrived would be unforgettable.
The Niles Club accepted the responsibility of staging the District 517 Golf Tournament at Castlewood on May 23rd. Led by Arnie Wong, 123 golfers participated in the event, which netted over $3,000. This was donated to the Rotary Foundation. On the Rotary Avenue of Service, President John reinstated the Past-Presidents’ soiree which added greatly to the fellowship in the Club.
The District Conference was held at the Marriott at Great America. Walter Schultz had made arrangements for everyone to go to the amusement park, and it was great fun. At this conference, Niles Rotary won four out of seven District Awards.
- The highest percentage Rotary Foundation
- International Project – the first blue bus for the orphanage. This was a joint project between Bill Smith (1977-78) ad John
- Community Service projects
- Fellowship – mainly because of the great job done by Ron Hayman, Arnie Wong, Jim McVey, and Dick Warren on the District Golf Tournament.
In May, new members Tom Boyd, Broker; Don Gercich, Educator, joined the Club. That month the annual bowling tournament cleared $650 for the Club treasury. And, this was the last year that meetings would be held at Harlow’s.
Across the United States women’s rights were being advocated and various states were in the process of approving the constitutional amendment to achieve that goal. At UC Berkeley, the campus was once again quiet after the resolution of the Bakke vs. UC reverse discrimination case.
It was kid’s day at Niles Rotary on June 12th. Many children of Rotarians were present along with the group from Wales. Aled Miles spoke to the Club on behalf of the exchange group. The Marlett’s still hear from several of the students who were guests when they were younger. Aled has studied acting. Thomas Dur is now an English teacher, married and has formed his own rock band and has several records to his credit. Simon is studying architecture. At this meeting Hal Fudenna became the 50th Paul Harris Fellow from the Niles Rotary Club.
President-Elect Doug Hill and his Rotary Ann Lois went to the International Convention in Chicago. At this meeting the delegates voted 60% against the acceptance of women members in the local Rotary clubs. The Hills rode the rails all the way, via the Western Pacific Zephyr.
During President John’s term, fifteen Paul Harris Fellows were added to the Club’s rapidly growing roster. There were Rotarians Bill Clark, Russ Lloyd, Charlie Snow, Peter Adgie, Bob Goree, Doug Hill, Karl Olsen, Ken Rankin, Bill Rodes, Mike Schafir, and Hal Fudenna; and in memorium George Kato, Will Borne, and Ed Quaresma plus non-Rotarian L.W. Kraft. This was the largest number to be added in one administration up to this time.
On June 26th President Marlett was dressed in well-autographed overalls for his demotion. Present were two porcine guests of honor whose names John never did learn. Entertaining President John and guests at the rendezvous was a country western band. Fortunately, the guests of honor were very well behaved, so Farmer John did not have any cleaning up (mucking out the barn) chores that evening. The function was a bargain at $10.00 per head.
John was born in Los Angeles, California on July 30th 1937. His family moved to Miro Loma, Riverside County where John attended the Union Joint Elementary School, Jurapa Junior High and Riverside Poly High School. He joined the Navy to see the world in 1955 and served in Oklahoma, Cuba and Maryland. He received his discharge in June 1958, married Sarah McMurtry in August in Whittier and moved to Ontario to start college. In 1960 they moved to LaVerne where John and Sarah lived and worked at a boys’ school while John continue his education. Son Jeffrey was born in 1962 while john circled the hospital parking lot searching for a place to park.
In 1966 John was attending USC working on his master’s degree when the twins, Donald and Ronald were born. You guessed it – John was at college taking a final while Sarah was at the hospital very capably giving birth without him.
The family moved to Fremont in June of 1970 and John and Dr. Ronald Hayman opened the Peralta Psychiatric Medical Clinic. John and Ron had become friends at the boys’ home while both were attending USC. Mike Schafir proposed John for Rotary and he became an official member the day of the Valentine party in the company of Judge Joe Jay. Carl Flegal was President.
All three of the Marlett boys graduated from Mission San Jose High school where they were on the basketball and tennis teams. The family has had some fun times with the Youth Exchanges, having hosted groups from Wales and Australia. One year Sarah and Diane Roessler, brave souls they are, loaded eighteen exchange students in the motor home and went to Disneyland. On the return trip, they toured Hollywood. The stars’ homes the students wanted to see were Gene Kelly’s and Fred Astaire’s! John had the opportunity along with Dick Warren to take a group study exchange team to Tahoe. These students were from the Channel Islands and Great Britian. John learned a lot of good old soccer songs, all of which are not acceptable in mixed groups – but it was an interesting experience.
John has served on the Board of Managers for the YMCA and was President of the Parkmont Elementary School PTA in 1972-74. Both he and Sarah received Honorary Service Awards for the PTA in 1974. He is currently on the Washington Hospital Foundation Board of Directors. As a family they have been active in youth activities in Fremont. They served as board members of the Catholic Youth Organization for four years and have sponsored several youth teams through the medical clinic.
In Rotary, John served as Youth Exchange Chairman for District 517. He sponsored Richard King for membership in Niles Rotary Club and was instrumental in his nomination for District Governor. The year Richard was Governor; John was the Governor’s Aide.
In June 1989, the Marlett’s were blessed with their first grandchild. John became a Paul Harris Fellow during Bill Smith’s term as President, in 1977.
Douglas Hill, 1980-81
Doug Hill was elected to the Presidency on Niles (Fremont) Rotary for the term extending from July 1st 1980 to June 30th 1981. Doug’s Rotary Ann is Lois. His fellow officers were Weity Weitmann, Secretary/Treasurer; Harry Avila, PINION Editor. At this time Dick Aston began printing the PINION. Doug joined the Niles Club in 1973. His classification was chemical sales.
Paul Sandas from Santa Cruz was District Governor. Rotary International President was Rolf Klarich. At the first Club Assembly, a budget for the Club of $40,700 was set. Of this $5,000 was set to go to the Rotary Foundation.
On August 31st, the Niles Rotarians manned a booth at the annual Niles flea market, selling beer and soft drinks. A second booth was added to dispense cups of freshly prepared fruit. $2,500 was netted from this fundraiser.
The Club was still meeting at Harlow’s in Fremont. The Niles Rotary Club in conjunction with Newark Rotary staged a Ladies’ Barbeque with a Mexican theme at the Andrade Ranch in Sunol. On October 9th, District Governor Paul Sandas visited the Club. New members Marv Goldberg, Private Investigation; Larry Reeves, USAF Res. & Dev.; Melvin Irvin, Mortgage Brokerage; Ed Abrams, Cookie Manufacturing; and Richard Irwin, Residential Real Estate were initiated.
The Club observed the death that month of Rotarian member Bill Williams, land developer. During the fall term Niles Rotary donated funds to the Ron Motta Center, supplying a microwave oven for the kitchen and needed playground equipment – $200 was donated to the School of the Deaf. Putting on the Richard King show raised the sum of $4,000. This amount was sent to the fund for eradicating polio in the Philippines, a program that was a precursor to the Polio Plus activity.
The Christmas part was held at the Rendezvous at 555 Mowry Avenue. The Reno trip to Nevada was held on January 18th-19th. On January 29th President Doug announced the addition of new members Jerry Haley, Insurance; John Tisdale, YMCA; Gary Fee, Contractor; and Dick Crist, Petroleum Distribution.
The February 12th Valentine party was held at Lum Yuen’s with 193 in attendance. John Marlett was the Program Chairman and Mary Emerson was presented with the Rotary Ann of the Year award. The Fremont Chamber of Commerce named Rotarian Phil Ockerman Man of the Year.
By now the Rendezvous had become the regular meeting place of the Niles Club. In the spring the Niles Club achieved a plateau of 6300% in the Rotary Foundation and eighty-three Niles Rotarians were now Paul Harris Fellows. This made the Niles Club the Number One Club in the District in this program. Supervisor Valerie Raymond thanked the Club for their help in financing and planting the landscaping around the county courthouse in Fremont. In May the Club Bowl-a-thon raised $1,065. Niles Club sponsored Boy Scout Troop #2 at the California School of the Blind in Fremont. The District Conference was held in Santa Cruz on may 15th. An Ohlone Student was loaned $239 from the Warren Gravestock Fund.
The demotion of Doug was held on June 27th at the Rendezvous. The theme was “Over the Hill”. During Doug’s term six Paul Harris fellows were added to the Club roster. These were Harry Cesari, Rick King, Ed Meeka, and Mel Irvin, all Rotarians; non Rotarians Steven Christensen and Adrienne Lynn Wong.
Doug Hill was born in Pasadena. He attended high school in Rosemead in Southern California. After graduating he attended Stanford University and received his degree in mechanical engineering. During two summer vacations he worked at Ames Research Laboratory developing a system to keep missiles cool upon reentry. After graduating from Stanford he spent six months at Aberdeen Laboratory in Maryland as an officer in the Ordnance Corps. He and his wife Lois then moved to Phoenix to start his career as assistant manager with Hills Brothers Chemical. When a branch was contemplated for Oakland in 1962, the Hills moved to Fremont.
Doug’s first experience with Rotary was with the East Oakland Club, which he joined in 1962. When the chemical operation was moved to San Jose, he joined the Niles Rotary. Since then he has been secretary of the Club in addition to being President and has served on various Club District Committees.
Since coming to Fremont Doug worked as Treasurer for the Fluoridation Campaign. He spent three years as Chairman of the Fremont Human Relations Committee and has served as President of the Board of Governors of the YMCA. Doug was a charter member of the Fremont Foundation and a Moderator of Fremont Congregational Church.
His hobbies are playing tennis with fellow Rotarians and traveling in his recreational vehicle. He is a personal computer programming addict. The Hill’s two daughters and son are grown. This has permitted Doug and Lois to become even more involved in Rotary activities.
Doug and Lois are both Paul Harris Fellows.
Joe Silva, 1981-82
Joe Silva presided over the Niles (Fremont) Rotary Club during the term of 1981-82. He had been Sergeant-at-Arms for the Club for several years before being called to the presidency. He joined Rotary in 1976, and became a Paul Harris Fellow in 1977. His classification was Camper Repair Service. His Rotary Ann is Shirley.
Serving during Joe’s term was Weity Weitmann as Secretary/Treasurer and Gary Raver as Sergeant-at-Arms. Bob Swadley of the East Oakland Club was District Governor and Rotary International President was Stanley McCaffrey, President of the University of the Pacific in Stockton.
Joe returned form the International Convention at Sao Paulo, Brazil and announced at this first meeting on July 16th that there were 112 members of the Niles (Fremont) Rotary and fifty-seven of them were Paul Harris Fellows. His budget for his term was listed at $59,000.
At one meeting Past-President Doug Hill reported that his budget had been $19,000 and that $6,817 had gone to the Rotary Foundation. Another $4,200 had gone to support 3-H’s International Program; $3,150 had been donated to programs for the handicapped in the community and $1,739 was awarded in scholarship. $553 had funded community non-profit organizations.
On August 27th, the District Governor visited the Club and a birthday tale was initiated. Three days later the Club participated in the Niles flea market and realized $2,900 from the sale of beer, soft drinks, fruit cups and antiques. The Club had teams participating in the District 517 Tennis Tournament sponsored by Newark Rotary.
The annual Ladies Barbeque was held at Joe Silva’s Camperland decorated to look like a Mississippi riverboat. This imaginative event was attended by 106 Rotarians and their wives. In September, three new members were welcomed to the Club: Bernard Davidson, Dentistry; Frank DeMello, Travel; and Moses Tagioff, Neurosurgery. Boy Scout Troop #2 at the California School for the Blind in Fremont was the lucky recipient of $200. Five District 517 group study gentlemen from the Channel Islands visited the Niles Club. John Marlett was host of the welcoming committee. The Niles branch of the Alameda County Library was able to purchase much needed blinds for the windows with the donation of $1,200.
In October, Niles Rotary nominated Richard King for office of the 1982 District Governor 517. The Christmas party was held at the Rendezvous. The theme for this social event was ‘Silver Magic’. At the Christmas dinner, during which Chuck Kraft was honored, seven Paul Harris Fellowships were announced: Art Culver, Bob Pitcher, Gary Lindahl, Jerry Haley, Dick McKay, Fred Emmanuels, and Don Querner – all Rotarians. In addition, there were two honorary presentations by members to Cherie Coehlo King and to Dr. Elliott Fisher (in memorium), plus five honorary Paul Harris Fellowships to Linda G. Bowman, Grace Draper, J. Vernon (Pop) Gould, Lance Miller, and Linda Urquhart for volunteer acts of community service in the best tradition of Rotary service.
Thirty members braved the snow and cold to make the trek to Reno for the inter-city meeting in January. Reservations cost $108.
At the Valentine day celebration at the Rendezvous, Jan Schafir was awarded the “Rotary Ann of the Year” plaque. Five inter-change Dutch business women came to Fremont from Holland on the group study exchange and were entertained by the Rotary Anns and the members of the Club. Charlie Snow was congratulated on his marriage to Suzanne. Doug Piggott was elected President of the Fremont Chamber of Commerce.
During the spring, Rotarians George Kato and Bob Page passed away. New members included Joe Silva III, Gary Cockrell, and Jewel McCrary. The new charge for lunch was $6.00 and an alternate to the standard lunch – a salad bar – was started at $4.00 per plate. Rotarian Dave Brazil moved his business to Auburn. The bowl-a-thon netted $1,300. There was a fly-in to the ever-popular Nut Tree. The District Assembly was at Foothill College and the District Conference was held at the Oakland Hyatt.
President Joe’s most frustrating time as President of the Niles Club occurred when, just one week before the major fundraiser, it was discovered the effort was $7,000 in the red. However, the program quickly jelled and netted $7,200 for the Club. Niles Rotary continued to support the Baja California orphanage, and donations were made to the Boy Scouts and other community organizations.
A long-standing Niles Rotary tradition came to an end during Joe’s term when Peggy Crane retired from service at the piano during meetings after forty consecutive years as our accompanist. Cheryl Greger graciously volunteered to take Peggy’s place at the keyboard.
Harry Avila orchestrated the demotion of Joe Silva, in a quiet and dignified manner. Joe was comfortably seated in a camper for the evening’s festivities. As demotions go, this one was very controlled – due to the fact that Joe’s parents attended and we certainly did not want to offend them by showing Joe in his true colors.
Joseph Silva Jr. was born in East Providence, Rhode Island on October 28th 1933. He was educated at Tristum Burgess Elementary School and East Providence High School. He and Shirley Boudreau were married on August 5th 1952. He served in the United States Navy aboard the USS Harder in the Submarine Service at New London, Connecticut from 1953-55. During this period of time their son, Joseph A. Silva III was born in Rhode Island. Four years after his Naval Service, the family moved to California and Joe went into the auto repair business. Their daughter, Robin Lee, was born in 1961 in Castro Valley.
In 1964 they moved to Fremont and Joe started Silva’s Camper and Auto Repair in 1972. Joe spent many years as an Assistant Scout Master during the time Joe III was working on his Eagle Scout Badge. They have two grandchildren.
Joe’s hobbies are flying, tennis (he played varsity tennis in high school), and the grandchildren. In addition to being very active on Rotary Special Events Committees, Shirley was the second President of Inner Wheel (1986-87). Both Joe and Shirley are Paul Harris Fellows.
Robert Pitcher, 1982-83
Bob Pitcher was elected President of Niles (Fremont) Rotary for the term of 1982-83. Serving with him were Elwood Weitmann and Treasurer and Dick McKay as Secretary. Nick Stratigopoulos was Chairman of the PINION Committee. Bob’s Rotary Ann is Cynthia Ann (Cindy).
President of Rotary International was Hiroji Mukasa of Nakatsu, Japan. The District Governor was Niles Rotarian Richard King. There were seventy-two Paul Harris Fellows in the Niles Club when Bob took office. He awarded twenty-nine additional Fellowships during his tenure.
President Bob was proposed for membership of Niles Rotary in the spring of 1978 with the suggested classification of “Weighing and Measurement – Scale Sales”. Somehow this was altered to “Weighing Scales”, probably because the longer classification wouldn’t fit on his badge. Rotarians who were present at this first meeting as President on June 28th will always remember Bob nervously opening his vest to reveal all the “butterflies” he had taped to his shirt. More important – the demotion committee had long and very good memories.
At the Club Assembly on July 23rd new members Bob Baez, Printing and Bob Kithcart, Banking were inducted into the Club. The Board of Directors announced at the August 5th meeting the award of $500 scholarships to Teresa Mena, Washington High; Hosanne Qwok, Fremont Christian High; and William O’Connel, American High. Additional disbursements were made including $1,600 to Young Life, $1,000 to Glankler School, $1,000 to the Boy Scouts, $500 to the Fremont Chamber of Commerce for the fireworks display, and $1,000 to the George Kato Memorial Fund. The booth at the annual Niles flea market netted $2,993. Another of the fundraisers, the weekly club auction, brought in an average of $100 per week. Bob’s budget for the year was $20,500.
New members Rob Avon, Accounting; Tom Trisler, Property Management; Jim Gordon, CPA; and Jerry Paine, Café Owner joined the Club in September. During this month Will Borne, past Rotarian, died in Arizona. At the September 16th meeting twenty-five members of the Club were congratulated for their participation in the Niles Litter Pick-Up. These members collected ninety bags of trash during the three weekend outings. It was proposed that the Niles Rotary Club join in the formation of a new Rotary Club in Mission San Jose. At the same time the Club sponsored the formation of an Interact Club at Washington High School. Thirty-eight students responded, joining this Club. District Governor Rickard King’s visit on October 21st coincided with Ladies’ Day. Announced were contributions of $500 to Meals on Wheels, $1,000 to SAVE, $2,000 to Holy Spirit School, $2,000 to the Bill Smith Endowment Fund and $4,000 to Young Life.
One of the memorable events in Bob’s term was the celebration of the 45th Anniversary of the founding of Niles Rotary. This social event was held at the Rendezvous. It was billed as “an Evening with Chuck Kraft”. John Marlett, who narrated a brief history of the Club, made a slide presentation. An appropriate anniversary cake was served to mark the occasion. At this dinner, attended by 200 Rotarians, Rotary Anns and guests, Chuck Kraft (known as “Mr. Rotary”) was presented with his second Paul Harris Fellowship as a token of appreciation from the Club for his 45 years of ‘Service above Self’. Other honored guests at the anniversary dinner were Mike Kitsuris, past District Governor, and Richard King, District Governor.
The Reno trip was held on January 23rd. District 517’s mid-year conference was at the Red Lion Inn, in San Jose. On February 10th, Phil Ockerman joined the Mission San Jose Club. The Valentine luncheon was held on February 10th with 180 in attendance. During the luncheon Anne Kraft was named “Rotary Ann of the Year”. New members included James Amato, Chiropractor; Peter Hoffman, Boy Scouts; Bob Chelman, Fire Safety; Randy Mitchell, Dentistry; and Andy Pries, Youth Counselor.
A “Passport to Spring” was the Rotary Auction at Castlewood Country Club. This activity netted the Club $18,000. Chairman of the event were Mel Irvin and Carl Flegal. Of this amount, $750 was donated to the building of a concrete bench for the Senior Citizen’s Center. The Club roster was depleted by the resignations of Peter Adgie and Brad Fullenback and the deaths of William Maffey, Edward Meeka and Past President Bill Smith.
Soon added to the Club roster were Carsten Lunde, Therapist; Jack Isaacs, Dentistry; Dan Rawitch, Finance; and Terry Scott, PG&E. In May, two dozen Rotarians participated in the building of stock corrals at the model farm being built at Ardenwood, the Patterson Ranch Regional Park. A week later on May 22nd a group of Rotarians and their wives went on a Wine Tasting junket to the Napa Wine Country. On May 24th the Club bowlers participated in the Fremont bowl-a-thon and raised $715.
Twenty-nine Paul Harris Fellows were added during Bob’s reign. Members Jim Dyer, Jack Parry, Mark Brinkley, Bob Kithcart, Nick Stratigopoulos, Arnie Wong, Gene Andre from Rotary Ann Wanda and Paul Weishaar; Rotary Anns Cindy Pitcher, Mary Emerson, Grace Weitmann, Loretta McVey, Shirlee Warren, and Babs Amsbaugh; Non –Rotarians Rob King, Tyson King, Kathleen Ann Omick, W. Michael Clark, Otto Sandberg and Anthony Avila. Paul Harris Fellows were awarded in memorium to Stephen J. Epler and Romeo Brunelli. Honorary Paul Harris Fellows were Jack Stevenson, Dr. Robert Fisher, Doris J. Green, John Baker, Tony Alameda, Bill Fuller and Chuck Kraft.
Included in the local community projects supported by the Niles Rotary Club in 1982-83 were $1,200 for the Senior Citizen’s Center, $700 for the orphanage in Baja California, $1,300 for a boat needed by the Boy Scouts, $500 for Interact, $500 for the Alviso Recovery Project, $1,000 to the George Kato Memorial Fund, $375 to the Fremont-Newark Philharmonic Orchestra and $140 to the Mission San Jose Red Cross.
Final events of the year were the Rotary International Convention in Toronto and the demotion of Bob Pitcher on June 23rd. At this dinner it was announced that as of that date the Niles (Fremont) Rotary club had reached the 10,000% plateau in the Rotary Foundation and that is had been recognized for the year as Number One Club in the District for this activity.
To Bob’s regret, it soon became apparent that the Demotion Committee indeed had outstanding memories. Bob was whisked away from the assembled group early in the program and returned dressed as a butterfly complete with wings. He spent the balance of the evening seated in the “Silva-Flower Cart” much to the amusement of the entire Club.
President Bob was born in Oakland, California on February 14th 1945 – a Valentine boy. The family moved to San Leandro for a short time, returning to Oakland in 1950, where they remained until 1962. Bob graduated from Fremont High School (Oakland) in 1962. That year he was Student Body President and Captain of the Swimming Team, the city champions. He attended San Jose State where he was on the Dean’s list, graduating in 1967 with a BA in Leisure Science (Recreation). He stayed an extra year to help the school build a Student Union building. He planned on becoming a College Union Director for a career.
He moved to Lake Tahoe after college and worked at Harrah’s Club until caught up in the military draft. He was fortunate enough to get into the Coast Guard OCS in February 1968. He went on to naval flight school and in July 1969 earned his helicopter wings.
He and Cindy met during Bob’s final year at SJSU, but they did not start to date each other until eighteen months later; and were finally married on July 12th 1969. They moved to Chicago where Bob served as a Coast Guard Search and Rescue Pilot covering the Great Lakes until July 1973. The first little Pitcher, Molly, was born at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station Hospital in July 1971. Matt was born in July of 1973 at Washington Hospital after the family had moved to Union City. Bob worked with his father in the Oakland butcher supply business until 1975 when he bought the scale part of the business. He moved the company to Fremont in July 1976 changing the name to Better Weigh Scale. Three months later the family moved to Kimber Park.
Three weeks after Bob joined Niles Rotary in March 1978, Melinda was born also at Washington Hospital. Somehow Bob managed to avoid the customary fine for a new baby.
Both Bob & Cindy are Paul Harris Fellows.
Charles Snow, 1983-84
Charlie Snow presided over the Niles (Fremont) Rotary Club during a very busy and constructive year beginning in July 1983. He had joined the Club in 1970 filling the classification of Civil and Probate Law. His Rotary Ann is Suzanne. Serving as Secretary during his term was Marv Goldberg and Weity Weitmann was Treasurer. Don McCarty was Sergeant-at-Arms. Nick Stratigopoulos was completing the second year of two very successful terms as editor of the PINION. William Skelton of the United was President of Rotary International and Jerry Pettibone of Santa Cruz was District Governor of 517.
At the July 14th luncheon, President Snow announced that the Club’s budget was being upped from $17,000 to $27,000 per year. He listed the year’s activities as a booth at the flea market a day at the races, a day at the A’s, the bowl-a-thon and the auction. Funds raised would be used for the extension of scholarships, the support of the Interact Club, the financing of charities. Jim Beard, Utilities/Water became a new member of the Club.
In August Fremont Rotarians hosted five young business people from Wales. This visiting study group spent four weeks in Fremont. The flea market produced a net of $3,000 for local charities. During District Governor Pettibone’s visit, three scholarships of $750 each were awarded to students from three of the local high schools. On September 14th, twenty Rotarians went to Gilroy for the District Avenues of Service seminar. The Ladies’ Barbeque was held at the Swiss Park in Newark with a Western theme. It featured a skit produced by the Rotary players “The Hanging of Ole Charlie Snow”. New members were Dwight Curran, Lumber; Steve Goldstern, Locksmith; and Richard A. Grihalva, Management Consultant.
In October, a joint meeting was held with the new Union City Club. On October 13th Les Webb and Jerry Payne flew local surgeons Dr. Iraj Zandi and Dr. Paul Pegueros to Puerto Penasco to perform corrective surgery on disfigured children in Fremont’s sister city. Gary Muto headed a committee to add two more concrete benches at the Senior Citizen’s Center. Members of the Club joined in the annual cleanup of the Vallejo Mills Historical Park. Eighteen Rotarians turned out with hoes and rakes to eliminate the weeds and collect the trash.
The Christmas party was at the Holiday Inn, Union City and was attended by 135 Rotarians, Rotary Anns and guests.
Under the urging of Chairman Harry Avila, twenty-three members went on the Reno trip. The price of the trip had risen to $135 each. At the January mid-year banquet, Niles was given recognition as the Club with a plateau of 10,000% in the Rotary Foundation. Out of a total of 20,000 Rotary Clubs in the world, only seventy-eight had achieved this mark. Also in January treasured member Bob Sandholt died. Dues were increased from $75 to $90 annually. The initiation fee was set at $100. The Valentine luncheon was held at the Rendezvous. The Rotary Ann of the Year award was presented to Shirley Silva. New members inducted were Jerry Bressler, Bill Leasur, Christopher Louie, Dentist-Prosthedontist; Erwin Rob Hirt, Credit Collections; and George Buscher, Land Surveyor. A rebuilt passenger bus was donated to the orphanage and driven to Colonia Guerrero by enthusiastic Rotarians.
At the March 1st Club Assembly, charity disbursements were announced: $1,000 was sent to the George Kato Foundation, $2,250 for the funding of scholarships, $1,000 to the Special Olympics group, $1,000 to the Ron motta Center, $2,500 was awarded to the Bay Area Coalition, $2,300 donated to the Niles Depot restoration and $2,000 for construction at Ardenwood Park. On March 16th, the annual auction was held at Castlewood Country Club and 250 Rotarians, Rotary Anns and guests attended the “Passport to Spring”. Proceeds from the auction added $20,000 to the treasury. And chet DiGiulio was named ‘Man of the Year’ by the Fremont Chamber of Commerce.
Other donations made by Niles Rotary during President Charlie’s year included $1,100 to Serra Center, $3,500 to the Puerta Penasco Hospital, $1,200 to the Boy Scouts, $1,200 to the YMCA, $500 to the Girl Scouts, $1,000 to the Fremont/Newark Philharmonic, $500 to the Northern California Hemophilia Program and $975 to Fremont Christian School for a computer.
In May, Bert Loosmore passed away. Bob and Cindy Pitcher announced their move to Phoenix. The District Conference was at the Marriott Hotel in Santa Clara.
During President Charlie’s year eleven new Paul Harris Fellows were credited to the Niles Club. These were Rotarians Bruce Bell, Jewel McCrary, Les Webb, and in memorium Dr. Tom Wilson. Rotary Anns so honored were Suzanne Snow, Karen Kithcart and Lila Haley. In addition, non-Rotarians Gene Pessagno, Lila Bringhurst, Dr. J. Merle Buehler, and Judge Roy Pucci had Fellowships bestowed upon them for community service.
Charles Snow was demoted in the usual dignified Niles Rotary tradition. On June 21st the theme was “Snow Slide” and Charlie was inundated in a bathtub filled with bubble for the evening.
President Charlie was born in 1924 in Sarcoxie, Missouri. He graduated from the University of California Hastings College of Law. When he started his practice of law in 1952, he had four law books, $1,800 worth of liquid assets and a pregnant wife. The law practice now known as Snow and Snow (the other Snow being Raymond, a nephew) currently has five lawyers.
Since starting in practice, Charlie has been involved in a good many civic and professional activities. He was first City Attorney for a newly formed City of Newark, a position he held for over seven years. He was a member of the Newark School Board (1954-55) and President of the Newark Kiwanis (1955). He led the successful effort by attorneys to have the Justice Court established as the Fremont-Newark-Union City Municipal Court in 1958 and participated in the effort of the Southern Alameda County Bar Association to establish a branch of Superior Court in Hayward. He was President of the Southern Alameda County Bar Association (1960) and both Vice-President (1966) and President (1967) of the Washington Township Bar Association. He served as Chairman of the Law Library Committee of the Southern Alameda County Bar Association to establish a branch at Hayward and under his leadership this was accomplished in 1966. Charlie was elected Trustee of the Fremont-Newark Junior College District on December 7th 1965 when the District was formed and reelected for a four-year term in April 1969. During his tenure, Ohlone College was established and the campus built.
Between Charlie and Suzanne, they have six children – three each by former marraiges – all of whom are adults.
Charlie and Suzanne are both Paul Harris Fellows.
Harry Avila, 1984-85
Harry Avila was the proprietor of Niles Rexall, Mowry Pharmacy and Decoto Pharmacy when he joined the Niles (Fremont) Rotary Club in 1971. He became President on July 1st 1984. During his year in office he became a Paul Harris Fellow. President Harry and his Rotary Ann Janet attended the Rotary International Convention in Birmingham England with their three children: Anthony, Timothy and Gina. While on that side of the Atlantic they also visited Germany, Austria & Italy.
Serving with Harry were Weity Weitmann as Treasurer and Dick Warren as Secretary. Chuck LeCroy was Sergeant-at-Arms. Dwight Curran was Chairman of the PINION Committee and it was he who engineered the change in design of the bi-weekly bulletin to include the logo of Charlie Chaplin and other Niles scenes on the mailing cover. The District Governor of 517 was Joe Howard, a travel agent from the East Oakland Club. Rotary International President was Carlos Canseco from Mexico City. His theme for the year was “Discover a New World of Service”. At the Club Assembly in July, President Avila announced that his fundraising efforts would be the booth at the Niles flea market, the bowl-a-thon, the annual auction on March 9th and a day at the races. However, a new fundraiser developed with the first annual Fremont Arts & Wine Festival. On August 2nd Niles Rotary manned a booth, selling 2,500 barbequed linguica sandwiches for a profit of $2,000. This was donated to the Fremont-Newark Philharmonic Orchestra. Also, some funds were allotted for the construction of a fence at the Senior Citizens Center. Pete Jacobsohn was placed in charge of this project.
District Governor Joe Howard visited the Niles Club on September 20th. During the luncheon Don Amsbaugh was honored for 100% attendance from 1960 to 1984. New members Don Brown, Graphics and Jerry Falk, Computerized Mailing were welcomed. Chet DiGiulio was confined to the hospital. A task force for two dozen Niles Rotarians turned out to clean up the Vallejo Mills Historical Park. On October 20th, the Ladies’ Barbeque was held at the Swiss Pavilion.
In November members of the Niles Club became involved in a club-wide weight-losing contest. Wayne Johnson led the losers by shedding fifteen pounds in eight weeks. All told, twenty-six members lost a total of 200 pounds of surplus suet. President Harry paid a $100 forfeit because of their success. Don Amsbaugh was in charge of counting the lost pounds.
Logan High School of Union City named its new athletic field for Niles Rotarian Jud Taylor, former principal and coach at the school. Governor George Deukmejian appointed Former President of Niles Rotary Judge M.O. Sabraw Justice of the California Court of Appeals in December.
The Christmas party was a Sunol Country Club. There were 145 Rotarians, Rotary Anns and guests attending. New members Harry Sheppard, Law; Derek Reeves, Real Estate; Ron Hayman, Behavioral Sciences; Jim Ginter, Business Advertising were honored.
In January the Reno trip was successful. More members were inducted. These included Russ Pierce, Life Insurance; Abdul Rashid, Past Service; Robert Esptein, Building Inspector; and Dominick Levito, Car Leasing. The new editor of the PINION was Dick Aston. Membership in the Club had now reached 126 and the Club attendance averaged 89% per week.
The Valentine Luncheon was held at Mission Gardens, formerly the Rendezvous. The Rotary Ann of the Year award was bestowed on Grace Weitmann.
On March 9th, the third annual Club Auction was held at Castlewood. Over 250 guests were involved in the bidding and a record $30,000 was realized from the event. Prizes worth $57,000 were listed in the auction program.
The Club sponsored a Rotary InnerWheel Club within the Niles Rotary jurisdiction with Mary Emerson as Founding President. In Vocational Service, twenty-five Washington High School students were invited to visit the offices and business locations of various Niles Rotarians. The visits were followed by a luncheon for the participants at Washington Hospital. As a part of International Service the Club donated a CAT scanner to aid in the medical diagnosis to the City of Juarez, Mexico for use in their local hospital. Earl Riggs donated a used ambulance to the Puerto Penasco Red Cross. Other donations aided the Mexican city’s school for handicapped children.
The Niles Club nominated and secured a Rotary Paul Harris student fellowship to Oxford College, England through ‘Named Scholarship’ provided by Kraftile. This was awarded to Don Ting a graduate of Washington High and Stanford University. On May 5th, the Club was host to an exchange team of young businessmen from Sicily.
The Niles Rotary golfers upheld the high standards of Niles Rotary by winning the District 517 championship. Arnie Wong, Carl Flegal, Gil Tom, and Paul Weisshaar donated their winnings, $2,000 to the Rotary Foundation to the credit of the Niles Club. Thirty Niles Rotarians attended the 1985 joint California-Nevada Banquet at Monterey to hear the address given by Rotary International President Carlos Canesco. Mike Schafir, Hal Fudenna, Bob Kithcart, and Larry Milnes were honored for having twenty years of perfect attendance. Rotarian Frank Serpa, a Rotarian for thirty-seven years, died.
During the year the Club donated a sound system to the Ardenwood Regional Park, and helped build additional corrals at his working farm. In June the Bowl-a-thon netted $1,300. One of the greatest accomplishments of President Avila’s term was the addition of sixteen new Paul Harris Fellowships. From the membership ten new recipients were listed: Harry Avila, Al Lopez, Dick Lucia, Rich DiGiulio, Frank Avila, Otis Highbaugh, Bob Baez, Derek Reeves, Chuck LeCroy, and Jud Taylor. Fellowships awarded in memorium were Ted Glassbrook, Merlyn John Lindahl, and Guadencia Lopez. Non-Rotarians Vickie Lopez, Doris Wong, and Arlene King became Paul Harris Fellows. In addition to these Paul Harris awards, President Harry was highly praised for bringing fifteen new members into Niles Rotary during his term.
President Harry was properly demoted on June 21st. He was escorted under armed guard (Chief Wasserman in full uniform and Marv Goldberg suitably attired) into the Ladies Lounge where he was stripped to his red bikini undies and then dressed in a black-and-white prisoner suit complete with ball and chain. During his metamorphosis a young lady wandered in (from her high school reunion party), took one look at Marv who had drawn his gun as she came in and beat a very hasty retreat. After receiving his Past-President’s pin from Gene Cowell, Harry was allowed to change into his street clothes before leaving the banquet room.
Harry was born in December of 1938 at the old Hayward Hospital. He lived in Warm Springs until his parents moved to Mission Ranch. He graduated from Washington High with the Class of ’55 and received his degree in Pharmacy from UCSF in 1961. He and Janet were married in 1964. Then arrived Anthony in 1965, Timothy in 1969 followed by Gina in 1973. Harry returned to college receiving his MBA in Finance/Accounting from Cal State. His recent activities include Asset and Investment Management through Essanay Management. He sits on the Board of Directors of the Commercial Bank of Fremont, Bank of Pleasanton, San Ramon Valley Bank, Lamorinda National Bank and the Bank of Milpitas. He is Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Washington Township Men’s Club and the Vespa Society. He has also been active in the Ohlone College Foundation. He claims to have plenty of time for his hobbies of movies in Niles. His latest venture is the planning of a trip to Niles Rotary’s Sister City Horta on the Island of Faial in the Azores. Rotary Ann Janet quietly and unobtrusively ties-up all of Harry’s loose ends keeping him on the straight and narrow.
Son Anthony has followed in his Father’s footsteps having been the first President of the Interact Club at Moreau High School in Hayward in 1980-81. He was promoted to District Governor of Interact District 517 in 1982-83. We expect to see him at the helm of Niles (Fremont) Rotary at some time during the Third Twenty-Five years.
Harry, Janet and Anthony are all Paul Harris Fellows.
Gene Cowell, 1985-86
Gene Cowell, the Niles (Fremont) Rotary President during 1985-86 joined the organization in January 1973. His classification was Accounting Service. After serving on various committees in the Club for twelve years Gene was considered experienced enough to be elected custodian of the gavel. His Rotary Ann is Gwen. Serving as Secretary during his term was Dick Warren; and Weity Weitmann was Treasurer; the PINION was edited by Nick Stratigopoulos.
The Rotary Convention in 1985 was in Kansas City. Rotary International President was Edward Cadman from Wenatchee, Washington. District 517 Governor was Paul Ehret of the San Lorenzo Rotary.
The first fundraiser of the year was the manning of the beer and soft drink booth at the annual Niles flea market. Fourteen members served the large crowd and the booth netted a record $1,900. The first project of the year was building of a fence around the barbeque area at the Senior Center.
In September, Chuck Kraft led the Club members on the annual cleanup of the Vallejo Mill Historical Park. District Governor Paul Ehret and his wife Lila visited the Club on September 19th. The Niles Club received great praise for its high percentage of Paul Harris Fellows and the continued support of the Rotary Foundation.
Comments were made on the budget of $72,000. The international service projects in Mexico were to be continued and the Salvadorian Earthquake Relief Project was added.
During November the death of long-time Rotarian Judge Edward A. Quaresma was noted. New members Steve Whetzel, Income Tax Consultant joined the Club. On November 28th the Club’s donation of the ‘Blue Bus’ to the Colonia Guerrero Orphanage in Baja California was accomplished when Rich Brunelli, Bill Clark, John Marlett, and Weity Weitmann drove it to its destination – the local hospital.
A Christmas luncheon was held at the First Assembly of God church on Thornton Avenue in Fremont. A delicious home cooked meal was served buffet style by the ladies of the church. The evening Christmas party was held at the Oak Knoll Officer’s Club. Each Rotary couple brought a wrapped Christmas gift for a child. Rubicon Center and Tri-City Volunteers shared the resulting stack of presents.
As Major General H. Robert Hall, Bob Hall brought honor to the Niles Club when on January 6th 1986 he assumed command of the California Air National Guard.
The Valentine party was on February 13th. At this festive affair the Rotary Ann of the Year was presented to Janet Avila. Rotary Anns Lori Clark, Maydean McKay, Helen McCrary, Bobbie Armor, Shirley Silva, Lois Hill and Sharon Fisher were honored with Paul Harris Fellowships. The annual auction was held at the Fremont-Newark Hilton and a net profit of $40,000 was raised.
In April Gil and Bea Tom hosted “A Night in China Town”. A lavish banquet was served at the Sun Hung Heung Restaurant accompanied by the appropriate Chinese entertainment. Secretaries’ Day was celebrated with Mary Chamberlin of the Mission Deli who created marvelous hors d’ouvres on the spot!
In May, eighteen members of the Niles Rotary were at Ardenwood Park to help build corrals and work on other projects on the farm. Tony Jolin, Insurance; and Earl Riggs, Ambulance Service were welcomed to the Club. A Fly-In to the Napa Wine Country was in June. The District Conference at the Red Lion Inn, San Jose was well attended. Gene’s final act as President was to plan ahead – ahead to August when Rotarians enjoyed “A Day at the A’s”. The profits from this fundraiser enabled the Club to send six students to Camp RYLA. Don Emerson and Gene Andre were co-chairman for the event.
During President Cowell’s term Rotary members Wayne Johnson, Bill Armor, Gil Tom and Gene Cowell himself all joined the ranks of Paul Harris Fellows. Six additional Paul Harris memberships were awarded in memorium to former Niles Rotarians George Smith and Elmer D. Bristow. The final award of the total of eighteen made during Gene’s leadership was made by the Club to honor Katherine H. Fusco from Washington Hospital Service League.
The demotion of President Cowell was held at the Mission Gardens on June 20th. The theme of this farewell party was “His Majesty, Seam Cowell” and all members enjoyed roasting this out-going, gavel wielder.
Gene was born in Santa Rosa, California on September 28th 1926. His childhood was spent there with many hours devoted to Boy Scouting and becoming an Eagle Scout. He graduated from Santa Rosa High School in 1944 after which he enlisted in the Navy serving for two years. After his discharge from the Navy he returned to Santa Rosa and graduated from Santa Rosa Junior College. He received his Bachelor of Business Administration and his Masters in Business Administration (Taxation) from Golden Gate University in San Francisco.
He and Gwen were married on December 28th, 1952. Gene first worked for a national accounting firm in San Francisco. He became a CPA in 1955 and after working in private industry as a controller for eleven years he started his own practice in Fremont. His firm is Cowell, Pirrone and Varela, CPA’s. Gene was appointed to the Washington Hospital Board of Trustees in 1966. He was reelected twice, serving a total of ten years. He served on many civic committees including the Fremont Civil Service Commission (4 years), the Capital Improvement Committee and the Ohlone Foundation Board (8 years). He also served on the Serra Center Board of Directors and Treasurer (2 years).
In 1967, he was appointed by Governor Reagan to the Governor’s Survey on Efficiency and Cost Control. Gene is a member of Our Savior Lutheran Church and has in the past, served as its Treasurer.
The Cowells’ have two daughters and one grandchild. Fishing is Gene’s main hobby, which he pursues with great vigor and not too much luck.
Jim Dyer, 1986-87
On July 3rd, 1986, President Jim Dyer of the Niles (Fremont) Rotary Club started his new term by holding a Club assembly at which he outlined the goals and emphasis of the fundraisers for his year. Jim’s Rotary Ann is Bobby. Serving as Secretary during this term was Richard Warren, and Weity Weitmann filled the office of Treasurer. Rotary International President was M.A.T Caparas from the Philippine Islands. District 517 Governor was Carl Orne from the South Hayward Club. Jim is a Paul Harris Fellow.
The day after the assembly, Club members finished the manning of the fireworks booth located in the Brookvale Shopping Center, Fremont. The profit of $2,900 started the Club treasury out in good shape.
On August 7th, the weekly luncheon was at Ohlone College with the Mission Deli catering the food. The Club decided to cancel its participation in the Niles flea market due to the prohibitive increase in insurance premiums.
In September Niles Rotarian Richard King was appointed by Rotary International to head the Rotary Village Corporation which had been created to aid destitute villages in Nigeria, Argentina, the Philippines and India. Rick was one of thirty instructors in this program at the Nashville Assembly of Rotary International. The fall Ladies’ Day was celebrated with Tea Dance at the Newark-Fremont Hilton. It was a beautiful afternoon and a social success. Steve Epler, former President of Ohlone College and a Niles Rotarian, moved to the Sacramento area. The visiting Exchange Students that fall were from Sweden. They visited the homes and businesses of Niles Rotarians.
Col. Jim Snell, Marine Corps. Reserve assumed command of the Marine Corps. Mobilization Station for Northern California in September.
The October 9th visit of District Governor Carl Orne was highlighted by his plea for more support of the RYLA Camp for future community leaders coming out of the high school community.
At the gala Christmas party on December 5th, each couple bought a wrapped and labeled gift for a deprived youngster. This was at the Oak Knoll Officer’s Club. The first event in the new year 1987 was the Reno inter-city meet with the Sparks-Reno Club. Twenty-eight Niles Rotarians made the trip which was now priced at an all-time high of $133 each. A new Club Secretary was installed – Tony Jolin – taking the place of Dick Warren who had held the office for many years. The new editor of the PINION was Paul Parhiala.
The Valentine luncheon was held at the Country Inn. Our smiling Rotary Ann of the Year was Sue Fudenna. Sharon DeSousa brought her young students who entertained us with a medley of songs. The annual Speech Contest was staged at the end of February. The winner was Jeff Ulrich from Washington High School. New members were Jim McKiernan, Police Service and David Nephew, Investment Counseling. The Club lost Past-President Ken Weiss, who moved to Los Gatos, Cary Cochrell who retired and Randy Mitchell because of illness in the family.
The annual Rotary auction was at the Newark-Fremont Hilton on March 7th. After the spirited bidding had ended and the pennies counted, it was found that over $20,000 was realized form this affair.
On April 9th, the Club was dismayed to discover that President Jim and his Rotary Ann Bobby were moving to Illinois. Vice President/President Elect Dick McKay took over the gavel for the April through June end of Jim’s Presidency. Jerry Haley was elected to be President in 1988-89. During his term President Dyer brought thirteen Paul Harris Fellows into the fold bringing the total for Niles Rotary to 156. Six were active members Earl Riggs, Bob Chelman, Tom DeHart (from Rotary Ann Martha), Marv Goldberg (a surprise from his Rotary Ann Harriet), Jim Snell and Pete Jacobsohn. Rotary Anns so honored were Lily Chelman and Sue Fudenna. Two non-Rotarians honored by Rotarians were Stan Snow and Lois Lucas. Non-Rotarians honored by the Club with honorary awards for the community service in the Rotary manner were Tony Gianotti and Dr. Guy J. Romito.
Of course Jim and Bobby consented to return to Fremont for his official demotion on June 27th. This was a real Western trial and hanging preceded by a train ride through Roaring Camp at Felton in the Santa Cruz Mountains. As soon as the hanging was finished all enjoyed a delicious barbeque. Everyone was rewarded for his or her participation with the gift of a genuine railroaders handkerchief. On the bus ride to and home from Felton entertainment was provided by master magician Bob Chelman. As there were two buses, the drivers cooperated by stopping at a halfway point so Bob could change buses thereby assuring that both groups were properly entertained.
Jim has led a most interesting and varied life! He was born in Plainview Texas at a small country hospital called County Line on May 20th 1927. His mother claims that his claim to fame was his being born at the exact minute that Charles A. Lindberg was taking off on his flight over the Atlantic Ocean to Paris. As a child of schoolteachers, he traveled in most parts of Texas. Double promoted twice, he graduated on his sixteenth birthday from high school in Nacogdoches, Texas in 1943.
Just because Jim moved away to Illinois does not mean that he has lost interest in Rotary. The Dyers have just recently entertained an exchange team from Brazil. His Rotary Club of mostly senior active members has a membership of seventeen. The average fine is 25 cents rather than $5.00 and the fundraisers usually make a few hundred dollars.
Dick McKay, 1987-88
As President McKay finished Jim Dyer’s spring term in 1987, he presided over the dedication of the PAR course (exercise, you know) around Lake Elizabeth. He and his Rotary Ann Maydean attended the Rotary International Convention in Munich, West Germany. President Dick became a member of Niles (Fremont) Rotary on January 1st 1979. He holds the classification of Corporate Law. He started his practice in Fremont in 1978. He had been, before becoming President, Secretary of the Niles Club.
During his administration Rotary International President was Charles Keller of the United States. District Governor was Hadi Monsef, a Past-President of the Alameda Rotary Club.
The Board of Directors accepted the fact that the Niles Club was expected to raise $90,000 for the Polio Plus Project and immediately got down to business by appointing as Chairman of the Committee Don Amsbaugh – himself a victim of polio.
Rich Brunelli was in charge of the liquid refreshment booth at the Niles flea market. During August, Dick initiated a new fundraiser – BINGO once a week at Mission Gardens where the Club was now meeting. Before the start of warm-up games, a buffet was to be available as an inducement to the new gamesters. The buffet, sponsored by Mission Gardens, would be open until intermission. Between the bingo games and the sale of habit-forming pull-tabs, over $1,000 in net profits would be produced each week.
The fall Ladies’ Day clam bake on September 27th was at Weibel’s Winery. Dick Lucia was Chairman of this very unique social event. In November P.D.G. and Niles Rotarian Rick King were elected a Rotary International Director.
At the Club assembly President McKay had announced that the spring term of 1988 would include the Reno trip on January 10th-11th and the Valentine Luncheon on February 11th. The profits of the annual auction would be used for Polio Plus. There would be another bus restoration project for the citizens of Puerto Penasco. This project was put into the able hands of Jack Parry, who enjoyed the challenge and became so attached to this bus that he did not want to surrender the keys when he and nine other Rotarians delivered the bus on October 22nd 1988.
President McKay had the distinction of guiding the Niles (Fremont) Rotary Club through its 50th anniversary year, culminating in the December 9th 1987 observation. Arrangements for the 50th anniversary party were made by a special committee headed by John Kimber assisted by co-chairman Don Amsbaugh and Jack Parry. Video displays by Bill Clark illuminated the banquet room at Castlewood Country Club. Slide displays by Mike Schafir and pictures from Jack Parry completed the historical background. Don Amsbaugh was master of ceremonies after the opening remarks were made by President Mckay. Don Emerson entertained us all with an historical interlude. Honored guest Cliff Dochterman, Past District Governor and Vice President of Rotary International good humoredly recounted the achievements of the Niles Club over the past fifty years. Cliff, President of the University of the Pacific, followed in the illustrious footsteps of Dr. Tully C. Knoles, President of the then College of the Pacific who was our guest speaker on our charter night December 9th 1937. Dr. Tully had also been Governor of old District 106 and a past president of the Stockton Rotary.
Sixteen Paul Harris Fellows were invested at the 50th anniversary banquet by Chuck Kraft for a grand total of twenty-four during President Dick’s year: Rotarians Tony Jolin, Gordon Linsey, Larry Milnes, Dick Aston, Howard Wasserteil, Bob Reineccius, Ron Hayman, John Kimber, Russ Pierce, Kevin O’Neil, and Don Emerson; Rotary Anns Virgina Loze, Dixie Schafir, Gerry Brunelli, Elizabeth Flegal, Gayle Culver, and Joan Kimber; Non-Rotarians honored were Timothy C. Snow, Tamara L. Warren, Anonymous, Albert Armor, and Gertrude Dall (Dave’s Aunt Gert). Inner wheel made two honorary presentations to Fran Stone and Sister John Marie for their good works in the community.
And so ends the Second Twenty-Five Years of Niles (Fremont) Rotary.
The history of our first twenty-five years emphasized “that a unique challenge for community service was accepted by many of its members who helped to incorporate three cities within the Club’s generally defined rural territory. These Rotarians, approximately 60 of them, served or continued to serve without pay as mayors, councilmen, commissioners, or in other capacities in the cities of Fremont, Newark and Union City”. That tradition has been followed in our second 25 years, but with our Club’s activities now restricted to Fremont as we spun off neighboring clubs; still producing three mayors: Carl Flegal, Bill van Doorn and Jack Parry plus a full array of members on hospital, water and sanitation district boards, the Chamber of Commerce and other concerns that go with a city approaching the 200,000 population mark predicted 25 years ago.
While we were at it, we still carried on a full program of traditional Rotary service as detailed in this history.
In our 51st year we broke with tradition when we inducted three women into the Club, in line with a legal point affirmed by a US Supreme Court decision applicable to all Rotary Clubs in the US. This is now a moot point but whether women will substantially benefit in it only time will tell.
Our 51st year was also a pivotal one of potential long term implications. For the Rotary year 1987-88, Rotary International unilaterally set a goal of $90,000 as their expectation of support from us for the Polio Plus campaign. If we mean to keep rotary an association of Rotary Clubs, we need to guard against the centralizing of power in the home office and the attendant build up of a bureaucracy.
We also need to consider out methods of fundraising. In our desire to accomplish what was expected of us, we opted for bingo, not without some misgivings.
With these thoughts in mind the history of the first year of our third 25 follows as an addendum rather than to be written up 25 years from now when the long range concerns we now address will be history. …Chuck Kraft
Dick McKay, – 1987
It would never do to leave President Dick in mid-term when he so ably started the 51st year of Niles (Fremont) Rotary! His secretary was Tony Jolin and Weity Weitmann was once again Treasurer. The Thursday luncheon meetings were held at Mission Gardens formerly the Rendezvous. Dick’s Rotary Ann Maydean became ever more solidly ‘hooked’ on the weekly Bingo games and pull-tabs.
As usual, the Reno trip for the intercity meeting was a huge success. Niles Rotarians conducted themselves with dignity and aplomb – although there were no reports of big winners. At the Valentine luncheon in February, Gwen Cowell was named “Rotary Ann of the Year”. President Dick continued to be very supportive of Inner Wheel. Under the direction of Chuck LeCroy, the annual auction in March was a resounding success. Kevin Smith headed the bowl-a-thon.
The demotion of President McKay was held at ‘Choices’, a discotheque banquet facility in Fremont. As Dick had served fifteen months as President as President, the demotion committee decided it was necessary to use a full hour of “This is your Life” to reveal the true Dick McKay character to the 250 Rotarians and guests attending the event. The ‘spoofs’ included episodes depicting Dick’s Irish ancestry, his successes as a newsboy for the old Oakland Post Enquirer, his first Navy flight experiences, his conduct of the Rotary luncheons and his junket to the Munich Rotary International Convention.
Those taking part in the ‘defrocking of President McKay ceremony were Harry Avila, Gene Cowell, Marv Goldberg, Larry Milnes, Charlie Snow, Jim Snell, Bob Chelman, Les Webb, and Joe Silva who acted as defense attorney for the beleaguered President. At the conclusion, Past President McKay presented the first Blue Badge to Caren Hand, now a member of the Niles Club. After receiving an ovation from the crowd in recognition of his highly successful administration, he was presented with his Past President’s pin by the new President Jerry Haley.
Dick is a native of California having been born in the lumber producing belt at Susanville. His family moved to Alameda, where Dick graduated from Alameda High School in 1950. He attended the University of California at Berkeley majoring in Speech. He graduated in 1954 and immediately began his postgraduate work with the United State Navy serving from 1954 to 1974. He then attended the hasting College of Law in San Francisco. Upon graduation, he came to Fremont to establish his law practice. He has been active ever since in various Bar Associations.
Dick became a Paul Harris Fellow in 1982. Maydean joined the ranks of Paul Harris Fellows in 1986.
More Highlights From the Second Twenty-Five
Rotary Anns of the Year
One of the prime reason for the continued success of the Niles (Fremont) Rotary Club has been the active involvement of the Rotary Anns in all the Club activities from fundraisers to demotions.
In 1979 during the administration of Dick Warren, the Niles Club began to recognize the contributions of the ladies of the Club by naming Babs Amsbaugh “Rotary Ann of the Year”. This award is customarily presented at the Valentine luncheon. Since that time, the following Rotary Anns have been so honored:
- 1980 – Midge Billings
- 1981 – Mary Emerson
- 1982 – Jan Schafir
- 1983 – Anne Kraft
- 1984 – Shirley Silva
- 1985 – Grace Weitmann
- 1986 – Janet Avila
- 1987 – Sue Fudenna
- 1988 – Gwen Cowell
- 1989 – Maydean McKay
All of these Rotary Anns truly exemplify “Service Above Self”.
Our Inner Wheel
Inner Wheel, the Rotary organization for wives of Rotary members, was organized in Great Britain in 1967. The District 517 Inner Wheel International Program was initiated by District Governor Richard King in 1982 and was established in the Niles (Fremont) Rotary Club in 1984 under President Harry Avila.
The purpose of Inner Wheel is to promote friendship and understanding on both the local and the international levels. It is not a fundraising organization per se, but each Club selects its own charities and channels of service.
As a by-product of membership Rotary wives become better acquainted with one another. The Niles Inner Wheel Club has been extremely visible and in addition to their own particular activities provide enormous help and support to all Niles Rotary functions.
Mary Emerson was the Founding President of the Niles Inner Wheel in 1984 serving until 1986. Shirley Silva took over the leadership for 1986-87. Janet Avila was President during the 1987-88 term and Lily Chelman is the current President, 1988-89.
Inner Wheel International is one of the largest women’s organizations in the world with over 90,000 members in 3,199 Clubs in 74 countries.
Named Rotary Foundation Scholarship
In 1984 the Kraftile Company contributed a ‘Named Scholarship’ to the Rotary Foundation. The entire cost of a year’s study abroad would be covered by one corporate donor. The recipient of this scholarship was Don Ting, a young Fremont student who left for one year’s study at Oxford College, England. Don Ting sent copious reports of his progress back to the Niles Club. He is now back in this country working in Los Angeles as a management consultant.
Rotary Founding President Chuck Kraft had devoted much of his time and energies during the past fifteen years to making the Niles (Fremont) Rotary Club the number one club in District 517 in supporting the Rotary Foundation and the Paul Harris Fellowships. Chuck was the first Niles Rotarian honored with a Paul Harris Fellowship which was bestowed by the Club during the term of Carl Flegal in 1972 on the occasion of the Club’s 35th anniversary. In 1982 President Bob Pitcher repeated the recognition by having the Club bestow a Fellowship on Chuck for the second time.
In 1980 Chuck was awarded a “Citation for Meritorious Service” on behalf of the Rotary Foundation by Past District Governor Walter Schultz. This was the first that this particular honor was accorded to anyone but a past District Governor. Chuck over the years, has funded five additional Fellowships to member of his family, entitling him to wear a multiple sapphire Paul Harris pin.
Rotary Club of Niles (Fremont)
Bequests to Rotary Foundation
- Rich Brunelli
- Wayne Johnson
- Rick King
- Chuck Kraft
- Art Mendonca
- Mike Schafir
- Joe Silva II
Paul Harris Fellows of the Rotary Foundation
During the second twenty-five years, the Paul Harris Fellows Scholarship Fund became an important part of Rotary service. The success of Niles Rotary Club’s support was due in a large part to the able leadership of Chuck Kraft who became Chairman of the Rotary Foundation Committee in 1974. Niles Rotary honored Chuck by presenting him with the first Paul Harris awarded by the Club in 1972. Since 1974, one hundred seventy-six persons have become Paul Harris Fellows by donating $1,000 each to the Rotary Foundation Educational Awards. The total amount of money for these scholarships, including Sustaining Member contributions is in excess of $195,000.
Niles Rotary Club had the distinction for two years in a row of being the #1 Club in the #1 District of Rotary International for Paul Harris contributions. The objective of the Rotary Foundation is to further understanding and friendly relations between peoples of different worlds.
This is accomplished through programs known collectively as “Rotary Foundation Awards for International Understanding”. These are:
- Graduate Scholarships – recipients must have a Bachelor degree and be between the ages of 20 – 25 years.
- Undergraduate Scholarships – recipients must have completed two or more years of university study and be between the ages of 18 – 24 years.
- Vocational Scholarships – recipients must be a high school graduate engaged full time in a technical field for at least two years and be between the ages of 21 – 35 years old.
- Teachers of the Handicapped Award – at least a high school diploma, engaged full time as a teacher of the mentally, physically or educationally handicapped for at least two years and be between 25 – 50 years old.
- Journalism Awards – must be a high school graduate and have two years of employment as a journalist and be 21 – 28 years old.
Rotarians and members of their families are not eligible.
These students and awardees are sent to countries other than their own to pursue a year of study. As a student in a foreign country they also have the responsibility of acting as an ambassador of good will between the two countries. A former member of the Niles (Fremont) Rotary was so honored as a student. Mike Schafir, living in England at the time, had been a German medical student. He was interviewed in London and received a scholarship to Centenary College of Louisiana in Shreveport.
Rotary believes very strongly in education and many Clubs award scholarships aside from the Foundation. Don Emerson was one such recipient receiving $2,500 from a Fresno Rotary Club while he was in medical school. It is gratifying to see Rotary Scholarship Awardees go on to become outstanding citizens and Rotarians.
Another program of the Foundation is the Group Study Exchange for teams of business and professional people who spend several weeks learning new ideas and different ways of life in countries other than their native country. Members of Niles Rotary have entertained many of these groups.
Most recently the Foundation has undertaken the task of immunizing every child in the world against the ravages of poliomyelitis. This is known as the Polio Plus Program and is being carried out in partnership with governments, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations’ Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Rotary’s share is raising 120 million dollars to buy the polio vaccine for this ambitious program. The other partners will provide the ‘Plus’ part in the form of immunization for five other childhood diseases: measles, diphtheria, tuberculosis, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough). One thousand dollars will immunize eight thousand children, protect twenty-eight from being crippled and prevent four deaths.
Multiple Paul Harris Fellows
- Don Amsbaugh – 1
- Bill Armor – 2
- Chuck Kraft – 5
- Don Billings – 1
- Rich Brunelli – 2
- Bob Chelman – 1
- Bill Clark – 2
- Art Culver – 1
- Dave Dall – 1
- Chet DiGiulio – 1
- Harold Faria – 1
- Carl Flegal – 1
- Hal Fudenna – 1
- Jerry Haley – 1
- Doug Hill – 2
- John Kimber – 1
- Richard King – 5
- Bob Kithcart – 1
- Gary Lindahl – 1
- Al Lopez – 1
- Steb Loze – 1
- Jewel McCrary – 1
- Dick McKay – 1
- Jim McVey – 1
- Bob Pitcher – 1
- Mike Schafir – 1
- Joe Silva II – 1
- Bill Smith – 3
- Charles Snow – 3
- Dick Warren – 2
- Weity Weitmann – 1
- Arnold Wong – 2
Note: As of December 9th 1988 the Niles (Fremont) Rotary Club members have financed 157 Paul Harris Fellowships for a total of $157,000. Numbers indicate additional fellowships.
Marguerite “Peggy” Crane
Peggy Silva Crane played the piano at the Niles Rotary luncheons and social functions for more than four decades. On her 75th birthday the Club with a Paul Harris Fellowship honored Peggy in recognition of her years of service to the Club and the community.
Peggy Silva was born on her grandfather’s farm in Sunol in 1903. When Peggy was four years old her family moved from the farm to Pleasanton where she attended the local schools. At the time Pleasanton was often used by the Essanay Film Company of Niles as a location for pictures having a New England background. Peggy worked in movie bit parts for $5 a day and among her acquaintances from the movie company were Tom Mix and Mary Pickford. Peggy became interested in playing the piano.
While attending Livermore High School she met Clarence Crane whose father, George Crane, operated the first Ford Dealership in the Livermore Valley. Peggy and Clarence Crane were married in 1923 and they moved to Niles where Clarence worked for the Rose Garage..
During the 1930-33 Depression, Peggy and Clarence operated their own dealership with Peggy keeping the books and giving piano lessons on the side. Clarence became the Chief of the Niles Volunteer Fire Department and when the Niles Rotary Club was formed in 1937 he joined the Club. Peggy started playing the piano at the luncheons.
Clarence Crane died in 1964. Peggy continued to serve the community first as a Grey Lady during the World War II years and later as a ‘Pink Lady’ at Washington Hospital. She also continued to give piano lessons to the young people of Niles.
On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Niles Rotary Club in 1977, Peggy retired from playing lively numbers at the Club meetings. She was one of the honored guests at the Club’s 50th anniversary held at Castlewood Country Club on December 9th 1987.
George Kato, 1931-1982
Koomei George Kato was one of the most popular and active members of the Niles (Fremont) Rotary Club. He was not new to the Rotary motto, “Service Above Self”, as he had dedicated his life to this belief long before he became a Rotarian in 1977.
George was born in Stockton, California in 1931, the son of an immigrant. His father came to North America to work in the silver mines, initially arriving in Mexico because of immigration laws; later entering the United States through El Paso, Texas. After working in the silver mines, on a sugar farm and in a salt refining factory, he settled his family in Stockton and worked in agriculture. George’s father died in Stockton prior to World War II. In 1942 the family was interned because of their Japanese heritage.
Koomei George Kato had attended schools in Stockton and after World War II he attended and graduated from the College of the Pacific, now U.O.P. He later took graduate courses in biochemistry at Stanford University.
George and a few members of his family eventually settled in Alameda County where he purchased farmland for agricultural use. He was known for his vegetable produce and extraordinary strawberries, sold at the Kato Farm stand on the corner of Stevenson and Mission Boulevards in Fremont.
George died in the spring of 1982, leaving a great void in the City of Fremont. Under Bob Pitcher’s Presidency of the Niles Rotary Club, he was awarded, in Memorium, the Paul Harris Fellowship. Niles Rotary also established a fund for youth activities in George’s memory.
He was a Past-President of the Southern Alameda County Buddhist Church and a member of the Fremont Japanese-American Citizens League. He was also a member of the Washington High School Restoration Committee, Mission Peak and Oakland Flower Show. Members of his family have continued to keep the tradition of a display at the Alameda County Fair and have won first place for many years in a row.
At the time of his death, George was compiling a book reciting the biographies and sagas of the Japanese immigrants who came to Alameda County to improve the horticultural and agricultural industries of this area.
A small group of his friends, along with members of his family established the Koomei George Kato Fund. Paul Boas, then at the Bank of America and a Fremont Rotarian, was very helpful in working with this group. The existing Japanese Garden at Shinn Park was refurbished and enhanced. A small teahouse constructed in the garden by the Friends of George Kato committee has been dedicated to our sister city in Japan, Fukaya. He regularly entertained the official delegation from Fukaya. The garden is a memorial to George who was a member of Fremont’s Sister City Committee. It remains as a place of quiet beauty and a remembrance of George. In the garden is a rock with a plaque, which says it all:
“A kind, gentle man… a special friend. He believed in making the world a little better”
Dedicated May 22nd 1983
Richard D. King (Rick)
Richard King was the District Governor of 517 for the Rotary year 1982-83. During his administration our District set an all-time record in the Rotary World with contributions of $500,000 to the Rotary Foundation. This was a per capita of close to $140 per Rotarian in this District.
Rick King became a member of the Niles (Fremont) Rotary Club in January of 1980, highly recommended by the San Lorenzo Rotary Club where he was a Past-President, when he moved his home to the Kimber Farms area of Fremont.
At the Rotary International level, Rick has been a keynote speaker at hundreds of conferences, Rotary Foundation seminars, and Zone Foundation Institutes at home and abroad. He holds Rotary’s highest awards: The Citation for Meritous Service and the Distinguished Service Award. He is a Director of Rotary International for the years of 1989-91.
In 1984-85 he served as Rotary Foundation Chairman of District 517 for the second consecutive year. The District was number one in the Rotary World in support of the Foundation and for the third year set a new record with contributions totaling $575,000. The 1987-88 Polio Plus goal was $3 million, the largest in the world.
Rick is a graduate of the University of California , Berkeley and Boalt Hall Law School. He is also a graduate of the Hastings College of Advocacy in San Francisco. He taught law at Brigham Young University prior to entering private practice. He belongs to the Exchange Club, the Commonwealth Club, the Order of Chevalier, and is a holder of the DeMolay Legion and Honor. He is the recipient of the City of Hope “Spirit of Life” award and the United Portuguese of California Outstanding Achievement award.
Rick is on the Board of Directors of the Eden Hospital Foundation, the Mission Peak District Boy Scouts of America, and the Woodminster Performing Arts. He is a Trustee of the City of Hope. He is well known as a singer and actor having performed extensively in his own show in the lounges and big showrooms of Disneyland, Las Vegas and major hotels and nightclubs. He has been the lead in many musical comedy hits at the Desert Inn, San Francisco’s Little Fox and the Oakland Woodminster Amphitheater.
He is senior partner in a law firm in San Leandro and a prominent trial attorney in the Bay Area. Rick is a High Priest of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon) Church. He is in much demand as a motivational speaker for civic, fraternal and business conferences.
Rick’s Rotary Ann is Cherie and their sons are Rob and Tye. Rick is the recipient of the multiple sapphire Paul Harris pin, as is Cherie.
Nick Stratigopoulos holds the classification of Career Education. He joined the Niles Rotary in 1971 where his primary interest involved projects with young men and women in the community. As a thirty-two year member of the faculty at Washington High School, Fremont, he counsels students on careers and their plans for future education. Nick was honored with a Paul Harris Fellowship by his Rotary Ann, Esther in 1982.
He was a driving force behind the organization of the first Interact Student Club an extension of Rotary outreach in the Fremont area when it was formed at Washington High School in 1982. When young Anthony Avila, son of Niles Rotarian Harry Avila, became the District Governor for Interact in District 517 (1982-83) Nick was there working with him. Anthony had been President of the Interact Club formed at Moreau High School, Hayward in 1980. During Anthony’s year as District Governor, Interact in this District grew by the formation of twelve new clubs. Anthony was later honored as the youngest recipient of a Paul Harris Fellowship in the Niles Rotary Club.
Nick was for many years the Editor of the PINION, the weekly bulletin (now biweekly) of the Niles Rotary Club. His bulletins were distinguished by a good balance of ideas, reports and Rotary insights that broadened our picture of what Rotary is all about. Under his firm hand, the PINION won many awards.
Mike Schafir joined the Niles Rotary in 1962 under the classification of “Pediatrics”. He was elevated to senior active after twenty-six years in the Club before his resignation in 1988. He was one of the more popular members of the Club and his good humor and love of practical jokes kept him in the limelight at social events and community affairs.
One of his great interests was photography and he became the Club Historian with a massive collection of slides and photos taken as candid shots at Rotary functions. Many of his pictures were supplied to the committee researching the fifty years of Niles Rotary.
Mike particularly enjoyed planning and participating in the demotion of outgoing presidents. He is of below average statue but his only added to his good-humored and enthusiastic behavior when the meetings tended to be too long or boring. Many a Rotarian has called “Get off your knees, Mike” or “Stand on a chair, Mike, so we can see you when he tried to make himself heard. When a young man, Mike was a recipient of a Rotary scholarship.
Both Mike and his Rotary Ann Dixie became Paul Harris Fellows, Dixie receiving hers at the 50th anniversary party. Mike has also honored the Niles Club and the Rotary Foundation by naming them in his will.
Mike and Dixie are now enjoying their life in Salt Lake City. Mike is keeping busy attending classes in the Business School at the University of Utah. Both Mike and Dixie enjoy fishing, camping, hiking, attending concerts, traveling and boating.
Al and Vickie Lopez
Al Lopez has for years exemplified community service in the Niles Fremont area. He and Vickie are the proprietors of the Niles Flower Shop at 37495 Niles Blvd. Even before Al joined the Niles Rotary Club in 1963, the firm furnished floral decorations at local social and fundraising functions.
After joining Rotary, Al and Vickie became hard working members of the committees planning floral arrangements and corsages (usually orchids) for the ladies being honored by the Club. They have been especially helpful in ‘dressing’ the head table with centerpieces and flowers or plants from their shop on Ladies’ Day, Christmas, Valentine’s Day and the demotion. When the Rotary Foundation fundraising project became one of the foremost projects of Niles Rotary, Al and Vickie furnished orchids for the Rotary Anns whose husbands were receiving Paul Harris Fellows – without charge. This pleasant custom has become an integral part of the Club’s presentation of Paul Harris awards.
Both Al and Vickie are Paul Harris Fellows.
William M. Clark
Bill Clark first joined Rotary in Hayward in 1965. At that time he was the Hayward Manager of the State of California Department of Motor Vehicles. In 1976 he transferred to the Niles (Fremont) Rotary Club with the classification of Portrait Photographer. He was immediately assigned to the photography and history committee.
Bill served on the Niles Board of Directors for three years. He introduced video to the Club and has preserved on videotape several social events plus compiling a 50-year video history of the Niles Club, which premiered at the 50th anniversary dinner. He has been invaluable in preparing Club displays for the District Conferences. During his membership Bill has included several trips to the orphanage projects in Colonia Guerrero in Baja California, Mexico.
Clark was born in Mayhill, New Mexico in 1921. He grew up in Texas and the southwest. He came to California during the height of the 1930 depression, settling on a large peach, prune and bean ranch. He enlisted in the United States Army shortly after his graduation from high school, serving during World War II and the Korean conflict. He was injured while in the Philippines and spent twenty-six months in Letterman and Walter Reed hospitals. He retired in 1954 with the rank of Captain.
Bill returned to California and became a car salesman for three years. This led to his taking a position with the Department of Motor Vehicles. He served as office manager in Garberville, Los Gatos and San Jose before taking over the office in Alameda and later Hayward. In 1976 he retired from the Department of Motor Vehicles.
While in the army and during his employment by the State, Bill attended local colleges, service schools, special government courses, etc. until he had accumulated more than four years of college units.
He first began to sell commercial photos while in the 7th grade and did special photography work while in the service. He became the official photographer for NASCAR and did race track photography on the east coast. After his retirement photography became a full time occupation. He soon began to specialize in wedding assignments. He is now (in 1988) accepting fewer assignments and does more traveling to points around the world. He still enjoys auto races and likes to play bridge and other games of chance.
Bill’s Rotary Ann is Lori. Their family consists of three sons and two daughters. The Clarks have been married for twenty years and have ten grandchildren. Bill and Lori are both Paul Harris Fellows.
Disclaimer and Nostalgia . . .
We have discovered a scientific premise during our verification search and research for factual elements in the Second Twenty-Five Years: to wit, the memories of Rotary Past-Presidents are not better than anyone else’s memory. Truthfully, they are sometimes worse.
Weity says that he did not have a form demotion. It just happened that one day at lunch he was no longer President. Chet’s long memory came in handy because none of the rest of us can remember that far back even with the mental picture of Chet dressed in a Roman toga. When confronted with a specific question, such as “Where were the meetings held during your term in office?” we were most often met with a vacuous stare or a pregnant silence. The choices were the International Kitchen, Villa del Greco, The Rendezvous, Harlow’s Mission Gardens… special event locations included Castlewood, Sunol, the Elks Club, Harlow’s Andrade Ranch, Weibel’s, Ohlone College, Washington Hospital, Ardenwood, Choices, The Rendezvous, Brawley’s, Amsbaugh’s Tiki Hut, Felton, Chinatown, Mission Gardens, the YMCA…take your pick, but get it in the right term of office!
We found initially that two presidents claimed the International Kitchen fire occurred in their terms. Bless Gladys Williamson and her book “They built three cities” for verifying the exact date as November 7th 1960 – not in the second twenty-five at all. There were a few mismatched husbands and wives, interesting combinations easily corrected. Several ex-Prexies claimed “That didn’t happen in MY term!” which is why everyone of the twenty-five (except Ray Boege and Bill Smith) were sent rough drafts of the copy for their comments, corrections and additions. Our special thanks to Dede Smith who reviewed Bill’s year for us.
There are some events that come to mind only to be questioned. Did we really have six Brazilians twice? What years did we have every other board meeting in the members homes so the wives could get better acquainted while serving a pot-luck dinner? When did we take crates of cauliflower to the District Conference at Hoberg’s and bring home redwood seedlings? Who was the retired Madam who served dinner on the Mystery Trip during Ken Weiss’ term? When were the wild and wooly Aussies here?
And many things forgotten until too late… Mike Schafir as Santa Claus riding thru Andrade Ranch in a wheel barrow pushed by John Marlett who was dressed in green tights and bells…Hal Fudenna wearing a crown of cauliflower at his demotion… Inner Wheel raffles..flowers from Al and Vickie..Roger Michael’s great tenor voice …Henry Billings’ smile…extemporaneous programs when the scheduled speaker didn’t show…Amsbaugh and the Playboy bunny…the Valentine luncheon when 200 came for lunch, but only 95 had reservations – Jim Sheltraw sang and sang and sang while the kitchen crew frantically put together more lunches … Peter Adgie’s blessing before the meetings…Gene Cowell’s awful Irish jokes and stories…Phil Ockerman as song leader…Bill Smith’s gifts to hi Board Members (1 cent off gift certificates to Handy-Man)…camping out with the handicapped Scouts…dancing to Christmas carols at Harlow’s…Weity and Grace and Bob and Karen our own Mai-tai quartet…the moonlight hayride and Gene Rinaldi running after the wagon – he maintained a perfect record by kissing all the Rotary Anns…Mary Emerson and her Magic sewing machine turning out all sorts of special costumes…Don (Fremont Rotary) Dillon’s yearly appearance with his computerized Super-Bowl football pool…’ATTA BOY’ awards from Dick McKay…
About the Author
John Starbird Sandoval is a retired historical newspaper columnist whose informally researched articles appeared in the Hayward Daily Review, Fremont Argus and the Livermore Herald, all Sparks Daily Newspapers, for two decades.
Sandoval, born in Sonora, Tuolumne County, California 1906, is the grandson of a Forty-Niner who operated a blacksmith shop in the Sierra Nevada gold rush town of Columbia, “The Gem of Southern Mines.”
He graduated with honors from the University of California, Berkeley, with the Class of 1927. During his business career he served as Northern California marketing manager for the Sunbeam Appliance Corporation based in Chicago.
He became interested in the historical heritage of Southern Alameda County in 1946 when he was selected to write the historical pageant From Adobe of Don Guillermo Castro for the City of Hayward. A year later he was commissioned to write the pageant Build We Here A Mission to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Mission San Jose.
In 1962 he wrote the historical pageant The Golden Arsenal to celebrate the dedication of the campus of California State University, Hayward. His four historical pageants and series of pamphlets have enlightened and entertained thousands of residents of Southern Alameda County.
Sandoval, who was a member of the Chabot College Faculty for seven years, is the officially designated Historian for the City of Hayward and has served on the Board of Directors of the Hayward Area and Washington Township Historical Societies. He was the President of the Hayward Historical Society in 1970 and currently serves as Historian for the Alameda County Recreation and Historical Commission.
Sandoval was designated “Distinguished Citizen of Hayward” in 1975 and “Most Interesting Personality of Hayward” by Channel 5. He was also awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship by the Hayward Rotary Club.
Among his recent books are The History of Washington Township (1985) and Retrospection: Class of 1927, University of California, Berkeley (1987), a history commemorating the reunion of his graduating class.
John S. Sandoval resides in Hayward, California.