Gunther’s Ice Cream to celebrate 75th anniversary May 16

Gunther’s Ice Cream parlor at 2801 Franklin Blvd. is shown in this 1949 photograph. Photo courtesy of Rick and Marlena Klopp
Gunther’s Ice Cream parlor at 2801 Franklin Blvd. is shown in this 1949 photograph. Photo courtesy of Rick and Marlena Klopp

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.

Gunther’s history

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.”

Former East Sacramento resident shares his early memories

Jim McFall, who grew up in East Sacramento, holds a copy of his senior year portrait. He graduated from Sacramento High School in February 1942. Photo by Lance Armstrong
Jim McFall, who grew up in East Sacramento, holds a copy of his senior year portrait. He graduated from Sacramento High School in February 1942. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Jim McFall served his country in both the Navy and the Army Air Corps during World War II. Photo by Lance Armstrong
Jim McFall served his country in both the Navy and the Army Air Corps during World War II. Photo by Lance Armstrong

At 90 years old, Jim McFall, who grew up in East Sacramento, enjoys reminiscing about the early years of his life. And it is because of that fact that he did not hesitate in accepting an offer to share some of those memories with readers of this publication.
Last week, while sitting alongside his wife, Patricia “Pat” (Lyons) McFall, who he married on Sept. 4, 1947, Jim flipped through his copy of Sacramento High School’s 1941 Review yearbook, as well as newspaper clipping and other mementos from his high school years.
He quickly became engrossed in the contents of those items, as he pointed to photographs of his former classmates and told stories about their activities during and after high school.
A few of his comments during that portion of his meeting with this paper were:
“Patty O’Connor, she was a pretty girl and pretty popular, too.
“There’s the Manana Club. That was the rich girls in East Sacramento. Martha Harrold (the daughter of automobile dealer Ellsworth Harrold). There was a heck of a lot of them. Well, the Breuners (of Breuner’s home furnishing store at 6th and K streets) had four girls. But it was that class of people who all formed the Del Paso Country Club.
“Phaedo was one of the boys’ clubs. They thought they were the best and were wrong.
Kerry Cutter was one of the officers in their boys’ club. The Cutter family (who resided in Curtis Park) was in (insurance) and real estate.
“The Butlers were pretty prominent in town, too. They lived on 41st Street, between J and L (streets). And they had a couple of kids, (including) Jean, who married Fred Carnie.
The Carnies, they opened up an awning, (tent and venetian blinds business at 515 L St.).”
After pointing to a photograph of a group of boys, Jim said, “This is the track team. Dr. Sutan wouldn’t pass me, because I had a fluttering heart and he wouldn’t give me the physical pass, and I couldn’t run in most of the events. I had been grounded, but I ran the 880 (yard)/half-mile on the same unit as (the future prominent California landscape artist) Greg Kondos.”
In speaking about his family, Jim said, “My father was (Winters, Calif. native) Walter Wyatt McFall and my mother was (Volcano, Calif. native) Vera Marie (Gilmore) McFall.
Connie Lou (who was four years older than Jim) was my sister and my brother was Bill. He was so much younger than me. When I went in the service, he was in the 5th grade or so.”
As far as his own schooling, Jim, prior to becoming a student at Sacramento High, attended David Lubin School at 3575 K St., Kit Carson Junior High School at 1300 54th St., and Sutter Junior High School at 1820 K St.
Although Jim was born in East Sacramento at the old Sutter Maternity Hospital – the original name of Sutter Memorial Hospital – he said that his first home was in Red Bluff.
“My father and two other men owned a (bus) stage line and lived in Red Bluff and had (stops in) Redding, Red Bluff, Marysville and Yuba City and Sacramento. Now when my mother was pregnant, she came down to Sacramento to stay with her sister-in-law, and the baby (Jim) was born in the old, wooden hospital. So, I was born in (East) Sacramento, but my parents’ actual residence was in Red Bluff.”
Jim mentioned that he has an early childhood recollection of his father driving a Packard automobile.
“My father’s car had the little vases in the windows and just about every weekend, we would go for a ride and pick flowers, and my job was to put them in the little vases of the car,” Jim recalled. “He never really took to cars, except the Packard. That to him was the car. Every (owner) of the bus line drove a Packard.”
Jim also shared a fond memory related to the other owner of the bus line.
“The other owner of the bus line was Wert Irwin, who had an ice creamery (called the Shasta Ice Cream Co.) on what would now be Broadway (and 28th Street). It had the best in the world ice cream. And as kids, with my dad, we would go in there on making of ice cream days when (Irwin) was whipping it up, and get whipped ice cream. It was the best thing you ever tasted. And he would take it out of the freezer and you would eat it. And I never will forget Wert’s ice cream.”
The McFalls, as Jim recalled, were living in Oakland in about 1928 and were residing in East Sacramento by the following year, when the family moved to 3921 N St.
Jim fondly spoke about a special feature of his former N Street home.
“That was one of the first places I ever remember my folks having a record player with flat records, and my mother had quite a few Enrico Caruso records,” Jim said.
It was also at that time that Walter was operating his own hardware store at 910 J St. He had previously run a hardware store in Oakland.
Regarding that business, Jim said, “His hardware store made what money they did off of contractors and he (provided supplies for) quite a few things for a contractor named Walter Campbell. And he and Walt Campbell got to be quite good friends, so much to the point that my sister and I went to swim in the Campbells’ swimming pool, which was really one of the few (swimming pools) around.”
From at least mid-April 1930 to about 1935, the McFalls resided at 1034 40th St.
And while living in that house, in about 1932, Walter closed his hardware store, and then spent many years working for the Diamond Match Co. at 2826 Q St.
Jim said that “the bank eventually took over the hardware store.” The store was replaced by the dental office of Dr. Paul Ehorn.
The McFalls resided at 2018 M St. (now Capitol Avenue) from about 1935 to 1938, but returned to live in East Sacramento in a home at 1035 40th St., across the street from their previous home in that area. Walter continued to own that home until the mid-1940s.
Research for this article revealed that Walter and Vera’s longtime residency in Sacramento dates back to before their time living in East Sacramento.
The 1920 U.S. Census recognizes Walter and Vera as residing in the capital city and notes that Walter was then a merchant in a hardware store.
Walter was residing in Sacramento by at least 1919 and operating Oakley’s hardware store at the aforementioned address of 910 J St., with Charles E. Trouse.
That store was established by Horace Lewis in about 1902, and named Oakley’s about four years later, when it was purchased by Paul Oakley.
Walter acquired his portion of the business directly from Oakley, who had partnered with Trouse, a former clerk and salesman with the Emigh-Winchell Hardware Co., in about 1918.
About six years later, Oakley’s became Trouse & Son hardware store and Walter began working as a clerk at Motor Carrier Terminals at 5th and I streets. And by April 1924, he was a resident of Red Bluff.
In returning to the topic of his schooling, Jim, who graduated from Sacramento High School in February 1942, spoke about one of his favorite topics – serving as the student body president of that school.
Among Jim’s old newspaper articles from his high school days is one, which, in part, reads: “By a sweeping majority, Jim Fall was elected president of the student body for the fall term (of the 1941-42 school year), last Friday. Jim McFall totaled 1,148 votes, winning from Nina Giordano and Don Yost.
“Other student body officers are Jac (sic) Stack, boys’ vice president; Janeth Calvert, girls’ vice president; Patty O’Connor, student body secretary; and Joe Goodwin, yell leader.”
Although it has been 73 years since he served as the school’s student body president, Jim said that position proved to be his greatest legacy.
“There are more people that remember me, not as a hero, but as the president of the (student body of the high) school than anything else I did,” Jim said.
Following high school years, Jim served his country during World War II.
Jim initially began serving in the Navy as a pilot, but he was eventually told by a doctor that he had an equilibrium issue that would permit him from flying at night.
Because of that situation, Jim made arrangements to join the Army Air Corps, and he began working on a bomber, but not as a pilot. His base was in the Galapagos Islands.
After the war ended, Jim returned to Sacramento, where he would eventually spend 35 years working for The Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Co./later known as AT&T California.
And with his wife, Pat, he began a family, and has two sons, Scott and Robert.
In concluding his meeting with this publication, Jim mentioned that he feels fortunate to have grown up as one of the kids of East Sacramento during the 1930s and 1940s.
“Everybody knew each other, and (the kids) didn’t really basically notice who you were and what you had or who your father was. It was fun.”

Squeeze Inn’s history includes founding in East Sacramento, recent fire at former building

A fire occurred at the old Squeeze Inn on Fruitridge Road on May 14. Shown in this recent photograph is the back of the building, which reveals the majority of the structure’s exterior damage caused by the fire. Photo by Lance Armstrong

A fire occurred at the old Squeeze Inn on Fruitridge Road on May 14. Shown in this recent photograph is the back of the building, which reveals the majority of the structure’s exterior damage caused by the fire. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Editor’s note: This is part two of a two-part series about the history of the Squeeze Inn restaurant.

The popular Squeeze Inn restaurant chain, as noted in the first article of this series, has a long history, which began with a single location in East Sacramento.
But most longtime Squeeze Inn customers do not recall a location of the business prior to its operation at 7918 Fruitridge Road, where a suspicious fire coincidentally occurred on May 14, about nine hours after the first article of this series was printed.
Ruth Noblett, widow of Ken Noblett, who co-founded the Squeeze Inn in 1982, explained that the business’s existence at 4087 C St. in East Sacramento was short-lived due to a change in plans by the building and property’s owner, the East Sacramento business, National Linen Service, at 3391 Lanatt St.
“In January 1986, Ken got a letter that (National Linen was) going to tear that building down and make it a parking lot for their trucks, so he had to vacate,” Ruth said. “The last day we were open at that location was Valentine’s Day of 1986. Then we started looking for another place and we both took other jobs.”
But only about a year would pass before the Squeeze Inn would relocate to Fruitridge Road.
In recalling early details regarding that location, Ruth said, “(Ken) was on his way to the dump, actually, when he saw a little bitty sign in the window at 7918 Fruitridge Road. He went in and had a hard time getting them to rent it to him, but they finally did.
“It had 11 stools and we opened that one in March of 1987. And then Ken and I ran and operated it. We had a cook. His name was Dave Rendle. A lot of people thought he owned part of it, but he didn’t. He lived in the little apartment above our garage (on Arvilla Drive). And so, it was Ken and me and Dave, our cook.”
Ruth said that a death in their family and Ken’s poor health, led them to sell their beloved Sacramento restaurant.
“We had buried a child, and we were ready to move away and do something different,” Ruth recalled. “And Ken had always wanted to live on a farm, and so that’s what we did. We bought a farm here (in Stockton, Mo.). That was in 2001. Our son died in 1999. And Ken had a massive heart attack in 1994 also.”
Ruth added that it was also during 2001 when Ken sold the Squeeze Inn.
“We operated it until we sold it to Travis (Hausauer), who owns it now,” Ruth said. “Actually, we were selling it to Ken’s friend, Greg Svoboda. Don’t ask me where (that name) comes from. He was a huge Indian guy, and he didn’t have any money. And so, he brought in his friend that he had been in Desert Storm with, who was Travis Hausauer. He was the one who brought Travis in, because Travis’ (parents, Eugene and Lucinda Louise ‘Cindy’ Hausauer; and his aunt, Louise Dowdell) could underwrite. (They) loaned them money. And the two of them bought the Squeeze Inn on Fruitridge (Road) from us.”
Svoboda died two years following that sale, and Hausauer has since continued to build upon the popularity of the restaurant that he acquired.
The operation of the old Squeeze Inn on Fruitridge Road is only a memory, but the business is flourishing with nine locations – 1630 K Street, 5301 Power Inn Road, Suite 100, and single locations in Roseville, Galt, Yuba City, Madera, Vacaville, Tracy and Napa.

Ken and Ruth Noblett are shown in front of the first of their two Squeeze Inn locations in Stockton, Mo. This establishment’s first Stockton structure was lost in a tornado in April 2002. Photo courtesy of Ruth Noblett

Ken and Ruth Noblett are shown in front of the first of their two Squeeze Inn locations in Stockton, Mo. This establishment’s first Stockton structure was lost in a tornado in April 2002. Photo courtesy of Ruth Noblett

On April 13, the West Sacramento Squeeze Inn location at 1350 Harbor Boulevard was closed. But with the Madera eatery’s opening four days later, the business’s location total returned to nine.
The popularity and somewhat cult-like following of the Squeeze Inn was evident due to the many locals who expressed their sorrow and disappointment regarding the news of the May 14 fire at the old Squeeze Inn building on Fruitridge Road.
After responding to the fire at about 8:20 p.m., the Sacramento Fire Department was able to contain the fire in about 10 minutes.
The fire, which caused mostly interior damage to the building, was deemed suspicious due to the structure’s vacancy and barred entries, and is under investigation as a suspicious incident.
As for the Nobletts, despite selling their business in Sacramento, it would not be long before they would return to their routine of operating a Squeeze Inn restaurant.
After moving to Stockton, Ken decided to establish a Squeeze Inn in that little Missouri town, which has no stoplights and a population of about 2,000.
The location of that eatery, which opened at the address of #10 Public Square, in April 2002, served the community well until a tornado blew its building away on May 4, 2003.
Ruth said that she had to be talked into continuing the existence of Stockton’s Squeeze Inn.
“We had a partner (Rod Tucker) and dissolved that partnership after the tornado,” Ruth said. “I didn’t (want to continue the business). I wanted to retire. (Ken) really wanted to and Rod really wanted to, so they kind of talked me into it.”
Additionally, Ruth said that because of a high interest loan, they “couldn’t really not reopen.”
The second Squeeze in Stockton opened at 404 Arby Road in October 2004.
Ken died at the age of 63 in November 2009, and Ruth has been the sole owner of the business since that time.
Ruth noted that she has some good news in terms of the continuance of Stockton’s Squeeze Inn.
“Our son (Gabe) has just told me that he wants to carry on his mommy and daddy’s legacy,” Ruth said. “He graduates from Missouri State (University) in December. He wants to take (the restaurant) over, because I’m ready to retire. I’m getting ready to turn 64 and I’m tired.”
And as for the expansion of the Squeeze Inn in Sacramento, Ruth said, “What’s really funny about it is my husband was a frustrated comedian, truly, and that restaurant was his stage. And one of his routines, really, was people would say, ‘You should open one in such and such a town.’ And my husband would always joke and say, ‘Oh, I have too small of a mind to do that. I can’t do that.’ So, when we found out that Travis had opened other ones, and that they were still serving quality food for a good price, we were thrilled. I mean, literally thrilled.”

Odd Fellows Lawn Cemetery was founded more than a century ago

The Odd Fellows Lawn Cemetery is located at 2720 Riverside Blvd. Its office, shown above, is located just inside the cemetery’s gates. Photo by Lance Armstrong

The Odd Fellows Lawn Cemetery is located at 2720 Riverside Blvd. Its office, shown above, is located just inside the cemetery’s gates. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Editor’s Note: This is part 10 in a series regarding Sacramento area cemeteries.

Odd Fellows Lawn Cemetery at 2720 Riverside Blvd. is among the city’s historic cemeteries, as it dates back to the early part of the 20th century.
But that cemetery’s history links directly to earlier established burial grounds: the Odd Fellows plot at the old city cemetery, which is officially known today as the Sacramento Historic City Cemetery.
In telling the story of Odd Fellows burial sites in the capital city, it is perhaps best to present a brief introduction to the existence of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows in Sacramento.
General A.M. Winn, who would eventually become Sacramento’s first mayor to be elected under a state charter and the founder of the Native Sons of the Golden West, is recognized as introducing Odd Fellowship in the city as early as August 1849.
According to the 1913 book, “History of Sacramento County, California,” Winn desired to form that local, informal organization of Odd Fellows for the “purpose of affording relief to the sick members of the order, as well as to others.”
The same book praised the early work of the Odd Fellows, noting, “Their noble deeds should never be forgotten, for they spared neither time, work, nor money in relieving the distress and sickness that were prevalent at that time.”
The city’s first I.O.O.F. lodge was Sacramento Lodge No. 2, which was instituted on Jan. 28, 1851 and is recognized today as the oldest continuously operating Odd Fellows lodge in California.
The charter members of the lodge, which originally met in the Masonic Hall at 5th and J streets, were: Horatio E. Roberts, G.H. Peterson, George G. Wright, Lucins A. Booth, Samuel Deal, M. Kaliski, Robert Robinson, Noble C. Cunningham, M.C. Collins and William Childs.
In 1862, the local Odd Fellows Hall Association, which was organized on July 8, 1862 and was incorporated 17 days later, acquired the four-story St. George Hotel building, which was constructed at the southeast corner of 4th and J streets during the previous decade and was originally known as the Dawson House. The lodge quarters were located on the upper three floors, while businesses operated on the ground floor.
About eight years later, a newly constructed, four-story Odd Fellows temple opened at the northeast corner of 9th and K streets.
The aforementioned 1913 county history book notes that the 9th and K streets temple was “at that time the finest structure in the city, with the exception of the Capitol.”
Today, local Odd Fellows lodges meet at 1831 Howe Ave.
An article in the Nov. 25, 1861 edition of The Sacramento Union lists the chief duty and command of the Odd Fellows as being “to visit the sick, relieve the distressed, bury the dead and educate the orphan.”
In a reference to that institution’s early assistance to burying the dead, the 1913 county history book noted: “Rough pine coffins had ranged from $60 to $150, and even then the supply was far from sufficient, so hundreds had been buried without being wrapped in a blanket. The Odd Fellows spent thousands of dollars for coffins and when General Winn became the executive director of the city, no man was refused a coffin burial.”
According to a marker at the old Odd Fellows plot in the Sacramento Historic City Cemetery, the initial portion of that plot was purchased in 1861, and expansions of the plot were made in 1868 and 1878.
The grounds for the Odd Fellows Lawn Cemetery were bought from the city in 1900.
On Dec. 4, 1902, the cemetery’s articles of incorporation were developed under the name of Odd Fellows Lawn Cemetery Association.
The articles of incorporation of the Sutter Realty Co., a full endowment nonprofit cemetery corporation, were established on Feb. 11, 1905.
The corporation adopted various rules and regulations in regard to governing the operation of the cemetery on Aug. 2, 1932, and two months later, it obtained its nonprofit status.
Anthony F. “Tony” Pruitt, Odd Fellow Lawn’s manager, spoke about the cemetery’s formation, saying, “To me, the cemetery’s existence was poorly planned. Basically, configuration wise, I don’t think they knew what they were doing at that time. They put things here, they put things there. I find nothing in the records of a plan of how it was going to be laid out.”
The 22-acre Odd Fellows Lawn Cemetery includes two parcels.
The smallest of these parcels, about a 2-acre parcel, runs along the southern boundary of the property, and was purchased from the Sacramento Municipal Utility District for $4,502 on Jan. 13, 1958.
On the west end of the cemetery, running north to south, is a mausoleum.

The Fratt family mausoleum is among the cemetery’s four private mausoleums on the cemetery grounds. Photo by Lance Armstrong

The Fratt family mausoleum is among the cemetery’s four private mausoleums on the cemetery grounds. Photo by Lance Armstrong

The original, center portion of the mausoleum was constructed in 1959 and extensions of the building were added in 1978 and 1994.
The mausoleum’s original section was named Chapel of Peace, while other sections of the structure were named Court of Faith, Court of Friendship, Court of Hope and Court of Tranquility.
In addition to the public mausoleum, the cemetery also includes the private mausoleums of the Ochsner, James, Porter and Fratt families.
According to Odd Fellows Lawn records, the first interment at the cemetery occurred on Aug. 6, 1905.
It was on that date that Georgie Zimmerman was buried at the cemetery. She died at the age of 30 five days earlier.
Also interred at the cemetery are former U.S. Rep. John E. Moss (1915-1997) and Anne Noel Fazio (1973-1995), who was the daughter of former U.S. Rep. Vic Fazio.
Located within the southwest portion of the cemetery is a 19th century city potter’s field with unmarked graves. The people who were buried in that section were done so, because they were either indigents or had no known families.
In sharing additional history about the cemetery, Justin Wilkins, groundskeeper at Odd Fellows Lawn, said that a long row of hedges that once marked the northern boundary of the cemetery was removed in 1968.
“The funny thing is that after the hedges were removed, our cemetery actually expanded by 3 feet,” Wilkins said. “We don’t know why they were removed. They could have been dying, but then they could have been removed simply to gain more burial space.”
It was not the first time that such action was taken at the cemetery, Pruitt explained.
“(Beginning in 1968), service roads on the property were converted to burial plots and now are called tiers,” Pruitt said. “Also, there was once a parking lot behind our office (at the front of the cemetery) that now has graves on it, and is referred to as Section P.”
Additionally, Wilkins said, “A house was once located on the cemetery grounds, which was occupied by various people, including one of the managers (Robert E. Uhls) of the cemetery. In 1971, the board most likely decided they needed to do an expansion of the cemetery property, so they decided to tear down the (then 29-year-old) house (which had the address of 2746 Riverside Blvd.).”
In addition to Uhls, who lived in the house from about 1966 to 1971, other residents of the home were: Donald G. and Clara G. Monroe (residents from 1942 to about 1944), Marjorie G. Duncan (about 1945 to about 1947), William E. and Mildred R. La Due (about 1948 to about 1950), Benjamin F. Quigley, Jr. and Margaret Quigley (about 1951 to about 1953), Vera Abbott (about 1954 to about 1955) and Clara E. Eaton (about 1957 to about 1965).
Like the neighboring Masonic Lawn Cemetery, Odd Fellows Lawn Cemetery is not limited in use to those associated with a respective fraternal order.
And in making an announcement regarding that topic, Pruitt said, “At the end of this month, hopefully there will be a sign hanging on that clock out there (in front of the cemetery, reading) ‘open to the public.’ Our statement tells you that we’re open to everybody, but they don’t understand that, so I need a sign (which reads) ‘open to the public.’”
Additionally, Pruitt assured the community that Odd Fellows Lawn has a stable future.
“We are here forever,” Pruitt said. “Basically, as a fraternal organization, which owns this property, nothing is going to happen to this property. It will stay here and stay here. There are other (Odd Fellows) organizations that will take over for us, if we’re not here (some day). We have people in Stockton and in Yuba City, Shingle Springs, Placerville. It will always be Odd Fellows Lawn Cemetery.”

The Janey Way gang: Where are They Now?

I recently completed the 81 episode of Janey Way Memories. So, I think this column provides a good juncture to review what has happened to various members of our gang since we played on the street of Janey Way over 50 years ago.
Let’s begin with Gary Costagmagna who invented the hubcap trick and constructed the Janey Way tree house on the edge of the pit (the vacated sand and gravel site behind the houses on the east side of our street.)
After attending Sacramento City College, Gary joined the Sacramento City Fire Department where he rose to the position of Fire Chief before retiring. He lives with his wife Penny in El Dorado Hills these days and enjoys reading this column.
Gary’s brother Jim moved to Montana in the 1970s, and began a career with the Montana Department of Forestry. Like his brother, Jim worked as a fire fighter. He recently retired and resides with his wife in a home near Missoula Montana.
Harry Viani, who had the famous scuffle with Kenny Stone on the side of St. Mary’s Church, attended the University of Santa Clara, and then entered dental school at Marquette University. He still practices here in Sacramento.
Harry’s cousin, “little” Lou Viani attended U.C. Berkeley after leaving Janey Way. He works as an architect locally, and has done much to beautify the skyline of our wonderful city. Lou and I lunch out occasionally and reminisce about our exploits in the pit and on the basketball court at St. Mary’s school.
My good friend Jim Ducray survived a rebellious youth and a tour of duty in Viet Nam before going on to earn a masters degree in Family Counseling at Sacramento State College. After completing his education, he took up residence near Jackson, California where he continues his practice today.
Tom Hart, who played the role of Spartacus in the battle for Mt. Everest in the pit, went on to study at UCLA. Then among other jobs, he served as the Assistant City Manager of Yuba City. He is semi-retired now with plans to fully retire next year. These days, we play golf together with our fellow Janey Way friend, Dennis Tommasetti.
Finally, the Relles children explored many different career callings. My sister Patricia earned a degree in Art at San Francisco State College, then a degree in English at Sacramento State before marrying and having two children. She teaches now at a Waldorf School in Clinton, Washington. My brother Terry served in the U.S. Army in Viet Nam, then attended the culinary institute. He worked as an executive chef with specialty restaurants, before beginning a 20-year career with Sysco Food Services where he works today as a District Manager. My brother John has worked for 30 years as a floral designer with Relles Florist. I served a two-year hitch in the U.S. Army, earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Science at Sacramento State College, then began a 30-year career with the State of California. I retired in 2002 as the Chief of the Bureau of Administration at the Teale Data Center. Then, in July of 2009, I began a second career as the writer of this column. I published my first book, a compendium of the Janey Way stories, earlier this year.
Sadly, the Janey Way Gang has lost four of its good friends: Michael Gilson, Josie Tomassetti, Bernadette Tomassetti and Lynn Thomsen, but the survivors of the gang remain friends almost 50 years after leaving Janey Way.
Over all this time, our old neighborhood has remained relatively unchanged. Children still play in the street like we did so many years ago. Our friend Tom Hart and my brother John have actually moved back into the neighborhood and sit out on their porches in the evening, like our parents did in the 1950s and 60s. Now, the things we did so many years ago have become our Janey Way memories.

Starr Walton: McClatchy’s only Olympic athlete

McClatchy High School’s only Olympic athlete is Starr Walton-Hurley who competed in skiing in the 1964 Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria. Starr, who graduated from CKM in 1960, is one of first 50 individuals (between 1938-1962) chosen to be inducted into McClatchy’s Sports Hall of Fame on September 20, at the Elks Club as part of McClatchy’s 75-year Anniversary Dinner.
Starr was born in Yuba City but moved to Sacramento and attended Joaquin Miller and later McClatchy. Her grandparents were involved with the Soda Springs Hotel, the Donner Ski Ranch and managed Sugar Bowl in the 1930’s and 40’s. When her father went off to war in 1945, she moved to the mountains with her grandparents and began skiing at age three. She won her first race at five and was hooked for life. She was both the Junior and Senior National Champion and Skier of the Year in 1963.
High school life was challenging as a skier. “McClatchy was lots of fun,” she laughed, and “Mr. Pepper was always cutting out articles about my races for me.” Living in South Land Park, she remembers walking to school through Land Park with her friends. Other happy times include her first car, a blue military jeep, that she drove to school each day her senior year. Mrs. Johnson (Johnny) was one of her favorite teachers, and all of her teachers were supportive of her efforts to become a world-class skier.
With the 1960 Olympics in Squaw Valley, she broke her foot right before trials, but she carried the Olympic torch at the opening ceremony, which was quite an honor for a local girl. She also helped Stan Atkinson and Stu Nahan get interviews with the American athletes that she knew for local television stations. Later that year, she came back to beat many of the Olympic athletes in races.
“To get to the Olympics, my parents paid for everything including various competitions. I represented Sugar Bowl and they gave us a little money, but you couldn’t take a lot of money because you were considered an amateur. Only amateurs could compete back then. We had no logos, no labels. Things were a bit different then, no endorsements. We had to give back all of our equipment after the games.”  Starr smiled as she called herself a “flatlander,” a person who lived in Sacramento but skied every weekend at Soda Springs or Sugar Bowl.
After graduating from McClatchy, Starr attended Sacramento City College and then transferred to University of Colorado, Boulder where she could ski and try out for the 1964 Olympic team. They picked six women every four years, and in 1964, at Innsbruck, she was the top US finisher in the downhill (14th) dominated by Europeans with a time of 2:01.45. She finished 9th in the world at the end of the ski season and laughed as she called herself “The fastest American woman skier in 1963 and 1964.”
When asked about her favorite Olympic moments, she said there were two of them. “One was walking in behind the children who carry the United States name plate and walking into the stadium in your uniform as part of the United States team with all of the other competitors. It’s pretty awesome! The reality hits you!  It’s like, I‘m an Olympian!”
“My second favorite memory is the closing ceremony. All of the athletes come in together. It’s an unstructured parade, and I remember walking in with the friends that I had made.  It really kind of states the camaraderie that has occurred. You may be competitors but, on the other hand, you are new friends and it is incredible.”
After the Olympics, she lived in Vail, Colorado for a while before moving to Sacramento and San Francisco where she worked for United Airlines. Later, she continued in the ski business with “Starr Trekks” where she led groups of skiers all over the world on ski trips. In 2002, she was again an Olympic Torch Bearer for the Olympic games in Salt Lake City, Utah, and in 2010 carried the torch in Squaw Valley for the 50-year Olympic anniversary celebration.”
Today, Starr is known throughout Sacramento as “the ultimate volunteer.” She is President of the Land Park Zoo Association, a trustee on the Crocker Museum Board, and named Volunteer of the Year by the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce. She is an active volunteer with the Northern California Olympians, the Sacramento Sister City Council, and the Leadership Council of UC Davis Medical Center and Drexel University. Widowed, her husband was a famous cardiac surgeon at UC Davis Med Center. In her few minutes of spare time, she can be found playing golf at El Macero.
When meeting and talking with Starr, you can see a person who loves life and truly cares about people. And, you can still see that 15-year-old flying down the Sierra slopes, taking on all comers.
“I have a passion for skiing. I still ski all the time. I am on the slopes and I ski with anybody. I enjoy watching the beginners as their face goes from anxiety to this wonderful realization that they can do it!!! When I go to Sun Valley and ski with the “big boys,” as I call them, and I am cruising at 70 miles an hour down that mountain, I am in Hog Heaven. I am loving every minute of it and I do wear a helmet.”
This is the second in a series of articles about athletes and teams chosen to be part of McClatchy’s Sports Hall of Fame induction to be held on September 20. For more information about the members/teams and how you can attend the 75-Year Celebration, go to

Land Park Pony Rides owner operates dog and cat rescue

Lynn Hagemann, whose pony rides business at William Land Park was featured in the Aug. 11 edition of this publication, has a love for animals that extends well beyond ponies.

SOUTH SACRAMENTO resident Edward Cervantes, Jr. recently made friends with Daisy the dog at Hagemann Rescue in William Land Park. Daisy is currently available for adoption. / Valley Community Newspapers photo, Lance Armstrong

SOUTH SACRAMENTO resident Edward Cervantes, Jr. recently made friends with Daisy the dog at Hagemann Rescue in William Land Park. Daisy is currently available for adoption. / Valley Community Newspapers photo, Lance Armstrong

For the past 23 years, she has operated a dog and cat rescue business, known as Hagemann Rescue. And in those years, Hagemann has found homes for about 1,200 dogs and about 800 cats that would have otherwise been euthanized.

In speaking about her efforts to save the lives of animals, Hagemann said, “We go to the pound to see whose time is up and that’s who we choose.”

Hagemann, whose love for animals began during her childhood, said that her road to establishing her dog and cat rescue business mainly began when she was a United Parcel Service driver.

“I’ve always rescued dogs and picked them up off the streets and stuff like that,” Hagemann said. “I worked for UPS and my mom (Fran Pederson) worked in a veterinary hospital and people would have their dogs and they wanted to put them to sleep, because they couldn’t afford the bill. My mom would tell me about certain dogs and I’d ask people on my UPS route and try to find them homes, which I did.”

In an attempt to assist more animals, Hagemann went to the local animal control shelter at 2127 Front St. and inquired about providing volunteer work.

After being turned away, because the shelter did not accept volunteers, Hagemann discovered an advertisement for the Yolo County Animal Services.

“The Yolo County animal control, they advertised that they wanted volunteers, so I went in there and I started taking animals down to (William Land) Park,” Hagemann said. “I talked to the people who run my contract there (at the park) and they said as long as they (obtained approval of) everyone around the area – the zoo, the animal control, the SPCA, everybody – and (the animals) were spayed and neutered, I could have them (at the park).”

Today, most of the animals available to the public for adoption through Hagemann’s rescue business are dogs that she acquires from the Sutter County Animal Control shelter in Yuba City.

Hagemann said that she feels especially good about taking animals out of the Yuba City shelter, because the animals at this Sutter County facility are housed in very tight quarters.

Generally, Hagemann selects mixed breed dogs, since purebred dogs are more likely to be adopted from animal control shelters.

The dogs and cats of Hagemann Rescue are strategically placed within a gated area near the entrance to the Land Park Pony Rides, in order that these animals receive the best exposure to guests of the pony rides and the nearby Funderland.

Hagemann Rescue animals are popular with many park guests and many times people arrive at the pony rides area simply to visit the dogs, and cats, if any are present.

In a show of appreciation, many people who have acquired animals from Hagemann return to visit her at her place of work.

Hagemann recalled that a woman recently visited her with some photographs of her dog.

“A lady came here and she had pictures of her little Chihuahua mixed dog, and they have two acres, and she was telling me how this dog sleeps on her husband’s arm at night on their bed and how spoiled it was and how they loved the dog,” Hagemann said. “And that’s what happens all the time with the dogs that people get here. And I love it when people get dogs here, because we get to turn around and get another one.”

When asked whether she is active with any hobbies, Hagemann was quick to mention that her involvement with animals is her hobby.

“(Working with animals) is in the blood, I guess,” said Hagemann, who in addition to her ponies, horses and mule, owns six “keeper dogs,” three cats and various geese and chickens on her property in Sheridan in Placer County. “I’ve always loved animals from the time I was a little kid. I’m not sure whether my mom and dad loved animals. Maybe that’s where it came from, but I love almost any kind of animal. I’m not real big into reptiles, but anything with fur on it.

“My interest is animals and that’s why I give the pony rides, because I love animals and that gives me an excuse to have (the ponies), and they pay for themselves pretty much. And I never get tired of going to the pound and getting new dogs to take home and teach them how to walk on a leash, and (working) with them.”

Considering that Hagemann said that she does “not make a penny” on placing dogs and cats in new homes, it is evident that she operates her rescue business because of her love for animals.

“We put (the animals) up for adoption for the money that I have into them,” Hagemann said. “So, actually they cost me, because I’m not like most of the rescue groups that charge for going to get the dogs, their time, gas and everything else. I just charge for the price of purchasing the dogs and shots, (de-)worming and that sort of thing. There’s no money in it. This is my hobby. I don’t drink beer, alcohol or anything like that, so I feel that if I don’t get all the money out of the dogs, that’s okay, because it makes me happy.”

On average, the cost of adopting a dog from Hagemann is about $60, and a cat from Hagemann costs an average of about $40.

For additional information regarding, Hagemann Rescue, call (916) 645-1161.

American Red Cross to celebrate 130 years of service

The American Red Cross, the world-renowned, disaster relief, volunteer-led organization with a Sacramento chapter since 1898, is about to celebrate a special anniversary.
American Red Cross Capital Region Chapter members gather together at the chapter’s headquarters near Cal Expo. / Valley Community Newspapers photo, Lance Armstrong

American Red Cross Capital Region Chapter members gather together at the chapter’s headquarters near Cal Expo. / Valley Community Newspapers photo, Lance Armstrong

It was on May 21, 1881, thus nearly 130 years ago, that the ARC was founded by Clara Barton.

Furthermore, on a national level, this is currently a very notable time for the organization.

This month is Red Cross Month, a recognition that has been a tradition since President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was serving as the honorary chairman of the organization, first declared March as a special month for the organization in 1943.

Since then, United States presidents have continued to proclaim March as Red Cross Month on an annual basis.

As a fundraising campaign with a goal of collecting $125 million, the original Red Cross Month received an overwhelming response as the goal was reached in less than six weeks.

Further proving that the public did not recognize Red Cross Month as a drive with an expiration date, funds continued to be donated to the organization. By June 1943, the drive had resulted in donations totaling about $146 million.

Because of this initial success, Red Cross Month became a tradition that has assisted the Red Cross in fulfilling its mission, which reads as follows: “The American Red Cross, a humanitarian organization led by volunteers and guided by its Congressional Charter and the Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross Movement, will provide relief to victims of disaster and help people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies.”

Clara Barton, who was also known as the “Angel of the Battlefield,” founded the American Red Cross in 1881. / Photo courtesy of the American Red Cross

Clara Barton, who was also known as the “Angel of the Battlefield,” founded the American Red Cross in 1881. / Photo courtesy of the American Red Cross

Furthermore, the ARC described its role as an organization that “shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families.”

With a long history of responding to the nation’s needs, the ARC, which is strictly a charitable, non-government agency that relies on the volunteer support of the American public to perform its services, has grown with the times.

For all the good that the ARC does to assist others in needs, none of the many services of the organization would have been possible without the work of its founder.

And for this reason, it is important in any overview of the ARC’s history to highlight Clara Barton.

Born Clarissa Harlowe Barton in Oxford, Mass. on Christmas Day in 1821, Barton can be considered a holiday gift for countless people who have benefitted from the services of the ARC since its founding.

But in order to have a better understanding of how long Barton maintained a deep interest in assisting others in need, it is necessary to know that Barton was active in helping such people long before she founded the ARC.

With the beginning of the Civil War, little time passed before Barton was dedicating her time to helping soldiers in her home state.

Initially, Barton cooked for soldiers and also ripped sheets into towels and handkerchiefs for them.

But her efforts did not stop there, as Barton was dedicated to bringing comfort to the sick and the wounded from the battlefield, and fought for permission to bring food, medicine and supplies to soldiers on the frontlines.

An American Red Cross worker speaks to an injured soldier in a field hospital in Vietnam. / Photo courtesy of the American Red Cross

An American Red Cross worker speaks to an injured soldier in a field hospital in Vietnam. / Photo courtesy of the American Red Cross

Through these efforts, she received the nickname, the “Angel of the Battlefield.”

Following the war, Barton was commissioned by President Abraham Lincoln to search for missing Union soldiers and she also initiated a movement to have a national cemetery constructed for Union soldiers who died in the Andersonville prison – the Confederate prison of war camp, which was officially known as Camp Sumter – in Andersonville, Ga.

Barton’s goodwill nature and experience in helping those in need led to her founding of the American Association of the Red Cross – the name was later shortened to the American Red Cross – which evolved to become known as the nation’s premier emergency response organization.

In understanding that disasters result in human suffering, Barton, who served as the Red Cross’ first president, recognized a need for a volunteer organization that would be available during emergencies.

Barton, as well as the Red Cross symbol, became synonymous with the fact that comfort would be offered by the organization to those who suffered due to disasters.

The first American Red Cross chapter was organized at the Lutheran Church of Dansville, N.Y.

Among the early service of the Red Cross was its assistance to victims of the Ohio and Mississippi floods of 1884.

It was also during the same year that Barton served as a delegate to the International Peace Congress in Geneva, Switzerland.
Nurses work at an American Red Cross recruiting station to field new members during World War II. / Photo courtesy of the American Red Cross

Nurses work at an American Red Cross recruiting station to field new members during World War II. / Photo courtesy of the American Red Cross

Five years later, the Sacramento Record-Union printed the following quote regarding Barton: “The sublime life of this plain, simple, unpretentious and self-sacrificing woman is one of the grandest monuments to charity and merciful kindness the world has witnessed.”

In 1898, the Red Cross played a very significant role in the Spanish-American War, as the organization assisted refugees and prisoners of war.

Since its early beginnings, the ARC has expanded to other cities across the nation, and today the organization, which also provides assistance in other countries, has many chapters throughout the nation.

Sacramento’s chapter, which was previously known as the Sacramento Sierra Chapter and is presently known as the Capital Region Chapter, was established in 1898.

The founding of the Sacramento chapter was very timely, considering that only seven years after its organization, the chapter was assisting in the relief efforts of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

This 1956 “On the Job” recruiting poster by John Gould is among the many posters that were designed to recruit American Red Cross volunteers. / Photo courtesy of the American Red Cross

This 1956 “On the Job” recruiting poster by John Gould is among the many posters that were designed to recruit American Red Cross volunteers. / Photo courtesy of the American Red Cross

The Red Cross’ local and national response to this disaster prompted President Theodore Roosevelt to describe the Red Cross as “the national organization best fitted to undertake the outpouring of the nation’s aide.”

The ARC also provided assistance during the 1918 Spanish influenza epidemic and World Wars I and II.

Leftover ARC funds from the Great War were utilized to create the “Baby Clinic,” which became part of the Sacramento Health Clinic in 1927.

During World War II, the Sacramento chapter was a 24 hours per day operation, and overall, Sacramento contributed $468,037 to the National War Relief Effort.

The Sacramento chapter responded to five American River floods and the Yuba City-Marysville floods during the 1950s, and during the Vietnam War, ARC programs were expanded to assist the military and their families.

In more recent times, the ARC’s Sacramento chapter has continued to provide local and national assistance, including its aide to Hurricane Katrina.

Trista Jensen, communications and marketing director for the Capital Region Chapter, said that as a representative of the American Red Cross, she is pleased that the organization has been able to successfully operate with consistency for the past 130 years.

“I think what’s remarkable about the American Red Cross is that we are still doing the things that we started doing 130 years ago,” Jensen said. “We started serving people in the battlefield, responding to disasters and helping people in their greatest time of need. Whether that’s a house fire across the street, a hurricane across the country or a major disease breakout across the world, we’re still responding in the same manner that we were 130 years ago.”