Pinole City Council honors centenarians

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Pinole City Council honors centenarians
Photo courtesy of the City of Pinole.

By Kathy Chouteau

The Pinole City Council took time during its Tues. Sept. 19 meeting to honor three of the city’s centenarians with proclamations in advance of National Centenarian Day on Sept. 22.

During the City Council meeting, Pinole Mayor Devin T. Murphy read the proclamations aloud and presented them to the honorees at the meeting along with flowers. Pinole centenarians Robert “Bob” Burmester, Samuel W. Campbell and Jean Clark Ulversoy were each honored that night, with Ms. Ulversoy watching remotely.

Before honoring the proclamation recipients, Mayor Murphy recalled his time as a teenager interning for California State Senator Lois Wolk and creating certificates for centenarians. He said he came to understand and appreciate people who have spent 100 years on this earth…their stories, triumphs, struggles and families. Mayor Murphy emphasized it’s important to honor the elders in our community and that one way to address aging equity issues “is by getting to know who those people are.”

The mayor and City Council went on to honor the first centenarian, Robert “Bob” Burmester, and relayed that he was born June 30, 1919. During his long life, Mr. Burmester served in the U.S. Army, worked for Pacific Bell, sang bass for more than 50 years in his church choir and was an avid skydiver.

Mr. Burmester thanked the mayor for his honor and said that Pinole is a ‘fantastic city” which he moved to in 1974. He also shared that his favorite meal is fried chicken and his secret to a long life is having a “glass of white every night” with dinner. Later, he made a pitch to the mayor to pave the road in front of his house, which was well received.

Also honored in person that evening was centenarian Samuel W. Campbell, who Mayor Murphy credited with lighting up the room when he shares time with him. Mr. Campbell was born April 19, 1923 and has lived in Pinole since 1943. Throughout his life, he served in the U.S. Airforce, worked as an accountant for Standard Oil for more than 36 years and likes to be called “Uncle Sam.”

Mr. Campbell gratefully received the proclamation and flowers from the mayor “for [his] service and livelihood,” and thanked everyone for the honor. “It isn’t easy being 100 years old, things get more complicated,” he said cheekily. The mayor encouraged those present to meet Mr. Campbell afterwards during a reception in the foyer to hear more about his incredible story.

The final Pinole centenarian honored during the City Council meeting was Jean Clark Ulversoy, who was unable to be there in person, but reportedly was watching from home. The mayor and City Council read her proclamation and it was revealed that she was born on Sept. 16, 1923, moved to Pinole in 1932 and graduated from Richmond Union High School. Her life has included working at Bank of America, San Francisco Federal Savings & Loan, as a homemaker and a bookkeeper for a family business.

Mayor Murphy called Ms. Ulversoy “A gentle lady with an incredible story,” while Mayor Pro Tem

Maureen Toms revealed the honoree’s family has lived in Pinole a very long time and is an integral part of its history.

Anyone wanting to honor someone through the City of Pinole’s centenarian program can fill out an application here.