There were 8 ladies who have been members of the country club of Washington Township Women’s Club for more than fifty years. In 2016 each of these members were interviewed and recorded. Their recordings are available in our museum archives. Read the summary of the stories of how each person came to live in Fremont and how they joined the Country Club more than 50 years ago. These stories tell how many people came and lived in the Tri-City Area.
Gwen Pingel was born in Osmond, Nebraska, in 1929, but moved to Norfolk, Nebraska just before she started high school. She has a sister, MaryAnn Miller, who lives in La Quinta. She had one brother, Leon Pingel that was a career captain in the navy and lived many places including California.
After graduating from Norfolk High School in 1947 Gwen attended Norfolk Junior College for one year. Her parents then purchased a new business in Hoskins, Nebraska and couldn’t afford to send her away to college. A very much-loved cousin, teaching in Santa Rosa, came to visit Gwen’s family that summer and invited Gwen to live with her in Santa Rosa and to attend Santa Rosa Junior College. Gwen wanted to continue to go to college, so that September (1948) Gwen went to live with her cousin and attended Santa Rosa Junior College. This was where she met her husband Eugene, who was at Santa Rosa Junior College on the GI Bill. Because there was an extreme shortage of teachers at that time, Gwen was able to get an emergency teaching certificate, and she began teaching elementary school after her first year of college classes. She taught fourth grade in Antioch, California in 1949.
After four years of dating, Gwen and Eugene went back to Nebraska to get married at her hometown church in 1952. When they came back they moved to Oakland, and she got a job teaching in San Leandro where she taught first grade for four years. Eugene became a CPA and took a job in Fremont with Clements Construction as their Controller. Jack Rusmisel had worked with Gwen’s husband in San Francisco. Jack and his wife, Sally Rusmisel moved to Centerville. Sally was a member of the Washington Township Junior Women’s Club and got Gwen to join in 1956.
After ten years with Clements construction, Eugene opened up his own office, Euguene Cowell CPA. His first office was on Fremont Blvd in a space with Sabraw, Avera, Benya, and Hall & Haun Law Firm where Haller’s pharmacy is today. Eugene then moved his office near the Hub, off of Beacon Street, until he retired in 1996 at the age of 70.
Gwen had gone to San Jose State College summer school over the years to finish her degree, and when she went to talk to the counselor there, she was told because she had no hearing in her left ear she would never be granted a credential, even though she had already taught for seven years. She substituted later in Fremont for a little bit but didn’t enjoy it as much as teaching. She taught Vacation Bible School, Sunday school and ESL classes for her church over the years. Gwen worked part time for 20 years for the California CPA Education Foundation where she acted as a liaison between the CPA Education Foundation and the hotels where they held CPE Education classes.
Gwen and Eugene (Gene) had two children, Tamara born in 1957 and Roxanne born in 1961. When they first moved to Fremont the Cowell’s rented a place across the street from Clements Construction in Centerville on Sequoia Street right off of Peralta. Once Mr. Clements retired they sold the yard to the City of Fremont.
After two years of renting on Sequoia, the Cowells bought a house on Valerie Street in 1957, one block off Washington Blvd. They lived there for ten years until they bought the lot on Wisteria and built the house there in 1967.
The Junior Women’s Club was responsible for a lot of things coming to be in the community. They were all young mothers with families, many worked outside of the home until they started a family, and then after their kids were grown, many went back to work again. Whenever someone had a project or something to do, the Country Club members also helped each other with their kids. Gwen was very active in the Junior Women’s Club. During the polio crisis they staffed polio clinics set up all around Fremont where they distributed vaccines on sugar cubes. They also staffed the eye testing in the elementary schools for several years.
They had an antique fashion show at Castlewood, to raise funds for the Shinn House restoration with fashions donated by Cathy Mozzetti! They did the modeling and there were commentators, and everyone had a lot of fun.
They were also one of the groups that helped in the restoration of the Shinn House, in fact Gwen considers two of the front windows hers because of all the time she spent taking multiple layers of varnish and paint off of them. After the restoration was completed, she and many of the members became docents and gave tours.
Because Gwen and Gene were so active in the community they came to be called on to sit on different committees. Gwen was President and very active in the Fremont Concert Association. She served on a committee to build a performing arts center, which has yet to be built! Gwen was also responsible for a lot of the publicity for club fundraisers over the years; as well as the year end reports that went to the state. Gwen was also a founding member of the Candlelighters and in charge of publicity for the Candlelighters for years. The first two years the Candlelighters used the old winery house up at Ohlone College.
Both Gwen and Gene were involved in the Parent Teachers Association. They both served on the boards of Hopkins Junior High and Mission San Jose High School.
Gene was President of the Niles Rotary Club and served on the Washington Township Hospital Board for ten years and was president for two years. He was also in the Junior Chamber of Commerce, which he joined when they first arrived. Gwen and Gene were also part of the Fremont Dance Club.
Most of the members of the Junior Women’s Club “moved up” when they turned 35 years of age to be a part of the Potpourri Group in the Country Club. The friendships became quite close and lasted a lifetime. Ginny Marriot, Bunny Voorhees and Corrine Young are all women she plays bridge with today. Other bridge group members who are Country Club members are Joy Frederick, Sally Rusmisel, Diana Roessler, Judy Colby, Jan Aston and Diane Abram.
Joy Hansen Frederick was born in Anaheim, California in 1930. Her brother, Jerald Louis (Jerry) Hansen, was born four years later. Joy Hansen and Ray Frederick were high school sweethearts at Fullerton Union High School, and married shortly after graduation on August 19, 1949. They immediately started a family with the arrival of Deborah Ann in 1950, followed shortly thereafter by Linda Marie in 1951, followed in quick succession by Gregory Carlton in 1952.
Joy got an equal pay job at United Can Company. To work there you had to join the teamsters union. She started off working the machine that sliced the tin sheets for the cans and worked her way up to inspector. While the children were younger Joy worked graveyard while Ray worked the day shift, which meant very little need for childcare.
Ray worked for United Can Company and after ten years with them he was promoted to the Hayward plant. So in 1962 the Frederick’s moved to the Irvington district in Fremont. They rented their first house on Ronald Court for $150 a month. After a couple of years they rented a house on Savannah Street for about ten years. Finally Joy agreed to sell her dream house in Yorba Linda and they bought a house on Gatewood Street in 1972, where Joy still resides today.
Almost immediately after moving to the area in 1962, the wife of one of Ray’s co-workers invited Joy to attend a meeting of the Washington Township Junior Women’s Club. Joy was familiar with the organization since several years earlier she had actually been a member of the Junior Women’s Club in Buena Park. It was here she met a group of women she formed life long friendships with, women she still meets with today.
The Country Club actually consisted of two clubs. The Country Club of Washington Township Women’s Club was for women over the age of 35, was mainly a social club where the ladies played bridge and wasn’t as active in community activities or projects. They also served as sponsors to the Washington Township Junior Women’s Club. Before joining the ladies had to show proof they were under the age of 35, and upon turning 35 were required to move up to the women’s club.
Unlike their sponsors, the Juniors were extremely active in the community and quite simply did “whatever needed to be done in the community.”
The Juniors met two nights a month. Each meeting began with the pledge to the flag and the Junior pledge, next the reading of the minutes, followed by the treasurer’s reports, then any new business items or project ideas were discussed, and finally the night ended with coffee and desert and the therapeutic chit chat and socializing!
The Juniors also had their own officers as well as the represnetative from the senior club whose main role was to act as a liaison between the Country Club and the Junior’s Women’s Club.
Joy loved being a part of the Country Club, and after over 30 years as a member, Joy served as the club’s president of the club from 1997-1999.
Joy was high energy and volunteered to the limits in whatever she did. She recounts the number of activities the Juniors were involved in, the fun events they held over the years and the scope of responsibilities they took on in the community. These are some of the ones that Joy remembers most, including:
- The fashion shows they put on; one with vintage clothing and another with the latest fashions featuring clothing from Goldman’s Clothing store
- When they “kidnapped” the chief of police and held him for ransom at an annual charity event
- The fund raising Bridge Marathon they put on
- We joined forces for the Shinn house restoration. Joy considers the dining room windows as her property considering the many layers of paint she scraped from the walls and from the trim.
- For years they conducted all the eye testing in Fremont schools
All the money raised went to mostly local charities, The Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America, The Salvation Army and the Serra Center were regular recipients of their efforts. Joy even received a citizen of the year certificate with juniors district.
Upon moving to the area Joys daughters wanted to continue their girl scout activities but all the local troops were full. So Joy became an assistant leader so she could get her girls into a troop. She became a leader for brownies, then juniors, and cadets and finally seniors, moving up in rank as her girls did. Joy served on the board of directors for the Bay Area Girl Scouts and attended meetings at the officers club at The Presidio in San Francisco.
Once her kids were grown, Joy took up golfing! Ray had always been an avid golfer, and while attending a golf tournament put on by the Elks Club, some of the other wives suggested she try golf. Joy had always been athletic. As a young girl she swam in the ocean, enjoyed riding her horse and loved to roller skate, even earning her own letter for sports while at Fullerton High School. But golf was a challenge for her.
The first time Joy played was at Warm Springs Women’s Golf Club. The ladies from the Elks golf club encouraged her to play in the next tournament at Sunol Golf Club on the hardest course there. That night at the award dinner they announced her as having the worst score, of 214 and awarded her 3 balls for persistence. Determined and challenged she joined and started Sunol Ladies, taking lessons from golf pro John McMullin. After a lot of hard work and practice she won many awards and received the most improved golfer trophy at Warm Springs Women’s Golf Club in 1977. Joy and Ray went on to play with the Elks Club for years and golfed weekly after joining the Oakdale Golf Club.
Joy and Ray also belonged to the Fremont Dance Club, which met for dances four times a year. Membership was limited to 50 invited couples, and there was a waiting list. Ray was actually the sitting president when he passed away in 1988. Had Ray not passed, the couple was planning on relocating to Idaho or Oakdale. But once Ray was gone, Joy decided it was better to remain in Fremont where she is established and has friends.
Mary Jane John
Mary Jane Breniman was born in Denver, CO on June 6, 1938 fourteen years after her brother, Warren Eugene Breniman. Her father, William Albert Breniman, worked for the CAA later named the FAA (Federal Aviation Agency) and they moved around a lot. Mary Jane went to nine different schools. They lived in Kansas City, Chicago, Washington DC, Seattle, and Los Angeles and a few other places.. Mary Jane went to Westchester High School in Los Angeles and graduated in 1956. Then she attended U. C. Santa Barbara and later moved to the bay area to be near friends.
Mary Jane met Richard Orville John in 1958 in Santa Barbara through a mutual friend. At the time, Richard was teaching 7th grade in Atascadero. Three years later, as Richard was finishing an MA degree at SF State and looking for a teaching job in the Bay Area, they ran into each other again in Menlo Park. They were married on July 22, 1961 in Santa Barbara, CA.
Richard was hired by the Newark Unified School District to teach elementary school. So on October 15, 1961 Mary Jane and Richard moved into “The Patio” apartments (now called Lola Gardens after Dr. Lola) on Cedar Blvd. In August of 1962 they moved into a new apartment building across the street from Silva School where Richard taught for one year while they lived there. Then finally on February 13, 1965 they moved into their new home on Stonecress Avenue, where they lived for 51 years!
The only time they spent away from Newark was when the University of Oregon accepted Richard into their Doctoral program in 1971. For fifteen months, the entire John clan Jill (9 at the time), Glen (7), Elaine (4), all born at Washington Township Hospital and Shannon (2) (born in Hayward), moved up to Eugene, OR.
Throughout the years, both in California and in Oregon, Mary Jane kept taking college courses and earned three degrees, BA in Anthropology, BA in Spanish, MA in Anthropology and a Certificate in Applied Gerontology.
Mary Jane joined the Newark Juniors Women’s Club in 1964. Richard and Mary Jane belonged to a small tennis club in Newark, and one day two of the ladies were talking about a wine tasting function they were going to attend sponsored by Newark Jr. Women’s Club. That was it. Mary Jane joined the Junior Women’s Club and was very active. She became recording secretary for two years, President 1970-1971 and led the club in many charitable endeavors including story time at the Newark library, calling high school truants, work at the Creative Living Center, and they received an award from the district Federation of Women’s Clubs for “Building a Better Community”.
When Mary Jane turned 35 she moved up to the Country Club (in 1974), which met at 1:00 pm during the week. Mary Jane was taking classes at Cal State Hayward and later found her niche teaching pre-school at the Learning Tree in Fremont for 18 years. She no longer had time for meetings.
In 2001 Mary Jane and her family celebrated her father’s 100th birthday at the Carlton Plaza in Fremont. She retired from teaching in 2003 but kept quite busy with everything from water aerobics at the Silliman Center, weekly Ballroom dancing, weekly book talks, a Spanish class, two monthly lunches, bingo and Bunco! In 2005, Mary Nell Wolfe, a member of Mary Jane’s bridge group, was also the current president of the Country Club. So Mary Jane began attending meetings again. In 2006 Mary Nell asked Mary Jane if she would be the Tea and Coffee Lady as the previous member had retired from doing so after 6 years. Country Club had changed a lot; no club house, no tea served in a silver teapot, no bake sales or fashion shows or bridge luncheons. She continued to provide the tea and coffee service for the club until Mary Jane and Richard moved to Sacramento in 2016. Now they enjoy spending time with their four children and ten grandchildren.
Mary Jane John
Virginia Mae (Ginny) Marriott
Virginia Mae Grant Marriott was born on February 11, 1922 in Ripon, CA and grew up on a farm near Manteca, California where her parents, Gooding and Ella Grant, grew grapes and almonds. She had an older brother Edward, born in 1918. Ginny graduated from Manteca High School in 1940 and began attending San Jose State College. In addition to classes Ginny worked in the library and was a member of the Catholic Women’s Center. This is also where she met her future husband Richard Marriott.
Richard’s family moved from Soda Springs, Idaho to Hayward in 1924 when Richard was a year old. In 1925 Richard welcomed little brother Charles, and the family made the move to Centerville in Washington Township. Three years later sister, Shirley was born in 1928. Richard’s father, Loren, worked for the Bank of Italy (later named Bank of America). He became vice president and manager of the Centerville branch. Dorothea Marriott, Richard’s mother, was the president of the Country Club from1940-1942. She also helped in positions of bookkeeper and secretary for the club. Richard (nicknamed Red or Dick) and his siblings attended Centerville Elementary School and Washington High School. Richard graduated in 1941, then attended San Jose College, where he met future wife Ginny! However World War II interrupted Ginny and Richard’s education as well as their romance.
Richard joined the U.S. Army Engineer Corps and served in the Pacific for three years. Ginny went to work for the war efforts in the Stockton shipyard as a secretary, later moving to San Francisco to work for the United States Army Corps of Engineers that handled the purchasing of supplies for the wartime operations in the Pacific.
Even though Richard and Ginny had lost contact with each other during the war, when Richard returned home he went to Virginia’s parents home to find out where she lived. They soon reconnected and were married in 1946.
The newly weds rented a “tank house” apartment from Estelle Hirsch in Irvington, and Richard returned to San Jose State College to finish his education for two years. Ginny worked at the college library as a staff member. Once he became an accountant, he and Ginny moved to Alameda where their son, Russell was born in 1949. They lived in Alameda for 8 years while Richard worked as a manager in the main office of Nation Ice and Cold Storage Company in San Francisco. He then worked for a real estate company in Berkley for a short time and then for an auditing company in Centerville.
In 1957 the Marriott’s returned to Fremont and three years later Richard and Ginny were the owners and operators of the Fremont Glass Company from 1960-1977. They moved into their Glenmoore home on Whitfield Avenue in 1959 where they resided until Ginny moved in 2012. Richard passed away in 2010.
Ginny first joined the Junior Women’s Club in Alameda in 1950, where she was active in starting a nursery school for retarded children, working hard to secure funding to purchase play equipment. Through this work she spoke to the Alameda Chamber of Commerce and she became a board member of the East Bay Association for Retarded Children.
Ginny transferred her Junior Women’s Club membership in 1957 when the family moved to Fremont. The following year Ginny moved to the Country Club of Washington Township where her mother in law, Dorothea Marriott was also a longtime member.
Ginny was very involved in many of the club activities in the 1960s and 1970s and often appeared in the social section of the Argus newspaper as an organizer of their events, during which time their membership was about 200 strong! Ginny remembers the friendships she gained, and all the fun activities they participated in together like fashion shows, garden parties, speakers luncheons, attending plays, playing cards and belonged to two ballroom dance clubs.
Ginny served as president from 1963 to 1965, and then as treasurer for the committee that published the 1965 reprinting of the book, History of Washington Township, as well as helped gather pictures for the reprinting and then even delivered the finished books to local schools. Ginny helped plan and organize the 75-year celebration in 1971.
In 1977 the Marriott’s sold their business to two of their employees, and in retirement the couple traveled to over 55 different countries and visited 48 states in the United States until Richard’s passing in 2010.
Ginny remained extremely active in the Country Club and served as president for a second term again (33 years later) from 1996-1997. That meant she hosted the club’s 100th year gala celebration event in 1997. It was truly a grand event!
Like her friend Corrine Young Ginny became part of the Hobby Group. But she also enjoyed singing with the “Grace Notes”, a singing group affiliated with the club. Its director was a former opera star named Roma Lacy. During a break at practice some of the members started talking about how they enjoyed history and antiques. So along with her friend Cathy Mozzetti Ginny became a founding member of Las Antiguelagas antique club in 1968.
Besides her activities with the County Club of Washington Township Ginny is a long time member of The Daughters of the American Revolution. In order to join this organization you must prove that a relative was in the revolutionary war of 1776. Virginia did a lot of research and even traveled to Maine and many other eastern states on her quest for genealogical information, and was finally able to connect the dots. She continues to help with their Annual Shower for pregnant women connected with the US armed forces.
Ginny has been an avid bridge player for years and is a part of the Washington Township Hospital Service League Bridge Marathon.
Ginny says: It was a different time then. Most of the women did not work away from home and their social outlets were to meet in clubs. The Country Club of Washington Township served part of that need. It is where she gained lifelong friendships.
Jean Joanne Jackson Messick was born on September 27, 1936 in Sacramento, California. She grew up in Sacramento, attending elementary, junior high school and high school there until her graduation in 1953. She met her husband, Robert Messick in Lodi, after Robert had been drafted and served in the Korean War. They were married in 1953. In 1955 when their oldest daughter Judy was only two weeks old, the young family moved to Newark because Robert was offered a job as an electrician. Their second daughter Marian arrived in 1957. Three years later they moved to Irvington.
Jean was a member of many clubs, sat on countless boards and committees, and was extremely involved in community activities. Upon her arrival in Irvington, Jean became a member of the Country Club of Washington Township and would remain so for 53 years! Her original motivation for joining was to make social connections and to become involved in the growing community that was to become Fremont! Though her membership in the Country Club was by far the longest one, it was by no means the only one! Jean was also affiliated with National Society Colonial Dames XVII Century SF Chapter, National Society Magna Carta Dames and Barons, Las Antiquelagas Club where she served as President from 1991- 1993, Native Daughters of the Golden West where she served as President for a year and Vice President for two, SF Bay Area Huguenot Society, WTHS member, FCAC member for 30 years, Genealogy Society Member (FTHG) in Newark, and National Society Daughters of the American Revolution where she was the Past Organizing Registrar for California for 26 years, earned 21 DAR Pins and grew the Ohlone Chapter by 75 members!
Jean also worked outside the home as an LVN (Living Vocational Nurse). After training at St. Joseph Hospital in Stockton, Jean transferred to O’Connor Hospital in San Jose in 1955. Then in 1958 she began working at Washington Township Hospital until 1960, when Jean decided to retire from the medical field. From 1963 until 2000 Jean and Bob acquired and managed ten income rental properties, and Jean also worked part time at the Chateau Blue Hair Salon in Fremont.
Though Jean worked outside the home, much of her time was spent involved in her daughter’s activities as well. Daughter Judy was heavily involved in dance and Jean made all of her costumes throughout the years. And younger daughter Marian was involved in ice skating, meeting such celebrities as Shirley Temple Black and Peggy Flemming with her skating friend Kathie, whose dad, the very Charles Shultz of the Peanuts comics, owned an ice rink in Santa Rosa. Both girls participated in local parades and fairs growing up. As the girls got older though, Jean started and became quite good at bowling, her over-all average score was 179!
A couple of accomplishments Jean is especially proud of are Ardenwood Historical Park and the Early American Crafts & Antique Museum for the Alameda County Fair. In 1985 Jean and Bob helped open Ardenwood Park in Newark, CA. Jean started the Early American crafts program there, where school groups participated in various activities such as candle dipping, rope and soap making and wheat weaving. Jean also designed patterns for handmade Christmas ornaments to be sold at the Christmas boutique, a big hit…they sold out every year! In 1988 the City of Fremont presented Jean with a certificate from the Patterson House Advisory Board for her services as a board member, tour guide and her assistance in restoring Patterson House.
In 1990, Jean and Bob developed the “Early American Antique Crafts & Museum” for the Alameda County Fair. The museum included twelve display cases with different antique collections, as well as four rooms; a bank, a kitchen, a schoolhouse and a bathroom, as well as many different additional displays such as farm tools, washing items and ice cream makers. All rooms and displays were switched out each year. Jean was also able to hire and train eight college girls each year as part of the program.
But in 1967, Jean discovered one of her great passions: genealogy! Jean overheard a conversation in a beauty salon one morning about genealogy. So she asked one of the girls in the shop about it which led her to sign up for Genealogy classes at the Adult School to learn how to do the research! This led to tiptoeing through cemeteries, long hours in libraries hunting for histories, trips to courthouses for vital records, and trips to Scotland, Ireland and Germany. Eventually, with the help of her mother Yolene Wallace Jackson, Jean was able to trace her family lineage to Betsy Wallace (wife of President Truman), back to Daniel Boone, Abraham Lincoln, Knight Sir William Wallace, and brother John Wallace of Scotland!
In 2001, Bob passed away at the age of 70. Jean remained in Irvington until 2010 then she moved to Pleasanton to be closer to her daughter Judy.
Catherine (Cathy) Mozzetti
Cathy Vivieros Mozzetti was born in Niles Maternity home on November 28, 1929 to Adeline and Joe Vivieros. Her mother was born and raised in Niles Canyon and her father, Joe Vivieros, came to Niles from the Azores, Portugal when he was a young boy. He owned a store that sold cigars (during prohibition) and later opened a bar in Niles, Joe’s Corner, on J Street. Her sister Shirley Adeline, was a year older.
Cathy went to Niles Grammar School then graduated from Washington High School in 1947. After graduation Cathy attended Heald’s Business College and was hired as a secretary by James Cash Penny, owner of JC Penny’s, where she worked in San Jose for 2 ½ years until she married Arnold Mozzetti on December 10, 1949.
Arnold was born in Irvington on the Meinhard Schelbert dairy on the Irvington San Jose Highway (Fremont Blvd) to his parents Ban and Mozzetti in 1930. He grew with his brother, Ben, (1923) and Gertrude (1924) on the Mozzetti Dairy where Irvington High School is located today. At one time his father operated five dairies in the area in Mission San Jose, Irvington, Alvarado, and Centerville.
In 1951 Cathy and Arnold welcomed their daughter Cynthia, but shortly thereafter, Arnold was drafted into the army and sent to active combat duty in the Korea war. While Arnold served in Korea, Cathy first rented a home in Irvington, but then she moved in with her parents in Niles. Arnold started his trucking business in high school in 1947, and Cathy ran the business while Arnold was away. They had one truck and one operator, Alex Borges. Cathy scheduled the runs and Borges made the deliveries. Upon Arnold’s return Cathy worked in the business, Mozzetti Trucking, as the dispatcher and bookkeeper for forty years. They are located on Shinn Street
Arnold and Cathy moved into their house on Walnut Avenue in 1957, and three years later they welcomed son Arnie. They live there today.
Cathy was active in the Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Niles and she joined a Latin Choir at church where people came from all over to hear them sing! It was while in the Latin Choir that Peggy Crane, also a choir member, invited Cathy to join the Junior Women’s Club. Members had to be invited and then approved for membership, so in 1954, at the age of 25, sponsored by Peggy Crane and Edith Spencer, Cathy joined. Cathy jumped in to active work in the club and by the following year she was on the board as treasurer for the Washington Township Junior Women’s Club.
Cathy was a member of the Junior Women’s Club until 1964, when she turned 35 and could no longer be a member of that group. When she “moved up” to the regular Country Club meetings she became a member of the Home Arts Group. As her friends “got older” they also joined her for more fun and activities in this new group.
During the 1960s and 1970s the Junior Women’s Clubs (Washington Township and Newark) were the worker bees that made the Country Club of Washington Township popular and effective! Cathy was heavily involved in the restoration of the Shinn House, and was chairman of the committee responsible for managing and financing a large portion of the Shinn house restoration.
They organized a gala event at Castlewood Country Club entitled The Tiffany Era Fashion Show Luncheon that was sponsored by Las Antiquelagas and The Country Club of Washington Township that raised money for the Shinn House Restoration. This event included fashions from Cathy’s Antique clothing collection.
Cathy had a great interest and passion for learning about and collecting antiques. Her and Arnold were already involved in Antique car rallies (Arnold a vintage antique car collection) so it was a natural to form a group of like-minded friends who shared her interest in antiques. Through her association with antique lovers in the Country Club Cathy was a founding member of Las Antiquelagas antique club. She served as secretary and president for the club, which still meets today!
It was this love and passion for antiques that led to her personally collect more than twenty historical and period fashion outfits. The styles range from years 1890-1921 style dress, and include men’s, women’s and children’s clothing. The collection hails clothing from the local Shinn family as well as from Laura Thane Whipple. The costumes were often displayed in fashion shows for the church as well as for Country Club fundraisers. A lot of thought and organization was needed to put on such a show, as each costume had matching accessories to complete the period look.
Cathy was also very involved in the physical restoration of the Shinn House. Many days were spent scraping old paint off of the walls and trim of the rooms at the old mansion. Cathy was at the opening events of the Shinn House to celebrate with everyone who helped to make this project a success story for everyone in the community (1973).
Another rewarding activity Cathy remembers was when her group worked with the at risk females residing at the Serra Center. For many years the girls were treated on their birthdays to a lunch, shopping for a new dress and a makeover session. For years after women would come up to Cathy and share these special memories, for some, that being the only time in their childhood they were treated so nicely.
Cathy continues to attend Country Club meetings and is proud to have helped in the community. She remembers the friendships she gained from her association with The Country Club of Washington Township.
Bernice “Bunny” Weber was born in Mission San Jose on Feb. 19, 1918. Her father Harry, worked for PG&E in Newark, CA, the largest power pool in the world at the time, and the family had moved to the area in 1915 where Harry was the foreman of the Mission Electrical Station.
Bunny attended Irvington Elementary School as a child, then Washington Union High School for four years graduating in 1936. Following her high school graduation Bunny attended two years of Munson’s Private Secretarial College in San Francisco. Upon completing Secretarial School, Bunny was hired as the manager, accountant and secretary for Hansen Lumber Company’s Centerville office.
In 1936 through a friend and neighbor that worked at PG&E, Bunny met Karl Nordvik at the PG&E substation. They courted for five years and finally in 1941 Karl and Bunny were married at St. Edwards Church in Newark, with a reception following at the Country Club house. Two years later, 1943 was a big year as their first son Michael was born, and Karl went off to fight in WWII. Karl returned three years later in 1946, but was unable to return to work for a few months because his legs were injured. In 1948 a second son William was born, and nine years later (1957) marked the arrival of Kurt!
Bernice joined the Country Club of Washington Township in 1942. It was wartime Karl was gone and Bernice helped with the war efforts. The club booked thousands of hours during this time and Bunny was a part of that effort.
After the war, Karl and Bernice became very active in community activities. Karl was in the Men’s Club and the Masonic Lodge. Bunny joined the Washington Township Business and Professional Women Association, acting as their second President (1943-44), and honored as their Woman of the Year in 1970. Bunny was also involved in the PTA when the boys were young.
Together, Karl and Bunny convinced Visqueen, a local plastics manufacturer, to furnish the land for a Little League Park that eventually became Karl Nordvik Memorial Park. Their oldest boy Michael loved baseball and went on to play as 1st baseman at San Jose State University and was eventually asked to play for the Pittsburgh Pirates, their sons William and Kurt also enjoyed baseball.. Bunny actively worked in the snack bar at Nordvik Park for about 20 years, and received a silver platter commemorating her years of service; and seeing it all come full circle, was able to attend the new park dedication in 1991!
Unfortunately Karl passed away after a heart attack in 1961, before his boys grew to be men and long before the dedication of the Karl Nordvik Memorial Park in 1991!
Bunny remarried five years later to Raymond Rehfeld, head accountant for US Pipe and Foundry in Union City. So in 1966 Bunny, two of her three boys still living at home, moved into her house on Mattos Drive with Raymond and his son and daughter. Bunny and Ray remained married for the next 31 years, until Ray’s death in 1997. Bunny filled her days after Ray’s death with her club work, flower arranging, gardening, and playing bridge.
Then in 2001, an old friend, Clyde Voorhees, also twice widowed, called Bunny up and asked her to go to dinner. On their second date, a picnic, Clyde proposed! Bunny and Clyde were married in 2001. Karl and Bunny had been friends with and raised their children with their friends Mr. and Mrs. Clyde Voorhees. Clyde was a retired teacher and school administrator. After teaching for a year in Hawaii and then Menlo Park Jr. High, he finally came to teach history and coach at Washington Union High School. He eventually became the first principal of Irvington High School and went on to become assistant superintendent of FUSD before retiring in 1967.
Clyde and Bunny filled their days with theatre productions, baseball games, symphonies and spending time with their families. Since their children all grew up together, family gatherings and celebrations remind them of days past as well their present and their future! Clyde passed away in 2010.
Corrine Garibaldi was born in Stockton on Aug 26,1927. She has one sister, Lois Mae that was born in 1930. Corrine was in the car with her father, a bar-owner, when the announcer gave the shocking and somber news of Pearl Harbor and our entrance into WWII. Once the war started, her father went to work in the shipyards. In high school the students were released from class to help pick tomatoes for lack of able workers. She also worked at the Continental Can Company during the summers.
The Garibaldi family lived in Sacramento, but after graduating from high school in 1945, Corrine moved south and attended San Jose State College, studying to become a teacher. It is there, in 1947 that she met Virgil Young, who was attending school on the GI Bill.
Virgil was born in Yakima Washington, but the family moved from Washington to the mountains behind the Calaveras dam area where his father worked on the construction of the Hetch Hetchy dam. Virgil attended a one-room schoolhouse in the mountains until the 8th grade. He then moved to Marin to go to high school where he lived with his aunt. Virgil’s family moved to Niles and lived in one of the homes that was build by the Essanay Film company, where Virgil returned to live after graduation. When the war began he enlisted and was in the air force as a pilot on bombers that flew over Japan from 1944-1946.
Corrine and Virgil met and married in 1947, and after graduating they moved to Centerville where Virgil worked in the construction industry. He became superintendent and later a limited partner in the Bescoe Company, which built several housing tracts including Sundale and Cabrillo.
Virgil and Corrine rented a few places in Centerville and in 1948 welcomed a daughter Pamela. In 1949 they built their first home off Peralta Avenue on Greenwood Street. In 1953 son, Brad, joined the family. Virgil built a new home for the family on Glenmoore Drive and they moved in 1955 where they lived until 1980.
Virgil taught Corrine how to drive, which was good since there was no local shopping! One had to go to Hayward or Oakland until the long awaited Hub brought stores to Fremont!
Corrine did teach and substitute teach for a few years when the children were young while Virgil’s mother, Pam, took care of the children. Then the kids attended Norris School until they moved to Glenmoore where they attended Glenmoore Elementary.
Country Club was an organization whose membership roster boasted a lot of important people in the blossoming city; community activists, educators and politicians among them. Since many of the women were housewives with small children, it served not only as a social outlet and community ground zero for many of the movers and shakers of Fremont, but also as a group of women who supported and helped each other throughout most of their lives and created life-long friendships still enjoyed today.
Corrine joined the Washington Township Junior Women’s Club in 1953. In 1962 she “moved up” to the Country Club of Washington Township and joined the Hobby section. They were responsible for making the decorations for all their events and the monthly meetings, including all the table displays, both simple and elaborate! Numerous charities benefited from their fund raising efforts over the years, which ranged from a recipe book they put together to paid lunches that might include a Historical and Period Fashion Show put on by their very own Catherine Mozzetti!
Corrine modeled for the fund raising fashion shows that featured fashions from Mildred’s and Goldman’s. Her group was responsible for all the beautiful decorations enjoyed at the 100th Anniversary celebration. She was also a contributor to the History of Washington Township book that was published in 1950 though not an official member yet.
The Hobby section was made up of a very social 18 members that often had dinner at each other’s homes when their children were small. As the children got older the women met for lunch, and finally they graduated to nicer restaurants. Six of the original eighteen still meet on occasion when they are able to; Bunny Voorhees, Virginia Marriott, Lera Lessi, Marie Roth, Shirley Lancaster, Michi Yi and Corrine Young.
Corrine and her husband enjoyed playing tennis through the years, and once they settled in Glenmoore, Corinne played tournament tennis, and would continue to do so for the next fifty years!
Corrine and Virgil moved to their present home in 1980, built by, you guessed it, Virgil and now along side with him was son Brad.
They lived in that home together until Virgil passed away in 2011 and Corrine now lives close to her family. Daughter Pam lives in Alameda, son Brad lives in Redwood City, and her granddaughter lives in San Jose. She plays mahjong every Wednesday with a group of ladies, which does include some of her longtime Country Club friends!