Wendell Freeman celebrates 100th birthday
By Bev Singer
The Oakmont Kiwanis Club is so proud of our hardworking, helpful, friendly, long-time member, Wendell Freeman. On Aug. 28, his 100th birthday, his loving wife Patt and family surprised Wendell with a party at the OAK Restaurant in Oakmont. Wendell’s three sons and daughter, numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and friends came from near and far.
Wendell told tales of leaving his home on a Minnesota farm before he was 18 to seek his fortune, higher education, and better opportunities. He ended up in the Marines just before World War II. After the war started, you can imagine how many South Pacific Islands he saw.
After the war, Wendell completed his university education under the GI Bill. He became an engineer. After a successful career, he and Patt moved to their lovely house in Oakmont, where Wendell has a beautiful garden.
When Wendell was the Kiwanis president, his love of growing vegetables, fruits, and flowers led him to volunteer helping teachers and students at Luther Burbank Elementary School start and maintain a garden. On Sunday, Sept. 5, 2021, Press Democrat reporter Kerry Benefield wrote an article titled, “Volunteer, 99, Keeps Burbank School Blooming.”
Several years ago, a plaque was installed at the garden, now called Wendell’s Garden. The club also helps supply books to the library.
Over the years, Wendell has been a role model for what Kiwanis is all about, working with and for children, community, and country. The club has a twice-a-year Shred-AThon. Wendell has been the first one to help take heavy boxes of important papers from cars to the shredding truck. If you have missed this event, look forward to the next one in January.
Veteran’s Day is soon. Wendell and Kiwanis, along with other groups, put on nice programs to honor veterans. Wendell stands tall and handsome in his well-fitting Marine uniform.
I joined Kiwanis mainly because of the examples Wendell and other members represent as they help our youth, community, and country. If what Wendell and Kiwanis do appeals to you, join. As age creeps up, help is welcomed. Contact Fran Lazzarini at (928) 202-1105.