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September 21, 2010 > History: Historic clubs and organizations in Union City

History: Historic clubs and organizations in Union City

By Myrla Raymundo

Socieda Hispana De Decoto
The Socieda Hispana De Decoto was founded on September 24, 1932. This club was formed to raise money during the Depression to help Spanish families pay funeral expenses. Charter Members were: Antonio Ramos, Juan Roderigues, Roman Cortez, Alcadio Santiago, Lawrence Delgado, Basilio Pacheco, Emilio Paniagua, Esteban Paniagua, Philip Hernandez, Jose Arichas, and Genaro Arenas.

By 1995, all members were financially able to pay for their funeral expenses so the group decided to dissolve the club. The group voted to give some of the money to members, attorney fees and income taxes. After everything was taken care of, the group decided to donate half of the remaining money to the Days Club of San Leandro and the other half to the organization, Prevent Blindness of Northern California.

Decoto Discussion Group
The Decoto Discussion Group was organized for Library Study September 16, 1938 at the Decoto Branch of the Alameda County Library and has met monthly for 22 years. The group's objective was to bring women of the community closer together, broadening their lives intellectually and socially. It was organized by Mrs. Elsa Walker, librarian and Miss Mary Barnby, Librarian for Alameda County. Mrs. Walker was chairman of the group until her retirement in l946 when she left the community. Miss Ellen Cornish became the chairman and Mrs. Gail David, secretary-treasurer. There were six charter members and by 1948, the number had doubled. In 1960, the group had 18 members.

Shortly after the group was organized, a year's program was drawn up. The program covered all sorts of subjects from music to history. A different leader was chosen for each month and also a different hostess. At first meetings were held at the Library but as membership increased, meetings were held in members' homes.

Club activities included studying operas and trips to San Francisco to attend them. Being close to a great metropolitan center, the group took advantage of opportunities to host guest appearances of authors, actresses, representatives of the main library and civic leaders. Some of these guests became so enthused with the group that they took their turn at entertaining and taking part in the program.

Mrs. Leontine (Tina) Costa was a long time member of the Decoto Discussion Group.
During the war years, 1942-1944, Leontine Costa was involved with the USO. She was named chairman of the scrapbook program sponsored by USO headquarters under the direction of Mrs. Walter Kalosa. More than 100 scrapbooks were made and sent to USO headquarters. She found the names of all the men from Decoto who were at war. They were sent scrapbooks containing comics and newspaper articles from the neighborhood. She made sure they received holiday packages as well.

Members were Mrs. George Harckleroad of Hillview Crest, Mrs. Florence Wallace, Mrs. A. L. Costa, Mrs. Gail David, Mrs. Edward Goulart and Mrs. Frank Garcia of Union City, Mrs. C. F. Giles, Mrs. John R. Sutton, Mrs. Leonard McVicar of Irvington, Mrs. Mary Mattox, Mrs. Roland Bendel, Miss Ellen Cornish and Mrs. Hallenbeck of Niles, Mrs. George Azeveda and Mrs. Stewart McCormack of Fremont, Mrs. Howard Reese, Mrs. Thomas Bunting and Mrs. S. F. Kauffman of Mission San Jose.

Welcome Wagon Club
A Welcome Wagon Club, a non-profit organization, was established in Union City on May 27, 1971. The idea began with Mary Lucido and Cleis Jordon. There were 14 original members. The club was open to all newcomers with a residency requirement of no more than three years in the area. Welcome Wagon International sponsored it.

Founders felt there was a need for such a club to help newcomers in Union City acquaint themselves with others in their community and promote friendships to bridge the gap of loneliness new residents often encounter. The club helped newcomers familiarize themselves with Union City and its facilities, promoting community pride through work on civic and community projects.

Hobby, craft and sport groups were formed, based on the individual member's interests and skills. A bowling league, gourmet cooking group, interior decorating, sewing, and tours were on the club's agenda.

Women's Club
The first women's club officers were installed on July 13, 1971, at Lyon's Restaurant in the Fremont Hub Shopping Center in Fremont. Mrs. James F. Gallagher was the President, Mrs. Robert N. Garautte, Jr. first vice president, and Mrs. George G. A. Olmedo second vice president. Mrs. Robert F. Cordano was recording secretary, Mrs. Paul G. Lucido, corresponding secretary, Mrs. John I. Petersen, treasurer, and Mrs. Frank Chie, historian. Their guest speaker was Mr. Bill May, superintendent of the Union City Department of Recreation, who informed club members of the operation and facilities of his department.

The club operated from l971 through 1992. Other officers of the club were Rita Price, Margaret Shepard, Elvamae Borghi and Ruth Orozco. In 1977, two $200 scholarships were presented to Sherry Berbel and Elvira Espinoza of James Logan High School. They published monthly newsletters about their activities.

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