HISTORY OF BRANCH 146

The first organizational meeting was held on March 28, 1988 at the Pleasant Hill Country Club under the sponsorship of the Las Trampas Branch 116. There were 74 sponsors and guests in attendance and $106.91 in contributions was raised. The second meeting was held on April 26, 1988 at which time a slate of officers was appointed and sworn in by the State Vice-President, Russell Agnew. Hugh McCullough became Big Sir and Probationary status was authorized on May 3, 1988 for Pleasant Hill Branch 146. When Big Sir Hugh McCullough moved from the area in November, Thomas O’Day was appointed the Big Sir. The year 1988 ended with a membership of 69 which was still short of the 100 required for the Branch to be chartered. In February of 1989 Big Sir Thomas O’Day resigned because of poor health and CharlesUnfried was appointed the Big Sir. While membership recruitment continued, Branch activities such as golf, bowling, ham-radio, bridge and RV’s were organized. John Fontenrose was the first News Bulletin editor. The luncheon meetings continued to be well attended with excellent speakers. The luncheon location was changed to Zio Fraedo’s Restaurant in August 1989. Membership finally passed 100 and the Branch was officially Chartered at the Christmas luncheon on December 19, 1989.

1990 - Big Sir Gil Rhodes--Membership increased to 150.

1991 - Big Sir Gene Hackett--The luncheon meetings were moved to the Concord Elks Lodge and membership increased to 170. Branch 146 sponsored Travel was added to the list of activities.

1992 - Big Sir Walt Entelman--The luncheon meetings were moved to the Boundary Oak restaurant. A Computer Users group was started and membership increased to 190.

1993 - Big Sir E. (Kap) Kaprelian--The authorized limit of 200 members was reached and a Waiting List was established. Branch 146 sponsored new Branch 171 in the Lamorinda area.

1994 - Big Sir Joe Jansen--New activity groups started during the year were Investment, Fishing and Cribbage-Pinochle.

1995 - Big Sir Bob Walton--Former Big Sir Charles Unfried was the first Branch 146 member to be awarded an Honorary Life Membership by the State Organization.

1996 - Big Sir Dick Devoe--Bocce Ball was added as a Branch activity. The Waiting List reached 28 by year’s end.

1997 - Big Sir Warren Boero--Branch membership was increased to 210 and the Waiting List was set at a maximum of 30.

1998 - Big Sir Don Nunn--The Branch meetings were moved back to Zio Fraedo’s restaurant. The first semi-annual Dinner Dance was sponsored by the new Social Committee. A Walking group and a Singing group began as new activities. Glen Furlow, Dave Vallado and Bob Walton were presented with Honorary Life Memberships

1999 - Big Sir Dave Vallado--Dave passed away in June and Jack Calloway assumed the duties of Big Sir/Little Sir. A Veterans group and an Honorees Committee were formed. Charlie Kiser became the first recipient of the Branch 146 Honoree Award. Joe Jansen was also given the Branch 146 Honoree Award. The luncheon site was moved to Blake’s at Boundary Oak.

2000 - Big Sir Jack Calloway--Charlie Kiser was selected to replace the late Dave Vallado as an Honorary Life Member and Ernie Figueira was made an Honorary Life Member for his Service as the State Secretary. New activity groups started were Gardening, Cooking, Table Pool and Wine Tasting. An up-dated and revised version of the Branch regulations were approved. The Branch 146 Honoree Award was given to John Fontenrose and Lang Erickson.

2001 - Big Sir Bill Hansen--The first Ladies Invitational Golf Tournament was held in October. The Christmas luncheon entertainment was a play presented by Branch members and their Ladies.

2002 - Big Sir Fred Kovar--Honorary Life members Glenn Furlow and Ernie Figueira passed away. The Cooking group published a Cookbook featuring recipes from members, wives and friends.

2003 - Big Sir Bob Yolland--Don Nunn was awarded an Honorary Life Membership replacing the late Glen Furlow. A Theatre group, Couples Duplicate Bridge and a second Cooking group were added to the activities list.

2004 -Big Sir Doug Cook—The Branch Regulations were changed to open the Waiting List to all applicants. Only the first 30 were eligible to participate in Branch Activities. The Waiting List reached 54 by years end. As the size of the Waiting List expanded, the time to become a member increased to several years.
Jeff Baily created a Branch 146 Website with many useful features.

2005 –Big Sir Ray Kan—Branch membership was increased from 210 to 240 and a moratorium was placed on the Waiting List. A committee was appointed to study the impact of those changes. Lang Erickson was awarded an Honorary Life Membership. A third Cooking group and Poker group were new activities added during the year. Former Big Sir Warren Boero passed away.

2006 – Big Sir Garth Cummings—A revised Waiting List Policy was approved limiting the number to 15 and changing the way additions are made. The Waiting List moratorium was lifted and new applications were accepted starting in October. Three Poker groups and the Sirmonicats were new activities added in 2006.

2007 –Big Sir Jim Stedman---Maximum branch membership was increased from 240 to 270.Up to three new members will be inducted for ten months each year (30 total) until the maximum is reached. New activities were a Book Exchange, Explore and Dine, Guys Dine Out and a nine hole golf group. Jim Stedman was elected Area 2 Governor. Former Big Sir Joe Jansen passed away.

2008 – Big Sir Jeff Baily—The State Organization eliminated Waiting Lists and limits on the number of members.  All men on the Waiting List were inducted bringing the total to a record number of 33 for the year.
Branch 146 grew to 261 members.  The average age of members decreased slightly for the first time.  State Secretary Lang Erickson passed away.  New activities were a Couples Duplicate Bridge Group, a Poker group and a Couples Dine Out group.

2009 –Big Sir Stu Somerville---There was a slight decrease in membership due mainly to a high number of deaths.  Big Sir Stu Somerville died shortly before finishing his term and former Big Sir Charles Unfried also passed away.  Honorary Life Memberships were awarded to Jeff Baily, Jack Calloway and Dick Richmond.  New activities added were Couples Golf and Photography.

2010 –Big Sir Dennis Hallett---The membership number remained at 255 during 2010.  A change was made in the distribution of the SIR CALL from paper to electronic.  The Membership Directory was sent as an e-mail attachment rather than being printed.  Those actions will result in a 50% reduction in Branch expenses.  Jim Stedman was elected State Vice President.  New activities were Chess, Couples Party Bridge and a Lunch and Wine group.

2011 –Big Sir Pete Gates---The membership number increased to an all-time high of 271.  The newly formed Publicity Committee placed Meeting notices in local newspapers which resulted in an increased number of Luncheon guests who then became members.  Jim Stedman was elected State President.  Chuck Bobincz was awarded an Honorary Life Membership.

2012 –Big Sir Jim Burk---Despite adding 34 new members, we ended the year with a slight decrease to 269 members.  Branch 146 changed its name from Pleasant Hill to Contra Costa which better reflects where our members live.  Duplicate Bridge 2 was added as a new activity.

2013 –Big Sir Terry Marchione—The Branch added 26 new members, but the total membership declined to 266 at year’s end. It was determined that the Clubhouse renovations will not affect Branch luncheons for 2014. Dick DeVoe was awarded Honorary Life Membership and Don Nunn became a Senior Honorary Life Member. Activities grew to 39 with the addition of Poker Group #6, Geneology, Hiking and Photography. Year-end financial postion was strong, with a balance of $25,609.16

2014 –Big Sir Doug Eisner. The Branch ended the year with 271 members, up from 266 at end of 2013. There were 31 new members and 26 membership losses. The 25th Year Anniversary of the Branch was celebrated at the gala October Luncheon. It was determined that Clubhouse renovations would begin in January and continue for several months in 2015. As a result, plans were made to relocate the February, March and April 2015 Luncheons to the Concord Hilton. Sir Rich Ahlf received the Branch Honoree Award. Sir Dick DeVoe was elected Regional Director for 2015. New activities in 2014 were: two Dominoes Groups, an Acoustic Musicians Group and the Duplicate Bridge #3 Group. Gardening and Genealogy Groups were discontinued resulting in a total of 42 activities at year-end.

2015 -Big Sir Bill Holly. The Branch ended the year with 279 members, up 8 from the 271 at year-end 2014. The Branch grew by 33 new members and 3 men returned from the inactive roster for an increase of 36; however, this was offset by 28 membership losses. Boundary Oak Clubhouse renovations required the Branch to move its February, March and April luncheons to the Concord Hilton. Continuing renovations will require a return to the Hilton from January to April, 2016.  Sirs Fred Bolton, Terry Marchione, Larry Mitchell and Bob Yolland received Branch Honoree Awards. Several Sirs were among the first to be given Emeritus Status, under a new State Rule. The Branch ended the year with 44 Activites, an increase of two. New in 2015 were Mexican Train Dominoes (3 groups) and the Book Club.  Explore and Dine and ROMEO (guys-dine-out) were discontinued.  The branches year-end financial position remained strong.

2016 - Big Sir Walt Busenius. The Branch ended the year with 285 members, up 6 from the 2015 year-end total of 279. The Branch added 27 new members but also lost 21 members. Boundary Oak Clubhouse renovations continued so the Branch moved its first four luncheons of the year to the Concord Hilton. Seventy-six percent of the membership responded to the annual Branch Survey. The results showed that the members were happy with the way the Branch was being run. A milestone was reached regarding distribution of the Sir Call. Prior to 2012, all distribution was via printed copies sent by US mail. Now, none are being printed or mailed. Sirs Ken Richter, Bill Weinberg, Dennis Hallett, and John Lewis each received the Branch Honoree Award. With the addition of Sirs Lynn Freeman and Bob Wedin, the Branch now has five members with Emeritus Status under State Rule 55. We ended the year with 45 activities, 25 of which are open to spouses. Year-end financial position remained strong.

Revised by
Pete Gates
Branch 146 Historian
March 2017