July 2017

We had the pleasure of visiting with Arthur Flegel in advance of his 100th birthday, which will be marked with a gathering of some 80 family and friends on August 6.

The man who, along with wife Cleora, brought furniture to downtown Menlo Park with the opening of Flegel’s Home Furnishings in 1954, is in somewhat frail health now, but clearly enjoyed a brief visit and photo session. “I’m so lucky to be in a community like this,” he said.

We were at his home with the youngest of Art’s three sons, John Flegel, who was able to fill us in on some of the details of his father’s long and full life.

It was with clothing, not furniture, that Art had his first business success. His bio explains: “After graduating from Loveland High School [Colorado], Arthur worked at JC Penney full time, and in 1937, at the age of 19, he was transferred to Stockton, California, where he moved with his mother and younger sister.

“There he assumed management of the shoe department and in 1940 advanced to the men’s clothing department. The following two years he was the second highest salesman in individual dollar sales volume in the entire chain of JC Penney stores.”

Arthur met Cleora while in Stockton and they were married in 1940. John has two older siblings, Robert and Mark. The latter took over the management of his father’s store in the early 90s.

Arthur has been as active in the Menlo Park community as he has in business, becoming president of the Menlo Park Chamber of Commerce in 1962 and serving as President of the Menlo Park Rotary Club in 1979. Over the years, he’s played Santa Claus at community and civic events.

John noted several other things, which may not be widely known by today’s generation of Menlo Park residents. During the 1960s and 1970s, under the auspices of the Menlo Park Presbyterian Church and the World Council of Churches, Art chaired the resettlement committee of the church and assisted more than 200 refugees from China, Korea, Germany, Indonesia, Cuba and Vietnam to resettle on the Peninsula.

Art got interested in genealogy in the 1960s.  In 1968, he was instrumental in the creation of the organization known as the American Historical Society of Germans From Russia (AHSGR), which principally concerned the emigration of Germans from their homes in Germany to Russia and their subsequent immigration to the United States.

He amassed a substantial library of source materials based on his own research, library studies and extensive travels. In 2014, Art’s personal library was donated to AHSGR and is now preserved as the Arthur and Cleora Flegel Library in Lincoln, Nebraska.

“This is so nice,” he complimented his visitors. Even nicer is a life lived as richly as Arthur Flegel’s.

Photo by Irene Searles (c) 2017


What to know about the construction on Middlefield Avenue/Oak Grove Avenue this week

Construction to pave the Middlefield Road/ Oak Grove Avenue intersection will begin Thursday, August 3rd. Due to safety requirements during construction, Oak Grove Avenue will be closed between Middlefield Road and the Menlo-Atherton High School entrance. Construction work during this road closure will be limited to the time period between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm. […]

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Learn about the hidden figures of computing — women — on August 2

Women have been part of computing since the earliest electronic computers were built in the 1940s.On August 2 at 7:00 pm at the Menlo Park Library (800 Alma St.) hear how women in computing have: Been responsible for the first compiler Built code that saved the Apollo 11 Developed a design for large-scale integrated circuits […]

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Menlo School students team with VillageTech Solutions to bring affordable technology to Nepal

For the 6th year in a row, students from Menlo School (plus a few others) worked at Haydi and David Sowerines‘ home this summer on projects for the couple’s non-profit, VillageTech Solutions, which provides safe, clean and affordable technology solutions to rural communities in Nepal and other developing countries. Most of the Menlo volunteers are working on VTS’s […]

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Spotted: Gathering to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Camp Fremont

Menlo Park Mayor Kirsten Keith (right) was joined by author Barbara Wilcox (left) and Tom Fitzgerald (middle), Director of  VA Hospital, Menlo Park,  along with Bo Crane from the Menlo Park Historical Association to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the opening of a Base Hospital on what is now the VA campus. The Base Hospital was built for Camp […]

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Shay Patel’s Alley-Oop Kids organization holds summer camp in Ravenswood School District

Menlo Park resident Shay Patel was at it again this summer. Through his Alley-Oop Kids organization (which we covered in 2015 and 2016), he ran an after-school camp for summer school kids in the Ravenswood School District in East Palo Alto. Shay and his team ran drills, contests and scrimmages for approx 60 kids (all rising 6th […]

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Atherton’s National Night Out to be held at Holbrook-Palmer Park on Aug. 1

Atherton residents are invited to spend time with the Atherton Police Departments at a National Night Out event from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at Holbrook Palmer Park on August 1. The notice read: “Atherton residents are asked to turn on their outside lights, lock their doors, and spend the evening outside with neighbors and police […]

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Eshoo kicks off third annual Congressional App Challenge

Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo announced the launch of the third annual Congressional App Challenge for the 18th Congressional District. Established by Eshoo and Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) in 2013, this competition invites high school students from across the country to compete by creating and exhibiting their software application, or “app,” for mobile, tablet, or computer […]

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Tanya Sheckley plans new Menlo Park school in her daughter’s honor

It’s Tanya Sheckley’s hope that out of the tragic death of her daughter, Eliza, will spring a legacy. She is planning on opening a first-in-the-world school that offers a fully integrated neuro-development program for children with physical and communication disabilities in Menlo Park this fall. “I have been working on opening Up Academy for most of the last […]

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About a third of Menlo Park’s streets are being repaved this summer

The City of Menlo Park is responsible for maintaining over 96 miles of streets, many of which experience varying degrees of wear depending on the volumes of traffic, drainage patterns and soil conditions. To determine street repair needs, the City uses a software based Pavement Management System and works with consultants who inspect and assess […]

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Menlo Park waives street closing fees for National Night Out block parties on August 1

National Night Out is an annual nationwide event that encourages residents to get out in the community, holding block parties and getting to know their neighbors and police officers as a way to encourage crime prevention. It is scheduled for August 1st. This year will be similar to the last five years, where several neighborhoods […]

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