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100th Birthday Celebration for Arend “Pete” Folkens

A big turnout was assembled to celebrate Arend Folkens' 100th birthday at Oakmont, inclduding this unnamed Coast Guardsman. Folkens served on a frigate in the CG during WWII.

On May 31, 1920, a few days after his parents (Pieter and Anna Folkens) arrived in the U.S. from the Netherlands (Parrage, Friesland) to start a farm in Iowa, Arend Folkens was born. Arend, is a Frisian word meaning "eagle" and his surname (as it was in the old world) means "breeder."

He had two younger sisters, Pearl Ann Hardersen (Pietje Anna) and Jeannette Dorothy Lilly (Jetske Dutje).

During World War II, Arend served in the U.S. Coast Guard on the Tacoma-class patrol frigate USS Long Beach (PF-34) in the Southwest Pacific Theater, particularly in the Aitape (New Guinea) Invasion and Leyte Gulf. He did not finish high school but was the only member of his family to attend college following World War II thanks to the GI Bill. He attended the University of Washington but was called up to serve in the Navy during the Korean Conflict before completing the course work. He served as a Petty Officer First Class radarman on the Sumner-class destroyer USS John A. Bole (DD-755) off the coast of North Korea. Following that conflict, he completed his degree at UW in Seattle.

While working in the post-war aerospace industry in Southern California he married Pauline Schade. They moved to Bakersfield where he worked in finance as a loan officer. They had two sons, Pieter and Karl. While living in the Central Valley he was an active member of the Lions Club and Toastmasters International, as well as serving on the Board of Directors of the Golden Empire Transit Authority and the Salvation Army. He later worked for CalVet out of Sacramento as a property appraiser, moving to the Santa Rosa CalVet office as a loan officer and manager in the 1980s. The move landed them in Oakmont where he retired and has been there ever since. Pauline died in 2004. In addition to his two sons, he has four grandchildren (Arend, Alysen, Anna, and Elizabeth) and one great grandson (Louis).

Arend Folkens at homehobbies have included his extensive music collection that spans from original 78s of John Philip Sousa marches to recent folk music. His favorite physical activity was playing tennis, which he did in the Oakmont Tennis Club until turning 90. Other activities in Oakmont also include close to 20 years in Playreaders. where Arend read and directed over 85 plays. He has been a member of the Oakmont Domino Club for 10 years and belongs to Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Santa Rosa.

On May 30, 2020, many family and friends including Veterans gathered to have a socially distanced celebration for Arend. Mike Thompson awarded a plaque and a uniformed representative from the Coastguard stepped forward to salute Pete's service. The Soroptimists International of Oakmont flew in their pink flamingo ambassadors (as part of their No-Contact fundraiser) to festoon Pete's lawn and accessorizing the flock with party hats and necklaces. A thoughtful passer-by added a facemask for one bird as a healthful hint and reminder. Officers of the Santa Rosa Police Department (both car and motorcycle brigade) and members of the Oakmont Fire Department graciously drove by to dip their hats, figuratively in a gesture of respect represented by many flashing lights (no siren).

Everyone looks forward to the time when we can all meet together again and enjoy Pete's company when are able to gather in a healthier time. Pete's response at the gathering was, "I was amazed and surprised all my friends, family, club members, the Coast Guard, Santa Rosa Police & Fire showed up today. I am overwhelmed."

Community Calendar

Fire preparedness virtual town hall
Virtual Book Club
Cal Alumni Club dinner
Sonoma Valley groundwater community workshop