Branch 8 History Report: 2012


We completed our 2nd year at the Concord Hilton while surviving several months of remodeling.   The space and amenities were good for our Branch.  Besides ample room for registration, the open space allowed us to set up tables to offer the Book Exchange and Sache (members’ hobbies & interests) and to promote many other activities and events.

Branch 8 had several new members on its Branch Executive Committee (BEC).  Leading the way were Big SIR Gary Plisco and Little SIR Stan Johnson.  Stan did a super job lining up quality speakers and finally getting our sound system operating in concert with the hotels system.  He also developed a speakers list for 2000-2012.  Keeping our minutes and holding us to the rules was Secretary Erland Perrson.  Bill Peterson (Attendance Secretary) did many jobs including contact with Hotel Management and estimating attendance prior to luncheons (our payment for lunch was based on his estimate).  Paul Laderer (Treasurer) and Leo Barrella (Assistant Treasurer) handled our funds and projected costs and needed contribution from members to operate the Branch.  Membership Chairman Bob Barnes inducted the new members, prepared our roster and kept us current on membership.  Directors Ed Benson, Wally Freeman, Bill Hunter, Mike Long, Derek Southern and Boniface Wadors had much to contribute at BEC meetings, .

Our Member Relations Committee (recruitment & retention) Chaired by Director Ed Benson was very active.  They revised (annually) the 3-year Action Plan and implemented it.  Many innovations as the Guest Package, another for sponsors (including their obligations), interviews with new and longer tenured members, comment cards on luncheon tables (comments reported to BEC monthly by Committee member Jim Sowell) and a member and sponsor recognition program were done.  These were and will continue to be key factors in our recruitment and retention efforts.

Branch 8 continued to attract new members with 35 additions plus 10 applicants waiting to join.  Unfortunately we lost 33 members because of health, death and other reasons.  The advancing age of our Branch required us to continue an aggressive recruitment program through our membership.  The State target of 10% new members was easily met as were the number of first time guests.  Our average luncheon attendance of 76% (high of 82% in January) indicated strong support from membership.  The support is also evident in the number of volunteers who kept the Branch operating.  Over 185 members volunteered (more than half) including luncheon greeters & registration, activity chairman & assistants, golf marshals, Board members and more.

Another indicator of member support was the 90% participation in activities (at least 1 member participating in at least 1 activity).  Activities increased from 40 to 44 during 2012.  Activities were the cornerstones supporting the success of Branch 8 for 2012 and preceding years.  The success came from the continued leadership by the Activity Coordinator, Chairman & Assistants.

Our financial condition remained healthy.  For the 2nd year we had 100% participation in contributions to cover operating cost.  Luncheon cost for 2012 was $20 with an annual contribution of $40.  In November, Branch members voted to retain for 2013 the $20 for lunch with an annual contribution of $43 which includes luncheon costs of over $3 per meal.  Membership preferred the even luncheon cost to facilitate payment for each lunch rather than having to deal with change.  Members (about 35) who want to receive a hard copy of the Branch 8 newsletter (Hotline) will continue to pay an additional $20 per year to cover the cost of printing & mailing.

Branch members continued to participate in SIR State Offices and committees including  Dean Steichen,  Regional Director (and Infosys-revamping State data base), Ron Smith, Area 2 Governor, Roger Borgenson, Insurance Committee, Walter Schick, Chairman of the Growth & Membership Committee & Infosys member (also Area 2 Publicity & Recruitment Chairman) assisted by Ed Benson (Ed also took on the job of revamping the State Recruiting Brochure), Derek Southern, Training & Infosys  and Bob Hagler, State Travel Committee.  Having this representation with the State was beneficial for the Branch.  Area 2 activity participants were Derek Southern, Computers & Technology Co-Chairman, Carl Moyer, Fishing Rep, George Schultz, Sums in Retirement and Dan Weller, Bowling Rep.

During 2012 we had 4 members receive the Presidential award for becoming 90 years of age (presentation by Area Governor, Ron Smith).  Actually 5 were nominated to the State and awarded but one died before the presentation.  The 5 were Leslie Bradshaw, Jim Brighton, Herman Denny, Marechal Duncun and Kenneth Powlesland.

The major events of the year were the Ladies Day Luncheons held in June (Contra Costa Country Club) and December (Round Hill Country Club).  Jack Waddell, LDL Chairman and Committee (Tom Click, Paul Hersch, Paul Laderer, Bernie Rosner) did a fabulous job obtaining great entertainment and donations for drawings.  Jack proved a perfect MC.

Branch 8 continues to be one of the stars in the State SIR program.  The willingness of its members to volunteer to run the Branch, its activities and events and to recruit new members will keep it so for years to come.


Little SIR 2012 History Report – Stan Johnson

2012 proved to be an interesting and fruitful year for Branch 8.  This was also true for those areas under the responsibility of the Little Sir.  The speakers covered a broad range of interests and were all interesting and excellent speakers.

In January, Budd McKenzie, the founder of a charity, Trust In Education, spoke to us regarding what his charity is trying to do in Afghanistan to educate women and children.  The title of his talk was “Afghanistan-War for Hearts and Minds.”  Mike Wright made his presentation on the Concord Naval Weapons Station Reuse Project in February.  His presentation was entitled “Concord Naval Weapons Station-Brief History and Development Status.”  Earl Koberlein, an Associate Athletic Director of Stanford University, spoke to us regarding the Stanford athletic teams in March.  His talk was called “Success in a Challenging Academic Environment.”  In April, Dr. Joe Ovick, the Superintendent of the Contra Costa County Board of Education, spoke to us regarding the responsibilities, trials, and successes of his office.  His presentation was called “Preparing Our Youth for the Future.”  Al Guido, Vice President of Marketing for the San Francisco 49ers told us some personal stories regarding the 49ers in May.  His talk was on “2011 Season and the New Stadium Plans.”

We had our usual Ladies Day Luncheon in June.  In July, Jim Barnett, former Golden State Warrior and current broadcaster shared his stories of his career and of the Warriors.  In August, David Livingston, the Sheriff of Contra Costa County gave us an update regarding his department.  Dan Borenstein, a columnist for the Bay Area News Group (BANG), presented his work on “The California Retirement System” in September.  It’s a shame our politicians have not listened to (or read) him.  In October, Victor Gauthier gave us an interesting coverage of the “Bay Bridge Retrofit Project” with some little known details.  Finally, Dick Callahan, the announcer voice of the Oakland A’s, St. Mary’s basketball team, Warriors, and the California Bears for many years presented us with an extremely humorous  retelling of his experiences over the years.  As usual, we also had our Ladies Day Luncheon in December.

One problem we had at the beginning of 2012 was with the loudspeaker in the Concord Hilton.  We experienced feedback in our speaker system, especially between the wired and wireless microphones.  I believe this has been resolved in the last couple months of 2012.  Overall, it has been a challenging and rewarding year.

NEW AND CURRENT ACTIVITIES – Mike Long, Activity Coordinator

Here is a general recap of all the changes in our SIR Branch 8 Activities this year and next.

We now have a total of forty-four (44) activities available to our members.

During the past year we lost one activity, Internet Games and added six (6) new activities: Cellar Fillers, Duplicate Bridge Tournament, Dine Out 2, Senior Tennis, Wine Finders 2, and Wine Finders 3.

Beginning in 2013, we have several chairmen changes to select activities:

Paul Derby will chair the Couples Golf; Ron Woods and Larry McEwen are the new co-chairmen for Explore and Eat; Dan Weller will now lead our Heads Up Walkers; Tom Kernes is the new chairman of our Book Exchange; Jack Waddell heads our Ladies Day Luncheons, and Jerry Milano will chair two activities: Lets Dine Out 2 and Duplicate Bridge 3; Mike Anderson will be chairman for our SACHe group.  Also, after fourteen (14) years at the helm of a very active Travel Group, Bob Hagler is turning the leadership over to Dick Schally.  Bob led this activity for over fourteen (14) years and now moves on to remain active at the SIR State Travel Committee.

Our hats off to all our activity chairman for their leadership and dedication.


Chairman Larry Lange.  The following events were held at the Hilton and are listed by Month, number of attendees and the subject:

January 9th – 34;  Marni Berendsen, guest speaker on distances re galaxies
February 13th – 32; DVD by Prof. Alex Filippenko, The Inflationary Universe
March 12th – 23; DVD by Prof. Mark Whittle, What’s Next for Cosmology?
April 9th – 32; DVD by Prof. Neil Tyson, In Defense of the Big Bang
May 14th – 28; DVD by Prof. Alex Filippenko, General Theory of Relatively
June – no meeting – Ladies Day Luncheon
July – no meeting – the equipment went berserk
August 13th – 40; Matt George, guest speaker – covered a lot of stuff
September 10th -23; DVD by Prof. Neil Tyson, Death by Black Hole|
October 8th – 20; DVD by Prof. Edward Murphy, Our Night Sky: “The Fall Sky”.
November 12th – 19; DVD by Prof. Edward Murphy, Our Night Sky:  “The Winter Sky”.
December – no meeting – Christmas Luncheon


Chairman Ed Benson. For the last four years, Sirs in the Kitchen has held the Branch 8 BBQ in June.  For the last three years it has been held at Castle Rock Park, a beautiful setting at the backside of Mt. Diablo.  Typically around 100 Sirs and guest enjoy BBQ’ed steak, beans, salads, desserts and copious amounts of wine, beer, soft drinks and even some water.   The party typically begins around 4:00 p.m. and the last dog dies around dusk.  A great time is had by all as evidenced by the growing attendance from year to year.  First come, first served sign-ups are typically first taken in March and spaces tend to go fast.  Come join us!

Bargain Wines

Chairman Ed Benson.  The Sir Bargain Wine activity entered its second year in 2012, and it has proved popular.  The objective of the group is to let members take advantage of BevMo and Grocery Outlet (as well as Safeway, Trader Joe’s etc.) major wine sales; therefore, the meetings are called on an ad hoc basis, usually four or five times a year.  The Chairman notifies members of the meeting, and he and volunteers purchase wines, and the participants meet, sample and decide if those wines purchased are candidates for further purchase.  The wine tasting is followed by a group dinner.  All costs are shared on a pro-rata basis.  The tastings are either held at a member’s home or one of the retain outlets, and are followed by a group dinner.  Results of the tastings are published to all Branch 8 members through email.

Bocce Ball – Open Play

Chairman Bob Barnes and Assistant Glen Gilman organized the competition at Newhall Park BB Courts in Concord.  There were 18 different participants during the dry season (April to September).  This weekly activity on Fridays 8:30 – 10:30 a.m. usually attracted 10-12 players.

Bocce Ball – League Play

Chairman Bob Barnes and Assistant Glen Gilman organized the team to compete in the Concord Bocce Federation league. Our team (SIR Bocce) played on the Baldwin Park BB Courts in Concord.  There were10 players (5 SIR members and 5 partners) who played on our team. Our team played on Tuesdays 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.during the May – September months.


Chairman Dan Weller.  The Bowling Activity continues to languish because of the lack of participants.  It is difficult to understand that the year started with only three out of Branch 8’s over 300 members participating in a SIR Bowling League.

Even more disturbing is that at year-end, only one member is in a SIR bowling league.  This 2/3 reduction is due to the Area 2 SIR league disbanding and because one participant has moved out of state.

I am counting only those members who are in SIR leagues as Branch 8 bowlers.  In that context, we had three bowlers at the start of the year (Bill Earl, Tom Baker, and Dan Weller).  At year end, there was only one bowler, Dan Weller.

Now, there are actually several Branch 8 members who are bowlers.  It is just that they do not prefer to bowl in the SIR league for some good reasons.  These people are eligible to participate in the many SIR Bowling Tournaments.  I’m sorry to say that none of these members elected to bowl in any SIR events this year.

In spite of the poor attendance statistics, Branch 8 did well in the bowling area.  Here are some highlights:

  • The four-man team with Tom Baker and Dan Weller and two non-Branch 8 bowlers, finished in first place in both the fall and the winter league sessions.
  • Dan Weller bested 218 other SIRs and finished first place in the Singles event at the Reno Tournament which was held in the National Bowling Stadium.
  • Dan Weller and his partner from Branch 19 won first place in the doubles event in the SIR State Bowling Tournament which was held in Pinole.  There were 43 pairs of bowlers competing.  The winners shot 1238 scratch for their six games, which when combined with their 243 pins handicap, gave them the winning total of 1481.
  • The Couples Bridge group has completed its second full year. The Chairman is John Mosher. For the first nine months, Tom Baker was the Assistant Chairman (before moving to Tucson). Bob Pate, a new member of the group volunteered to become a regular member and to assume the Assistant Chairman role when Tom moved.
  • Throughout the year, the group has had a full roster of 12 Regular member couples. All of the Regular couples played at least 4 times with one exception. There have been 9 or 10 Substitute couples, 3 of which played more than 5 times. Only three Substitute couples did not play at all.
  • Although the goal is to have six tables, 12 couples, it has not always been possible. Twice we had 4 tables, four times we had 5 tables and 5 times there were 6 tables. No matter how many couples were able to play, a good time was had by all. Everyone seems to enjoy the gatherings with friendly competition and lots of socializing.


Co-chair Rod Spicer and Harry Hubinger.  This activity started in 2010.  It is a co-ed group for beginning players.  They also had a separate group for players somewhat experienced but needing practice.  Players asked questions and received comments from instructors – Co-Chairs on on their play in a non-competitive environment.  They accommodated up to 6 tables and 24 players


Chairman Rod Spicer, Assistant Ray Veronte.  As in 2011, the group met on the first Thursday of each month at Carl’s Jr in Walnut Creek.  They had a pool of 35 players but limited play to the first 24 (six tables) to sign up each month.  They collected an entree fee payable to the winning team

Bridge Duplicate 1

Dick Long became the Chairman in October, as Tom Baker longtime Chairman relocated to Arizona.  Bob Kahl is the new Co=Chairman.  They used the duplicate bridge format) same hands are played by all partnerships).  They meet the 2nd Friday of each month at Chateau – a retirement home in Pleasant Hill.  Sixteen regular participants play and thus substitutes were sought from other SIRTS branches.  Play lasted about 3-4 hours with light snacks and coffee provided.  Each player sets-up the event once every 16 months.  There have been few changes in the group in the last 8-10 years.  Late in 2012 two new members replaced retiring members

Bridge Couples

The Couples Bridge group has completed its second full year.  The Chairman is John Mosher.  For the first nine months, Tom Baker was the Assistant Chairman (before moving to Tuscon).  Bob Pate, a new member of the group volunteered to become a regular member and to assume the Assistant Chairman role when Tom moved.

Throughout the year, the group has had a full roster of 12 Regular member couples.  All of the Regular couples played at least 4 times with one exception.  There have been 9 or 10 substitute couples, 3 of which played more than f times.  Only three substitute couples did not play at all.

Although the goal is to have six tables,  12 couples, it has not always been possible.  Twice we had 4 tables, four times we had 5 tables and 5 times there were 6 tables.  No matter how many couples were able to play, a good time was had by all.  Everyone seems to enjoy the gatherings with friendly competition and lots of socializing.

Bridge Duplicate 2

Max Creamer chairs the group assisted by Jerry Milano.  This group meets the 4th Friday each month at Carl’s Jr. in Walnut Creek and plays 8 tables (24 players) over a four hour period.  There is a Branch 8 substitution list and sometimes SIRs wives fill in.  Players are relatively experienced.  Duplicate 2 members coordinated a muti-branch bridge tournament this year.

Bridge Duplicate 3

Jerry Milano, Chairman and John Mosher, co-chairs.  The third duplicate group grew from the long substitutes list for Duplicate 1 & 2 and the idea that some of the subs would like to play more frequently.  In 2012 we played on the fourth Monday of each month with three tables at each session.  We charge a small fee ($3) to each player and divide the entry fees amount the winners.  Duplicate 3 was started to give new duplicate bridge players a choice to form a partnership and practice their game in a friendly environment.  The meeting room at Carl’s Jr on Oak Grove Road has room for six tables; 12 teams of 2 would be most welcome for 2013.


Walt Schick and Ernie Shern, Co-Chairman.  This competitive tournament was held on April 28, 2012 at the Chateau III with players from SIR branches #8, #146, and #116. 

Book Exchange

Co-Chairmen, Ed Benson, Tom Kerns, Rob Laaback and Ken Main managed the Book Exchange in 2012. The concept remains for SIRs to bring books and elec­tronic media to the monthly luncheons that they wish to donate and exchange for that which other SIRs have contributed. This past year the Co-Chairmen have sup­plied boxes, brought books to the luncheon meeting, set them up on tables, encouraged participation, answered questions, publicized the service and brought the reading material to their respective homes for storage after the luncheons. Each Co-Chairman stores ~10 boxes of books at their home and rotate bringing them to the monthly meetings so that about 400 books are available at each luncheon. At years end there were about 800 books avail­able for exchange. During the year, the Co-Chairs donated about 12 boxes of duplicate, unpopular and hard cover books to the Contra Costa Library and the Diablo Valley Assistant  League. The crowd of Sirs around the exchange tables speak to the popularity of this activity.

Book Group

Steve Tiller, Chairman.  The Book Group meet every other month at the home of Steve Tiller.  Our 2012 selections were mostly non-fiction with and included:

The Assistant by Bernard Malamud
Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain
A With No Name by Richard Hersey
Country Driving by Peter Hessler
The Greater Journey by David McCollough
Physics of the Future by Michio Kaku

The selection, “A Ship with No Name” is notable because it is a personal account of action in World War ll during the invasion of French.  Richard Hersey, the author, is an active member of SIR Branch 8 and a neighbor of Ken Hodges.  He attended our review and it was a  rich experience.  Richard served as 1st mate on the ship.

Our selections in 2012 were made on a meeting by meeting basis.  Our tentative plans for 2013 includes changing from a bi-monthy to monthly basis.

Cellar Fillers

Ed Benson, Chairman.  Sir Cellar Fillers began in 2012 as an activity focused on finding and tasting high value wines in the $4 to $5 a bottle range.  Ad hoc meetings are called about four or five times a year, and are held at members’ homes on a volunteer basis.  We currently have 18 Sirs on our roster.  The Chairman is responsible for calling a meeting by emailing all members on the roster; members reserve space on a first come, first served basis.  The meetings are capped at ten members.  Once called, volunteers meet to select and purchase the wines to be tasted, then the group meets, has a simple lunch and tastes and evaluates the wine selections to find if any are worth purchasing.  This activity is strictly a guy thing about the wine and not a couples’ social event.  We’re looking for members who buy wine by the case, and keep their private cellars stocked – hence the name, Sir Cellar Fillers.  All expenses are divided on a pro-rata basis, and generally are around $10 to $12.


This activity is led by Phil Goff (Br 116) and Derek Southern (Br8).  The Branch 8 representatives for this activity are Bill Phelon and Hans Pable.  Bill also serves as membership chair for the CAT group.

CAT meets on the third Thursday of the month except for June and December.  The meetings begin at 8:45 a.m. are held at the Walnut Creek Elks Club.  The usual monthly programs are either guests speakers or activity members presenting information on the latest in computers and technology, including software developments and consumer electronics.

A few of the subjects covered in 2012 included presentations on software and internet resources for genealogy, internet phone services, home wireless networks, backing up your data and free stuff for your PC.

Between 40 and 75 Area 2 SIRs attend each monthly session.  During 2012, there were 44 branch 8 members who attended at least one CAT meeting.


HERB HELLSTEN, CHAIRMAN.  This group meets twice a month on the first Wednesday and the third Tuesday at Carl[‘s Jr. which is located I the Nob Hill Shopping Center off Oak Grove Road and Ygnacio Valley Blvd. at 1 p.m.

Digital Photo Club

Chairman Pump Pumphrey led this activity, aided and abetted by Assistant Chairman Bill Phelon. Our group has been serving as the photographers for Branch 8 events.

The group of 20 continued to meet mostly on the 3rd Friday of each month at a member’s home.  We talked about individual insights and experiences with cameras, lenses, techniques, photo software, new developments and of course the photos we took.  Some members (like me) are just amateurs who really like photography, and some members are so proficient that they should qualify as “Semi-Professionals.” As time goes on, the available photographic equipment keeps improving and dropping in price, as does the quality and number and kinds of programs used to manipulate the photos.

Good modern cameras and the modern image-enhancing software have incredible capabilities if you know about them.  Some of us are too busy taking pictures to read the manuals, and we profit greatly from the guidance and information garnered from the more knowledgeable among us.  Beyond the viewing and discussion of photo images and beyond the lore of equipment, programs and techniques, we also share our personal experiences and a generous portion of good fellowship.

Dine In 1

Ron Cassano, Chairman.  There are seven couples participating .  We meet every other month on the third Friday for dinner.  The host rotates and provides the main course and the others round out the menu.  Participants for 2012 are Ed Benson, Ron Cassano, Dan Franklin, Joe Karg, Jim Lunn, Al Rosso and Walt Schick..

 Dine In 2

Richard Asadoorian, Chairman.  Dine In 2 had its inaugural  dinner on August 20, 2011 in the home of chair Richard Asadoorian and his wife Barbara Cowan.

We began with 5 couples. Our popularity lead us to increase in size to 7 couples and we must cut it off there as we have generally 100% attendance.

The following are the SIR members in this group-Bob Price, Jim Kain, Bill Eich, Derek Southern, Ed Cohn, Roger Lockwara and of course myself.

We meet every other month and rotate homes.

Ron Cassano(chair of Dine In 1) and I encourage a third Dine In to be formed.

Richard Asadoorian, Chair, Dine In 2

Dine Out Single SIRS

Bon Wadors, Chairman.  We are a group of SIRS who like to get out of the house once in awhile and share a good meal and some lively conversation.  Each month one of us acts as a host, chooses a restaurant in the area and arranges for a table for the group, usually about ten. There are a wide variety of places where we dine from Italian, American, Mexican, Chinese or whatever. Of course the prices have to be reasonable. Some of us may even share a bottle of wine. We meet on the first Tuesday of each month at 5:30 PM and are usually out before 7:00PM.

In 2012 our membership stayed about the same (15) with four members leaving and four new members joining. We dined at the usual assortment of ethnic and American eateries. The Creekside Grill at Rossmoor was a very welcome addition with excellent food and pleasant views.

Steve Tiller, our Assistant Chairman decided to leave the group so we will be looking for a new Assistant for 2013.

Bon Wadors, Chairman


Don Atwater, Chairman.  Dine Out 2 activity was created this year to provide an activity for Branch 8 members and their ladies to enjoy intimate dining experiences in groups of 8.  Below are the SIR hosts, restaurants and guests,

Jerry Milan host at the Larks Creek Café, with guests Dave Platter, Joe Maurino, Ted Duerst.
Mike Anderson host at Bravo Bistro Restaurant with guests Vito Magliano, Erland Persson, Gary Plisco.
Steve Greytak host at the Oakhurst Country Club with guests Les Hopkins, Joe Maurino, Jerry Daykin
Don Atwater host at Sheraton Palace Hotel with guests Ralph Bagdonas, Ed Cohn, Bill Bargenquast


DOMINOS – The group has diminished to 7 members and is now chaired by Dan Rinaldi. Dan Franklin, Ekk Keller, Roy Evans have dropped out for personal reasons. Deiter Lauterbach and Frank Owens have passed away. The Group now plays at Carl Junior’s located in Walnut Creek at Oak Grove and Kirker Pass Rd on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month. Time of play is 11:00am – 2:00pm. Each member contributes $5.00 for the prize money at the end of the day.


Richard Schally, Chairman

February    Day at the Races –Fourth Annual Bill Hooy Day (contact Mike Roberts – – 510-559-7380)

March                San Francisco Airport Museum – History – Lunch in the Food Courts

April          Contra Costa Historical Society (Before BART exhibit) – Martinez – Lunch Lemongrass Bistro

May          California Historical Society (Golden Gate Bridge 75th Anniversary) – San Francisco – Lunch at Soup Freaks

August               Livermore National Lab Tour – Lunch Olive Tree

September Blackhawk Museum – Danville – Lunch The Prickly Pear Cantina

October     Chabot Space & Science Center – Oakland – Lunch Skyline Bistro


Carl Moyer, Chairman.  The return of salmon highlighted our 2012 fishing, and many of us brought home some tasty pink steaks.   We also caught a lot of trout on well attended trips to San Pablo Reservoir and Shadow Cliffs.  We were thwarted by strong winds and rough ocean, but still caught our share of rockfish, ling cod, sturgeon and stripers.  Our summer barbecue and Christmas party were notable for great camaraderie and fine food.  We had three fish frys, including our annual get together the Branch 8 Sirs in the Kitchen.  We made farther trips to Oregon, Alaska, Mexico, the Klamath river, Lake Davis, Lake Oroville, and the upper Sacramento River. We expect better weather in 2013, more salmon, and lots of fun.


Lynn Jones, Chairman.  This activity had 16 SIR members plus many spouses, family, and friends.  The hone hour walks average about 2.5 miles.  A list of 36 trails in Diablo Valley are used to plan the outings.  We meet about 9:30 a.m. at a trail head every Thursday morning which is announced each month by the chairman.  Afterward our hikers went to a nearby café for coffee and sweets.  Our walks are mostly in Contra Costa County with a few in Alameda county and participants move at their own pace.


Phil Philpot, Chairman.  Our golf year included 64 different players wondering about three different courses.  Most all of our outings included a contest ranging from closest to the pin (CTP), fewest putts (FP), greens in regulation (GIR), blind boggy, and on a whim letting those who wanted to tee up on the fairway at BFGC.  The winner of the contest had a choice out of the “gift box”, an accumulation of mostly donated things.  Our highest turn out of players was 31 and the fewest was 6 playing in light showers.  We had four total rain outs and one frost out for the year.

We played a total of 577 (9 hole) rounds as follows:  Our home course is Diablo Hills Golf Course where we played 428 rounds.  One player (Wally Freeman) scored a hole in one.  Forty seven birdies and 860 pars were recorded.  We also played Pine Meadow Golf Course with 84 rounds scoring 6 birdies and 110 pars.  Low gross scorers were Don Allen, Erland Persson and Jack with 34’s and Buchanan Fields Golf Course with 65 rounds scoring 6 birdies and 98 pars.  Low gross scorers were Jack Schweitzer and Wally Freeman with a 36.

A long time servant to the 9 hole group, Marechai Duncan is retiring from the committee and Bill Bargenquast will be joining the committee in 2013.

Phil Philpot, Chairman

Golf 18 Holes

GOLF – 18 HOLES  –  Chairman Darryl Sweetland assisted by Gordon Batesole (Membership / Handicaps / Data), Alan Ensign (Treasurer), Jim Andrews (Assistant treasurer), Wally Freeman (Tournaments), John Hayes (Marshals), Bill Hunter (Technology and Website), Bill Koski (Communications).

There were 107 members of the 18 Hole Golf group during 2012 of which 76 played at least one round of golf with our group..  We scheduled 52 golf events during 2012, 26 at our home course at Boundary Oak in Walnut Creek and 26 events at various golf courses in the bay area.  Our Tournament Director set-up 8 special club tournaments during 2012 including a two day event to Carmel.  We also participated in various Area 2 and State SIR tournaments.


Don Atwater began Sir Couples Golf in 2011 by inviting Sir Members to join a couples group to play at Diablo Hills Nine Hole Course.  About six couples began that first Thursday, and since then the event has been well attended.  Leo Barrella became the chairperson in 2012, and the group made the decision to play on the second Thursday at 9:30 am at Diablo Hills.

There are sixteen couple contacts on the current roster, and six to eight couples have been playing each month.  The format is casual, and posting scores is optional.  Having a handicap is not a requirement, and a ‘couple’ can be any two people who wish to play.  The monthly marshal (this position rotates) assigns the groups at the first tee.

The goal is to enjoy golf with friends in a casual environment, and the option is to stay for lunch at The Greenery (tables are reserved for us, and the food is delicious.)  Don Atwater presented us with a ‘rotating trophy’ the first year, and now the monthly marshal has ‘custody’ of the trophy.  Players are encouraged to sign up for both golf and lunch on the SIR

Couples Golf website so that the monthly marshal is able to reserve the Tee Times and the Lunch area.  The lunch has been a positive experience, and the group is looking forward to a holiday party to celebrate having another great year.

Leo Barrella is ‘passing the torch’ to Paul Derby as the new chairperson in 2013.  For further information please check the website or contact Leo, Paul, or the monthly marshal listed on the website.  Thanks, again,  to Don Atwater for starting another successful SIR activity.

  Couples Golf was originally conceived by Don Atwater in 2011.  He nurtured the activity through 2012 and it grew to be a group of about a dozen couples or so that actively participate. Leo Barrella, along with the help of the monthly host couple, has made this a very interesting activity.  The foremat is somewhat different than most golf activities as no scores are submitted at the end of the round.  The lunch after the rounds are probably more important than the round itself.  The group is fortunate to have in Margaret Batesole a Media Consultant that keeps the group current and reports monthly activity in the Newsletter. If you have a significant other that may have shown some interest in golf this is the place to start them as well as have them enjoy a great social setting.


Dan Weller, Chairman.  This group takes advantage of the 36 trails in Diablo Valley area.  We meet about 9:30 a.m. at a trail head every Thursday morning which is announced each month by the Chairman. The walk usually last for one hour and hikers meet afterward at a nearby café for coffee and sweets.  SIR spouses, family and friends are welcome.


2012 Hikers Program – Chairman Phil Trapp took over from Ray Tenzer and was assisted by Enrique Arvizu, who agreed to continue as Assistant Chairman. The group meets on the second Tuesday of the month for an EASY hike and on the last Tuesday for a MODERATE hike. There were 20 hikes in 2012, with attendance ranging from 7-14 hikers, all having a good time. Each hike is chosen and led by a member of the group, generating a wide range of locations and beautiful vistas seen from all over the East Bay.  Active membership increased this year from 19 to 27, for a total of 185 hiker days.


Ed Benson, Chairman.  Now in it’s seventh year, this popular group of 34 met the third Tuesday of each month at Sir Executive Chef Ed Benson’s home to cook and eat lunch, drink wine, tell lies and engage in fellowship.  It is not necessary to have cooking skills or have a home large enough to hold the typical meeting of 20 to 24 Branch 8 Sirs to join the group.  Once a year they put on the Branch 8 BBQ and they include spouses at a Christmas Gala Dinner.  In addition to the 34 Sirs in the Kitchen that attended in 2011, an additional 8 Sir guests attended its events not including the Branch 8 BBQ.

LADIES DAY LUNCHEONS  : Jack Waddell, Chairman.  We held the two luncheons this year at the same locations we have used in the past several years. they continue to prove excellent in terms of service and price. the Christmas decorations at Round Hill are a major attraction, and the terrace at Contra Costa Country Club is a desirable feature for the June event. ;We are open to exploring additional locations and will do some research in the coming months.

We have not received any negative feedback concerning these two locations, and absent some new developments will probably seek to return for 2013.

ATTENDANCE: At the June luncheon there were 197 paid attendees less 8 “ no shows” for a total of 187 .. At the December luncheon the total paid was 278 with 8
“no shows” for a total of 270 The attendance at the spring luncheon has always been about 70% of the attendance at the December luncheon. As the size of our Branch increases, it may be necessary to look for additional venues or put a cap on the number of attendees, that however is not an immediate concern.

An issue which we would like the board to address is establishing some policy regarding inviting widows of deceased Sirs members to continue attending The Ladies Day Luncheon— under what circumstances and for how long ??

FINANCIAL: Over the past four years we have been able to hold down the price of the luncheon to about $34 at Contra Costa and $37.50 at Round Hill . This is less expensive than quotes from other venues which we have inquired about including the Hilton. Included in the cost of the luncheon is the price of candy and centerpieces for the tables as well as the entertainment.. In the past 4 years we have always managed to break even or return a small unintended profit the Branch.


Jerry White (Branch 8) continued as Chairman.  Branches participating were 89, 16,19,and 146.  Only 3 players from Branch 8 (Jerry White, Jerry Foott and Danny Rinaldi) have been playing.  The group played twice a month at Masses Billiards in W./C.  About 15 SIRs regularly attended, mostly from other branches.  More participants from Branch 8 are needed.


Walt Schick is chairman and Dan Franklin is Assistant Chairman.  There are now 8 separate poker groups of 7 players.  This is an activity open to all other Area 2 branches.  There were 51 different players.  Each group had its own “coordinator” or sub=chairman and meets monthly on a scheduled day and time at a member’s home.  Ekkehardt Keller will be the overall chairman in 2013.


George Schulze, Chairman.

The Sums In Investment met 11 times in 2012. There were as many as 55 to a low of 34 depending on the speaker or the subject. Our branch core attendees were 15 with a few lookers which I did not record. Leary Wong and myself made up a two thirds of the leadership for this activity.

Regular Attendees (15)


Ed Cohn, Chairman.  The SIR tennis group meets on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month at 9am . The courts we use are on Treat and Candelero in the Sunset Park complex. They can be seen from Treat. Our players have different levels of experience in the game.  We are just starting out and all suggestions  to improve are considered.

Since we are literally feeling our way, all of the above is subject to change.


BOB HAGLER, CHAIRMAN.  Branch #8 SIRS Day at the Races –  October 10, 2012.  44 people attended the event. Cost was $25 per person. Cost included buffet lunch at the Turf Club, valet parking and entrance.

Branch #8 sponsored the Italian Festival in Reno, Nevada on October 5-7,  2012. Cost was $308.00 per person, double, $160 single supplement. 28 people attended. Cost included: $5.00 bonus at John Ascuaga’s Nugget, 2 nights at El Dorado Resort & Casino, hosted breakfast buffet daily, hosted seafood buffet, show tickets for Jersey Boys performance at El Dorado Showroom, two full days at the 31st Annual Eldorado Italian Festival, round trip baggage handling for one large bag, resort fee, hotel tax and driver tip.

Canada & Colonial American Cruise, October 26 – November 11, 2012

SIR Branch #8 sponsored the Canada & Colonial American Cruise.  Sixteen members and guests embarked in the Norwegian Dawn at Quebec City, Canada for a cruise down the U. S. east coast.  The unexpected encounter with hurricane Sandy required an itinerary change to avoid the heavy seas and the force of the storm.  Eliminated were stops in Portland, Maine and New York City but the unplanned stop in Halifax, Nova Scotia was pleasurable.  Following Halifax the cruise called on the ports of Boston, Massachusetts – Norfolk, Virginia – Baltimore, Maryland – Charleston, South Carolina – Miami, Florida – Key West, Florida and Tampa, Florida.  The available shore excursions in the various ports were greatly enjoyed and time at sea with the good food and entertainment made for a wonderful cruise.


 WINE TASTING – Chairman Gary Plisco, Assistant Bill Barnard. There were 22 SIR members on the e-mail list for this group. Members volunteered to host a tasting, select a varietal to taste, purchase the wine (7 or 8 bottles-cost shared) and tasters brought food to share. Number of tasters was determined by hosts’ available space for the sit down tasting. Although the group normally tastes every other month, only 4 tasting’s were held in 2012 due to an extended absence by the Chairman. The first, in February for 16 tasters, was an under$25 Cabernet Sauvignon tasting of 8 wines from around the world hosted by Gary & Sonia Plisco. In April, Bob & Marietta Kahl hosted a Barbera tasting of 7 wines for 15 tasters. Next, a backyard tasting in August for 14 tasters, was hosted by Jack & Joanne Waddell. They served 7 Rose ranging in price from $13-30. Each was made from a different grape varietal and they provided a wide array of colors. A Malbec varietal rose was the most popular. The last tasting, hosted by Dave & Dolores Olsen in November, was of Zinfandel ranging in price from $15-30. All the tasting’s were highlighted by a brief period for tasting and discussion of the aroma/taste of each wine followed by comradery while tasters consumed the remaining wine and the food brought to share.


WINE FINDERS 1 – Bob Price, Chairman
WINE FINDERS 2 – Ron Cassano, Chairman
WINE FINDERS 3 – Larry McEwen, Chairman

*note that in 2012 this activity is now three separate group…see below. 

We came together six times this year (every other month) to taste and compare various wine selections and identified top three winners at each event.  We also experienced an overload of members, sometimes reaching 38 to 40 attendees (20 SIR plus spouses/significant others).  The problem was resolved by splintering the group into thirds with generally, 12 to 14 participants in each group.  Many thanks to all the members in helping bring this about and special thanks to Ron and Karen Cassano, and Larry and Kathy McEwen for stepping up to run the new WINEFINDERS 2 and WINEFINDERS 3 respectively.  Our last gathering for the year is December 13, and will be a  Christmas Galla Reunion of all 3 sub groups at the Cassano’s home.  There will be no official comparison or ranking of the sparkling wines.

Although this is a group that encourages couples participation, single SIRs are invited and may come stag or pair-up with a SIR whose spouse is unable to attend.  A wine type is selected by each group leader then we do a blind tasting and rank all wines.  Each couple also brings a bottle of their favorite wine priced under $15.  Each couple also brings an appetizer to serve 6 that compliments the wine selection.  We generally meet at 6 pm at rotating hosts’ homes on the second Thursday of even numbered months.  Each attendee needs to remember to bring his/her own glass.  Bonus points are obtained for bottles under $10., and double bonus points for under $6.  Attaining 1st, 2nd, or 3rd rankings ensures bragging rights for said medal winners for two months.


Roger Sperling, Chairman.  This group meets on the third Wednesday of the month at 10 a.m.  It’s purpose is to learn and practice techniques for writing short stories )about our childhood, school days, family times, work experiences and retirement) and methods for publishing the collected stories for giving to family and friends as our legacy.

Mike Long
Historian, 2012