Herbert and Inez Yee reached a milestone in their marriage earlier this week as they celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.
Their special day was observed with a Chinese meal with family and friends at Macau Café, just south of the Sacramento Zoo, followed by a gathering for dessert at the Yees’ South Land Park home.
Herbert and Inez’s meeting is a Stanford love story, as they met while attending Stanford University in the summer of 1943.
In recalling that moment, Herbert said, “I was already at Stanford for one year and I noticed a pretty Chinese girl. I knew she was Chinese, because all of the Japanese were already taken to (wartime) relocation camps, and we were at war with Japan. And so, I stopped my car and I saw her at the quad. At first she saw me at the Stanford bookstore maybe a week earlier. So, anyway, the next time, I saw her standing in front of what we called the quad, right in the middle of Stanford. And I stopped (the car), and strangely I had the only car at Stanford (at that time). I said, ‘What is your name? And she said, ‘Inez Fong.’ And I said, ‘Are you interested in attending our Chinese Student Club meeting? I’m the president.’ She said, ‘OK.’ So, I said, ‘We’ll come pick you up tomorrow.’ But the ‘we’ was just me. I ain’t gonna bring the four other guys with me.”
During the following day, in addition to attending the Chinese club meeting, Herbert and Inez walked to various places around the Stanford campus, including Lake Lagunita.
After being asked whether he “hit it off with Inez,” on that day, Herbert said, “I don’t remember whether I tried to kiss her or not, but I remember she said, ‘That wasn’t too good,’ or something like that. Well, I guess I wasn’t a lover like Errol Flynn (the Australian-American actor who was known for his romantic roles in films). But anyhow, so, that’s the beginning.”
Herbert mentioned that Inez’s time as a student on the Stanford campus was a short-lived experience.
“She was a 90-day wonder,” Herbert said. “She was there (at Stanford) for 90 days. She didn’t have the money to stay there. Inez wanted to study chemistry, because she did get a job at the Westvaco chemical plant.”
Inez, who grew up in Niles (now part of Fremont), was then residing in downtown Palo Alto with a lady who Herbert then referred to as “elderly.”
But Herbert chuckled after thinking back on labeling that lady in that manner, and then said, “(Inez was only like 17, 18 years old) and this lady (Mrs. Yang) was in her 50s.”
Although Herbert found many things to love about Inez, he commented that her cooking ability at that time was not one of them.
“(Mrs. Yang) was a professor at Stanford, but she was a painting professor, but there was no job as a painting professor,” Herbert recalled. “So, they said there’s an opening for a cooking instructor. So, she got the job for cooking. So, when I go and visit Inez and this other lady, Mrs. Yang, here is a young boy hoping to get a home cooked meal from two ladies. But neither of them knew how to cook. I sat there and waited and waited, but finally I gave up and went back and went to a Chinese restaurant to eat. Oh, they did open up a can of tomato (soup). They even burned that.”
Herbert remained at Stanford after Inez’s three-month stay at the university had concluded, and he continued his studies at that institution. And as for Inez, she moved to San José, because the tuition was less expensive at San José State University.
Herbert, in being a year ahead of Inez in her studies, would frequently drive to San José to assist her with her chemistry studies.
In recalling a previous girlfriend that he had dated, Herbert said, “Although my parents were very polite, I said, ‘How do you like my girlfriend?’ They said, ‘Can she grow another 2 inches?’ She was too short, like 5 feet (tall). So, when I told her that, she never came back.”
Fortunately for Herbert’s sake, Inez is about 5 feet 3 inches tall.
Herbert eventually presented Inez with a diamond engagement ring, which was purchased in San Francisco.
Herbert and Inez were married at Westminster Presbyterian Church at 1300 N St. on June 24, 1945.
By 1952, Herbert, who would later spend many years working as a dentist, had been out of dental school for four years, and had saved $4,000. And with a plan to purchase a house, he borrowed another $5,000 from his father.
In speaking about his effort to buy a house in South Land Park, Herbert said, “I didn’t know there was a covenant. No Orientals or black or brown. So, they gave me the runaround. The owners said, ‘Well, the sign says for rent.’ So, he said, ‘No, you talk to the real estate guy.’ The real estate guy said, ‘Oh, it’s him.’ But I found out it was a covenant. I found out what those guys were doing. So, I saw this (South Land Park) lot, and then I got my father’s neighbor, a white gentleman. Just a week before I was going to buy it (with the assistance of that man), he said, ‘I can’t buy it for you. I own a Texaco station, and my boss lives a block from where you want to buy this lot. So, I would get fired or lose my station.’ So, I got my lawyer to buy (the lot), and so here I am (living in South Land Park for six decades). I moved (into a new house on that lot) the day (President Dwight D.) Eisenhower got elected – November (4), 1952.”
Together, Herbert and Inez had four children, Dr. Randy Yee, who is a retired dentist; Dr. Alan Yee, a pulmonary doctor; Dr. Wesley Yee, a dentist; and their late son, Dr. Douglas Yee, who was a dentist.
Herbert said that he and his wife also have nine grandchildren, seven whom are married, and about 15 great-grandchildren.
After being asked to comment about his 70 years of marriage to Inez, Herbert said, “We both feel that we’re lucky to be able to be together so many years and we would like to keep it (that way) as long as we can.”
Herbert and Inez Yee reached a milestone in their marriage earlier this week as they celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.
Sacramento State University has experienced much growth during its longtime existence on its J Street campus. And more changes were recently approved as part of this local institution’s 20-year-master plan.
The existing campus facilities are presently comprised of 78 buildings, ranging in age from more than 50 years old to The Well building, which was completed in 2010.
During an interview with this paper last week, Donovan Hillman, interim campus architect at Sacramento State, mentioned that that the university’s board of trustees approved that plan on May 20. The process for creating that plan began about two years ago.
Hillman explained that Sacramento State’s master plan is consistently being updated.
“There’s an update to the master plan every five years,” Hillman said. “This is the latest five-year update. Planning 20 years into the future, things change, so you want to update it a little more frequently than that.”
The present master plan, which involved consideration of community input, calls for new structures and various renovations to be completed by 2035.
But Hillman said that there is no guarantee that everything on that plan will become a reality by that time.
“It would take a substantial amount of funding to do everything that we want to do,” Hillman said. “All the academic buildings depend on funding from the (California State University) system. The parking and the housing, they pay for themselves. Hopefully, someday this money (for the remaining projects) will be available.”
And in regard to the initial construction through the present master plan, Hillman said, “The first step we’re taking with this master plan is this summer. We’ll (then) start construction on a new student housing project on the north end of the campus. It will be a 416-bed project for freshmen and sophomores. It is expected to be completed in the fall of 2017.”
Presently, the campus has about 1,600 beds for student housing.
Hillman, a Carmichael resident who became an employee of the university last year, explained that he is very familiar with construction projects at Sacramento State.
“I worked for a company called E.M. Kado Associates for 27 years before coming to the campus last September,” Hillman said. “While I was there, I was project architect for five buildings on (Sacramento State’s) campus.”
Hillman’s boss and the coordinator for the master plan is Victor Takahashi, the university’s director of facilities planning and construction services.
Takahishi works under Ali Izadian, associate vice president for facilities management at Sacramento State.
Mike Lee, vice president for administration and the chief financial officer at Sacramento State, maintains the role of making sure that facilities follow the master plan, and he coordinates with the different academic divisions of the university. Lee reports directly to the university’s president.
The second building that is scheduled to be constructed at Sacramento State under its present master plan is the parking structure at the north end of the campus.
In commenting about that project, Hillman said, “We could potentially get started next year. It would be probably a two-year project.”
In further speaking about the topic of student parking, Hillman said, “We don’t have a lot of open land on the campus. So, as we develop buildings, we’ll be using primarily parking lots. So, the impact of that for people who have to come to the campus is a challenge. That’s why we’re doing a parking structure to replace some of the parking.”
Hillman named other structures that are anticipated to be built under the master plan, as follows: Administrative student services building (south end of the campus); science building (northeast); engineering building (northeast); performing arts building (northeast); administrative office building for public safety and parking services (north); and student events center (almost at the mid-point of the campus by the six-story Parking Structure 3).
Hillman, in further commenting about upcoming plans for the campus, said, “The big thing is we’re going to continue to develop housing on campus. The president would very much like to build our events center for both our basketball teams and for the community to have around a 5,000-foot events center. We’ll be expanding the (University) Union and The Well, which is our student athletic center.
“Academically, we have plans to add a new science building. That (project) would be the first priority. Then we’ll continue to add new buildings, (including) a new performing arts center.
“We’re hopefully going to develop some of the Ramona property, south of the actual campus. We have two properties off the campus. We have Folsom Hall, which is just down Folsom Boulevard from the campus, then we have the Ramona property, which used to be the old California Youth Authority correctional facility. It wasn’t needed anymore and our auxiliary purchased the property. Long-term, we plan to do some development out there.”
Also planned for the campus, on its south side, is a large child care facility, which would replace the campus’s smaller, present child care center.
After being asked how much different the campus could appear in 2035, Hillman said, “In a lot of ways, it’s going to be kind of similar. Some of the older buildings in the center of the campus – the one and two story buildings – in the long reach plan, they’ll be going away. A lot of the buildings that we have on campus now will get renovated and refreshed. The look of the campus will change as those buildings are developed. As sort of overall, we’re sort of landlocked in a way. We’ve got the river on one side and the rail line on the other. Most of the athletic facilities are still going to be on the west side of the campus. And long range, we hope to refresh the stadium also.”
Hillman also described a plan for a campus “central entrance” and greenbelt area.
“Part of the master plan is to develop sort of a central entrance to the campus as you come in off J Street, at what we call the esplanade – that green area where you drive in,” Hillman said. “And we’re going to extend that down into the center of the campus.
“Administration will be at the north end of the campus. The intent is it is sort of a gateway onto the campus. As (one comes) onto the campus as a new student or a visitor, it’s what they’re going to see first. It will have most of the services where students and visitors can do what they need to do on the campus.
“And part of what we’re doing now is something called LID project, which is low-impact development, which involves storm water retention and rain gardens. Basically, the idea is we’ll take storm water that the campus generates and run a portion of it into this project. It will help slow down how fast it goes back into the river and disperse some of it into the ground, so we’re not putting so much water into the river directly. So, that’s going on right now. That will be going on this summer also.
“The idea is we’re trying to get a greenbelt at the north end of the campus, down the center of the campus. And we’ll have basically buildings on either side of that.
Traffic will continue to circulate around the perimeter of the campus. We’re trying to keep the traffic on the outside and keep pedestrian circulation more internal, so (students and other people on the campus are) not having to dodge cars.”
In speaking about the university’s anticipation for its future construction and renovation plans, Hillman said, “We’re very proud of the academic facilities that we provide and we’re excited about the plans we have for continuing to develop new buildings and new opportunities for (academics), housing and recreation for our students on campus.”
Editor’s Note: This is part one of a two-part series about various Town & Country Village
There are certainly a wide variety of sites that have brought character to Sacramento, and among those sites was undoubtedly Town & Country Village at the northeast corner of Fulton and Marconi avenues.
Although this shopping center has a much different appearance than it did in its earlier years, it continues to carry its name and legacy.
Nearly 70 years ago, a visionary contractor named Jere’ Strizek (1902-1979) was granted permission to build a 300-foot-long building and two buildings with 90-foot fronts on that site.
In its Sept. 11, 1945 edition, The Sacramento Bee notes: “The completed project, to be called the Town and Country Shopping Center, will serve Bohemian Village, the Country Club Estates and a large tract southeast of the Del Paso Country Club which Strizek plans to develop as restrictions on home buildings are lifted.”
Partnering with Strizek on the design of the Village was the Illinois-born, Sacramento architectural designer John W. Davis (1911-1970), who earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture at the University of Illinois in 1934.
By September 1946, 20 of the then planned 30 stores were then in operation.
Many longtime locals are familiar with the Village’s original features such as Spanish-style buildings with red tile roofs and overhangs and tall palms, redwood plank store signs, wooden benches, urns, hanging pots and a wide variety of shrubbery and flowers.
But a relatively few number of those people area aware that Sacramento was not the only city to have a Town & Country Village shopping center.
During research for this article, it was discovered that Jere’ and his wife, Jessie, had only one child, John Edward Strizek.
John Strizek, who is now 67 and resides in Land Park, said that another Town & Country Village was constructed on leased property in Los Angeles in the 1950s.
“After the (Strizek) family moved to Los Angeles, they built (a Town & Country Village in that city),” John Strizek said. “That was on (the southeast corner of) 3rd (Street) and Fairfax (Avenue).”
A gold colored, metallic token for the Town & Country Village in Los Angeles was made available as a souvenir in 1955.
On that side of the token are images of a building with an overhang and a tile roof, a wagon wheel and two palm trees. And in the lower right portion of that side of the souvenir is the replica, raised lettered signature of Jere’ Strizek.
The reverse side of the token has the image of a horseshoe, and the words, “You’re always lucky when you shop at ‘the Village.’ 67 distinctive shops to serve you.”
During the early years of Los Angeles’ Town & Country Village, wooden plank, store signs hung in front of the center’s businesses. They included such wording as “Town & Country Delicatessen,” “Fisher’s Hamburgers,” “Richard’s (ice cream shop) – exclusive ice creams, salads & sandwich bars.”
Current records of the city of Los Angeles show no listing for a Town & Country Village.
Brett Arena, archivist for the A.F. Gilmore Co., which owns the historic Farmers Market across the 3rd Street from the old Town & Country Village site, confirmed that the latter named shopping center no longer exists.
“All the (Town & Country Village) buildings are all gone,” Arena said. “I think (the place closed) in the early 1960s.”
The site is presently home to a variety of businesses, including CVS pharmacy, Kmart and Whole Foods Market.
Arena said that Farmers Market opened on July 14, 1934.
Furthermore, Arena shared some history about the area where these two business places operated.
“Town & Country (Village) is adjacent to a very large development called Park La Brea, where Metropolitan Life Insurance developed before,” Arena said. “After the war, the entire project was redesigned. So, this was all of a sudden a very big residential area on the former Hancock land. The Hancock family is an important Los Angeles family. They became an oil family. They owned the vast majority of Rancho La Brea, which was one of the Mexican land grants. So, the property across the street was originally (owned by the) Hancocks.
“So, after the war, when Park La Brea was developed, people were moving into this area. That’s when Town & Country was put together.”
These two shopping destinations eventually became competitive with one another, Arena explained.
“(Town & Country Village) was really not only going to take advantage of (its) proximity to Park La Brea, but also to try to siphon off some of the clientele of the well established Farmers Market,” Arena said. “There was a little bit of a rivalry between the two places.”
In sharing some other details about Los Angeles’ Town & Country Village, Arena said, “One of our tenants, a gentleman by the name of (Irvin ‘Kip’) Kipper started Kip’s Toyland here. Kip was in World War II, and then after the war, he started the Toyland over at the Town & Country (Village).
“Richard’s (ice cream) place was a pretty big deal. I grew up in the neighborhood and went to Fairfax High School up the street. Old timers talk about (Richard’s). There was also a pharmacy and beauty parlor.”
Arena also mentioned that Los Angeles’ Town & Country Village was managed by Earl Froning, and that its property was eventually owned by the Hancock Foundation.
In further speaking about the history of Town & Country Village, John Strizek said, “After (Los Angeles), we moved to Phoenix and made an agreement with Patricia Mars and Allen Feeney, on property of the Milky Way Hereford Ranch on (East) Camelback Road (and 20th Street). (Mars) was part of the Mars candy company family.”
An article in the Nov. 17, 1955 edition of the Prescott (Ariz.) Evening Courier includes the following details about that project: “Already surrounded by new subdivisions, the 138-acre, grassy tract will be the site of a multimillion dollar shopping center with about 100 stores and a hotel, according to preliminary plans by its developers.
“The ranch was reported to have been leased by Jere’ Strizek, a Los Angeles contactor and developer, from M.A. (Allen) Feeney.”
Construction on the center began in May 1956.
John Jacquemart, 65, a researcher and part-time staff worker for the city of Phoenix’s historic preservation office, said that Phoenix’s Town & Country Village continues to operate, with its mostly historic appearance.
“(The center is) still there,” Jacquemart said. “As with any commercial venture, there’s change that goes on. Other things have been added on, but it still has (basically) the same appearance.”
In sharing his earliest memories of Phoenix’s Town & Country Village, Jacquemart said, “I went there in the 1950s. I went there shortly after it opened. We moved to Phoenix in 1956 from Tucson, and where I got shoes – Ernie Brewer’s (children’s) shoe store – was there at Town & Country (Village). And later, in the late 1960s, I would go to the food court and sit out on the patio with some food and some wine.”
Jacquemart added that he found it interesting to learn about other Town & Country Village locations.
“You know, we all think we have something unique, but it’s also kind of great to see that we tie in and fit in with somebody else,” Jacquesmart said.
In regard to another Town & Country Village, which was located at the southeast corner of Winchester and Stevens Creek boulevards, near the famous Winchester Mystery House, Strizek said, “My dad did some consulting on one that was built in San Jose, although he did not build that one. And that was probably somewhere around 1960 or so.”
Catherine Mills, curator of archives and library at History San José, Silicon Valley’s largest and most comprehensive historical organization, commented about that Town & Country Village, saying, “According to our directories, the San Jose location first shows up in 1960.”
A c. 1965 directory of shops and services of San Jose’s Town & Country Village includes the following words: “Town & Country Village is a charming, rustic wonderland of the finest stores in Santa Clara Valley. The low, rambling architecture of the Village is suggestive of an early California hacienda. Tree-lined islands divide ample parking areas, just steps away from stores. Spanish tile roofs shelter wide sidewalks, inviting all-weather shopping.”
Like Sacramento’s Town & Country Village, San Jose’s Town & Country Village included businesses with the word, ‘Village’ in their names. Those San Jose businesses included Village Cleaners and Village Coiffeurs.
In 1985, the Village in San Jose introduced the Town & Country Village Lantern newsletter, which was offered as a newspaper advertising supplement.
The Lantern’s June 1986 edition mentions that the Village was home to 125 specialty stores and services.
The history of San Jose’s Town & Country Village came to an end in the late 1990s, as the old shopping center was demolished and replaced by a 1.5 million square foot, mixed use development known as Santana Row.
Construction on that development, which includes an upscale shopping center, theater and residential living units, began during the summer of 2000.
The initial portion of that development opened on Nov. 7, 2002. The fill-out of the project was completed by 2006.
According to a Santana Row press kit, Town & Country Village was built on a 40-acre parcel that was formerly the site of a pear orchard.
Also included in that release was the following history: “In 1960, developer Ron Williams (took) a shopping center concept that he thought would be appealing to Bay Area residents. He would build Town & Country Villages (with) one-level Spanish-style buildings of stores and restaurants in four Bay Area communities – San Jose, Sunnyvale, Palo Alto and Mill Valley.
“The shopping centers’ tile roofs and covered walkways, supported by thick, vine covered (beams) had a distinctive appearance that set them apart from other shopping malls. The open-air facilities invited visitors to stroll and relax, and promised a touch of class.
“Town & Country Village remained a popular destination for many years, even if larger, modern shopping malls were built in the valley.
“The center became a little tired, a little shabby and more than 8 acres remained a dusty, empty field.
“In the late 1990s, its owners at the time, (which was Metropolitan Life Insurance), decided to put the property on the market. Three thousand miles away, Federal Realty Investment Trust – an equity, realty investment trust, based in Rockville, Md. – was searching for a prime location in California to build its strength (with) an architecturally spanning, mixed-use development where people could live, work, shop and dine together all in one place. The Town & Country (Village) site in San Jose seemed the perfect fit.”
San Jose’s Town & Country Village site was sold to Federal Realty in March 1997.
The oldest of the county’s Certified Farmers’ Markets is about to reach a milestone in its history, as this summer that market will reach its 35th year of operation.
Located under-the-freeway at 8th and W streets, adjacent to Southside Park, this year-round market was established in August 1980.
In tribute to that market, the Land Park News paid a visit to this local attraction last weekend.
During that visit, a portion of the market’s vendors shared details about the businesses they represented.
Information regarding some of those businesses is presented, as follows:
Greg Beals, owner of Beals’ Orchard in Placerville, has the notoriety of being one of the original vendors of the 8th and W streets farmers’ market.
The 42-year-old, 53-acre Beals’ Orchard, which was established in 1973, was only seven years old when Greg began selling at the market.
With a smile on his face, Greg said, “I have a few more gray hairs now.”
In sharing a bit about his business story, Greg said, “I’m the plum man by trade, because I have so many varieties, and the customers made me the plum man. But I’ve diversified into peaches, nectarines, pluots, persimmons, pomegranates, figs. That’s the main products.
“This is my passion. This is what I always wanted to do. So, I started in 1973 and started planting an orchard. I retired 15 years ago, but this is what I prefer to do. I also do a few other things, but this is the main thing.”
Greg also had kind words to say about Dan Best, coordinator of Certified Farmers’ Markets in Sacramento County.
“Dan Best, the market’s manager, keeps making (the market) better by bringing in a diverse variety of vendors that add to the ambiance of the market. It’s the best market in Sacramento County,” Greg said.
Kelsos’ Black Gold Ranch
For regulars of the 8th and W streets farmers’ market, another one of the most familiar faces at that market is that of Citrus Heights native Paula Kelso, co-owner of Kelsos’ Black Gold Ranch, in Oroville, with her husband, Richard.
In speaking about the longevity of her business at the market, Paula, a 1957 graduate of San Juan High School, said, “There were three of us that stood on the corner (of 8th and W streets) for about three years (during the market’s early years). I came (to the market) in 1984, but I’ve been doing it on the ranch for 40 years. I bought this old orange ranch for a hobby.”
Susan Kelso Kibbler, Richard and Paula’s daughter, mentioned that many generations of her family have worked as citrus farmers.
“My family has been in the citrus industry in California for five generations,” Susan said. “At one time, we had four generations on the farm. There are three of us now. In (Rialto, Calif., on the longtime citrus ranch of Richard’s family), they lost all their trees to the smog. We have 17 acres of citrus, 2,000 trees, a lot of different varieties of citrus.”
Susan added that people have learned a lot about buying fruit at this farmers’ market, since its early years.
“(Early on), it was more like, ‘Why does this stuff look weird,’” Susan said. “But this is the way they grow on the trees.”
Paula mentioned that people from some parts of the world do not need to be educated about farmers’ markets.
“There are some countries where they have shopped like this,” Paula said. “They don’t have to go to (grocery stores). They get them fresher, cheaper and better (at the farmers’ market).”
In further commenting about the market, Paula said, “It’s really a fun thing for families, and we try to make everybody happy.”
Bodega Bay Oyster Company
The Bodega Bay Oyster Company, of Petaluma, began selling its products at this market in about 2000.
Jim Ingegneri, a vendor for that company, commented about the business, saying, “Bodega Bay Oyster Company has been in business for 30 years. They always sell oysters in Tomales Bay. We harvest three times a week. We deliver to wholesale fish companies in San Francisco. We deliver all over the city to the restaurants and stores, and we also have a retail store on Valley Ford Road (in Petaluma), where you can come in and buy oysters. They’re fresh. We also have clams and mussels.”
And in commenting about the 8th and W streets market, Ingegneri said, “There are a lot of people, (and) it’s under the freeway. No tent, no nothing. And I enjoy all the vendors in my immediate area.”
Lucky Dog All Natural Beef
David Karetala, a vendor of Lucky Dog All Natural Beef, of Dixon, said that the business was established about five years ago to supply Lucca Restaurant at 1516 J St. and Roxy Restaurant at 2381 Fair Oaks Blvd.
In commenting about that business’s product, Karetala said, “We’ve got the best beef that you’re going to taste anywhere, in not just California. The ground beef is mind blowing. The rib-eyes and filets, you can’t buy steaks that taste this good. It seems steep, some of the prices, but you’re supporting a local business, somebody from the local area. It doesn’t get any better than that. That’s the idea. You don’t want the factory farms’ sick cows. You want the real way, and that’s the price you pay for it all. Yeah, all natural.”
Karetala also mentioned that he enjoys meeting the regulars of the market and learning about their cooking experiences, and taking their requests.
“It’s kind of a community (at the market),” Karetala said. “You get used to seeing the same people. We get a lot of regulars. They come here every week and they ask (such things as), ‘Hey, I’m going to a barbecue, can you hang onto some tri-tip for me?’”
Nai’s Berry Farm
Nai Meng of Nai’s Berry Farm, of Antelope, began operating his business in 1994, and he became a vendor at the market about a year later.
Among the products offered by this business at various times of the year are strawberries, blackberries, green beans, eggplant and squash.
After being asked why he enjoys coming to the market, Meng replied, “Because I like people.”
Meng said that in addition to his work as a farmer, he is also employed as a blackjack dealer at Cache Creek Casino.
Little Pocket resident Heidi Watanabe, co-owner of West Sacramento’s Watanabe Farms, with her husband, Clark Watanabe, is a regular vendor at the 8th and W streets farmers’ market.
Many longtime readers of Valley Community Newspapers’ Land Park News and Pocket News newspapers may recall Heidi’s father, Roy Watanabe, a former writer for those papers.
In regard to the 7-acre Watanabe Farms, which was established in 1997 and began selling at the market in about 2002, Heidi said, “We’re actually known for our tomatoes. There are several (tomato vendors) out here, but I would like to say that we have the best tomatoes. We have such a big variety, and our quality control is very high.”
Heidi said that the farm has grown tomatoes as heavy as 4 pounds, but that they are not sold at the market.
“They taste like cardboard,” Heidi said.
Watanabe Farms, which also grows such produce as nectarines and a variety of squash, offers all organic products, with the exception of its tree fruit.
Bui Farm, which is located on two acres off Elk Grove-Florin Road, has been in business for 23 years.
Debbie Tran, who was one of four members of her family who were working at the market last Sunday, shared the following information about the business:
“My grandpa’s last name was Bui, (thus the name Bui Farm). We have a lot of herbs and vegetables, but mostly like Asian types like you don’t see a lot in other stalls. We have like cabbage spinach, water spinach. We also have Chinese spinach and Thai basil. We have more of a variety that we grow.
“We’ve been coming to the market for 20-something years. I like the market because of the people. You see a lot of the same people every week. They (say) like, ‘Oh, hey, I remember you from last week and the week before.’ So, they know you. And other (vendors) know us. We always go around and we trade (products).”
A relative newcomer to the market is Ochoa Flowers, of Half Moon Bay.
Kari Chiappetta, a vendor for that business, said that Ochoa Flowers was established in 1977, and grows more than 50 varieties of flowers year round.
Becky Ramos, a 1970 graduate of C.K. McClatchy High School, mentioned that she is a regular customer of the business.
“I come out here every Sunday to get flowers for my (deceased) family members at the burials at St. Mary’s (Cemetery at 6700 21st St.). The flowers are for my son and my two sisters. Every week I bring them fresh flowers. And I like it to look colorful and we clean the burial (plots). It’s a family tradition. They’re always in our hearts. They always have beautiful flowers. So, I just need to get flowers every week.”
Lienert Quality Honey
Sacramento native Frank Lienert, Jr., a 2002 graduate of Jesuit High School, shared details about his family’s business, Leinert Quality Honey.
“My dad (Frank Lienert, Sr.) started (the business) 52 or 54 years ago,” Frank, Jr. said. “He was born in Woodland. He grew up on a dairy. We live in the Tahoe Park area, but the hives are all out in the country. Our facilities are out in the rural area.
“We have honey. We also have pollen. We sell honey sticks, which is our honey packaged in plastic straws. The honey we have is all different varieties, whatever nature will provide. There’s orange flower (honey). There’s wildflower (honey) that people take for allergies. There’s eucalyptus, sage, alfalfa, safflower (honeys).”
Frank, Jr. was asked about the health benefits of consuming honey.
He replied, “It’s twice as sweet as sugar, so if you were to use it as a sugar substitute, you would use half as much. It also has pollen in it, so it has nutritional benefits, as well as (it) helps with allergies. We have a lot of customers who buy it to help with seasonal allergies. A lot of people swear by it.”
In speaking about the market, Frank, Jr. said, “I grew up coming here. The farmers like it. It’s a buyers’ market. People come here and they want to buy. People are here looking for the freshest (products) they can get. This is the biggest, most comprehensive market in the Sacramento area. So, you see lots of people here and they come to buy. It’s a fantastic market all around, whether you’re buying honey (or other products). If you’re looking for anything that’s grown in California, odds are you’re going to find it here.”
Many other vendors fill grounds each week at the under-the-freeway farmers’ market at 8th and W streets, as they offer a variety of products.
The market is open every Sunday throughout the year from 8 a.m. to noon.
Made-Rite Sausage Co. had East Sac connections
Editor’s Note: This is the third article in a three-part series about sausage factories that operated in Sacramento.
As a sausage city, Sacramento was once home to several sausage making plants, two of which were Clauss & Kraus and the Pureta Sausage Co., which were featured in previous articles of this series. And also part of the city’s sausage making legacy was the Made-Rite Sausage Co.
Made-Rite, which specialized in sausages, hot dogs, luncheon meats, hams and bacon, was established at 3351-3361 2nd Ave. in Oak Park with five employees and one service truck in June 1930. The plant’s address was generally referred to as 3353 2nd Ave. during its long history.
The business’s original proprietors were East Sacramento residents, Frederick W. “Fred” Becker, of 1512 34th St.; Joseph Reichmuth, of 3424 I St.; John F. Tucher, of 2711 M St. (now Capitol Avenue); and Joseph Dillier, of 1107 56th St.
Later owners of the business included East Sacramento resident Fred Kaelin, Land Park residents Thores G. Johnson and Clarence W. Curnow, and Tahoe Park resident Frank Halter.
Made-Rite was not the first meat vending establishment to operate at that 2nd Avenue location, as the site was previously home to the Oak Park (meat) Market, which was owned for several years by an experienced meat cutter named George F. Gillespie.
Originally, Made-Rite had 2,500 square feet of floor space, but the plant eventually grew to occupy 52,000 square feet of floor space.
In featuring its popular sausages, in 1942, Made-Rite had an advertisement, which reads: “Ask for Made-Rite pork sausage. Tomorrow, serve this sausage delicacy…made with fresh pork…spliced just right for tangy flavor! At your dealers – Made-Rite Sausage Company – Sacramento.”
Another one of Made-Rite’s sausages was its liver sausage, which was advertised as a more economical product with “real eating enjoyment.”
Made-Rite, in 1943, recommended the following: “For a delightful picnic-supper treat, try grilled liver sausage burgers. Just brown slices of liver sausage slowly in butter and serve between toasted halves of buns. Add onion, pickle relish or chili sauce, as desired.”
In a very Sacramento move, considering that the city’s official flower is the camellia, Made-Rite offered its Camellia brand products.
A 1950s Made-Rite advertisement includes the following words: “Fresh smoked for flavor! Look for the wrapper with the Camellia on it – the wrapper which retains the full, mellow, hickory-smoked flavors, and keeps ham in ‘just right’ condition ‘til ready for your oven. Be sure – get Camellia brand at your favorite market.”
For many years, this local sausage company used the slogan, “It tastes right, because it’s Made-Rite!”
Part of Made-Rite’s history was its bowling and softball league teams.
The Made-Rite softball team competed in the same division with the Clauss & Kraus team. Sacramento’s Tastee Sausage Co. also had a softball team in a different division.
By the mid-1950s, Made-Rite had more than 200 employees, 48 delivery trucks and was distributing its products in 45 of the state’s 58 counties.
A 1955 Made-Rite advertisement notes: “In 1930, only 8 prepared meat items were offered. Today, more than 100 items are distributed to more than 6,500 retail markets. Camellia brand products range from franks and sausage links through prepackaged ‘specialty’ items like garlic sausage and braunschweiger to smoked meat products such as hams and slab bacon. More than 20 varieties of luncheon loaves are produced in Made Rite’s spotless kitchen.”
And in describing Made-Rite’s approach to meat processing, the same advertisement reads: “Starting with choicest cuts of beef, pork and veal, they are prepared with loving care – often to jealously guarded recipes – by men who bring to their craft an Old World skill and perfectionism.”
Among the many people who worked for Made-Rite at various times during its history were Bert Ames (1919-2006), a meat cutter and graduate of Sacramento High School; Walter G. Reynolds (1917-1999), a Sacramento High graduate, who also worked for Clauss & Kraus; William Earl Dawson (1916-2006) and Ken Bakkie.
In 1959, the following Made-Rite employees each received a 10-year of service award: Harvey M. Barthel, Carl Bleuel, John Campanell, Mearl Cox, Betty Giles, Orville Giles, Walter Lautt, Irma Michael, Milton Rose, Marjorie Scott, Rynald Spitzer, Lola Viegas and Gene Whitsett.
Barthel (1926-1996), who began working night shifts at the plant, eventually became the company’s president.
At a separate time, Clarence W. Curnow, Jr. served as Made-Rite’s president.
The 1976 city directory recognizes Thores K. Johnson as the business’s CEO.
On Aug. 24, 1984, the then-54-year-old Made-Rite closed, and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection from its creditors five days later. And with the plant’s closure, 204 people lost their jobs.
At the time of its bankruptcy filing, Made-Rite had a $3.5 million deficit in debts, and had assets totaling $2.8 million.
Made-Rite received new life later that year when Stockton residents Joseph L. and Norma Kaeslin purchased the business’s assets and Made-Rite name for $1.2 million. That sale was approved by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Woodward on Oct. 17, 1984.
Additionally, the Kaeslins leased the building from the Sacramento-based Sutter Developers.
The plant never again achieved the level of success that it had experienced in its heyday.
Due to declining sales, on July 18, 1986, Made-Rite ceased operations, and announced that it would remain closed indefinitely while seeking a plan to obtain financial stability.
But less than a month later, Made-Rite was permanently closed.
In explaining the company’s decision to not reopen its doors for business, The Bee, in its Aug. 12, 1986 edition, noted that Made-Rite had gone out of business “after failing to produce a recovery plan to keep creditors at bay.”
The closure was especially significant, as Made-Rite was the city’s last meat processing company.
Less than a month after the final closure of the business, a five-alarm fire occurred at the old Made-Rite plant.
The Sept. 8, 1986 fire, which occurred in a second story office and storage area, was determined by the Sacramento Fire Department to be “suspicious” in nature, according to an article in the Sept. 10, 1986 edition of The Bee.
The Sacramento Post Office has a long history that dates back to the 19th century and includes the establishment of many post office locations.
A unique part of that history is that the capital city has the notoriety of having its first post office located in an abandoned ship known as the bark Whiton.
Moored along the riverfront, the on-water post office opened to the public in July 1849.
The Placer Times, in its July 28, 1849 edition, notes: “We learn that Henry E. Robinson, Esq has been officially appointed postmaster for Sacramento City. The office is at present on J (Street), between Front and 2d (sic) streets.”
Although the Placer Times recognized Robinson as having been “officially appointed postmaster for Sacramento City,” The Sacramento Bee, in its June 10, 1941 edition, notes: “On July 4, 1849, Henry E. Robinson failed to appear at his own swearing in exercises as the first postmaster of Sacramento. And to this day, there is no official record of the absentee ever taking over the handling of the mails in this city.”
The article also mentions that instead of attending his swearing-in ceremony, Robinson was instead seeking gold in the hills, an activity which apparently was more enticing to him than earning $50 per month as postmaster.
According to information written by Gene E. Bigham, assistant postmaster of the Sacramento Post Office, in 1952, Robinson eventually died back East, and “left an estate of a million and a half dollars.”
Bigham added, “Late in (1849), Stephen B. Freeland took the oath as postmaster. He had been serving since the impromptu leaving of Henry Robinson, on an informal basis.”
The history of the 2nd and K streets post office site extends beyond being the location of the city’s first on-land post office.
A portion of a plaque on a building at that site in present day Old Sacramento reads: “Vernon-Brannon House. Sacramento’s first post office was located on this lot in 1849. In 1853, Henry E. Robinson bought the lot from Samuel Brannan and built this three-story, brick building, naming it the Jones Hotel. The Sacramento Pioneer Association first organized in this building in 1854. In 1855, it became a boarding house called the Vernon House, owned by Miss O.J. Clark. In 1865, Samuel Brannan bought the building, turned it back into a hotel and renamed it Brannan House.”
The Sacramento Post Office has had various main offices during its history, including 2nd and K streets, 4th and K streets, 7th and K streets, 8th and I streets and the present office at 2000 Royal Oaks Drive.
In 1908, the first extension of the Sacramento Post Office was established with the opening of the Oak Park Station.
The city’s post office continued its success, and an increase in its receipts for 1948 resulted in it being placed in a higher category.
During that year, the local post office surpassed the $3 million mark in receipts for the first time in its history, as it totaled $3,208,832.
With its placement in a higher category, the Sacramento Post Office joined Oakland and San Diego, as the highest class California post offices outside San Francisco and Los Angeles.
On Dec. 1, 1949, Sacramento’s Broadway Station post office was opened at 2572 21st St.
That branch structure was built at a cost of $20,000 during the era of Postmaster James R. Wilson by the Campbell Construction Co., which owned the property and leased the building to the post office.
With its opening, the Broadway Station became the city’s fourth post office branch.
The other branches at that time were the Oak Park (2950 35th St.), Fort Sutter (2904 J St.) and North Sacramento (1719 Del Paso Blvd.) stations.
North Sacramento, which was once its own city, established a fourth class post office in 1915.
That post office was replaced by a contract branch of the U.S. Post Office Department five years later.
In 1944, that branch was made an official branch of the Sacramento Post Office.
The Fort Sutter Station dates back to 1926 when it opened at 2724 J St.
Around the same time that the Broadway Station began serving its first customers, a new location of the Fort Sutter Station opened at 3018 K St.
Fort Sutter Station is presently located at 1618 Alhambra Blvd.
A 1952 Sacramento Post Office list of locations recognizes the Broadway Station; the Fort Sutter Station; the Oak Park Station, 3540 4th Ave.; Colonial Station, 3749 Stockton Blvd.; the North Sacramento Branch, 1515 Del Paso Blvd.; and the Town & Country Village Branch, 2640 El Paso Lane.
Additionally, the post office’s contract stations at that time were 3200 Riverside Blvd., 4868 Freeport Blvd., 5651 Stockton Blvd., 3511 La Brea Way, 2996 65th St. and 4747 J St.
A city building inspector’s card, dated Nov. 24, 1970, recognizes a project to convert a 16,930-square-foot portion of the old Jumbo Market site at 5930 South Land Park Drive into a site for the Land Park Station post office at a cost of $130,000.
The architect of that project was Sooky Lee and the contractor was John F. Otto, Inc.
The old Broadway Station building on 21st Street is no longer used as a post office and the present Broadway Station is located at 2121 Broadway.
Sacramento is presently home to various U.S. Postal Service locations, including: Land Park Station; Fort Sutter Station; Downtown Plaza Station, 660 J St.; Oak Park Station, 2929 35th St.; Camellia Station, 4750 J St.; Colonial Station, 6024 44th St.; Parkway Branch, 4301 Brookfield Drive; Centre Station, 3545 El Camino Ave.; Arden Station, 2801 Arden Way; Town & Country Station, 2929 Fulton Ave., Ste. 19; Del Paso Heights Station, 3817 Marysville Blvd.; Discovery Station, 4700 Northgate Blvd.; Foothill Farms Branch, 5420 Kohler Ave.; Florin Station, 7250 Elk Grove-Florin Road; and Perkins Branch, 9500 Kiefer Blvd.
Editor’s Note: This is part two of a two-part series about the Sathre family and their former Carmichael business, Sathre Jewelers.
Among the early post World War II businesses of Carmichael was Sathre Jewelers, which debuted as Sathre’s Watch Shop on April 1, 1947.
The business was originally located in a 10-foot by 10-foot space in a furniture store on the west side of Fair Oaks Boulevard, just north of Marconi Avenue.
Ron Sathre, whose parents, Ray and Mary Sathre, were the proprietors of that business, said that he believes that his father was Carmichael’s first jeweler.
“I think that’s the case,” Ron said. “Later on there was a jeweler by Crestview Shopping Center, plus there was another one down by Marconi Avenue and Fair Oaks Boulevard.”
An advertisement in the Feb. 25, 1953 edition of The Sacramento Bee recognizes Sathre Jewelers as “Carmichael’s oldest and most complete jewelry service.”
The business’s address at that time was 2944 Fair Oaks Blvd.
Altogether, at separate times, Sathre Jewelers had five locations on the same side of Fair Oaks Boulevard.
In speaking about his family’s longtime connection to Carmichael, Ron said, “Robert Davis, my dad’s brother-in-law, his family had been in Carmichael for approximately a half-century (by 1947). So, his family had owned some property around there. And over at Palm Drive and Fair Oaks Boulevard, they had a couple of little places. They’re both there today and one is an antique shop. The first one on the right side on Palm Drive, that’s the antique shop, where my mom and dad stayed with my aunt and uncle when they first moved to Carmichael (in 1947). And they stayed in the back room, which was an add-on room. And Mom complained about the leaky roof. So, when it rained, they got rained on.”
Ron, who has a brother named Chuck Sathre and a sister named Vivian Sumner, recalled being raised by his mother while his father ran the store.
And in further speaking about his mother, Ron, who graduated from La Sierra High School in 1967, said, “She talked about having to go into Sacramento and buy supplies. They would go buy supplies for a dollar, dollar and a half in Sacramento and come back and sell them in Carmichael for 50 cents or 75 cents more to make some money. And that’s how they got into the wholesale end of things. Mom did multitasking before multitasking became popular.
“So, they had started out on a shoestring, basically. Just the two of them. That was in 1947, and I came along in July of 1949.”
And today, Chuck is carrying on the tradition of his father through his love of working on and collecting old clocks.
Vivian, a Carmichael resident, was born in January 1956 and graduated from La Sierra High in 1974.
The Sathre kids played an important role in the business, Ron explained.
“We would have to come over and put things away at night,” said Ron, who now resides in Rigby, Idaho. “On Saturdays, we would have to go over and help my dad open up the store and then close in the evening. And, of course, that interrupted our social (activities), and we didn’t want to do that. We wanted to get paid, and my dad would say, ‘Well, how much am I charging you for your room? How much am I charging you for your food?’ And it would bring reality to our faces pretty quickly. So, we would often say, ‘Ok, you got us. We like eating for free and we like having a place to sleep.’
“So, they were excellent parents. Mom and Dad taught us with their upbringing of good, Norwegian-German stock. You work hard, you play hard, you do the right things for the right reasons and you’ll get your appropriate reward.”
Ron, who joined the Army in 1970, said that his father was a very well respected businessman.
“My dad would bend over backward to help people,” Ron said. “If people couldn’t get off work until 6:30 (p.m.) or so – he would normally close at 6 (p.m.) – he would stay open until they got there. Conversely, in the mornings, he would get up early if someone needed to pick up a watch or their ring or whatever. So, he was very customer service oriented. Everybody loved my dad.
“I remember people sending their items to him for repair. They would move to Iowa, they would move to Florida, they would move to Massachusetts. And because they trusted my dad and nobody else to work on their wedding ring or their watch or their necklace or their clock, they would send it out to my dad to get fixed. And he would mail it back to them. So, that’s the kind of personality and customer service that my dad provided.”
Vivian added that her father would also make house calls for such large items as grandfather clocks.
Furthermore, Vivian said, “My parents were very supportive of the community, and very active in organizations. And they instilled a strong work ethic in us as kids, and my mom and dad could fix anything.”
Ron fondly recalled how his interest in auto racing had an influence on the business.
“One of the things that was interesting about Sathre Jewelers was I really got interested in cars in about 1965, 1966,” Ron said. “They had a West Coast NASCAR race out at the old fairgrounds, and they would be here in October. So, I said, ‘Hey, Dad, we ought to do something with that so that we can go to races and bring in business and so forth.’ And with that, I got connected with the guy who put on the races, and we began selling tickets for this West Coast NASCAR stockcar race at the fairgrounds. So, that brought customers in, plus I think we got a couple of free tickets to do that. And we also had our business mentioned on the radio as a ticket outlet.”
In another moment during the business’s history, Chuck and Ron began collecting coins through their involvement in the Boy Scouts.
That hobby led to the creation of a business venture known as Sathre’s Coin Corner.
In commenting about that experience, Ron said, “We saw what a business could turn into, and my mom and dad were always interested in business opportunities. So, we started selling coins. We called it Sathre’s Coin Corner. My dad actually gave up a 3-foot-wide by 4-foot-tall rotating showcase for us to put the coins in. So, we bought and sold coins and made some money doing that. My mother would buy coins from people walking in. Back then people would go up to Reno or Lake Tahoe and come back after they had won on the silver dollar machines, and pay for things in silver dollars. A win-win (situation). Some of those silver dollars are worth $18 or $20 a piece today, and back then the average silver dollar had a face value of $1.”
While Ray handled most of the duties of Sathre Jewelers, Mary established her own business.
And in commenting about that business, Ron said, “My mom got into the rental business on our property at 6124 Stanley Ave. They built a two-story building, rented the top part out in about 1960 or so, and then they built the bottom part and rented that out. And then in 1961, we went across the street and built a duplex, where we all grew up the other half of our lives. A couple of our first renters were 2nd Lt. Jerry O’Halloran and his wife, Linda. They lived there from May 21 to Dec. 1, 1960. (Jerry) was in the area for bombardier training at Mather Air Force Base.
“My mom was business smart to see the value of having rental properties, so that it would supplement their income. They could go do some of the things they wanted to do, while giving people nice and affordable places to live. So, my mom was in the rental business from about 1960 until she died.
“My mom was working all the time. As they say in German, hausfrau, (or) housewife or house woman (in English). My mom was an outdoor woman. She was watering, hoeing the garden, building, painting, mowing lawns. You name it, my mom was out there working.”
As for Sathre Jewelers, the business continued to serve the community until its closure in 1989.
Although Ray died at the age of 71 in 1989, and Mary died last February, their legacy remains strong in their longtime hometown of Carmichael.
Editor’s Note: This is the third article in a three-part series about Riverside-Pocket area native Ed Mauricio.
Ed Mauricio, who spent much of his time speaking about his early memories of the Riverside-Pocket area during an interview with this paper, has plenty to share from his 92 years of life.
And while offering highlights from his many life experiences, Mauricio recalled games he played during his youth.
“Oh, we played baseball, kick the can, if anybody remembers that (game),” Mauricio said. “(A can) was our toy. We played tag and hide and go seek or hide and seek or whatever it is. The kids would get together and play baseball. That was off Riverside (Road/now Riverside Boulevard), and sometimes we played on the street. I tried a little football, but I was too small for it. I got knocked out one time, so that was it for me. I was trying to qualify (for the C.K. McClatchy High School team) and some big guy knocked me on my butt and that was it.”
Mauricio not only played baseball, but he also attended professional baseball games at the ballpark at the southeast corner of Riverside Boulevard and Y Street (later Broadway).
In recalling those experiences, Mauricio said, “I went to the (Pacific Coast League) games when I was a kid. It wasn’t (initially) the (Sacramento) Solons. It was the (Sacramento) Senators. I went to the games when I was a kid, but not that often. I went to the games when Tony Freitas was pitching. He was a good pitcher (for Sacramento), then he went to the big leagues sometime during the war. I left (to join the Navy) in August of 1942. I didn’t see (the Solons) win the championship (in September 1942). I knew about it, but I didn’t see it. Then there was the guy (Sacramento native Joe Marty), who owned the bar (on Broadway) who played on the team.”
After attending Sutter School and California Junior High School, Mauricio became a student at McClatchy High in 1939.
Mauricio eventually spent 41 months serving his country in the Navy.
“I lived there (at 5890 Riverside Blvd. on the west side of the road near the levee) until I went into the Navy in 1942,” Mauricio said. “I went from Guadalcanal to Japan. We escorted the (USS) Missouri into Tokyo Bay. That was the ship I was on. And from shore, we hauled over big dignitaries to the Missouri for the surrender. Then we went out and picked up prisoners of war. We got one day of liberty in Tokyo. We didn’t get to see much. They all ran away from us.”
Mauricio did not return to live in the Riverside-Pocket area following the war.
However, he did become aware of the drastic changes that would eventually occur in the area.
In speaking about the development of the area, Mauricio said, “The area began to change when everybody started selling their property (to developers). The freeway really made a change. When the change came, I wasn’t living out there anymore. Maybe the farmers didn’t like the change, but change comes and you have to face it. I was kind of surprised (to learn that the area was being developed), but things were changing really fast after World War II. After I was in the service, I was never interested in doing anything with farming. I just wanted to get away from it all.”
Mauricio said that he returned to the area where he grew up for nostalgic visits to Conley’s Riverside Cash Store, which was located immediately south of Sutter School, an institution that operated at the present day address of 4605 Karbet Way.
“After I got out of the Navy, I went there (to Conley’s) a couple of times,” Mauricio said. “That’s where the bar was at, (and later became the Riverside Club).”
Although he did not complete his senior year of high school, Mauricio experienced a proud moment in his life when he earned his GED in 1946.
And on March 27, 1948, Mauricio married Eleanor Wood, who he lived with until her death in 1991.
Together Mauricio and Eleanor had four children, Linda, David, Mark and Renee.
In 1992, Mauricio began a relationship with Sylvia Suverkrop.
And in speaking about that relationship, he said, “We’re partners. We just live together. We came to the decision not to get married, because of finances. It’s like being married. We’ve been together for 23 years, (beginning) about 18 months after my wife passed. It’s been a great relationship.”
In sharing details about his career, Mauricio said, “I went to McClellan Field. I started off with what they called fire and borders to assistant foreman to foreman to general foreman, then to mechanical superintendent. And we were responsible for all the heating, air conditioning and the fueling systems on the base. This was all civilian work. I had a total, including my Navy time and a couple years at Signal Depot, of 41 years. I started working at the Signal Depot in the later part of 1946, maybe in 1947. I started at McClellan in 1950 or 1951, I think. Then I retired from McClellan in 1983.”
While leaning back in a padded chair in his home, Mauricio contently said, “I’ve enjoyed my retirement. I retired when I was 61. I’ve played golf and took it easy. I’ve enjoyed it. I didn’t volunteer for anything. I go day to day. I’ve golfed at different courses – Land Park, Davis, Haggin Oaks, Bing Maloney, Emerald Lakes (in Elk Grove). I’ve golfed at 8 or 10 different courses. I tell people I used to golf, and now I try to golf. The lowest (score) I ever got was a 12 handicap. That was in my younger days. Today, I’m not talking.”
But Mauricio had no problem sharing his proudest golf moment, as he said, “I got a hole-in-one in 1981 at Diamond Oaks (Golf Course) in Roseville, number three hole.”
In summarizing his 92 years of life – the majority of which he has spent in the Sacramento area – Mauricio said, “I think I did great. I’m happy. I live day to day and I don’t worry about tomorrow. So, I guess I did great, a lot better than I started. I went from welfare to what I am today. I’m very thankful. Everything was great for me.”
Editor’s Note: This is part one of a two-part series about the Sathre family and their former Carmichael business, Sathre Jewelers.
For many longtime, local residents, the death of Mary Victoria Sathre at the age of 89 on Feb. 26, conjures up memories of a former, well-known Carmichael business and the family who operated it.
That business, Sathre Jewelers, was founded on April 1, 1947 by Mary and her husband, a jeweler named Raymond Emmet “Ray” Sathre.
Ray died on Feb. 10, 1989, only two days after he turned 71 years old. And the jewelry store ceased operations 49 days later and two days shy of the business’s 42nd anniversary.
Although Ray and Mary Sathre became well known residents of Carmichael, relatively few locals are familiar with their lives prior to the founding of their popular business.
Serving as the main spokesperson for his family for this series, Ron Sathre, who was the first-born of the three children of Ray and Mary, shared details about his parents’ upbringing by immigrants from Norway and Germany, respectively.
“My dad grew up in Tuttle, N.D. on a farm, (about 44 miles from east of Bismarck),” Ron said. “(His parents, Hans and Kari Sathre) came from Saetre, Norway in about 1908. The kids learned to speak Norwegian first and then English.
“In Norway back then, which was over 100 years ago, they had the custom of being named after the farm that you lived on, and so my grandfather lived on one farm and my grandmother lived on another farm. And two other people lived on two other farms that were co-located at Saetre. That’s the Norwegian spelling. But when they came to America, they changed it to Sathre. Although there were four separate farms, they all had the same last name.”
In speaking about his mother and her parents, Ron said, “Mom grew up in Saugus, Calif. on a farm made up of sand, sage brush and oak trees. They had grapes, wheat, cattle, goats, rabbits and other animals. So, she had a good, but rough life as a child. She learned German first and then had to learn English when she went to school. She had to walk, I think she said, two miles to school, sometimes barefooted. She skipped eighth grade and was promoted to the next grade that her older sister, Maggie, was in. They both graduated from San Fernando High School in June 1942.
“Her parents (Joseph ‘Joe’ and Minna ‘Minnie’ Nurenberger Warmuth) came from Germany. They did not know each other. I know my grandfather, Joseph Warmuth, came over in about 1897. He worked in a butcher’s shop in New York, and then he moved to be with his brothers in Los Angeles, where he worked as a butcher. He married (Minnie) in Los Angeles in about 1912.”
Ron added that his grandparents in North Dakota were married in Wisconsin in about 1910, and that his father grew up with three sisters and three brothers, and his mother grew up with two sisters and three brothers.
Ray, who attended teachers’ college after high school, continued to reside in North Dakota until 1942 when he joined the Navy during World War II.
After placing in the top five in his class as an aviation machinist’s mate in Norman, Okla., Ray was sent to Consolidated Aircraft training in San Diego, where he worked on the famous B-24 Liberator bombers.
Ron said that his own existence may have been predicated upon the timeliness of Japan’s unconditional surrender to the Allies following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
“My father was in the Navy until the end of the war,” Ron said. “He got out in February of 1946. He was on Iwo Jima at the end of World War II, and they were poised to invade Japan (through the two-part allied plan, ‘Operation Downfall,’ which was intended to begin in October 1945) had Japan not surrendered. It was a good thing they did. Otherwise, I might not be here.”
After returning to civilian life, Ray remained in California and began working for a jeweler.
In speaking about his father’s decision to work for that jeweler, Ron said, “Interestingly enough, after World War II, he went back to his hobby of watch repairing. He loved working on the watches with the small parts. So, the engines that he worked on that were sometimes maybe 6 feet in diameter got traded in for these little watch parts that are about a quarter-inch in diameter. He was working for a jeweler in Beverly Hills to better learn the trade. This was still in 1946.”
Ron explained that it was also in 1946 when Ray met Mary.
“In July 1946, Mom went to the Figueroa Ballroom (at 1925 South Figueroa Street) in Los Angeles, which was a normal thing for everybody to do back then,” Ron said. “They didn’t have all this entertainment, big screen TVs and all that. So, my mom is sort of hanging around looking to dance with somebody and my dad was sort of looking around to dance with somebody. Finally, he asked her to dance and she found out that my dad was in the Navy and then was becoming a watch repairer. And she said, ‘Isn’t that funny, because I’m dating this other guy who was also in the Navy and who is also becoming a watch repairer guy or jeweler.’ But he was a little shorter and fatter. My dad was taller and thinner, so my mom was attracted to my dad along with his spark and personality.
“At the end of the evening, my dad said, ‘Gee, I’d like to see you again.’ My mom being pretty smart knew what the lay of the land was, and the lay of the land was that she didn’t have a phone at the ranch in Saugus. She didn’t want to appear as somebody without any money or means, and so she said, ‘Give me a nickel and I’ll call you basically when my schedule allows.’ My mom was pretty smart, and, of course, you could make a phone call back then for a nickel. So, my mom got the nickel from my dad and she called him and they started dating.
“That went through August of 1946, and by the time September rolled around, my aunt (Madeline “Maggie” Warmuth Davis) had met an Army guy (named Robert ‘Bob’ Davis), who was from Carmichael. They decided to get married, and my mom and dad decided to get married, so they all hopped in their cars and drove from Los Angeles to Las Vegas to have a double ring ceremony. And so that was pretty special, and that’s how it all got started in September of 1946.”
Ron added that it was not long after his parents’ marriage that they accepted an invitation to move to property owned by the Davis family in Carmichael.
“My mom and dad were living down on the ranch in Saugus, and my aunt said, ‘Why don’t you guys come to Carmichael? It’s a pretty nice place up here, and they don’t have a jeweler,’” Ron said. “And so, my mom and dad drove up. Back then Interstate 5 wasn’t there and Highway 99 went through Turlock and Modesto and Bakersfield and everywhere in between. So, they took the long drive up to Carmichael and they liked it, and it didn’t have a jeweler, and so Mom and Dad moved to Carmichael and started the business on April 1, 1947.”
Gunther’s Ice Cream, one of the city’s iconic, old-time businesses, will host a celebration of its 75th anniversary with a variety of attractions this Saturday, May 16.
Food, giveaways, speeches, other amusements
The event, which will be held from noon to 4 p.m. at Gunther’s at 2801 Franklin Blvd., will include meals of a grilled hot dog, drink, chips and dessert for $5. And a complimentary raffle ticket will be given to each person who purchases a each meal.
Raffle ticketholders will have opportunities to win one of four bicycles (two adult and two kids’ bikes) donated by Mike’s Bikes at 1411 I St., as well as various $25 gift cards throughout the day.
Scheduled to speak at the event are Mayor Kevin Johnson, and former Gunther’s employees, Supervisor Phil Serna and Darin Gale, Yuba City’s city director of development services.
Other special features of the day will include an appearance by Dinger, the Sacramento River Cats’ mascot, music with a disc jockey, face painters, balloon art, temporary tattoos, bubbles, a magician and a photo booth that will include an image of “Jugglin’ Joe,” the ice cream scoop juggling character who is featured on the large, locally famous neon sign above Gunther’s front door.
In commenting about the photo booth and the event, in general, Marlena Klopp, co-owner of Gunther’s, said, “(The booth is) going to show the picture of ‘Jugglin’ Joe’ and the neon sign, and when you stand in front of it, it will look like you’re standing in front of the store. All the activities are complimentary. We are selling the hot dogs. We want to make it inexpensive for the customers, and just (have) a day to come out and have a good time.”
During the event, the street will be closed on the north side of Gunther’s, and a large tent will extend on 3rd Avenue from Franklin Boulevard to 30th Street.
And as for the shop itself, business will be conducted as usual during the hours of this special gathering.
As a tribute to the past, the business’s employees will be dressed in Gunther’s attire that will be reminiscent of the business’s early years. The male employees will be wearing black pants, white shirts and black bow ties, while the female employees will be wearing dresses with black aprons.
In addition to celebrating its 75th anniversary this weekend, Gunther’s also has the notoriety of being the city’s oldest continuously operating ice cream parlor.
According to information provided by the business’s owners, Gunther’s was opened in April 1940, and its original proprietors were German immigrant William H. “Pop” Gunther and his Kentucky-born wife, Iva Gunther.
Gunther’s originally operated in a 12-foot by 40-foot business space at 3003 Franklin Blvd., at 5th Avenue, and in December 1949, the business was relocated to its current site.
In a meeting with this publication last week, Marlena and her husband, Rick, discussed a variety of details about Gunther’s history and operations.
Marlena, who graduated from Bishop Manogue High School in 1977 and was married to Rick three years later, commented about the earliest years of Gunther’s, saying, “They had some great glory days there (at the original Gunther’s location). Back in 1940 when the Gunthers opened (their ice cream parlor), it was a booming business for them. It was before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. But there was a time when they were down there (at that location) that the butter fat and the sugar ration was going on. There were days when they couldn’t even open that store (for) more than 10 days out of the month, because they couldn’t get the product. They still had the customers. People would just come in there and bombard them, kind of like they’re doing here (today). And so, when the rationing was lifted, they just started to boom again. And that’s when they decided to open a bigger store. This (present store location) was an empty lot and Mr. Gunther set his sights on this site.”
The business was later run under different proprietorships at various times.
After being asked how he became involved with Gunther’s, Rick said, “I got started in the ice cream business at Shasta Ice Cream. (At that time), they had a little shop over here (on 21st Street, near) Freeport Boulevard by the railroad tracks. I started working there in 1963 when I was 16. I was living in Hollywood Park at 5640 Helen Way. I graduated from McClatchy (High School) in 1965. (William H. Gunther’s son, Dick) Gunther died (at the age of 42 on March 15, 1967), and the guy who owned Shasta Ice Cream was an older gentleman (the aforementioned Wert Irwin). He was probably in his late 80s, so he wanted to close the place down. He told me to (seek employment at Gunther’s), because (Dick) Gunther died and they needed a manager. So, I came here (to Gunther’s) and started working here in 1969.
Rick eventually became a minority owner of Gunther’s, and then during the summer of 1974, he purchased the business outright.
And after purchasing the business, he acquired his first delivery truck. That truck, which has since been restored, will be present at Saturday’s event.
Marlena described Gunther’s as a much different place than it was when her husband acquired it.
“When (the Gunthers) moved down here (to its present location), they did very well until the freeway went in and divided the town,” Marlena said. “So, when Rick bought it, it was not a thriving business at all. But it has been built up since then.”
Although Gunther’s is presently a single location business, during part of its history, it had three other locations – 5001 Freeport Blvd., 1186 35th Ave. and 2870 Fulton Ave.
Gunther’s story would not be complete without references to some of its many edible offerings.
Included on the parlor’s menu are ice cream cones, sundaes, milkshakes, smoothies, fruit freezes (regular or with ice cream), Hawaiian shaved ice, ice cream cakes and pies and a wide variety of dipped chocolate items.
In addition to its sugary treats, Gunther’s also serves a variety of sandwiches, and hot dogs and chili dogs.
Certainly, beyond its popular food, Gunther’s has a longtime positive reputation with many people in and outside of Sacramento, Marlene explained.
“The biggest thing is the loyalty of the people of Sacramento, and the people who have been in Sacramento and have come back,” Marlena said. “There are unbelievable stories. They’ll be going some place up north and going down south to go to Disneyland, and they will have to make this their stop. And we hear those stories all the time. Even if they’re not in Sacramento, they will always make their way back around (to Gunther’s).”
And in speaking about the future of Gunther’s Ice Cream, Marlena said, “We’re hoping we can take it past 100 (years), and I believe that there are people here that can take it there.”