Sister City 40th

Carol Longshore

Kitakami guest and Vivian Boyd

Concord and Kitakami, Japan, have enjoyed sister city status for 40 years. Fifty representatives of Kitakami were hosted by the Concord Ambassadors ( recently and marked this anniversary with a mix of sharing culture and tradition, speeches, dining, and sightseeing–including a tour of the Galindo Home and Gardens.

Concord Historical Society members Carol Longshore (president), Vivian Boyd (1st vice president), and Barbara Hayworth attended the dinner held at Centre Concord on Thursday, October 2, 2014. Each enjoyed meeting our visitors from Kitakami.

Lovely Success: Spring/Mother’s Day Tea

As most of you know, the Concord Historical Society’s Spring/Mother’s Day Tea, which was held in the fully-restored historic Galindo Home May 9 – 11, was a sold out event. While you had to be there, you begin to understand why the five sittings were sold out through the accompanying photographs. The tables were lovely, the guests beautiful, the student and adult volunteers efficient and attentive, and the special scones, tea sandwiches and desserts were divine. For those lucky enough to attend on Mother’s Day, photographs of each table were turned into nice keepsakes of this special event.

At the request of CHS Director Emeritus Kay Massone, former board member Joan Reed lent her organizational skills, attention to detail and enthusiasm to orchestrate this marvelous event. Joan, together with co-chair Denise Brown, rallied the invaluable aid of CHS President Carol Longshore; Vivian Boyd, Linda Chambers, Joanne Fryer, Carole Kelsch, Gloria Lincoln and Barbara Strehlitz of the Society’s Events Committee; Evie Cunningham, Nancy Haramaki, Kathie Hieb, Jan Trolan and Dee Yount of the Galindo Home Committee; Barbara Hayworth; Galindo Home docents Isabel Hill and Eleanor Zuzan; and teachers and students of Mt. Diablo High School’s International Hospitality & Tourism Academy. Each deserves a big hug and sincere thanks! It was a success.

The Concord Historical Society Spring/Mother’s Day Tea will be an annual event. For those of you who missed it and those who didn’t, be sure to plan on next time!!!

Honorary Board’s Newest Member: Willard Ballenger

Willard Ballenger

The Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Willard Ballenger has become a member of the Concord Historical Society’s Honorary Board. Mr. Ballenger was born in Concord and is the maternal grandson of Joseph Boyd, Concord’s first mayor. Willard is a member of “The Greatest Generation.” After graduating from Mount Diablo High School, he enlisted in the U.S. Army at the beginning of WWII. He served for the duration of the war in the 3rd Army, 80th Division, Company “D,” 318th Battalion, 4th Armored Division under General George Patton, fighting in France.

The 3rd Army made history in France going 20 miles a day. He was wounded near the Moselle River from mortar shrapnel. General Patton’s army was credited with relieving the 10th Airborne Division, which was being besieged by the German army in the snow at Bastogne, Belgium, known as the Battle of the Bulge.

Upon returning from his service he attended and graduated from the College of the Pacific, Stockton, on the GI Bill. He returned home to Concord and worked as the Contra Costa County Assistant County Clerk at the Court House in Martinez for 36 years until his retirement in 1987. He pursued his love of music for over 30 years, forming the Will Ballenger Trio, which played jazz throughout the Bay Area and the Central Valley. Willard was an accomplished band leader and jazz drummer. He fondly recalls playing Concord’s best nightspot, the Adobe (the Salvador Pacheco Adobe, which then was a restaurant and nightclub bar). He is a committed fan of Dave Brubeck who was his music idol, growing up in the same town as Dave.

Willard’s father, Wayman, was Concord’s city clerk for many years. His mother, Charlotte “Lottie,” taught first grade at Williams Elementary School and Sunday school for the First Christian Church in Concord for many years. She was especially loved for including music and class singing in her classes. Willard’s brother, Boyd, also served in WWII and graduated from the University of California on the GI Bill.

Willard loves horses and the horseracing and breeding business. He has been a successful owner and breeder of racing quarter horses for over 50 years. He raised the two year filly “Speedy Empress” who took second in the All American Futurity at Raidoso Downs, New Mexico, winning a $300,000 purse.  His horses have also won races at the Los Alamitos Race Track and county fair race tracks throughout California. He currently lives on his 20-acre ranch in Madera, and, in addition to having attained his 90th year, avidly manages his ranch and horses.

Annual Dinner Meeting with Dan Helix

CHS President Carol Longshore (2nd from left) with City of Concord Council Members Laura Hoffmeister, Dan Helix and Ron Leone

The annual dinner meeting of the Concord Historical Society was held at the Oakhurst Country Club on March 20, 2014. Following tasty entrees and dessert, President Carol Longshore called the meeting to order. She recognized special guests, introduced recently-elected and returning board members, updated all on Society activities, and introduced board member Lloyd Crenna, who put a spotlight on the Society’s important project: restoration of the Concord Masonic Temple for use as a Concord museum and events facility.

After closing the meeting portion of the evening, Carol Longshore introduced the evening’s featured speaker: City of Concord Council Member Dan Helix. With the assistance of fellow council member Ron Leone, Mr. Helix shared with us observations regarding Concord’s history and future, observations made from his many years of service on behalf of Concord and its citizens.

Scenes from the evening:

Board members Chuck Gabrysiak and Lloyd Crenna with the evening’s speaker, Dan Helix (center)

Eizo Kobyashi and friend

New and old board members, volunteers with board member emeritus Paul Larson
Stan Gaunt and Mary Lou Helix

Mary Lou Helix, Carol Longshore, Barbara Gabrysiak, Faith & Tom Barnidge