Born and raised in North Hollywood, Bob, 85, and his wife Virginia, 84, are long-time Fremont residents who rely on LIFE ElderCare’s programs to live independently in their own home. Bob has been receiving hot nutritious meals from Meals on Wheels for a year and a half. “I signed up to get at least one good meal a day,” he says. He especially loves their soups and salads and looks forward to meeting all the good people who volunteer. “It takes something special to be a volunteer. Everyone I have met has been just great.”
He and Virginia just went through the Falls Prevention program - and have met a new friend, Jonathan, introduced to them through the Friendly Visitor Program. “He’s a real jewel,” says Bob, “it’s a pleasure for us to be able to talk with a young person and learn about his life.” Bob worked as an Army communications specialist during WWII in the South Pacific and fondly recalls sailing from San Francisco to Australia in 14 days to take up his post. After returning home in 1945 he met his wife who was visiting an uncle who lived across the street from Bob’s house. “That’s where I met her and I didn’t let her get away.” Married for 63 years, Bob says, “I couldn’t make it without her, she’s my angel!”
They lived in Fremont briefly during the 1950’s but Bob’s job took them back to Los Angeles and then to Indianapolis. They returned to Fremont in the late 1960’s to raise four children, one son and three girls. The family has grown over the years to now include eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandsons. In March they are expecting their first great-granddaughter.
Since graduating from the first City of Fremont Police Academy in 1994, they have been volunteering with the police department, first setting up Neighborhood Crime Watch programs and later with Fremont’s Elder Abuse program. “Fremont was one of the first cities in the nation to start an Elder Abuse program,” Bob says, “and Virginia and I were called upon to head it up.” They also advise people from other states on how to get the program started in their city.
When asked what is the hardest thing about getting old, Virginia quips, “getting old.” For Bob it is getting macular degeneration, an eye condition that has taken away his ability to both read and drive. Because of his diminished eyesight, Bob and Virginia both depend on VIP Rides to get them to medical appointments, run errands and do their shopping.