Big SIR Jim Sowell Report, 2010
Branch 8 began 2010 with 282 members and a keen awareness that active recruitment of younger members was a high priority and would usually provide a steady growth of membership. We began the year under the stewardship of Jim Sowell, Big Sir; Derek Southern, Little Sir; Erland Perrson, Secretary; Leo Barrella, Treasurer; Bill Peterson, Attendance Secretary; Bill Barnard, Membership Secretary; and Glenn Cheetham, Wally Freeman, Fred Nelson, Gary Plisco, Walter Schick, and Bon Wadors, Directors. Following guidelines of SIR Incorporated’s President, Buck Kendrick, we set a goal of recruiting 10% or 28 new members and hit it right on the nose. After the usual experience of members leaving and going inactive we ended the year with 290. Branch 8 added a net of two activities to reach 34 and over 84% of our members participated in at least one activity in addition to the monthly luncheons. A key element of our success as a branch is the high level of volunteers who take care of over 240 tasks that have to be done every month.
A few of our major events were the June and December Ladies Day Luncheons, held at the Contra Costa Country Club and the Round Hill Country Club respectively, a Day at the Races, and a Branch BarBQue. Travel included a Rhine River Cruise (also Oberammergau) of four countries and two local trips. One of the noteworthy things I gathered from gleaning the Hotlines is the high level of variety in the activities we do. The golfers go to many courses and have tournaments throughout the year, Explore and Eat takes participants to many different regional attractions, the dining groups cover almost any conceivable cuisine. Walkers and hikers cover different trails, and most activities pursue different venues and formats. Branch 8 is never boring! The level of writing is highly competent, with good humor, and mentions the participant and accomplishments of the attendees.
In retrospect, the Branch has always been an active one. It was first sponsored by the East Bay Branch 2 in 1964, and then chartered and incorporated in 1965. Meetings were held at the Boundary Oak Restaurant until 1979 when they moved to the Walnut Creek Elks Lodge. The Elks Lodge was Branch 8’s home through the year 2010. Over the years Branch 8 has helped SIR growth by sponsoring John Muir Branch 19 (1967), Tri-Valley Branch 34 (1970), Rossmoor Branch 81 (1979) and Las Trampas Branch 116 (1981). Perhaps the most important aspect of 2010 for Branch 8 was the work of the Member Relations and Venue Search Committees (MRC/VSC). The 2010 Work Plan for the MRC generated survey results that suggested that Branch members were becoming aware of a noisy and crowded situation at the Walnut Creek Elks Lodge along with related inadequate parking. The Branch leadership concluded that our normal growth would soon cause our monthly attendance to exceed both the parking and seating capacity of the Elks Lodge. Accordingly, the Big Sir appointed a VSC which evaluated a dozen potential meeting places, and in September recommended three locations that met the search criteria. At this point the Branch Executive Committee took what turned out to be premature action and approved moving to the Hilton Concord Hotel, before the general membership was informed of the proposal and its rationale. A group of members opposed the move and suggested that recruiting be slowed or discouraged and that membership levels be managed to allow the Branch to stay at the Elks Lodge, and requested a vote from the general membership. Our Branch leadership devoted the balance of September, October and November luncheons to providing the members extensive information on the reasons for moving, and hearing their concerns and alternatives. At the November lunch meeting the members indicated by nearly two to one that Branch 8 should move to the Hilton, and that move will be effective with the January 10, 2011 lunch meeting.
In any event, we expect the new facility to provide the space and ambiance to support the rich and vibrant social life we enjoy in Branch 8, and to allow us to continue our normal pattern of recruitment and growth.
Jim Sowell, Big Sir 2010
Special Events-Ladies Day Luncheons-Roger Miller, Committee Chairman Reporting
Ladies Day Luncheons (LDL) were held in June and December. These were organized by the LDL Committee consisting of Roger Miller-Chairman, assisted by Tom Click, Lloyd Gunderson, Paul Laderer, Bernie Rosner, Jack Waddell. The June event was held at the Contra Costa Country Club. Cost was $32.50 with 175 members and guests attending. Entertainment was provided by banjoist, Jack Convery. The December LDL was held at the Round Hill Country Club. Cost was $37.50 with 241attending. Entertainment was provided by the San Ramon Valley High School Jazz Combo. Many door prizes from various businesses were handed out to attendees at both events along with See’s Candy and floral centerpiece from each table. Officers and Directors were installed for 2011..
Activities-Gary Plisco, Activity Coordinator Reporting:
The Activity Coordinator and Assistant Coordinator remained the same for 2010-Gary Plisco and Don Blubaugh. In mid-year, Don resigned from Branch 8 and the year was completed without an Assistant Coordinator. A monthly report of activities was made to the BEC and this is documented in the notes of the meetings.
There were 32 activities to begin 2010 and 34 at years end. Five (Bowling, Computers/Technology, Fishing, Pool, Sums in Retirement) of these are Area 2 activities. Sixteen activities were open to spouses as full time participants or as invited (Bowling, SIRS in the Kitchen). Five new activities were added-Basic Bridge (for beginners), Couples Bridge, Lets Dine In II, SACHE (SIRS, Artisans, Craftsmen, Hobbyists, etc-wares displayed at luncheons) and Yoga. There were also 8 poker groups (only recorded as 1 activity) each with its own coordinator. Three activities were dropped. Lets Dine In-II did not get off the ground so was dropped. Sing-a-Long SIRS and Theatre Fest were also dropped. The most attended activity continued to be Golf with half the membership playing 18 and 9 hole Golf followed by the Book Exchange, Explore & Eat, Poker and Travel. Bridge, Lets Dine Out, SIRS in the Kitchen, the 2 Wine Activities, Finders and Tasters, were also popular as were most of the other activities.
As in previous years, a breakfast was held (December 4) for the Activity Chairman but this year it was held at the Concord Hilton. Most Chairman attended. Area 2 Governor (and Director elect) Dean Steichen attended and complimented the Chairman for a great job of operating the activities which lead to a strong and active branch. Big Sir Jim Sowell, Little SIR Derek Southern and Area 2 Governor-elect Ron Smith were traveling. However they all had comments read which also complimented the Chairman for their effort. Other presenters were State Publicity and Membership Tools Chairman, Walter Schick, Hotline Editor, Pump Pumphrey and Branch Historian, Gary Plisco (also coordinated the meeting).
The most active Branch SIR (SIR attending the most number of different activities) was Larry Lange. He was followed closely by George Schlutz and Derek Southern. He was awarded a special certificate and a free lunch.
The Activity Chairman prepared the following descriptions of their activities for 2010. Those marked with an * are open to SIR spouses.
– Chairman Larry Lange, Assistant Derek Lofquist. There were 49 different SIR who attended at least one of the meetings downstairs in the Elks Club after the monthly luncheons. Normally about 20-25 members attended. DVD’s on 10 topics (such as Corpses of Massive Stars, Grand Tour of Cosmos, Black Holes, Journey to Palomar, Moon) were shown and briefly discussed. Professor Alex Filippenko (UC-Berkeley-possible future luncheon speaker) was the lecture on each DVD. The group visited the Chabot Observatory for a docent tour.
-Co-Chairman Ed Benson, Walter Schick. The event was held June 23 at Castle Rock Park in the foothills of Mt. Diablo. Attendees were bused from the parking lot to the Park. 41 SIR plus spouses and guests attended. Guests were greeted with chips, dips, veggies and a selection of wine, beer, soft drinks and bottled water. Grills were fired up and SIRS in the Kitchen Chefs Bon, Ken, Gene, Tom, Walt and Ed prepared BBQ ball tip, potato & green salad, four been salad, chili with beans and garlic bread. Chef Dan handled dessert duties and ably handed out famous Amos chocolate chip cookies. The picnic area also included facilities and equipment to play many sports; only a few SIR participated in a lively game of horseshoes. All this for a cost of $20 per person. There was also a clean-up crew (greatly assisted by the Park Rangers).
BOCCEE BALL* –
Chairman Bob Barnes, Assistant Larry Mersmann. They organized non-league play competition at Newhall Park BB Courts in Concord. There were 29 different participants during the dry season (April to September). This weekly activity on Friday 9-11a.m. usually attracted 10-12 players playing 3 games. The best won/lost totals for the season were Erland Persson-74%, Larry Lange-71%, Kevin Roberts-63% (secret to winning is having a good partner). A 10 player team (Bob Barnes*, Larry Mersmann*, Larry Lange, Bill Douglas*, Mike Hegeler, Gary Plisco* plus 4 spouses-*) played in the Martinez BB League. Next year the BB league play will become a new activity.
– CO-Chairman , Ed Benson, Derek Southern and Rob Laaback. They were ably assisted by Ken Main (who lugs and stores some boxes). The concept remains for SIR to bring books and electronic media to the monthly luncheons that they wish to donate and exchange for same other SIR have contributed. The Co-Chairman 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 at the luncheons conclusion. At years end there were about 320 books available for exchange. During the year, the Co-Chairs donated about 12 boxes of duplicate, non-popular and hard cover books to the Contra Costa Library. The crowd of SIR around the exchange tables speak to the popularity of this service.
BOOK GROUP –
Chairman Steve Tiller, Assistant Bill Hunter. There are 7 active members and a few others on an infrequent basis. They met monthly mostly at the Chairman’s home to discuss a book selected for reading at a previous meeting. The books read and discussed are posted on the Branch’s website for member information.
BOWLING* (Area 2) –
Chairman Dan Weller. Besides the Chairman there were only 3 Branch 8 participants (Tom Baker, Bill Earl, Joe Maurino) in the 48-person Area 2 Bowling League. Dan, Tom and Joe also participated in some of the State-wide bowling tournaments. The team that Dan Weller and Tom Baker were on won the league championship, winning more games than the other 11 teams. A highlight of the year was a 2-day SIR tournament at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno. Over 190 SIR and guests participated in the tournament. The Chairman hopes to expand Branch 8 participation in both league and SIR tournament bowling in 2011..
– Co-Chairman Rod Spicer, Harry Hubinger. This is a new activity for 2010. It’s just as the name implies-BASIC. It’s 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 the instructors-Co-Chairs on their play in a non-competitive environment. They accommodated up to 6 tables-24 players.
– Chairman Rod Hughes, Assistant John Mosher. This new activity for 2010 met the 3rd Monday of each month from 1-4PM at Carl;s Jr. in Walnut Creek. Currently have 5 tables-20 players with a sub list but can accommodate 6 tables. Players showed up early for lunch, played 5 hands of couples rubber bridge and then changed tables. Usually played just 3 rounds. No entry fee-just for fun.
BRIDGE DUPLICATE I –
Chairman Tom Baker, Assistant Dick Long. There were 16 regular players and 10 subs for the year. They met the 2nd Friday of each month at a members home. Play lasted about 3-4 hours with light snacks and coffee provided. Each player hosts the event once every 16 months. There have been few changes in this group in the last 7-8 years which lead to the formation of Dup II.
BRIDGE DUPLICATE II –
Chairman Gene Bingham, Assistant Walter Schick. This is the 5th year of this group (maybe time for a Dup III) who met the 4th Friday each month at Carl’s Jr in Walnut Creek. There were 24 regular players with 19 different subs from Branch 8 and 12 more from other branches. They played 24 hands of bridge for about 4 hours with a lunch break in the middle. They collected an entry fee which was paid to the top 3 winning partners. Players ranged from intermediate to experienced. New interested members to Branch 8 were added to the sub list.
Chairman Rob Spicer, Assistant Ray Veronte. As in 2010, the group met the 1st 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 (6 tables) to sign up each month. They collected an entry fee payable to the winning teams.
COMPUTERS & TECHNOLOGY (AREA 2)
– Co-Chairman Phil Goff (Branch 16)and Derek Southern(Branch 8). Branch 8 representatives are Bill Phelon and Hans Pable. Monthly meetings continued to be held at the Elks Lodge in Walnut Creek. Guest speakers informed attendees of the latest developments in technology, computers, software and consumer electronics. Some of the subjects covered included reviews of smart phones, social networking sites and buying a new computer. An average turnout of 40-60 Area 2 SIR attend each session. About 42 Branch 8 SIR attended at least one CAT meeting.
Chairman Herb Hellsten, Assistant Bill Douglas. The players met twice monthly on the 1st Wednesday and 3rd Tuesday at Carl’s Jr. in Walnut Creek. 29 different Branch 8 members and spouses participated. A total of 328 games were played over the 22 sessions with an average attendance of 17 players on Wednesday and 13 on Tuesdays. 5 of the members attended SIRS in the Kitchen; thus the lower turnout on Tuesday. 9 of the 29 members participated in over 75% of the games played. Year end results found Herb Hellsten (again of course-the Activity Chairman) leading the average score in per games played with 31.6 points per game followed by Stan Johnson with 28.2, Greg Ryan with 26.7 and Steve Gretak with 26.1. The high score for a game during 2010 went to Ron Draper/Herb Hellsten-141 points followed by Jerry Milano/George Schlutz and Ron Draper/Steve Strobel- 131 points. High scorers Herb Hellsten-404 points, Stan Johnson-376, Frank Begert-348 and Ron Draper-347.
DIGITAL PHOTO CLUB
– Chairman Pump Pumphrey, Assistant Bill Phelon. The group of 17 met the 3rd Friday of each month at a members home. They talked about individual insights and experiences with cameras, lenses, techniques, photo software, new developments and of course the photos they took. They also shared personal experiences. The group also served as the photographers for Branch 8 events.
– Chairman Deiter Lauterbach, Assistant Ekk Keller. This group of 14 participants (at least 3 times) played on the 4thWednesday of the month (except November/December) for about 4 hours at a members home. Met at 9:30AM for coffee/donuts and played at 10AM. They had lunch (brought their own) and competed playing 6 dominos for the prize money from the $5 donation by each player.
EXPLORE & EAT* –
Chairman Richard Schally, Assistant Dan Franklin. They met at various points of interest in Northern CA/Bay Area, usually on the 3rd Friday of the month. Most tours were led by a docent and were followed by lunch at a local restaurant. This year 50 SIR plus spouses participated in at least one exploration. Visits were to the following locations:
Day at the Races
-In memory of Big SIR Bill Hooy who always arranged this event. The Memorial Race for
Bill at Golden Gate Fields was the big event of the day. 50 SIR and spouses attended.
Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum
(Niles District of Fremont) -docent led tour of the museum. Watched 2 classic Charlie Chaplin movies. Lunch at a local Italian restaurant. 36 SIR and spouses attended.
Walt Disney Family Museum
(Presido SF) -Self-guided tour of the fabulous new Disney Museum. Lunch at a local pub. 66 SIR and spouses attended.
Military Vehicle Museum
(Portola Valley) -docent led tour of this Jacques Littlefield collection of over 200 tanks and army vehicles from World War I thru current day. Lunch at a local Mexican restaurant. 12 SIR attended.
Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum
(San Jose) -Docent led tour by the curator of the museum which includes one of the largest private collection of mummies and Egyptian artifacts in the US. Lunch followed aat a nearby Italian restaurant. 30 Sir and spouses attended.
SF War Memorial Opera House
(SF) -Guided tour of the backstage and bowels of the Opera House included dressing rooms, laundry room, wig room, stage sets and more. Limited to 30 people so had 2 tours, June and September. Lunch at nearby restaurant. Total 60 SIR and spouses attended.
Delta Cruise on the Island Seranade
-A 2 hour cruise that included narrative by the Captain. Booked entire ship for Branch 8. Included a box lunch. 66 SIR and spouses attended.
Playland Not at the Beach
(El Cerrito) -This is the Museum of Fun. Guided tour by a docent who lived and worked as a youth at the original Playland in SF. Great artifacts, 25 free pin ball machines and other games to play. Lunch at a local coffee shop. 29 SIR and spouses attended.
Ruth Bancroft Gardens
(Walnut Creek) -docent led tour thru the garden started in 1971. Opened to public in 1990. Protected by a conservation easement. A true treasure in our own backyard. Lunch at a local pizza parlor. 32 SIR and spouses attended. A total of 381 attendees for all trips. A popular activity.
Fishing (Area 2)
– Branch 8 Big Fish Carl Moyer. Another year of adjustment for the Fishing group. There was a brief salmon season; the wind was relentless all year, and the lack of anchovies in the bay and ocean created many challenges. But for all that, the fisherman managed to catch many fish, make new friends, deepen old friendships, and have a lot of fun. A January trip to the Sacramento Fishing Expo equipped the fishermen with new gear and knowledge. Local forays produced trout from Shadow Cliff’s reservoir finishing with a hot shore lunch. Also caught some stripers and sturgeon from the Bays and delta. As winter turned to spring the fisherman caught halibut trolling in the bay, more sturgeon, and a few stripers. Spring produced great success for trout at Lake Davis (Tahoe National Forest). An adventure to the south Cape in Mexico filled the freezers of the group. Had several successful mackinaw trips to Lake Tahoe. Jointly held a delightful backyard fish fry with the SIR in the Kitchen activity. Fall brought a return to Lake Davis and ceaseless wind at home. Good fishing on the Klamath River for salmon and steelhead. A season ending Christmas party was sold out.
– Chairman Stan Johnson, Assistants Doug Raaka, Bob Sherman, Bill Cooke, Erland Persson and Marechal Duncan as monthly marshals. 51SIR played during the year. The highest weekly participation was 20 players in a given week. Branch 8 played 596 rounds of 9-hole golf. Usually played at Diablo Hills Golf Course in Walnut Creek, but also played monthly at Pine Meadows in Martinez, Buchanan Field in Concord, or Grayson Woods in Pleasant Hill. Chairman Johnson played the most rounds with 45 weeks. In second place were Erland Persson and Bill Cooke with 37 weeks. A large percentage of golfers stayed after playing for a libation and good stories. Great comraderie and fellowship during and after the golfing.
– Chairman Mike Long. Assisted by Gordon Batesole (Memebership), Hal Samson (Treasurer), Jim Andrews (Asst. Treasurer), John Hayes (Marshals), Wally Freeman (Tournaments), Glen Cheetham (Communications) and Bill Hunter (Technology). There were 132 members for this weekly activity and 70 played at least 3 times. Boundary Oak was the home course with 2 events per month. Away matches were played at courses within an hour’s drive. Also, played 9 special tournaments.
HEADS UP WALKERS* –
Chairman Lynn Jones, Assistant Enrique Arvizu. The activity had 16 SIR plus many spouses, family and friends. The one-hour walks averaged about 2.5 miles and included spouses, family and friends. A list of 36 trails in Diablo Valley were used to plan the walks. Met about 9:30AM at a trail head every Thursday morning announced each month by the Chairman. Hiked for 30 minutes then returned to the trail head. Afterward hikers went to a nearby café for coffee and sweets. This year the Chairman found 7/8 new walks. Walks mostly in Contra Costa County with a few in Alameda County. Participants moved at their own pace.
– Chairman Ray Tenzer, Assistant Enrique Arvizu. Met last Tuesday of each month to hike about 3-5 miles on a Regional Park trail. Usually hiked 2 or 3 paved trails during the winter to avoid the mud. Rest of the year hiking was on Regional Park unpaved trails that included redwood forest, oak studded hills, and open grass lands. Sometimes saw interesting wildlife and beautiful spring wild flowers. Often experienced outstanding views of scenic topography and views of the Bay from hilltops which most individuals never get to see. Each hike was chosen and lead by one of the members providing fresh trails and variety. Hikes included Sunol, Diablo, Briones Tilden Regional Parks, Briones Reservoir, Clayton-Regency Gate-Mt. Diablo State Park, Shelby Wildcat gorge, Iron Horse and Inspiration Point. There were 19 active members with 3 to 12 hikers on any given hike. After the hikes some hikers had lunch at a near-by restaurant.
LETS DINE IN* –
Chairman Ron Cassano. Assistant Dan Franklin. There were 7 couples participating. Met at a member’s home every other month. Host provided the main course, others wine, appetizer, salad etc.
LETS DINE OUT*
– Chairman Don Wesdorf, Assistant Don Allen. The group enjoyed a fine year of fun and friendship with 48 different SIR and their ladies attending the eleven monthly dine outs at a different restaurant. Total attendees were 321. A different Host and Hostess selected the restaurant for the month (Don Allen-Stanford, Walt Schick-LeCheval, Ralph Bagdonas-Ha’s Chinese, Dave Perkins-El Torito, Frank Begert-Mary’s Pizza Shack, Don Wesdorf-Ristorante Forli and Black Angus, Mike brown-La Finestra, Ken Main-Brass Door, Rod Hughes-Massimo, Rod Spicer-Dragon 2000). Average attendance was 12-14 couples.
– Chairman Walter Schick, Assistant Dan Franklin. There were 8 poker groups-7 players in each. There were 51 different players with 6 alternates. Each group had its own “coordinator” or sub-chairman and met monthly on a scheduled day and time at a member’s home. The activity was open to all other Area 2 branches even though it’s a Branch 8 activity. A popular activity.
POOL (Area 2)*
– Jerry White (Branch 8), Chairman. Branches participating were 8, 19, 116 and 146. Only 4 players from Branch 8 (Jerry White, Jerry Foott, John O’Brien and Brian Wolf) participated. Group played twice a month at Masses Billiards in W.C. About 12 SIR regularly attended, mostly from other Branches. More participants from Branch 8 are needed!
SACHE (SIR Artisan, Craftsman, Hobbyists, Etc.)
– Chairman Don Atwater. SACHE was introduced about mid year. The activity was designed to exhibit member’s talents at monthly luncheons. Thanks to Dan Weller for being the first exhibitor and to the subsequent exhibitors. 2010 exhibitors were Dan Weller, woodworker, Roger Sperling, painter, Bob Solari, woodcarver, Volney Peter, model airplane collector.
SINGLE SIR DINE OUT
– Chairman Don Atwater, Assistant Bon Wadors. The group increased in size to about 20 different attendees with the largest turnout 11. Dinner was on the first Tuesday of the month at 12 different restaurants. Each member had the opportunity to be “host” for a month and selected a restaurant and making reservations (Ed Young-Pasta Primavera, Bob Cramer-Outback Steakhouse, Gene McManus-Black Bear Diner, Enrique Arvizu-Sargam, Don Atwater-Stanford’s, Steve Tiller-Petar’s, Elroy Condeff-Kensington Place, Bon Wadors-Greenery, Marv Kreitz-Black Angus, Jack Stack-Peking-Tokyo, Steve Tiller-Buttercup Bar & Grill, Ed Young-Spaghetti Factory).
SIR IN THE KITCHEN*
– Chairman-Executive Chef Ed Benson, Assistant Jim Sowell. This popular group of 29 met the 3rd Tuesday of each month at Chef Benson’s home to cook and eat lunch, drink wine, tell lies and engage in fellowship. Twice a year they included spouses, usually at the Branch 8 BBQ and at a Christmas Gala Dinner. In addition to the 29, 8 SIR fisherman attended the annual joint fish fry and an additional 7 attended an olive oil and wine tasting event in July. Average attendance was 14-18 participants. Cooking skills are not a prerequisite as participants learn by watching and there is always the clean-up duty for those not cooking.
SUMS IN RETIREMENT
(Area 2) – Chairman George Schultz. The group met for breakfast monthly at the Legends Grill at Diablo Creek Golf Clubhouse and usually had a featured speaker on investments. There were 20 Branch 9 members attending most meetings.
– Chairman Bob Hagler, Assistant Jim Lunn. There were 3 trips in 2010.
Obermmergau & Rhine Rriver Valley
– The Passion Play at Oaberammergau plus an 8-day Rhine River cruise of 4 countries from Basel to Amsterdam. The play is performed every 10 years. Countries visited were Germany, Switzerland, France, Netherlands. Shore excursions included the Black Forest, European Parliament in Strasbourg, Germany’s oldest university in Heidelberg, UNESSCO world Heritage Site which is part of the Middle Rhine River Valley, a tour of the ingenious network windmills in Kinderdijk Holland.
-Story of Fanny Brice, a goofy singer, who rises from ugly duckling to a Ziegfeld headlliner. Musical comedy with extravagant production numbers and show-stopping songs including “People” and “Don’t Rain On My Parade.” Performance at the Wells Fargo Pavilion in Sacramento. Dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory.
Le Grande Cirque
-A 2-day trip including casino stops at the Silver Legacy and Boomtown. Le grande Cirque was a jaw-dropping visual feast of breathtaking group acrobatics and white-knuckle stunts. The international company of champion acrobats and performers have been handpicked from around the world for their death-defying abilities and precision skill. It was a fast paced, heart pounding astounding spectacle. Included was an overnight stay at the El Dorado Casino/Hotel in Reno.
– Chairman Ed Benson, Assistant Bob Price. This informal wine tasting group focused on the blind tasting of wines of value under $15, consuming hors d’oeuvres brought by the tasters and much comraderie. It celebrated its two year anniversary in February. It has 12 SIR members, 4 associate members and 1 on the waiting list. There were usually 15 invitees and their spouses so all members wanting to attend were accommodated. The bimonthly blind tasting of a pre-selected varietal was held on the 2nd Thursday at a participants home. Each couple or single brought a bottle of wine, hors d’oeuvre, and one wine glass per person. The December tasting included a joint dinner with the SIRS in the Kitchen. During the year, several varietals were tasted. WF’s motto is “everyone has a great time, its good fun, food, wine and company, and we’ve always been able to include any member who wants to attend…more attendees, more wine to taste…even come up with some good inexpensive wines.”
WINE TASTING* – Chairman Gary Plisco, Assistand Bill Barnard. There were 23 SIR members on the e-mail list for this group. Unfortunately space was limited to 12-20 tasters, depending upon the hosts available space. The sit down blind tasting and rating of a single varietal required each participant to bring one wine glass for each wine – normally 7. They were held on a Friday evening about every other month as announced in e-mails to its members. The hosts provided all the wines (cost split among the tasters – no limit on cost but averaged per person $12-20) and the tasters brought an hor d’oeuvre to share with the others during the aftertaste socializing. In March, the Plisco’s hosted a special tasting by the Hendry Winery of Napa Valley. The winery’s representatives presented 13 wines in a side by side tasting (i.e. 2 chards in 2 separate glasses, same for 2 zins, 2 cabs etc.). Reps explained the particulars of each wine. The wines were offered to tasters at a discount. There were 21 tasters, wine sales were high..
WRITING YOUR LIFE STORIES
– Chairman, Roger Sperling, Assistant Richard Schally. The group was off and running for its 5th year with 3 new members (15 total). This is a very special group because my (Sperling) teacher and mentor reminds me, “Men don’t regularly do this!” With a typical attendance of 8-10, means that we appreciate the value of writing about our lives for the enjoyment of ourselves and families. We wrote and shared our short stories based on personal experiences from childhood through family and career to retirement. We thought of it as writing our autobiographies one story at a time.” It was far easier with group support than trying to start writing our memoirs in private. The meetings took place at the Vintage Kensington Place on Geary Rd near North Main in Walnut Creek.
-Chairman Mysore Gopal. New for 2010 was the Yoga sessions. The instructor was Mysore’s wife Prabha. She is a professional instructor so the members get a very good workout. The session started with a bang with about a dozen participants. Its been up and down since then but most recognize the mental and physical well-being derived from the sessions. They meetings took place on the 1st Wednesday of each month between 10-11AM at the Sports Basement Sports store in Walnut Creek.
Sons in Retirement-Mt. Diablo SIR Branch 8 – 2009 Summary
2009 was an eventful year for our Branch 8. Our 32 activities received more than 80% participation from members. Trips to Ireland and San Francisco, golf at home and many great nearby courses, fishing in the ocean, bay, Mexico, Sierras, a day at the horse races at Golden Gate Fields, exploring unique locations in the Bay Area, reading and discussing books , wine tasting of expensive and everyday wines, bocce ball, bowling, pool, hiking and walking the hills and trails in the Bay area, bridge and poker, dining out at different restaurants, learning about astronomy, computers and technology, cooking, investing, photography, singing, seeing plays and writing life stories kept our membership busy during the year. All made possible by our corps of volunteers who gave generously of their time and talent to make our activities interesting and worthy of the high level of participation
In retrospect, the Branch has always been an active one. It was first sponsored by the East Bay Branch 2 in 1964, and then chartered and incorporated in 1965. Meetings were held at the Boundary Oak Restaurant until 1979 when they were moved to the Walnut Creek Elks Lodge. Over the years Branch 8 has helped SIR growth by sponsoring John Muir Branch 19 (1967), Tri-Valley Branch 34 (1970),Rossmoor Branch 81 (1979) and Las Trampas Branch 116 (1981).
Branch Officers and Executive Committee (BEC)-Contributions, Innovations and Statistics-Big SirGlenn Cheetham Reporting:
BEC meetings and General Membership Luncheons were held the 2nd Monday of each month at the Walnut Creek Elks Lodge except the June and December ladies Day Luncheons that were held at the Round Hill Country Club in Alamo .
Branch Officers and Executive Committee
Branch 8 Officers and Directors (Branch Executive Committee) for 2009 were:
Big Sir-Glenn Cheetham
Little Sir-Jim Sowell
Secretary Membership-Derek Southern
Secretary Attendance-Bill Peterson
Assistant Treasurer-Leo Barrella
Directors-Wally Freeman, Gary Plisco, Deiter Lauterbach, Walter Schick,
Fred Nelson, Bon Wadors
The office of the Big SIR is a one year term from January to December. Big Sir Glenn Cheetham actually served as Big Sir for 23 months starting in February 2008, following the incapacity of Big Sir BillHooy in January.
The financial health of the Branch remained strong with expenses and income about even. The Branch is self-sustaining financially due in large part to all the volunteers. Members were charged for lunch each month the same amount as paid the caterer. Unfortunately we lost our excellent caterer Stan in October who served us for several years. We were able to replace him with another caterer who kept the price at just $11 for the remainder of the year. Other overhead costs like rent of the Elks Lodge, printing and mailing the monthly Newsletter, supplies etc, were covered by an Annual Donation Drive. The donation target was $40 per member. It will be $45 for 2010.
Several of our Branch members held State office and Committees in 2009. Dean Steichen, Area 2 Governor for 2009 and past Big Sir (2007) of Branch 8 was reelected for another term. Dean , HarryHubinger (past Big Sir and Area Governor for several years) and Walter Schick (Branch 8 Director) serve on the State Growth and Membership Committee. Walt is also State Publicity and Membership tools Chairman. Bob Hagler (Branch 8 Travel Chairman) is on the State Travel Committee. Roger Borgerson and Robert Ingersoll are on the State Insurance committee. Derek Southern (2009 Membership Secretary and 2010 Little Sir) is Co-Chairman for Area 2 Computer and Technology.
Our Branch entered the year with 270 members and ended it with 282 plus six applicants for membership. A new high for the Branch. There were also an additional 20 inactive at years end. The number of inductees was actually much higher. Because of transfers, members moving out of the area and demise of others there was only a net gain of 13 in total. Managing growth for such a large Branch with such great participation and limited facilities continues to be a priority for the BEC.
Honorary Life Members (HLM) Nick Aviani and Marvin Kreitz became Senior HLM’s in 2009. This allowed the Branch to bestow the HLM title on two of our other distinguished members, Richard Shappee and Tom Hensley. Congratulations and well deserved. The Branch is unfortunately limited by the State to seven HLM honors and more are deserving of the award.
Special Events-Roger Miller, Committee Chairman Reporting:
Two special events were held during the year-Ladies Day Luncheons (LDL) in June and December. These were organized by the LDL Committee consisting of Roger Miller-Chairman, assisted by Tom Click, Paul Laderer, Bernie Rosner, and Jack Waddell. The events were held at the Round Hill Country Club in Alamo . The first was attended by 165 persons and the second 223. Costs were both $37.50 per person for lunch, The Singing Blue Star Moms of the U.S.S. Hornet provide the entertainment at the June luncheon. The Northgate High School Singers sang at the December luncheon. The Sing-Along Sirs, a Branch 8 activity, provide entertainment during the cocktail hour prior to lunch. Many door prizes from various businesses were handed out to attendees. Officers and Directors were installed for 2010.
Activities-Gary Plisco, Activity Coordinator Reporting:
The Activity Coordinator and Assistant Coordinator remained the same for 2009-Gary Plisco and Paul Hersch. In September Paul resigned and Don Blubaugh became the Assistant Coordinator. A monthly report of activities was made to the BEC and this is documented in the minutes of the meetings.
There were 31 activities at the close of 2008 including Luncheons and Ladies Day Luncheons (these are not listed as activities for 2009). We started 2009 with 30 activities and ended the year with 32. Thirteen activities were open to spouses. The Book Exchange was approved in November, 2008 but commenced in January, 2009. New activities approved by the BEC in 2009 were Astronomy, Beer Tasting and Sing-A-Long Sirs. Beer Tasting did not survive and was dropped as an activity for lack of interest; thus the year ended with 32 activities. The most attended activity was Golf with about half the membership playing 18 and/or 9 hole Golf followed by Poker and Explore and Eat. Book Exchange, Bridge, Lets Dine Out, Sirs in the Kitchen, the 2 Wine Activities-Finders and Tasters, Travel and the remaining activities were attended by fewer but no less enthusiastic members.
As in previous years, a breakfast was held (December 4) for the Activity Chairmen at the Black Bear Diner. All but one chairman attended. Speakers presenting topics to enhance performance of the Activity Chairman were Area 2 Governor Dean Steichen, 2009 Big Sir Glenn Cheetham, Big Sir elect for 2010 Jim Sowell and Little Sir elect Derek Southern, Webmaster Bill Hunter, State Publicity and Membership Tools Chairman, Walter Schick, Hotline Editor, Pump Pumphrey and Branch Historian, Gary Plisco (also facilitated the meeting). Big Sir elect, Jim Sowell, in his outlook for 2010, stated that activities are the KEY to Branch health and his 2010 Goals are: “Keep levels high-frequent participation” and “Increase % of members taking part-overall totals.” He outlined several methods to accomplish the Goals including a survey to determine barriers to participation such as transportation and age related activities.
A summary of the activities presented by the Activity Chairman follow. Those marked with an * are open to SIR spouses.
ASTRONOMY* – Chairman Larry Lange with Assistant Derek Lofquist had 23 different attendees for this new activity. They met downstairs in the Elks Club after the monthly luncheons. Normally about a dozen members attended. Initially DVD’s were shown and discussed about various aspects of Astronomy. One session was devoted to telescopes. This first year primarily focused on getting organized as a group and to determine the expectations of members. It’s still “feeling its way”.
BARBECUE*-Co-Chairman were Ed Benson and Walter Schick. In previous years the SIRs BBQ was held at the Ranch of SIR Gordon Frizell. With the passing of Sir Gordon, the Ranch became unavailable and the previous Co-Chairmen were unable to host it. At the suggestion of Sir Walter Schick, the Sirs in the Kitchen group agreed to host an all-Sirs and spouse event to continue the BBQ tradition. The event was held on June 25 ( 4p.m. ) in the backyard of Sir Ed Benson’s home. Sirs in the Kitchen prepared a meal of BBQ tri-tip, assorted salads, beans and garlic bread ending with desert. Liquid refreshments were served. All this for a cost of $15 per person. 31 Sirs and 29 spouses or guests attended.
BOOK EXCHANGE – There were 3 CO-Chairman , Ed Benson, Derek Southern and Rob Laaback. The exchange began with the January 2009 monthly Luncheon. The concept was for Sirs to bring books they no longer wanted to the monthly luncheons and exchange them for books other Sirs have contributed on a one for one basis. The co-chairman 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 at the luncheons conclusion. Mid-year , the exchange was expanded to include DVDs and CDs. At years end there were about 320 books and about 20 DVDs/CDs available for exchange. Judging by the crowd of Sirs browsing through the material at each luncheon, feedback from members and the continued growth of materials available for exchange, the service has proven to be very popular. As it’s more of a service than an activity and available to all members attending the luncheons, there are no specific statistics on number of participants.
BOCCE BALL* – Chairman Bob Barnes and Assistant Larry Mersmann organized the competition at Newhall Park BB Courts in Concord . There were 27 different participants (including 4 spouses) during the dry season (April to September). This weekly activity on Fridays 9-11a.m. usually attracted 10-12 players. A few players also competed in an active league at the Martinez Courts.
BOOK GROUP – Chairman Steve Tiller (new in 2009) and Assistant Bill Hunter head this group. There are about 5 active members and a few others on an infrequent basis. They met monthly mostly at the Chairman’s home to discuss a book selected for reading at a previous meeting. The books read and discussed are posted on the Branch’s website for member information.
AREA 2 BOWLING* – This weekly activity was lead by Dan Weller. Besides the Chairman there were only 3 Branch 8 participants (Tom Baker, Bill Earl, Joe Maurino) in the Area 2 Bowling League. Dan, Tom and Joe also participated in some of the State-wide bowling tournaments. The Chairman hopes to expand Branch 8 participation in both league and SIR tournament bowling in 2010.
BRIDGE DUPLICATE I – Tom Baker continued as Chairman assisted by Dick Long. They used the duplicate bridge format (same hand is played by all partnerships). They met the 2nd Friday of each month at a members home with 16 regular players-4 tables.. Although they had 8 subs on their list for 2009 this was sometimes insufficient; thus substitutes were sought from other SIR Branches. Play lasted about 3-4 hours with light snacks and coffee provided. Each player hosts the event once every 16 months. There have been few changes in this group in the last 7-8 years which led to the formation of Dup II.
BRIDGE DUPLICATE II – Gene Bingham continued to Chair the group assisted by Walter Schick. This is the 4th year of this group (maybe time for a Dup III) who met the 4th Friday each month at Carl’s Jr in Walnut Creek . They played 6 tables or 24 players. Like Dup I same format and they maintained a sub list but sometimes had to call on other SIR Branches for subs. Players ranged form intermediate to experienced.
BRIDGE-RUBBER – Rob Spicer continued to Chair this group assisted by Ray Veronte. As in 2008, the group met the 1st Thursday of each month at Carl’s Jr. in Walnut Creek . They had a pool of 37 players but limited play to the first 20 (5 tables) to sign up each month. Interestingly, 10 players (9 of these also played in Dup II) in their pool also played Duplicate I and 21 played in Duplicate II. Only 14 Rubber players did not play in a duplicate bridge group.
AREA 2 COMPUTERS & TECHNOLOGY – The Chairman and Assistant changed “chairs” during the year. Bill Phelon is now Chairman of the group assisted by Hans Pable. Monthly meetings continued to be held at the Elks Lodge in Walnut Creek . Guest speakers informed attendees of the latest developments in technology, computers and software. An average turnout of 50-60 Area 2 Sirs continued. About 28 Branch 8 Sirs attended one or more sessions during the year.
CRIBBAGE* – Again this year Herb Hellsten was Chairman and Bill Douglas Assistant Chairman. They met twice monthly on the 1st Wednesday and 3rd Tuesday at Carl’s Jr. in Walnut Creek . 25 different Branch 8 members and spouses participated. A total of 319 games were played over the 22 sessions with an average attendance of 17 players on Wednesday and 12 on Tuesdays. 5 of their members attended Sirs in the Kitchen; thus the lower turnout on Tuesday. 11 of the 25 members participated in over 75% of the games played. Year end results found Herb Hellsten (of course-the Activity Chairman) leading the average score in per games played with 28.4 points per game followed by Deiter Lauterbach with 25.96 and Steve Gretak with 25.58. The high score for a game during 2009 went to BudGrisanti and Rod Spicer with 229 points followed by Bill Douglas and Deiter with 175. High scorers for a day were Steve Greytak with 439 points and Herb Hellsten with 438 (now that�s close).
DIGITAL PHOTO CLUB – Chairman Pump Pumphrey led this activity assisted by Bill Phelon. The group of 17 met the 3rd Friday of each month at a members home. They talked about individual insights and experiences with cameras, lenses, techniques, photo software, new developments and of course the photos they took. They also shared personal experiences. The group also served as the photographers for Branch events.
DOMINOS – The group of 12 participants continued under Deiter Lauterbach assisted by Ekk Keller. They met on the 4th Wednesday of the month for about 4 hours at a members home. They had lunch (brought their own) and competed playing 6 dominos for the prize money from the $5 donation by each player. Average attendance was 10-12 players.
EXPLORE & EAT* – The Chairman and Assistant have been rotating positions. This year Ron Smith was the Chairman and Dan Franklin the Assistant. They met at various points of interest in Northern CA/Bay Area on the 3rd Friday of the month. Tours were led by a docent and were followed by lunch at a local restaurant. This year they visited the following:
Day at the Races-Big Sir Bill Hooy Memorial Race at Golden Gate Fields was the big event of the day. In memory of Bill who always arranged this event. 86 Sirs and spouses attended.
Pardee Home in Oakland-Docent led tour by the great grandson of Gov. George Pardee. Group size was limited to 15 so with 30 attendees had to split into 2 days. Lunch at Max’s Cafe.
CA Missions Museum and Cline Winery in Sonoma-Viewed replicas of all 21 original missions from the 1939 World’s Fair on Treasure Island followed by tour of winery and a picnic lunch. 40 Sirs and spouses attended
Chabot Space & Science Center-toured entire center including telescopes, movies in the Planetarium and Mega Dome. Lunch followed at local Chinese restaurant. 36 Sirs and spouses attended.
Angel Island Immigration Station-State Ranger led Tour of the newly renovated immigration station. Ferried back to Tiburon for lunch at Sam�s. Tour limited to 30 Sirs and spouses.
Marine Mammal Center in Marin Headlands-Toured beautiful new Marine Mammal Center . Guides did an excellent job of explaining the hospital facility works. Lunch at Spinnaker in Sausalito . Tour limited to 30 Sirs and spouses.
Filoli Gardens in Woodside-Spring tour of the gardens and estate. Box lunch in the visitors center. 30 Sirs and spouses attended.
Travis Air Force Base-Toured Jimmy Doolittle Museum including many aircraft. Had to get clearance for all Sirs who attended and their vehicles. Lunch at the Delta Breeze Officers Club on the base. 59 attendees.
For all events 291 attendees-a popular activity.
AREA 2 FISHING -Area 2 Big Fish was Craig Walton (Branch 8). The Branch 8 rep was Carl Moyer (provided this report). This was a year of adjustment for the Fishing group. There was no salmon season; the wind was relentless all year; and the lack of anchovies in the bay and ocean created many challenges. But for all that, we managed to catch many fish, make new friends, deepen old friendships, and have a lot of fun. A January trip to the Sacramento Fishing Expo equipped the fishermen with new gear and knowledge. Local forays produced trout, stripers and sturgeon. As winter turned to spring we caught halibut trolling in the bay, trout at Lake Davis ( Tahoe National Forest ). A first fish fry with Sirs in the Kitchen was well received as was a family social at the Back 40.
Summer sent a group on a 5 day long range fishing trip from San Diego to Mexican waters where many yellowtail, some blue fin, and albacore tuna were caught. This was followed by a few ventures on the ocean for rockfish and ling cod. Then some shore fishing in the bay and mackinaw in Lake Tahoe . A backyard picnic and then back to Lake Davis , a journey to La Paz , Mexico and back to the ceaseless wind at home. Fall sturgeon fishing was great as was a second fish fry with the Kitchen group. A few more trout trips, a sturgeon attempt and the sold out Christmas party ended a good year for this active group.
GOLF-9 HOLES – The 9-holers were Chaired by Stan Johnson, assisted by Doug Raaka, Bob Sherman, Bill Cooke, Bob Child and Marechal Duncan as monthly marshals. 57 members played during the year. The highest weekly ;participation was 24 players in a given week. Branch 8 played 751 rounds of 9-hole golf. Fortunate to have only a few rain-outs or frost-outs during the winter. Usually played at Diablo Hills Golf Course in Walnut Creek , but also played about once a month at Pine Meadow in Martinez , Buchanon Field in Concord , or Grayson Woods in Pleasant Hill . Bill Cooke won the most active award as he participated more often (other than the Chairman) with 40 weeks. One of our members, Stan Johnson, won the SIR individual 18-hole championship. As usual, lots of comraderie and fellowship during and after golf. A large percentage of golfers stayed after playing for a libation and good stories.
GOLF-18 HOLES – Chairman was Mike Long assisted by Gordon Batesole (Membership), Hal Samson (Treasurer). Jim Andrews (Assistant Treasurer), John Hayes (Marshals), Bill Hunter (Technology & Tournaments), Dave Platter (Communications). There were 127 members for this weekly activity and all but 10 played at least once. Boundary Oaks was the home course with 2 events per month. Away matches were played at courses within an hours drive. Also, we played 9 special tournaments in 2009.
HEADS UP WALKERS* – The year began with John Hayes as Chairman. Towards year end he resigned (concentrate on Marshals for 18 Hole Golf) and Assistant Chairman Lynn Jones became Chairman. The activity grew to 21 Sirs participating for the year. The one-hour walks averaged about 2.5 miles and included spouses, family and friends. A list of 36 trails in Diablo Valley were used to plan the walks, including a hike over the Golden Gate and Carquinez Bridges . In the warmer weather, Alameda and Martinez shorelines were walked. Participants moved at their own pace and fell into 3 categories: the movers, the strollers, and the saunterers. Active participation grew 14% this year averaging 16 walkers for the 50 scheduled events-800 walkers total.
HIKERS* – Chairman Ray Tenzer assisted by Enrique Arizu continued to lead this group. They met every Tuesday of each month to hike about 3-7 miles on a regional park trail. During the winter, 2 or 3 paved trails were used to avoid mud. The rest of the year regional park unpaved trails were hiked that included redwood forest, oak studded hills, and open grass lands. Wild flowers, wildlife and unique topography, which most individuals never get to see, were observed along with outstanding views of the Bay Area from surrounding hill tops.. Each hike was chosen by one of the members to give a fresh trail and great variety. They included Richmond Marina Trail , Shell Ridge, Las Trampas Rocky Ridge Trail, Lafayette Reservoir Rim Trail, Shell Ridge Trail, Marin Headlands, Diablo Foothills Regional, Redwood Regional, Las Trampas Regional, Lafayette-Moraga Trail, Lime Ridge Open Space, Alamo-Green Valley-Macedo Ranch and Inspiration Point. There were 18 active members with 3 to 12 hikers on any given hike. After the hikes some hikers had lunch at a nearby restaurant.
LETS DINE IN* – Ron Cassano continued as Chairman. There were 8 couples participating. Met at a members home every other month for dinner and lively conversation.
LETS DINE OUT* – Led by Don Wesdorf assisted by Don Allen the group enjoyed a fine year of fun and friendship with 46 Sirs and their ladies attending the eleven monthly dine outs at a different restaurant. Total attendees were 270. A different Host and Hostess selected the restaurant for the month (Chef Chao-Moraga, Restaurant Forli- Alamo, Spaghetti Factory-Concord, El Charro-Laf., Mary’s Pizza Shack-W.C., Outback-P.H., La Tapatia- Concord, La Fenestra-Laf., Brass Door-San Ramon, Dragon 2000-W.C., Elephant Bar-Concord). Average attendance was 12-14 couples.
POKER – Walter Schick was Chairman with Assistant Dan Franklin. There were 7 poker groups of 6-7 players. There were 38 different players with 6 alternates. Dan Franklin and Frank Pinto (what’s with these Franks) played in 4 groups. Roger Borgerson, Ekk Keller and Deiter Lauterbach played in 3 groups.. Several played in 2 groups. Each group had its own “coordinator” or sub-chairman and meets monthly on a scheduled day and time at a member�s home. A popular activity.
AREA 2 POOL – Jerry White (Branch 8) continued as Chairman. Branches participating were 8, 16, 19 and 146 ( Walnut Creek , Pleasant Hill , Concord ). Only 3 players from Branch 8 ( Jerry, Jerry Foott, Brian Wolf). Group played twice a month at Masses Billiards in W.C. About 12 Sirs regularly attended, mostly from other Branches. More participation from Branch 8 is needed!
SING A LONG SIRS – The new activity starting in April ’09 was Chaired by Roger Sperling. It commenced with 6-10 Sirs singing old favorites at the monthly luncheons around the Elks Lodge piano played by Ralph Bagdonas. A smaller group also performed at the June and December Ladies Day Luncheon during the “social hour.” Still in its infancy, the group is “feeling” its way and getting organized
SINGLE SIR DINE OUT – Don Atwater continued as Chairman assisted by Bon Wadors. The group increased in size from 13 to 17. Dinner was on the first Tuesday of the month at 12 different restaurants. Each member had the opportunity to select a restaurant and during the year they dined at: La Fogata Mexican, The Greenery, DJ Bistro, Tulios Itallian, Dellimontis, Kennsington, Mary’s Pizza Shack, La Pinata, Claim Jumper, Mr. Lucky’s, Greenery again, and Mimi’s Cafe.
SIRS IN THE KITCHEN* – Chef Ed Benson continued as Chairman assisted by Jim Sowell. This was the third year of this popular activity. They grew from 16 to 24 members in 3 classes of membership-necessary in case monthly luncheon becomes oversubscribed. Average attendance is 14-18 participants. Members continue to enjoy good food, good wine and fellowship at 11 a.m. every third Tuesday of the month at Chef Benson’s home. Twice they included spouses and once they invited other Sirs to be guests at an event. There was also a joint event with the Branch 8 BBQ. They also met twice with the Fishing group for a fish dinner and socializing. In addition to the 24 Sirs in the Kitchen, 13 guests attended its event, another 13 at the BBQ, plus many fishing addicts and their spouses.
AREA 2 SUMS IN RETIREMENT – George Schultz continued as Chairman. The group met for breakfast monthly at the Legends Grill at Diablo Creek Golf Clubhouse. They usually had a featured speaker on investments. They had 18 members and most attend each meeting.
THEATRE FEST* – Roger Sperling continued as Chairman. 13 Sirs and guests attended two local theater productions in February and May. This is fewer than shows in past years, possibly due to the recession. A different approach will be tried for 2010.
TRAVEL* – Chairman Bob Hagler continued as Chairman, sponsoring 3 trips for the year. The first in May by bus was to the CA Academy of Science in Golden Gate Park . This was a docent tour of the facilities. There were 88 participants. The second was a trip to Ireland which was an all inclusive package. There were 20 participants for this trip. No leprechauns were spotted but the local folks were friendly and helped for a great trip by all. The third trip, again by bus, was to the Beach Blanket Babylon performance in S.F. Great fun for the 38 participants.
WINE FINDERS* – Chairman Ed Benson continued to lead this informal wine tasting group focused on the blind tasting of wines of value under $15. Also consumed hors d’oeuvres brought by the tasters. It celebrated its one year anniversary in February. It has 12 full Sir members, 4 associates members and 1on the waiting list. There were usually 15 invitees and their spouses so all members wanting to attend were accommodated. The bimonthly blind tasting of a pre-selected varietal was held on the 2nd Thursday at a participant’s home. Each couple or single brought a bottle of wine, hors d’oeuvre, and a wine glass. The December tasting included a joint dinner with the Sirs in the Kitchen. During the year wine varietals tasted were red meritage, white meritage, Italian reds, South American whites, Syrah and champagne for December. Their motto is “everyone has a great time, its good fun, food, wine and company, and we’ve always been able to include any member who wants to attend…more attendees, more wine to taste…even come up with some good inexpensive wines.”
WINE TASTING* – Chairman Gary Plisco assisted by Bill Barnard again led the group. There were 23 Sirs on the email listing for this group. Unfortunately space was limited to 12-18 tasters depending upon the hosts available space. The sit down blind tasting of a single varietal required each participant to bring one wine glass for each wine-normally 7. They were held on a Friday evening every other month as announced in emails to the members. The hosts provided all the wines (cost split among tasters-no limit on cost but averaged per person-$15-20) and the tasters brought an hors d’oeuvre to share with others. Wine varietals tasted during the year were mouvedre, merlot, chardonnay, rhone reds, viognier.
WRITING YOUR LIFE STORIES – Roger Sperling continued as Chairman. There were a dozen Sirs participating in monthly meetings to write and read stories about their unique experiences in different phases of their lives. This was the third year facilitated by Chairman Sperling. Their primary goal was and remains to accumulate many stories to be used as legacy for families; in addition the sharing of experiences in written form builds and strengthens friendships between Sirs. The group met from September through June on the 3rd Wednesday at Avalon-Kensington Court in Walnut Creek .
Gary Plisco, Historian
Below, please find our BEC Report, and Activity Coordinator Report
Sir Branch 8 History 2008
Sir Branch 8 BEC (Branch Executive Committee) Contributions,
Innovations and Statistics
Big SIR 2009 Glenn Cheetham Reporting on behalf of 2008 Big SIR Bill Hooy
BEC meetings and General Membership Luncheons were held the 2nd Monday of each
month at the Walnut Creek Elks Lodge except the June and December Ladies Day
Luncheons that were held at the Roundhill Country Club in Alamo.
BRANCH 8 OFFICERS and EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE for 2008 were:
Big SIR: .Bill Hooy
Little SIR:…Glenn Cheetham
Asst. Secretary, Membership:. Derek Southern
Asst. Secretary, Attendance: Bill Peterson
Treasurer:.. Romano Gnusti
Asst. Treasurer: Frank Louie
In January 2008, Big SIR Bill Hooy conducted his first and unfortunately last
BEC and Luncheon meeting. Bill went into surgery for a heart bypass and suffered
a stroke in the hospital. He was incapacitated and unable to conduct the duties
of Big SIR. Bill passed away in September 2008. Little SIR Glenn Cheetham took
over the duties of Big SIR in February 2008 for the remainder of the year.
Romano Gnusti, Branch Treasurer reported we began 2008 with a $16,495 balance.
This figure is high because of the $40 annual donations drive in December and
January each year to cover rent and other overhead expenses for the ensuing
year. The $11 monthly luncheon fee continued to cover only the catering costs.
A new site for the June and December Ladies Day Luncheons was selected. Blake�s
was the site in 2007 but because of a change in management at Blake�s and the
ensuing displeasure of the general membership, a new site at Roundhill Country
Club was selected. Some past skepticism and a higher price caused the June
luncheon attendance to be only 170 members and guests. It was such a success
however, the December luncheon increased to 234 attendees.
Walter Schick of the Branch 8 BEC was appointed by the State to the newly
created position of State SIR Publicity Chairman. One of the purposes is to
bring to the public awareness of the SIR organization in the hopes of attracting
Both Branch 146 and Branch 8 nominated candidates for Area 2 Governor for 2009.
Our own Dean Steichen, 2007 Branch 8 Big SIR, was elected in August by the Area
2 Big and Little Sirs.
In recognition of their positions and to aid new members in questioning various
activities, we started placing the Activity and Title on the nametag badges of
all Activity Chairmen. Activities are the lifeblood of SIR and Branch 8 had some
30+ during the year and remains one of if not the most active Branch.
We also placed a temporary �Birthday Boy� sticker on those members who were
celebrating a birthday at the monthly luncheons. It was well received by the
membership and plans are to continue.
We started giving guests a copy of the Branch 8 Hotline to encourage them to
read about the Branch and our activities and join us.
Membership grew to 270 members from 263 at the beginning of 2008. There were 21
inductees but the total grew by only 7 because of member attrition during the
year. Branch 8�s average membership age of 75.5 years remained about the same
and is one of the youngest in SIR. Efforts continue to attract new and younger
members in order to continue the viability of the Branch for years to come.
We received permission for additional parking for the monthly luncheons from the
office complex adjacent to the Elk�s Lodge. Due to large attendance at our
meetings, we are continuing to encourage members to attend together.
The State eliminated some rules and adopted others in 2008. The Branches are no
longer allowed to establish or maintain a maximum membership or have a �Members
in Waiting� list. These restrictions and our meeting space limitations are a
couple of the challenges facing the BEC in 2009.
We remain confident, however, that our very strong and capable Officers and
Directors will continue to serve the needs of our members and maintain our
reputation as a model for all SIR Branches.
SIR BRANCH 8 ANNUAL ACTIVITIES
Activities Coordinator-Gary Plisco
The Activity Coordinator and Assistant Coordinator remained the same for
2008-Gary Plisco and Paul Hersch. They encountered no significant problems
during the year. Monthly reports on Activities were presented to the Officers
and Board of Directors at their monthly meeting. These were documented in the
monthly notes of the meeting.
Our Branch members had 32 activities to choose from as of January 1, 2008. Poker
is listed as one activity although there are 7 groups of 6-7 SIR�s in each. At
the close of the year there were 33 although the last one added was approved by
the Board in November and it was to begin as of January 1, 2009. As in 2007 one
activity was lost. The two new activities are Wine Finders and Book Exchange.
Its worth noting that Ed Benson is Chairing the Wine Finders and he will
Co-Chair the Book Exchange with Derek Southern (also the Membership Secretary).
Ed was instrumental in establishing both Activities and he is also the Activity
Chairman of the SIR�s in the Kitchen Activity. The RV Camping Activity was
deactivated by the Board in October due to lack of participation. Another
Activity-Astronomy- was being explored in late 2008 for possible Board approval
in early 2009. All these activities indicates the broad interests of the Branch
members and the willingness of many to become Activity Chairman to convert these
interests into Activities.
The most attended Branch activity is the monthly Luncheon with an average
attendance of 220-230 SIR and guests. Golf (18 holes) continues as the next most
popular followed by Poker, Golf (9-holes), the 3 Bridge Groups, Explore and Eat
and Lets Dine Out. Most of the other activities are also well attended. About
half of the activities (17) are open for participation by SIR spouses.
As in 2007, a breakfast was held (December 2) for the Activity Chairman at the
Black Bear Diner in Walnut Creek. All but one Chairman attended. Speakers
presenting topics to increase awareness and effectiveness of the Chairman were
Area 2 Governor elect Dean Steichen, 2008 Acting and 2009 Big SIR Glen Cheetham,
Acting and 2009 Little Sir Jim Sowell, Assistant Webmaster Bill Hunter,
Membership Secretary Derek Southern, Hotline Editor Ekkehardt Keller, Branch
Historian Chuck Merlone. The breakfast meeting was hosted by Gary Plisco,
Activities for the year follow. Those marked with an * are open to SIR spouses.
LUNCHEON – Chairman Bill Peterson continued to organize luncheons. Attendance
averaged 220-230 Branch 8 members and guests each month at the Elks Club except
for June and July. These were the joint lunch with the wives/friends at the
Ladies Day Luncheons. Each month a member of the Elks Club who is also a Branch
8-SIR sponsors the Branch for lunch . Big SIR Bill Hooy chaired each luncheon
until his illness in February. Little SIR Glen Cheetham chaired the luncheons
starting in March until years end. He also arranged for luncheon speakers until
Jim Sowell was selected as Acting Little Sir late in the year.
BARBECUE* – Chairman Marechael Duncun and assistant Bob Barnes again held an
annual BBQ on August 21 at the working ranch of SIR Gordon Frazell in Moraga.
Eighteen SIR�s and their wives attended plus 4 single SIR for a total of 40
participants (maximium capacity). Hamburgers and condiments were provided.
Participants brought either a salad, dessert, or hot dish and beverage. Much
socializing occurred under the old oak trees.
BOCCE BALL* – Chairman Bob Barnes and Assistant Larry Mersmann organized the
competition at the Newhall Park BB courts. 19 SIR and 2 wives participated in
this weekly event during the dry season( normally April -November). Usually
about 10-12 members competed. A few members also competed in an active league at
the Martinez Courts.
BOOK GROUP – Chairman Bill Agar and Assistant Bill Hunter continued to head this
group. The 13 active members met bi-monthly to discuss a book (rotating between
current and classic) selected for reading at a previous meeting. They met at a
member�s home. The books read and discussed are posted on the Branch�s website
for member information.
BOOK EXCHANGE – This new activity approved by the Board in November will begin
in January. It will be co-chaired by Ed Benson and Derek Southern. Books
(normally pocket books) donated by members will be available at the luncheon.
Members may exchange one of their books for one in the Exchange inventory.
BOWLING – Steve Greytak was Chairman of this weekly Area 2 activity. Tom Baker,
John Hayes and Don Weller were the only Branch 8 participants. Steve stepped
down as Chairman in December. Don Weller will Chair the Activity in 2009 and
plans to create more interest and participation by Branch 8 SIR. Members may
sign up to participate in league play.
BRIDGE-DUPLICATE I – Tom Baker was Chairman of the activity assisted by Dick
Long. They met monthly at a different members home. 24 SIR participated in this
activity. Usually there were 4 tables with 16 regular players and 8 subs. They
also competed against other Area 2 SIR Branches with good results. Players
ranged from novice to intermediate.
RIDGE DUPLICATE II – Gene Bingham chaired the activity
assisted by Walt Schick. This was the third year of this very active group of
bridge players. They met every 4th Friday of each month (at Carl�s Jr. In Walnut
Creek). There were 24 active members (6 tables) with 22 substitutes. Players
ranged from intermediate to experienced.
BRIDGE-PARTY – Rod Spicer chaired this group assisted by Ray Veronte. They met
the 1st Thursday of each month (at Carl�s Jr. in Walnut Creek). They had a pool
of 29 players but limited play to the first 20 (5 tables) to sign up each month.
COMPUTERS & TECHNOLOGY – This Area 2 activity was led by Hans Pable with
Bill Phelon, both of SIR Branch 8. Monthly meetings were held at the Elks Club.
Guest speakers usually presented the latest in computers and technology
including software. An average turnout of 50-60 Area 2 SIR attended each
session. 29 Branch 8 members attended this popular session.
CRIBBAGE – Herb Hellsten led this activity with assistant Deiter Lauterbach. The
group played twice monthly (1st Wednesday/3rd Tuesday) at Carl�s Jr. In walnut
Creek. There were 26 members but 4 of these could only play Wednesdays. Average
attendance was 16-20 players.
DIGITAL PHOTO CLUB – The year started with Chairman Joe Maurino and Assistant
Ekkhardt Keller. In September leadership changed to Chairman Pump Pumphrey with
assistant Ron Phelon. The group met the 3rd Friday of each month at a members
home. They shared information, insights and experiences with cameras, lenses,
techniques, photo software, new developments and their unique photos. They
attended special events to take pictures including the Hot Nights Car Show in
Danville and the Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos. There were 14 active
members with average attendance of 10-14.
DOMINOS – The group of 12 active players was led by Chairman Ollie Greenlee with
Assistant Deiter Lauterbach. Unfortunately Ollie passed away in December and
Deiter became Chairman. They met monthly on the 4th Wednesday at a members home.
They played double 6 dominos, had lunch (brought their own) and competed for
prize money from the $5 donation by each player. Average attendance was 10-12
EXPLORE & EAT* – Dan Franklyn was Chairman Assisted by Ron Smith. They met at 8
various points of interest in the Bay Area usually on the 3rd Friday of the
month. Normally it�s a morning tour with docent followed by lunch at a local
restaurant. Past records indicate the origin of E & E was in 1999 and over the
past 10 years they visited over 90 highlights of the Bay Area. This year 50 SIR
plus spouses and guests participated. Average attendance was 20-24 per visit.
Trips included Day at the Races, Golden Gate Fields (attendance about 24),
Charles Schluz Museum (24 attended, Joyce Shappee got a ride on a Zamboni at the
Warm Puppy caf�
ice rink), SF Bay Model in Sausalito (24 attended), Western Railway Museum
(highlighted by a 50 minute ride on one of the electric trains followed by a
picnic on the grounds), DeYoung Museum (20 attended with lunch at the museum caf�),
Port of Oakland Harbor Tour (30 attended-free tickets), Hiller Avaition
Museum-San Carlos (10 attended-visited a 747 cockpit, flying a helicopter in a
flight simulator, visiting old aircraft from the late 1800’s, first class tour,
equals Smithsonian ), and a Potomac Veterans Day Cruise (20 attended, cruised to
all the historic ships in Alameda and SF, toured every inch of Potomac).
FISHING – Chairman of this Area 2 activity was Craig Walton of Branch 8. The
Assistant for Branch 8 was Carl Moyer. There were 64 active participants; 19
were from Branch 8. Group sizes range from small to very large. They met at
various locations to participate in fishing activities including the Sportsman
Expos at San Mateo and SF, Shadow Cliffs Reservoir in Pleasanton, Lower Delta
for sturgeon and stripers (several times), McSwain Reservoir and SF Bay for
halibut and strippers, Pit River for fly fishing, Lake Tahoe for mackinaw trout
and New Melones and Lake Berryessa for kokanee salmon, La Paz Mexico for ocean
fishing, Lake Davis near Truckee and Lake Almanor for trout, Klamath River for
steelhead, and Alaska and Canada for Salmon. This was an active group.
GOLF-18 HOLES – CHAIRMAN WAS Mike Long assisted by Gordon Batesole, Membership,
Hal Samson, Treasurer, Jim Andrews, Assistant Treasurer, Dave Platter,
Communications, Mel Petersen, Marshals, Wally Freeman, Tournaments. New for �09
will be Terry Mason, tournaments, John Hayes for Marshals and Bill Hunter,
Technology. There were 125 members and all but 7 played at least once. This was
a weekly activity. Boundary Oaks was the home course with 2 events per month.
Away matches were played within one hour drive. In addition to the regular
events, 9 special tournaments were held. One of the Branch 8 teams, Tom Baker,
Chuck Grisanti, Darryl Sweetland, and Ed Myrtle won the SIR State Scramble
Championship at Poppy Ridge in September.
GOLF-9 HOLES – Chairman Stan Johnson assisted by Doug Raaka, Bob Sherman, Bon
Wadors, Bob Child, and Marechal Duncun as monthly marshals. A weekly activity
with 51 members playing during the year. Highest weekly participation was 27
players. 813 rounds of 9-hole golf were played. There were few rain or frost
outs during the winter. Diablo Hills Golf Course was the home course with 3
events per month. Also played once a month at either Grayson Woods in Pleasant
Hill or Pine Woods in Martinez. The highlight of the year was a hole-in-one by
Ken Hodges on the #3 hole at Diablo Hills on December 3. This was the first
hole-in-one in Branch 8 Nine Hole Golf Activity history.
HEADS UP WALKERS* – Under the leadership of John Hayes and co-chair Lynn Jones,
the walkers grew to 18 SIR members and 10 wives. With an average of 14 walkers
each week for 50 walks, this produced 700 participants during the year. The one
hour walks produced interesting and varied topics of conversation. Members
boiled down a list of 50 area trails, created several years ago by SIR Don
Atwater, to 36 walks from Danville to Martinez and Orinda/Morga to Clayton. Once
during the year they ventured to the Alameda shoreline, across the Golden Gate
and Carquinez Bridges.
HIKERS* – Chairman was Ray Tenzer assisted by Enrique Arvizu. Met on the last
Tuesday of each month to hike 3-5 miles on Regional Park trails. In the winter,
3 trails were hiked to avoid mud but mostly unpaved trails were hiked including
redwood forest, oak studded hills, and open grass lands. Outstanding views,
interesting topography, wildlife and spring flowers highlight their hikes. Each
hike was lead by one of the members and included Shell Ridge, Alameda Shore
line, Lime Ridge Open Space, Alamo-Green Valley-Macedo Ranch, and Inspiration
Point. There were 18 members but normally have 6-12 hikers. Those who wanted had
lunch together after the hikes at a local restaurant between the trail head and
LADIES DAY LUNCHEON* – Chairman Paul Hersch was assisted by a dedicated and
hard-working committee consisting of Ed Benson, Jim Lunn, Ed Pearson, and Bernie
Rosner. This is a popular twice a year event with the wives as evidenced by the
turn out of more than 170 for June and 230 for December. Both events were held
at the Round Hill Country Club. Entertainment was provided by the London
Carolers-a group of 15 from the Womensing Chorus. Roger Miller will Chair this
event in 2009.
LETS DINE IN* – New for 2008 this activity was led by Ron Cassano. There were 8
couples participating in the group. Most attended the monthly dinner and lively
conversation at a members home.
LETS DINE OUT* – The Chairman Don Wesdorf was assisted by Don Allen. This is a
popular group with the wives. They had another good year with over 37 couples
participating at 11 restaurants at various locations in the local area. Average
attendance was 10-12 couples. Each month a different host selected a restaurant
for the dinner.
POKER – Chairman Paul Hersch with Assistant Walter Schick continued the 7 poker
groups each with 6-7 players. There were35 different players with 6 alternates
making up the 7 groups. Dan Franklyn and Frank Pinto played in 4 groups. Roger
Borgerson and Deiter Lauterbach played in 3 groups. Several played in 2 groups.
Each group has its own coordinator. Each group met monthly on a different day
and time at a member�s home. A popular activity.
POOL – Chairman Jerry White led this activity. Twice a month sessions were held
at Masses Billards and Sports Bar & Grill in Walnut Creek. Only 4 Branch 8
members participated. Although not an Area 2 activity members from other
Branches participated. About 12-14 SIR attend.
RV CAMPING* – Bob Jones was Chairman. There was no activity in �08 and Bob
recommended the group be deactivated. The Board approved a motion to do so in
SINGLE SIR DINE OUT – Don Atwater continued as Chairman. The group of 13 met the
first Tuesday of each month for dinner 12 times during the year. Average
attendance was 8-10 at a local restaurant.
SIR IN THE KITCHEN* – Chairman (Executive Chef) was Ed Benson. The 12 members (4
associate members) met the 3rd Thursday of each month at Ed Benson�s home to
cook, eat lunch, drink wine, tell stories and engage in fellowship. Twice a year
they included wives and once a year they invited other SIR to be guests at an
event. 16 SIR spouses and 23 SIR guests attended these events. The low point of
the year was that the January meeting was Big SIR Bill Hooy�s last attendance at
SUMS IN RETIREMENT – Chairman George Schlutz continued for �08. The group met
for breakfast monthly at the Legends Grill at Diablo Creek Golf Course. They
usually had a featured speaker on investments. They have 14 members and most
attend each meeting.
THEATER FEST* – With Roger Sperling as Chairman, 9 SIR , spouses and guests
attended 2 different local theater productions. This is fewer than in past years
as collecting the ticket cost before purchasing tickets caused long lead times
and limited choices. Using the internet to notify members of date and costs
should help to provide for 3 or 4 Theater opportunities in �09.
TRAVEL* – Bob Hagler, Chairman and Carl Raaka, Assistant organized a 14 day trip
on the Danube for October. There were 24 couples and 1 single for 49
participants. They also sponsored a bus Movie Tour of SF for July but there were
problems and it was rescheduled for December. There were 16 couples on this
trip. Other travel opportunities were available from other Area 2 Branches.
WINE FINDERS – A new activity for �08 with Ed Benson as Chairman. There were 12
regular members and 4 alternates. They met every other month on the 2nd Thursday
at a members home to blind taste wine of a pre-selected variety and costing less
than $15, eat hors d�oeuvres and engage in conversation. Each couple brought a
bottle of wine and 1 glass to taste all wines.. Wine was tasted and scored to
determine the winning wine.
WINE TASTING – Led by Chairman Gary Plisco and Assistant Bill Barnard. The group
has 22 on the mailing list but limits the tastings to 12-16 depending upon the
hosts available space. Tasting of various wine varietals (usually about 7 wines)
with no limit on cost were on a Friday evening, every other month at a member�s
home. The host selected the wine and participants provided hors d�oeuvres. This
was a sit down tasting with a different glass for each wine. Wines were rated
using the UC Davis rating system, ranked and discussed one at a time to gain a
better understanding of wine characteristics. Tasting was completed before the
conversation and consumption of hors d�oeuvres.
WRITING YOUR LIFE STORIES – Chairman was Roger Sperling. There are 12 SIR
participating in this monthly activity at a members home. They wrote and read
stories about their unique experiences in different phases of their lives. The
goal is to accumulate stories to be used as a legacy for families and to share
experiences in written form to build trust and strengthen friendships between
REPORT PREPARED BY BRANCH 8 HISTORIAN
BRANCH 8 HISTORY — 2007
At the 2007 Christmas Luncheon, our Area
2 Governor – Harry Hubinger congratulated our outgoing Branch Executive
Committee and participating Activity Chairmen for achieving position #2 among
BRANCHES of SIR in Activities — Our Governor also added that he had referred to
the activties of our Branch 8 as a model, in discussions with the other
Governors in the SIR family !!
In the following reports, it is interesting to note that there are SEVENTY-FIVE
(75) named individuals out of an average Active Membership of (+ or – ) 270 who
have contributed their time and efforts in enhancing the INDEPENDENCE AND
DIGNITY OF RETIREMENT for the entire Branch 8 Family.
SIR Branch 8 BEC (Branch Executive Committee) –
Contributions, Innovations and Statistics.
Big SIR 2007 Dean Steichen Reporting
Branch Executive Committee and General Membership Luncheons were held the 2nd
Monday of each month at the Walnut Creek Elks Lodge except the June and December
Ladies Day Luncheons that were held at Blake�s at Boundary Oak in Walnut Creek.
BRANCH 8 OFFICERS and EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE for 2007 were:
Big SIR�����Dean Steichen
Little SIR����..Bill Hooy
Asst. Secretary – Membership�Derek Southern
Asst. Secretary – Attendance���Bill Peterson
Asst. Treasurer�..Romano Gnusti
The Executive Committee meeting was renamed by the State to be the BEC for
Branch Executive Committee.
Harold Johnson, Branch Treasurer, reported we started 2007 with a $15,504
balance, which will be depleted during the year. The balance is high because we
just received the $40/member annual contributions for 2007 in December 2006 and
early January 2007.
Membership remained in the mid 260s with Members-in-Waiting sufficient to exceed
our limit of 270 members. We continued to have active participation in nearly 30
activities indicating a very healthy Branch.
The Branch Website and the Hotline continue to provide excellent communications
to our members and potential members. The Webmasters and the Hotline Editors
deliver quality and usefulness second to none. Many improvements to the Website
were made including Golf and Activities web pages.
A New Caterer was selected (Stan Gedeon of Corporate Catering Cuisine) and has
done a great job. The cost of the lunch was negotiated to be the same ($11.50)
for the year.
A replacement Membership Secretary (Derek Southern) was selected and installed.
The WC Elks originally proposed a rent increase of $200/month but negotiations
by the Big SIR resulted in only a modest $45/month increase.
We awarded Gil Kramer the SIR Century Certificate presented by Tom Ross SIR
State President and Glen Schimelphinig District Governor.
Hotline printing and mailing costs were reduced by switching over 100 members to
Web access for their copy of the monthly newsletter.
June Ladies Day Luncheon at Blake’s in Walnut Creek had a few problems with
service, serving portion control and entree substitution.
Photographic duties previously performed by Rod Hughes have been turned over to
the Digital Photography Activity members.
Vic Esposito and Harold Johnson asked to be released from Secretary and
Treasurer positions. Erland Perrson was selected to assume the Secretary
position and Romano Gnusti was selected to become the Treasurer in December
2007. Frank Louie was selected to become the Assistant Treasurer.
The terms for Secretary and Treasurer were reduced to 2 years instead of 3
Quail Court notified us that they would no longer allow us to park in their lot.
We began promoting carpooling to resolve the parking problem.
Derek Southern and Bill Peterson (Membership and Attendance Secretaries) have
significantly improved the databases and recordkeeping for these essential
An Emergency Evacuation Plan was designed but not yet presented to the members.
December Ladies Day Luncheon at Blake�s in Walnut Creek went well with virtually
none of the problems encountered at the June Ladies Day Luncheon.`
SIR BRANCH 8 ANNUAL ACTIVITIES REPORT-2007
Activities Coordinator Gary Plisco Reporting
This is the first year under new Activity Coordinator Gary Plisco and
Assistant Paul Hersch. Paul contributed significantly by attending two monthly
Executive Board Meetings in Gary�s absence, addressing membership at those
luncheons and by contacting new members-in-waiting with regard to becoming
active participants. This follows a 5 year leadership by Don Atwater in which he
helped increase the number of activities significantly. A tough act to follow.
Our membership had 31 activities to choose from as of January 1, 2007. At the
close of the year we still had 31 activities. One activity was added and one
lost. The added activity is Ladies Day Luncheon which has been an on-going
function but which had not been formally approved by the Board. It was formally
approved as an activity by the Board in August. The lost activity was Pinochle.
Although about 15 SIRS had been members of the group, participation had
diminished to the point the Chairman resigned and no other member stepped up to
Chair the group. The Board deactivated the activity in August. The most popular
activity was the monthly Luncheon . Although not formally recognized as an
activity it has been maintained on the Activity Listing and I will submit to the
Board in January 2008 that it should be so recognized. This is followed by
18-hole Golf, Poker, 9-hole Golf , the 3 Bridge groups and Travel. The
twice-a-year Ladies Day Luncheon is also a well attended activity. No new
activities were started during the year although two have been formed and will
be submitted to the Board for approval in January 2008 (Poker/Dinner for Couples
and Wine Finders).
An Activity Chairman breakfast was held on November 30 at the Black Bear Diner
in Walnut Creek. All but 2 of the Chairmen attended along with the Area 2
Governor Harry Hubinger, Big Sir Dean Steichen, Little SIR Bill Hooy and
Activity Coordinators from Branches 116 and 146. Several topics were presented
and discussed to increase effectiveness of Chairman.
LUNCHEON – Chairman Bill Peterson continues to organize the luncheon with
few problems evident. However, we lost about a third of our parking spaces which
was across the street in the commercial project. Members were asked to carpool
and it seems to be working. The monthly luncheon continues to be held at the
Walnut Creek Elks Club on the second Monday of each month except for June and
December (reserved for the Ladies Day Luncheon). We had a new caterer this year
and the lunches he provided equaled or exceeded those in previous years.
Attendance averaged about 220 members and guests. Big SIR Dean Steichen chaired
each luncheon. Little SIR Bill Hooy came up with an interesting speaker for each
BARBECUE – Chairman Marechael Duncun and Assistant Bob Barnes again
organized an annual Branch BBQ at the working ranch of SIR Gordon Frazell in
Moraga. 17 SIRS plus spouses and guests (total 27 participants) devoured BBQ
hamburgers and condiments (provided as usual) and socialized under the old oak
trees. Participants brought either a salad, dessert or hot dish and beverage.
BOCCE BALL – Under Chairman Bob Barnes and Assistant Larry Mersmann the
group competed weekly during the dry season (usually April -November), weather
permitting. Fifteen members tried the game during the year, including yours
truly, with a regular attendance of about 8 SIRS. Newhall Park BB courts were
rehabilitated by the City of Concord at the beginning of the year and are now in
excellent condition. Some seasoned members compete in an active league while the
others remain novices.
BOOK GROUP – The group continued under Chairman Bill Agar and Assistant
Bill Hunter. They met at a member�s home. The 11 active members met bi-monthly
to discuss a book selected for reading at the previous meeting.
BOWLING – This is an Area 2 Activity under the Chairmanship of Branch 8
SIR Steve Greytak. The only other Branch 8 participants were Tom Baker and John
Hayes. The Pleasant Hill Branch provides the most participants.
BRIDGE-DUPLICATE I – The group continued under Chairman Tom Baker and
Assistant Dick Long. They met the second Friday of each month at a different
member�s home. They generally had 4 tables with 16 regular players with a list
of 10 subs. They also competed against other Area 2 Branches with usually good
BRIDGE-DUPLICATE II – This is the second year for this popular group. At
year�s end, Chairman Walter Schick turned the reins over to Gene Bingham and
Walt remains as his Assistant. They met every 4th Friday of
each month at Carl�s Jr. In Walnut Creek. There were 20 active members (5
tables) with a list of 23 subs. This group is more for beginning duplicate
players although many active members are experienced players.
BRIDGE-PARTY – Rod Spicer (Chairman) and Ray Veronte (Assistant) led this
group which met the 1st
Thursday of each month at Carl�s Jr in Walnut Creek. They had a pool of 30
players but limited the play to the first 20 to sign up each month.
COMPUTERS & TECHNOLOGY – This is an Area 2 group led by Chairman Hans
Pable with Assistant Bill Phelon, both of SIR Branch 8. Monthly meetings on the
3rd Thursday at the WC Elks Club heard presentations on the
latest in computers and consumer technology including software. About 25 Branch
8 members regularly attended this popular activity.
CRIBBAGE – The group started the year with Chairman Joe Maurino and
Assistant Deiter Lauterbach. Herb Hellsten became Chairman about mid-year with
Deiter remaining as Assistant.. The group played twice a month (1st
Wednesday/3rd Tuesday) at Carl�s Jr. in Walnut Creek. There were 23 active
members with about 16-20 players showing up each month.
DANCING – Chairman Vince Lombardo arranged a dance and dinner for
interested couples at the Colombo Club in Oakland. Only a few couples attended.
DIGITAL PHOTO CLUB – Chairman Joe Maurino and Assistant Ekkehardt Keller
led this group which met at a members home the 3rd Friday
of each month. They discussed the latest digital photography and darkroom
procedures and the newest equipment. There were 16 active participants.
DOMINOS – This active group of 12 SIRS was led by Chairman Ollie Greenlee
assisted by Deiter Lauterbach. They met the 4th Wednesday
of each month at a member�s home. They played double 6 dominos, had lunch
(brought their own) and competed gingerly for the prize money which came from
the $5 donation from each player.
EXPLORE AND EAT – Dan Franklin became Chairman and Ron Smith Assistant at
the beginning of �07. They had several successful outings including one at the
University of California Chancellor�s residence-botanical garden- with lunch at
the Kensington Caf� for about
20 members and the popular Day at the Races-Golden Gate Fields for 25 members.
The “Day” included a great buffet luncheon and ended with few winners, yours
truly being one.
FISHING – Ed Djikman is the Branch 8 Chairman of this popular Area 2
activity. Meetings were held on the 4th
Thursday of each month at the Legends Grill-Diablo Creek GC. A wide variety of
fishing trips including one to Alaska were enjoyed by 20 Branch 8 members.
GOLF-18 HOLES – The leadership of this major activity changed in mid-�07.
Mike Long became Chairman assisted by Jim Andrews ( Asst Treasurer), Gordon
Batesole (Membership), Hal Samson (Treasurer), Wally Freeman (Tourneys), Mel
Peterson (Marshals), Dave Platter (Communications). There are about 125 members
in the group and all but 5 played at least once. Boundary Oaks GC was again the
home course with 2 events per month. Away matches were played at variety of
courses within 1 hour drive. These were selected by the Golf Committee. Most
events in good weather had at least 50 players. There were numerous special
events in a variety of formats. These were well attended. Involvement in Area 2
events continued at a high level with players doing very well.
GOLF-9 HOLES – The 9 holers where headed by Chairman Stan Johnson,
assisted by Bob Child, Dick Hersey, Doug Raaka, Bob Sherman and Bon Wadors. 37
members were regular players. Another 14 played intermittently for a total of 51
participant. Diablo Hill GC in Walnut Creek continued as the home course. Other
courses played about once a month included Grayson Woods and Pine Meadows in
Martinez. Weather had a lot to do with turnouts but they ranged from 10-25
HEADS UP WALKERS – John Hayes continued as Chairman assisted by Lynn
Jones. Again this year there were 15 walkers on a regular basis plus spouses and
guests. Walkers met every Thursday at various trailheads selected by the hike
leader. Trails walked were usually paved and selected from the list of 50 trails
maintained by the leaders. These were relatively flat and in Contra Costa
County. Walks were concluded with lunch at a local restaurant.
HIKERS – Chairman Ray Tenzer and assistant Enrique Arvizu continued to
head this group for �07. The group dropped from 19 to 15 active hikers. They met
the 3rd Tuesday of each month to hike open space and
Regional Park trails. Hikes lasted 2-3 hours on dirt trails in summer and paved
ones in wet weather. Hikers provided their own lunch and water. Infrequently a
local deli was selected for lunch but participants were notified in advance so
they could determine whether they wanted to participate.
LADIES DAY LUNCHEON – This activity was formally approved by the Board in
August with John McFarland as Chairman. He was assisted by Frank Louie and Jim
Lunn. John had been Chairman for at least 2 years of this twice-a-year
(June/December) gathering. Both luncheons in�07 were held at the Boundary Oak
Golf Clubhouse. Entertainment was provided by a dance band in June and musical
group (World War II period) in December. John resigned after the December
gathering and Paul Hersch has agreed to Chair the activity for �08. Attendance
at both sessions was good with about 230 for June and 200 for December.
LET�S DINE OUT – The Chairman and Assistant traded places in December.
Don Wesdorf is now Chairman and Don Allen, Assistant. This is a popular group
especially with the wives. They had another good year in �07. Over 100 couples
(most several times) gathered for the 11 dinners. Each month a different host
selected a restaurant. Participation averaged nearly 10 couples per dinner.
POKER – Chairman Paul Hersch with Assistant Walter Schick has set up 7
poker groups each with 7 players. These could be considered separate activities
as each group has its own coordinator. There were 33 participants in the 7
groups as some players are in as many as 3 poker groups. There were also 7 SIRS
on the sub list. Each group met monthly at a different day and time and member�s
home. This proved to be one of our more popular activities.
POOL – Jerry White remained as Chairman for another year. He continued to
hold twice a month sessions at Masses Billards and Sports Bar and Grill in
Walnut Creek. There were 8 Branch 8 members in this activity along with others
from other Branches. This is not an area activity but other Branch members were
RV CAMPING – Bob Jones was Chairman. He states that there is little
interest in this group. They had one outing at French Camp RV Park in May. Two
couples attended. Two other new members have expressed interest. He wants to
reassess interest in �08 to determine if the activity
should be continued.
SINGLE SIRS DINE OUT – Don Atwater was Chairman. There were 8 members
attending dinners in �07. They met the first Tuesday of each month at various
SIRS IN THE KITCHEN – This popular group met monthly at Chairman Ed
Benson�s home to cook and eat lunch, drink some wine, fellowship and sometimes
to play a little poker. They met the 3rd Tuesday of the month with a maximum of
12 participants at each session. There were 33 different participants in �07. If
the level of interest is continued it may be time for another group.
SUMS IN RETIREMENT – Chairman George Schultz continued for �07. The group
met for breakfast on the 4th
Wednesday, monthly at the Legends Grill (Grill Room) at Diablo Creek GC. They
usually had a featured speaker on investments. During the year 17 different SIRS
attended the sessions.
THEATER FEST – With Roger Sperling as Chairman, 21 Branch SIRS plus
spouses and guests attended local theater productions in 2007. This continues to
be a popular activity.
TRAVEL – Bob Hagler, Chairman and Carl Raaka, Assistant, organized trips
through the Panama Canal and ending in Miami and to Spain and Portugal. Also
sponsored an evening at Beach Blanket Babylon in San Francisco. The Panama trip
had 40 participants, Spain et. al. 38 and BBB 45. There was also a Reno Snow
Train jointly with other Branches. Other travel opportunities were available
from other Area 2 Branches.
WINE TASTING – The second year of this activity was led by Chairman Gary
Plisco and Assistant Bill Barnard. The group had 21 interested SIRS. Tasting of
various wine varietals (usually about 7 wines) were on a Friday evening, every
other month at a member�s (host and wine selector for the tasting) home and
included spouses and guests. In �07, participation ranged from 12 to 19 tasters.
This formal tasting followed by socializing and appetizers was designed to
increase enjoyment of wine varietals through better awareness of the aromas,
bouquet and flavors of each and little of their origins and history. A new group
is being formed for �08 (Wine Finders) that will try to find good/bargain wines
under $10-15 without the formal tasting associated with the Wine Tasting
WRITING YOUR LIFE STORIES – This is another second year activity. It
continued under Chairman Roger Sperling and Assistant Bill Hunter with meetings
the 3rd Wednesday of each month at a member�s home. The
group had 10 members writing about their life�s experiences.
For 2007, Don Atwater was our most active SIR based on Activity Chairman reports
of participation (active and substitute) in their activity. In addition to being
an active participant and a substitute when necessary in 11 activities, he was
Activity Chairman for 5 years from 2002-06. Relinquishing the Activity Chairmans
position must have allowed Don time to participate in more activities in 2007.
George Schultz participated in 8 activities as did Joe Maurino (if 3 poker
groups are counted separately) and 4 others in 7. Numerous others participated
in 6 activities..
REPORT PREPARED BY BRANCH 8 HISTORIAN
BRANCH 8 HISTORY 2006
Branch Executive Committee meetings and General Membership Luncheons were held
at the Walnut Creek Elks Lodge – on the 2nd Monday of each month, except for
June Ladies Day Luncheon and the December Holiday Party as special events at
Blake�s at Boundary Oak.
BRANCH OFFICERS and EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE for the year
Big SIR ……………..Ron Smith
Little SIR ………….Dean Steichen
Secretary ………….Vic Esposito
Asst. Secty Membership …Charles (Al) Welch
Asst. Secty. Attendance …..Bill Peterson
Treasurer ………….Ollie Greenlee
Asst. Treasurer …Harold Johnson
DIRECTORS: John Hayes
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE – Contributions, Innovations, and
Big SIR Ron Smith reported — �The format for the Luncheon Meeting was changed
to place the Invocation first followed by the Pledge of Allegiance
Treasurer Ollie Greenlee� s report showed the Treasury started the year with a
balance of $15,903 in January and ended in December 2006 with a balance of
$15,500. �At the end of the first year the $40 annual contribution program, 98%
of Branch 8 Members had paid. Only 5 out of 250 members did not contribute. The
additional reserve funds allowed us to absorb the Elks Club increase in the
monthly rental charge to Branch 8 from $420 per month to $575 per month. And,
with the additional reserves and no increase from our caterer, the luncheon
price was decreased from $12 to $11.
�One of our guest speakers was issued a handicap ticket in late 2005 and the
charge was contested and Sir Branch 8 prevailed. The signs and parking space
were not properly marked in accordance with city law to allow for ticketing.
Bill Hooy assisted with a letter to the City of Walnut Creek.
During the year we started using three separate Chaplains. Duties were shared by
Doug Hayward, Bill Dew, and Fred Nelson.
The Wireless microphone system was finally fixed and installed by Richard
Thanks to Bill Peterson, Asst. Secty. Attendance, the Badge system was improved
for Guests, Members-in waiting, and New Members. The old red badges used by new
members were replaced with a clear badge and a large Red Dot. The new ones are
easy to spot and you can read the name. Instead of the pocket badge (which had
no where to go without a pocket) guests now have a large yellow badge that hangs
around their neck., The cords were supplied by Golden Gate Travel.�
Asst. Secty Al Welch further reports Membership limit raised to 270 from 260.
overall membership remained constant at 260 +/- for the year, Member-in-waiting
list grew to a maximum of 20 at the peak.
�The Branch was successful in finding an Asst Treasurer for the State. Howard
Berkman accepted the position. Carl Raaka was named the State Publicity
Director. Vic Longo stepped down as State Golf Treasurer after serving four
years. Branch 8 is well represented in State and Area positions (Harry Hubinger
is Area 2 Governor !). Ed Myrtle heads up Area 2 Golf.
�It was voted to keep the annual contribution amount at $40 for 2007.�
Web Site: New software was purchased for the Web Site. This will allow
the Webmaster & Asst. Webmaster to more easily update, change and expand the web
site to meet the increased requirements from Activity Chairmen. Web Master Tom
Whalen reports: �Web site personnel were expanded to include Bill Hunter,
Assistant Web Master who publishes all Activities, and Wally Freeman , in charge
of Golf postings. The number of Web pages has expanded considerably during the
year – along with an increase in Activities and pictures supplied by the Branch
Photographer, Rod Hughes, and others. Issues facing the Web team are how to keep
Web contents within server storage limits, and the reliability and functionality
of the site. It is also imperative to maintain interest and motivation of many
key members whose cooperation keeps the Web site current and informative.�
�Rod Hughes our photographer started out with poster boards at the meetings and
has now evolved to a special contributor to the Web site – with current Branch
The Hotline had four editors throughout the year and has now settled on
three-Jim Phumprey, Walt Schick, and Derek Southern. Bill Hooy has stepped down
to become Little Sir and Tom Hensley has also stepped aside after a second two
SPECIAL EVENTS – Chairman Frank Louie, assisted by John McFarland
�In 2006, I was the Special Events chairman, which entailed setting up our two
Ladies Day Luncheons at Blakes at Boundry Oak. We looked at several different
venues for our event before choosing Blake�s, which was , by far, the best
value. In June, we had 237 attendees, who enjoiyed the dance music provided by
the Diplomats. In December, we had 290 participants, which I believe is the
largest turnout ever for this event. With such a large crowd, dancing was not an
option, so we were entertained by Houseblend, Four Men who Sing. Their repetoire
of Christmas and novelty tunes were a big hit, from the feedback we have
gotten.. Most everybody stayed until the end of the program, due in large p;art,
to the raffle for door prizes. These included 4 gift certificates for Il Fornaio,
a putter donated by Boundary Oaks and several bottles of wine from Ron Smith�s
Frank was ably assisted by John McFarland, hostess duties were handled with
grace and charm by Bev Louie, Sally McFarland, Sally Lunn, and Judy Smith
A special thanks to Jack Stack and Ron Smith for their help and support.�
SIR Branch 8 Activities — 2006
ACTIVITIES COORDINATOR – Don Atwater assisted by Bill Cooke, Reports:
�Our membership had many activities from which to choose to be a participant,
and over 80 percent did so in one or more during the year. Golf , with two
offerings (18 hole group and 9 hole group), continue to be our most popular
activity. But the wide variety of activities provides many opportunities for non
golfers as well as additional interests for golfers. We started the year with 26
activities, added five and lost two, so finished with 29 different activities.
New activities started during the year were: Coin Collecting, Digital
Photography, Cooking (Sirs in the Kitchen), Tennis, Writing Your Life Stories.�
�BARBECUE – Chairman Marechal Duncan and Asst. Chairman Bob Barnes again
the annual BBQ at the working ranch of Sir Gordon Frazell in Moraga. Sirs and
their significant others dined and enjoyed fellowship under a couple of huge Oak
trees on tables & benches built by Gordon & his daughters. Occasionally cattle
and horses came down off the hill to watch us as we watch them. Hamburgers &
condiments were provided and each couple brought either a salad, desert, or pot
BOCCE BALL – with Chairman Bob Barnes and assisted by Larry Mersmann.
This group met weekly (weather permitting) for friendly games of Bocce Ball.
Fifteen different members tried the game during the year with regular attendance
running between 4 and 8 members. This game was new to most members, but they are
becoming fast learners with some competing in a competetive league.
BOOK GROUP – with Chairman and host Bill Agar, asstant Bill Hunter, this
activity was in its second year and drew from a pool of 10 members. They met
bimonthly and discussed books selected at the previous meeting. Books read
include: Founding Brothers, An American Tragedy, Galileo�s Daughter, Arrowsmith,
The Plot Against America, and All The Kings Men.
BOWLING – is an Area 2 activity and popular with many branches. John
Hayes was chairman for our Branch, and league play was a weekl;y event. Three
Branch 8 members participated.
BRIDGE (Rubber) – with Rod Spicer Chairman and Ray Veronte assistant, group
started the year with monthly gatherings at the Copper Skillet but moved to
Carl�s Jr. in mid year when the Skillet was torn down. They draw from 30 members
which normally results in about 5 tables each month.
BRIDGE (Duplicate) – with Tom Baker Chairman and Dick Long Asst., 16
regular members and several substitutes provided the four tables for the monthly
competition which met in members homes. Duplicate players also competed against
other Area 2 branches with some positive results.
COIN COLLECTING – with chairman Les Hopkins, met monthly sharing
information about their collections and discussing numismatics. Drawing from a
group of 6 members, a low turnout eventually caused the activity to be
COMPUTER USER GROUP – An Area 2 activity, had Hans Pable as our branch
chairman. Monthly meetings were centered on subjects of general interest to the
membership and each quarter a meeting was devoted to the subject of Digital
Photography. 25 Branch 8 members attended one or more of these informative
CRIBBAGE – Under the leadership of Joe Maurino, assisted by Dieter
Lauterbach, was played twice a month at Carl�s Jr. with 26 members interested in
this card game, gatherings usually had 15 to 20 players.
DANCING – Started the year with Nick Aviani as chairman, a position by
years end occupied by Vince Lombardo. A few couples had a dinner dance at the
DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY – With the enthusiastic help from Chairman Joe Maurino,
became a Branch 8 activity in 2006. 10 members have attended the monthly
meetings which has Ekkhardt Keller as Joe�s assistant.
DOMINOES – With Ollie Greelee as chairman, met monthly at memberrs homes,
drawing from 8 Branch 8 members.
EXPLORE & EAT – The Branch�s activity for local sightseeing,led by Dieter
Lauterbach and assisted by Bill Hooy, had several successful outings. The annual
day at the races at Golden Gate Fields probably had the largest turnout with
about 30 members and guests.
FISHING – Ed Djikman is Branch 8 chairman, Romano Gnusti the assistant.
This Area 2 activity held monthly meetings at Legends Spors Bar and Grill. A
wide variety of fishing trips were enjoyed by 19 Branch 8 members.
GOLF (18 holes) – Wally Freeman Chairman assisted by Ralph Bagdonas,
Gordon Batesole, Glen Cheetham, Scott Graff, Harold Johnson, Mel Peterson, and
Tom Whalen. The participation in 18 hole golf increased again this year with
many events having as many as 52 players involved. There were 128 active members
in the group. We had nine scheduled special events (one got rained out) in a
variety of formats.
The golf web site was expanded and improved over the year and is now the major
communication tool for the group. When there is inclement weather we are able to
provide very timely information right on the applicable signup sheets. Each
week�s event results are posted promptly, along with current indexes, the year�s
full schedule (both full size and wallet size), Area 2 information, links to
both the NCGA Home Page and State SIR Golf Page, and pictures from some of our
Our involvement in Area 2 events was significant again this year with a number
of our guys doing very well. Our team won the Governor�s Cup to make it three
out of the last five times. The competition was very tight with the winner being
decided by the last foursome to come in. Stan Johnson placed very nicely in the
Poppy Hills event.
GOLF (9 holes) – In 2006, Branch 8 played 781 rounds of nine hole golf.
54 members played during the year. Our weekly participation ranged from 30 to 10
players in a given week, if there was no rain. We also were fortunate as we had
few rainouts during the winter as opposed to the 18 hole group. We usually
played at Diablo Hills Golf Course in Walnut Creek, but we also played seversl
times at Grayson Woods in Pleasant Hill and Pine Meadow inMartinez. Our
.leadership group for 2006 was Stan Johnson as Chairman,with John Fidler, Dick
Hersey, Doug Raaka, Bob Sherman, Bon Wadors, Bob Child, Tom Baker, and Bob Sapp
helping out as marshals during the year.
HEADS UP WALKERS – Chairman John Hayes, assistant Clark Morehouse.
The weekly schedule is developed from a list of 50 trails in the area, This
year, 16 members, plus friends and family participated. They walked across both
the Golden Gate & Carquinez bridges, followed by lunch at a local restaurant.
They walked at four bay side parks – San Leandro, Alameda, Martinez, &
HIKING – Under the leadership of Ray Tenzer chairman, and Enrique Arvizu
assistant, this activity grew in popularity in 2006 with 19 participants. East
Bay trails are where members and spouses/guests explored on a monthly basis.
LET�S DINE OUT – Don Allen chairman, Chuck Merlone assistant. The Dine
Out Group had a wonderful year in 2006. There were a total of 117 couples (many
multple times) for the 11 dinners. Each month, a host made arrangements for the
dinner at a restaurant, and gave us all the details for the mid month dinner.
The wives love the Dine Out Group and I think the men do too.
PINOCHLE – Don Schneider chairman, Tom Bates assistant. Pinochle players
and branch members were saddened by the death of popular chairman Don Schneider
late in the year. In 2006, the pinochle group struggled to compete with some of
the other major attractions such asd golf, and rarely drew more than eight
enthusiastic players. Moving the game day from Wednesday to Tuesday helped the
situation to some degree. Moving to a semi-permanent home in Pleasant Hill also
POKER – Paul Hersch chairman, Walt Schick assistant. During the year this
activity expanded to seven groups, 7 members per group. Believe all members
claim to be winners.
POOL – Jerry White, Branch chairman. This activity is shared with other Area 2
branches and played twice a month. Six branch members participated in 2006.
R.V. CAMPING – Bob Jones chairman. This is a State organized activity and
no outing occured in 2006.
SINGLE SIRS DINE OUT – Don Atwater chairman replaced Gene Miller in mid
year. Group ranging from 7 to 9 dined monthly at local restaurants.
SIRS IN THE KITCHEN – (cooking) Chairman Ed Benson was the catalyst for
starting this group in April with monthly gatherings for food preparation,
eating, wine drinking and fellowship. Fourteen members were active in this group
during the year. The group met on the 4th Tuesday of the month.
SUMS IN RETIREMENT (investments) – George Schulze chairman. This group
met monthly at Diablo Creek Golf Course (Grill Room) for breakfast and heard
interesting speakers on the subject of investments. 12 Branch 8 members .
TENNIS – This activity was cancelled shortly after being approved.
THEATREFEST – With Roger Sperling chairman, more than 20 branch members
plus spouses and guests attended local theater productions in 2006.
TRAVEL – Bob Hagler and Carl Raaka, Branch 8 travel guru�s offered trips
to Eastern Mediterranean and Greek Isles, Nova Scotia& Prince Edward Island,
Half Moon Bay and annual trips to Boulder Creek and the Reno Snow Train. More
than 50 members and spouses/guests traveled with these Branch 8 sponsored travel
opportunities in 2006. Other travel opportunities were available and provided by
other Area 2 branches.
WINE TASTING – In its first year as a branch activity was led by Gary
Plisco chairman and Bill Barnard assistant. Eight members plus spouses/guests
participated in bi-monthly wine tasting.
WRITING YOUR LIFE STORIES – Started new this year under the direction of
chairman Roger Sperling. This group has six members meeting monthly, writing
about their life�s experiences.
Bill Cooke was another contributor in his position as Assistant Activity
Coordinator. He made the initial contact for many of our new Members-in-Waiting,
assisting them with regard to becoming active participants.
Don Atwater was Activity Coordinator
For 2006, Roger Sperling was chosen as our most active SIR. In addition to being
a participant in nine activities, he was chairman in two, was a Director on the
Executive Committee and our Song Leader.
REPORT PREPARED BY BRANCH 8 HISTORIAN
SONS IN RETIREMENT BRANCH 8 HISTORY ——-YEAR 2005
Branch executive committee meetings and General Membership Luncheons
are at the Walnut Creek Elks Lodge – on the 2nd Monday of each month,
except for June Ladies Day Luncheon and the December Holiday Party as
special events at Blake�s at Boundary Oak this year.
BRANCH OFFICERS for the year were:
Big Sir ………………………………..Jim Riffell
Little Sir ………………………………Ron Smith
Secretary ……………………………Richard Shappee
Asst. Secty Membership…….Charles (Al) Welch
Asst. Secty Attendance……….Dean Steichen
Asst, Treasurer ……………………Harold Johnson
Directors ……………………………..Gordon Batesole
BRANCH EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES:
TREASURY – Beginning January balance $15,666, ending December balance $20,038. This was a remarkable change from the prior year�s declining reserves which averaged $3100.. The EXCOM action of 2004 requesting voluntary $40 annual contributions from membership that allowed for a reduction in luncheon price from $14 to $12 mitigated the effects of lower attendance (the monies for support of branch fixed costs came ONLY from funds paid for luncheons attended).
MEMBERSHIP – Active member level remained at 255-256 with 14 members-in-waiting and 16 inactive.
ATTENDANCE – ACTIVE member luncheon attendance varied from 186 to 204.
LUNCHEON SPEAKERS – Included Hiroshima Japanese Atomic Bombing survivor, Radio personality, News Columnist, Sports person, Retired MD Hospital Director, Theatre Critic, TV Weatherman, and the popular Wife of a Branch 8 member.
INNOVATIONS – The newly established Luncheon seating rules were created to eliminate the prior �table captain� reserved seat system, where seats were reserved in advance for entire groups – with many reserved seats going unoccupied by no-show reserve group members. The new system involved an identified reservation card issued to members when they paid for luncheons — thus assuring the presence of a member reserving a seat. The added benefit was a little more �mixing� , and/or the semi-availability of preferable seats. The system was at first criticized by many members, but it has functioned well.
WEB PAGE- The web page, thru the efforts of Webmaster TOM WHALEN, was enhanced to improve the general appearance, and make it easier to navigate between activities.
HOTLINE – Our monthly newsletter produced by RICHARD SHAPPEE and TOM HENSLEY – is now produced in living color via the E-Mail version — with color photographs and illustrations. The upcoming events/functions of the various Activities are presented to the members in a timely and efficient form.
BRANCH ACTIVITIES – Activity Chairman DON ATWATER reports that since 1997, the number of available Activities has increased from 5 in 1997 to 26 at the end of 2005. They include:
BARBECUE – Group of members and guests gathered at GORDON FRAZELL�s ranch for the annual barbecue in June.
BOCCE BALL – Started last year, this activity became popular in 2005 with 12 different members giving it a try during the weekly gatherings (weather permitting).
BOOK GROUP – A new group that started in 2005 with 9 members met 5 times during the year. Each time a new book was chosen and reviewed from various angles.
BOWLING – An AREA 2 (participation from 7 SIR Branches) activity. This activity provided league competitions for a small group of our branch members.
PARTY BRIDGE – 33 Branch members were the source for this monthly activity with 4 to 6 tables and members vying for prizes and recognition.
DUPLICATE BRIDGE – With 16 regular members and about 10 substitutes this branch activity has competative matches monthly and occasional matches with other branches.
COMPUTER USERS GROUP – An AREA 2 Activity meeting monthly that received participation from 19 of our branch members.
CRIBBAGE – A group of 26 members meeting twice a month with about 4 to 5 tables each time.
DOMINOES – In 2005, nine members played with the tiles at a monthly gathering of the tiles.
EXPLORE AND EAT – This sightseeing group was popular with both members and guests. Starting the year with a day at the races and ending year with a tour of CLOROX, and interesting places in between.
FISHING – 15 Branch members participated in the AREA 2 Fishing Activity – with both local and overnite trips during the year.
HEADS UP WALKERS – This weekly activity was enjoyed by 15 members – and many brought along their wives and guests for the hour long walks – mostly on local trails.
HIKING – Another new activity that commenced in 2005 with 13 members, some with spouses and guests. They went on some scenic and intriguing hikes in the area.
GOLF (18 HOLES) – Branch 8 golf was active and varied all year! We had 123 golfers signed up with NCGA this year and many of them competed regularly during the year. The internet website grew in usage and was improved significantly this year. The online signup for golfing events was a major topic of discussion and usage. All the events were reported on the website, along with golfers� NCGA handicap information, complete schedule of events for the year, and communications from the Golf Chairman. Our golfers competed in all the AREA 2 events, winning the annual Governors Cup by seven strokes, and sending two players (Harold Johnson & Stan Johnson) to the singles championship at Poppy Hills. Our top team of Myrtle, Cheetham, Grisanti, and Baker, who were the defending 2004 STATE SIR Champions, finished fourth in the State Scramble Tournament . We held a new event, a 54-hole stroke play tournament at Boundary Oaks – on 3 consecutive summer weeks, The club champions were Stan Johnson and Don Atwater.
GOLF (9 HOLES) – Our fastest growing activity, 65 members participated in this weekly event at Diablo Hills Golf Course.
I.Q. GROUP – This group of up to 8 members dined monthly at various restaurants.
LET�S DINE OUT – Our fastest growing activity with over 65 participating members PLUS wives and guests enjoyed the 10 dining out opportunities at local restaurants during 2005. A very popular activity – particularly with the wives.
PINOCHLE – A monthly gathering of eleven m embers who give greater value in cards to Queen-Jack combination than they do to an Ace.
POKER – Now with six different groups and about 40 members meeting monthly.
POOL – Twice monthly, 10 members have taken cue in hand for various pocket Billiard games.
RV CAMPING – Annual State Rally saw a couple of Branch members attend.
SIRARC – Interest in Amateur Radio has dwindled and consideration is being given to dropping this as a Branch activity.
SUMS IN RETIREMENT – Monthly investment meetings were held for all branches in AREA 2 . 22 members from Branch 8 attended in the year.
THEATERFEST – Attending local theatre events were 11 members and spouses during 2005.
TRAVEL – Our Travel Gurus, Bob Hagler and Carl Raaka, offered International travel opportunities to Japan, and New Zealand-Australia with 27 branch members on these two tours, and four domestic trips with an additional 58 members participating.
WINE TASTING – Another activity introduced in 2005 had nine members plus wives attend the first tasting event.
DINNER DANCING – Tested as a possible 2006 Branch activity when 30 members and guests attended a HJalloween affair.
REPORT PREPARED BY BRANCH 8 HISTORIAN
Branch has Executive Committee meetings and membership luncheons at the Walnut
Creek Elks Lodge on the second Monday of each month except for the June Ladies
Day luncheon and the December Christmas party which were special events at
Blake�s at Boundary Oak.
Branch officers for the year were Big Sir Robert Solari, Little Sir Jim Riffell,
Secetary Richard Shappee, Asst. Secretary for Attendance Dean
Steichen, Asst. Secretary for Membership Al Welch, Treasurer F. Oliver
Greenlee and Asst. Treasurer Harold Johnson.
Executive Committee Directors were Earnest Sherne, Tom Bates, Bill Agar. Gordon
Batesole, Tom Hensley and Richard Bal.
The activities and events of the Branch for the year are summarized under the
LUNCHEON SPEAKERS: They have included a Contra Costa Times Managing Editor, Black Hawk Museum Director, Superior Court Commissioner, Holocaust survivor, KTVU Sports Anchor, KTVU Consumer Editor, Contra Costa Veterans Service Officer, college and NFL quarterback and coach, high school football coach and Contra Costa County criminologist.
Except for special events the monthly ending balance was near $3100.
There were between 245 and 254 active members during the year. From 1 to 5 new
members were inducted each month and the waiting list varied from 6 to 16.
ATTENDANCE: Monthly attendance by members varied between 179 and 204, with 4 to
7 guests. Unexcused absences were as high as 16 but trended down to 6 through
The Branch celebrates its 40th birthday this year. As we grew through
the years there were spin-offs to form Rossmoor
#81, Las Trampas #116 and
Pleasant Hill, #146.
The Hotline began featuring autobiographic notes together with photos of
activity chairmen. Bocce ball and Barbeque were new activities added this year and both are off to a fast
Monthly expenses of the Branch are causing the reserves to decline. This is the result
of monies to support the fixed costs of the Branch come only from those who
attend the luncheons. The Executive Committee has decided that in the year 2005
the solution will be to ask for an annual $40
donation from each Branch member together with a reduction of the luncheon
donation to $12. Hopefully this will be an equitable way stop the reserve
Seventy five percent of the Membership is now able to communicate in this way
and the Branch is continuing to expand its use.