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Lamorinda Hills Branch 174 was created in June 2009 as a result of the extraordinary success and growth of our sponsor, Branch 171. 

Branch 171, in turn, was organized in November 1993 with members from its sponsor, Pleasant Hill Branch 146.  Branch 171 originally consisted of 32 members from Branch 146 that resided in the Lamorinda area.  From this beginning Branch 171 grew to 285 members by December 2008 with 37 applicants on its waiting list for membership.

Membership size (and the number of applicants that could be considered for membership) was limited by the maximum seating accommodation and parking space available at the meeting and luncheon venue.  Waiting time required by applicants for membership was approaching three years.

In early 2009 the then Big SIR of Branch 171, SIR Jim Gibney, established a task force to evaluate available options that would permit the induction of all current applicants seeking membership and to permit the Branch to continue growing without a size restraint.  After study the only viable option was to form a new branch from current members (and waiting list applicants) that would voluntarily transfer to the new branch.  When a survey indicated that there were sufficient numbers who would voluntarily transfer their membership the Branch Executive Committee (BEC) of Branch 171 elected SIR Bill Sumner to serve as an interim Big SIR and to organize the establishment of this new branch.

In addition to interim Big SIR Bill Sumner, the BEC of Branch 171 elected the officers and directors required to establish and serve in the new branch who, in turn, appointed our original committee chairmen.  These original officers, directors, and committee chairmen were:



Committee Chairmen                

Big Sir

Little Sir


Asst. Secretary


Asst. Treasurer

Bill Sumner

Pete Giers

Fred George

Neal Huntley

George McLain

Dick Walsh

Bob Hickman

Gil Klingman








Strategic Planning

Nominating Committee

Newsletter Editor


Gary Howard

Bob Hickman

Dick Elliott

Frank Lindskoog

Stu Knudsen

Larry Swindell

Harold Hill

Bob Hickman

Bill Mueser

Dick Curry

Don Reichert

For a current listing of Officers, Directors, and Committee Chairmen please see Organization.

Branch 174's application to the State SIR organization for recognition as a Provisional Branch was approved on May 17, 2009 by State President Daniel Reiser.

The first meeting of the provisional Lamorinda Hills SIR Branch 174 was held June 10, 2009 at the Holy Trinity Cultural Center in Moraga, CA.  There were 103 member transfers from Branch 171 that were inducted.  Additionally, 16 applicants from Branch 171 were transferred to Branch 174’s List of Candidates.  Thirteen of our Charter Members were charter members of Branch 171.

Area 2 Governor Dean Steichen attended our first meeting.  Our first guest speaker was Mr. Dan Cawthon who provided us with excerpts from his one-person performance of the life of Father Damien de Veuster, a Belgian missionary priest, who, with only four years of religious training, landed on the island of Molokai and spent the next 16 years, until his death, tending to the needs of the lepers at Puna and Kohala.  Dan subsequently became a charter member of Branch 174.

Branch 174 fulfilled the requirements in November, 2009 to become a Chartered Branch.  The Charter was signed on November 27, 2009 by State President Floyd "Buck" Kendrick.

We celebrated our Charter Day at our Feb. 10, 2010 meeting.  State President Kendrick presented the Charter, and former Branch 171 Big SIR Jim Gibney presented a ceremonial gavel to the new branch.  Other official guests at that meeting included: Region 6 Director Jim Stedman, Area 2 Governor Dean Steichen and Branch 171 Big SIR Dick Macy.  The SIRpremes entertained us with their rendition of "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" and presented roses to our caterer's servers.  Dr. Johan Snapper spoke on Love Parables.                 


Presentation of Branch Charter SIR President Buck Kendrick (left) and Big SIR Bill Sumner


Gavel presented by Branch 171 Big SIR Jim

Gibney (left) to Big SIR Bill Sumner

Gavel and charter in-hand it's back to work

Our barbershop quartet presenting roses to the serving staff

Dr. Johan Snapper, Guest Speaker

In the first year of existence Branch 174 has inducted 152 men into membership

Because of the close relationship we maintain with our sister Branch 171, we continue to share many experiences.  At present we continue to share in joint support of all activities and share in our Christmas Ladies Day luncheon.

Three new activities groups – astronomy, ham radio, and 9-hole golf – have been established.  There are currently 24 different activities groups that are available to our members.  Excluding weekends there is one or more SIR activities that meet on most days, Monday through Friday, of each month (see monthly calendar of events).

Origins of SIR

The idea from which the organization Sons In Retirement sprang was conceived by the late Damian L. Reynolds in the Spring of 1958.

Three friends,  all  retired,  met with  Mr. Reynolds  on  occasion  for  a friendly  luncheon.   He suggested  to  these  three,  Messrs:  Claus Hink, Lorenz. H. Hansen  and Wallace Plummer, that they join him in his idea. A kick-off luncheon was held in San Mateo, California on July 23, 1958.

Wallace Plummer

Claus J. Hink

Damian J. Reynolds

Lorenz H Hansen

A second meeting was held on August 20, 1958, and the eighteen present adopted the name of SONS IN RETIREMENT.    Because most retired men wish nothing to do with things pertaining to inactivity, the chosen name seemed to enunciate and give dignity to retirement.

Basic  guidelines  of SONS IN RETIREMENT were   set forth in Rules and Procedures drawn up at the time of incorporation in 1959. These have been revised from time to time.

1. It was to be a luncheon club composed of men retired from gainful employment.

2. There were to be no dues, initiation fees or assessments other than normal voluntary contributions at each luncheon to cover expenses.

3. The organization would espouse no political party, religion or sect of any kind.

4. Eligible men would be invited to join after attending at least one luncheon meeting and being introduced by the member who would sponsor him.

5. The club would meet monthly for lunch, at the member's expense, and a program would become part of each luncheon.

What's with the Rooster?

The founders chose the rooster, or more appropriately "The Golden Chanticleer", as our official logo to represent the freedom he displays around the barnyard. We have paid our dues in the business world, and now is the time for us to strut and crow a little.

As quoted by Damian Reynolds, "Of all the creatures on earth, none expresses independence and dignity with more sureness and aplomb than the rooster. The majesty of his presence is felt in every barnyard, and when he crows, he can be heard for miles, not in a fainthearted crow, but with a noise that calls attention to his being".