Serving Northern California

Since 1985

Life At Carlton

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Why Carlton?

We help residents live their lives with attractive senior housing options, acclaimed services and our legendary “culture of care.”


Our Mission

We’re a family-founded, family-focused company, and taking care of you and your loved ones is our mission and our passion.


Service Principles

We aim to love, honor and care for our residents with exceptional service, enthusiasm and integrity.

Senior Living Surprise

While vacationing in San Francisco I decided to take a quick trip up to Pleasant Hill to see an old dear friend of mine who lives at Carlton Senior Living Downtown Pleasant Hill. I must say you guys do it right! The food was incredible (especially the salad bar!) I was quite impressed with the staff who went out of their way to make me happy. Very clean and the atmosphere was warm and inviting. As I left a fun county band started to play... I wanted to stay but had to leave, hopefully next time I will catch them. Keep up the great work Carlton Senior Living Downtown Pleasant Hill!!!Dr. Wright

Carlton Senior Living Downtown Pleasant Hill Assisted Living Is Truly Special

Special thanks to Lisa Spivey at Carlton Senior Living Downtown Pleasant Hill, on my visit to see my dear friend, you were so warm and welcoming and thanks for the nice chat. You and your whole team are gifts to all the resident that live their. If I retire in Pleasant Hill someday, I wish to call Carlton Senior Living Downtown Pleasant Hill my home. Thanks again and lunch was delightful.S Pelegrino

The Best Senior Living Community

I visited Carlton Senior Living Downtown Pleasant Hill and I was very much impressed with how you guys run this senior community. I live in Florida and what I've seen in my parts is not even close to what you have assembled here. The food, activities and staff are all above board. Very lively place as well. I'm impressed.John B

Assisted Living That Is Like Coming Home

Warm and friendly staff at Carlton Senior Living San Leandro! They make you feel welcome. Very nice apartments, lots of activities and the Sunday Brunch that I was fortunate to attend was OUTSTANDING! Really as good as anything you will find anywhere in the City. Not sure how you do it but I'm sure glad you do. John loves it there.Kathy Oslow

Wonderful Retirement Community

Thank you to the Carlton Senior Living managers and team, for all of the care, patience, time and efforts you put in to helping my father, he was a blessed and happy man until he passed in March. My husband and I appreciate all that you did for him. We really want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for sending us flowers on his funeral. Thanks again!Betty Shrine
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Our Memory Care

“Everyone is helpful and caring. It is such a relief that my mom is taken care of at Carlton’s Memory Care. I never worry about her care or well being and she is happy when I visit. Thank you all!” – Alice C.

From the Carlton Senior Community Blog

Resident Spotlight - Peggy Raftery

Resident Spotlight - Peggy Raftery

[caption id="attachment_23360" align="alignright" width="300"] Peggy posed with Resident Liaison, Ben, during Carlton Davis' Halloween celebration.[/caption] Margaret “Peggy” Kellogg Raftery was born on December 6, 1932 in Woodland, California to parents Neal and Myrtle Kellogg. As an only child, she learned to entertain herself and her favorite childhood memories are of the arts and crafts she came up with. She enjoyed drawing, coloring books, which were big at the time, and making paper dolls. Peggy attended Chico High School. She had always known that she wanted to become an artist and she chose art as her elective all four years there. She won a scholarship to the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, but she passed it up. Instead, she attended Immaculate Heart College, a Catholic college in Los Angeles. They had an excellent art department and she thought it was fun to be in Los Angeles after always living in small towns. Peggy married Joseph Raftery in 1955. He was a lawyer, and then a judge, in the small town of Dixon. They had five children together: Paul, Mary, Dick, Tom, and Joe. Peggy has three grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Joseph and Peggy loved camping and visiting state and national parks together. Notable camping trips included Yosemite, Yellowstone, Redwood National and State Park, the Grand Tetons, and Glacier National Park. After her marriage, Peggy became a homemaker. She continued to make art and entered, and won, a number of art shows at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento and the California State Fair. In 1970 she went back to school and took an etching class. She began doing a type of colored etching called intaglio. Her husband bought her a printmaking press and she ran her own studio in Dixon. She loves printmaking and became a member of the California Print Maker’s Society. Peggy lives by the golden rule—do unto others as you want to be done unto you. She likes jazz and her favorite musician is Benny Goodman. Her favorite meal is bacon and eggs and her favorite dessert is rhubarb pie, which she used to enjoy making herself. Her favorite scent is cinnamon. She most admires author Mark Twain for his creativity; her favorite books are Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. She would like to be remembered as an artist. Here at Carlton Davis, Peggy likes being able to meet new people. She appreciates that there are so many nice and interesting people living here as she really enjoys hearing other people’s stories. Interviewed by Ben Slade Written by Jessalyn Eernisse Read more

“You Don’t Meet General MacArthur But I’d See Him…” by Harriett Burt

“You Don’t Meet General MacArthur But I’d See Him…” by Harriett Burt

Japan at the end of WWII Is Just One Part of Blanche Perry’s Active Life When Blanche Perry moved to Carlton Pleasant Hill-Martinez from Carlton Concord last December, she already had friends here. But along with her belongings, she also brought her life story with her. One of the most interesting chapters covers February 1950 to February 1952 which she spent in Occupied Japan as the wife of an Army Air Force rear gunner assigned to the crew of the two airplanes used by five-star General Douglas MacArthur, head of the U.S. occupation of Japan at the end of World War II. When asked if she ever met the aloof General of the Armies, the answer is in the headline above. But she did meet MacArthur’s wife “who was a real lady and always gracious.” However, that was only one of many great experiences the then 25-year-old military wife and mother had in a land she grew to love and regretted having to leave. Blanche was born in 1925 in Kansas City, Missouri to Jose and Rosa Loya who had immigrated from Mexico for a better life a few years earlier. Mr. Loya worked in the hotel industry and Mrs. Loya was a housewife raising their 3 children to speak only English in the home as was common with immigrants in those days. When their comfortable middle-class life ended abruptly in 1930 with the onset of the Great Depression, life changed radically. Mr. Loya lost his job and the strain destroyed the Loya marriage. When Blanche was 5, her mother and the children moved to El Paso to live with her grandparents. Since the couple only spoke Spanish, Blanche picked up the new language fast as some people do, especially when they are younger.  However, when she went to school, other students made fun of her for speaking “Spanish like a gringa.” Even then at age 6, she didn’t wilt from the teasing. Instead, “I decided I would learn it better than them.” Not only that but she would learn the culture, the music and dancing and use that knowledge in every aspect of her later life. Since the rumba, samba and conga were all the rage in the early 1950s, while in Japan she taught the steps to the Spanish-speaking American soldiers with whom she helped found a Spanish club that sponsored dinner-dances for the GIs and their wives or dates. She still laughs about the French ballerina who gave her ballroom dancing lessons in preparation for teaching the GIs. Observing Blanche’s ballroom dancing technique, the ballerina noted drily that “the steps are right, but you dance like a peasant.” As Blanche had used her classmates’ teasing as a spur years before, she laughed and succeeded doing something the French dancer probably couldn’t do, teaching Mexican folk dancing to the soldiers and their wives and girlfriends. When Blanche turned 13, the family moved to Los Angeles where they lived in Inglewood with an aunt and uncle. The uncle was a printer at a Spanish language newspaper that he brought home each day for Blanche to read so they could discuss the contents at dinner. Taking secretarial and language classes at Manual Arts High School, her abilities in the classes led to her teaching one class a week in her senior year so the credentialed teacher could attend a meeting. At 16, Blanche was hired as a telephone operator by AT&T’s California operation, Pacific Bell, earning enough money to support her mother, her brother and two sisters. In Blanche’s first assignment as an operator, the supervising Chief Operator became the first of a number of AT&T mentors over the years to see and encourage her abilities. “That’s how I, over the next 17 years, worked off and on for the company” that saw her skills and made sure she had many opportunities to expand them beyond just saying “Number, please…” America’s participation in World War II was 1 ½  years old when Blanche graduated from high school in 1943. She recalls a report of a Japanese plane allegedly shot down over Inglewood in 1942. “We were sent home from school and kids found airplane parts. It was very hush, hush.” She also met Alex Aguilar, in the Army Air Force, whom she married in early 1945 just before he was assigned to the India-Burma-Chinese Theatre to serve as a rear gunner under General Claire Chennault, famous commander of the US Army Air Force Flying Tigers air group. When the war ended in August 1945, Alex returned home as a staff sergeant and was stationed at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield. Blanche and the children lived in Vallejo until early 1950 when Alex was assigned to Supreme Commander General Douglas MacArthur’s flight crew in Tokyo. In February 1950, Blanche packed up their two children,  Harold, 2 ½,  and Rita, 1, and boarded the USS Darby for an uneventful 11-day voyage across the Pacific to a completely different experience than she had ever had before or since. [caption id="attachment_23340" align="alignleft" width="600"] Christmas, 1951 in Japan. (Center) Blanche holds Rita, 21months, and Alex has Harold, almost 3. At left is the children'sbeloved nursemaid, Keiko, and at right is their housekeeper,Kiyoko, with whom Blanche developed a great friendship duringthe two years the family lived in occupied Japan.[/caption] Moving to a two-bedroom home in a little town outside the city where other US service families lived, the family was assigned a housekeeper, Kiyoko, and a nursemaid, Keiko, for the children. “Kiyoko was not only my housekeeper but also my companion and friend,” Blanche recalls. “She did the shopping, and cooked Japanese meals as well as housekeeping. She and I also went sightseeing, shopping on the Ginza, (Tokyo’s famous high-end shopping area), visited Buddhist temples and went to the theatre.” They saw several operas including “The Mikado” and “Madam Butterfly” but the one Blanche remembers most was a production of “Carmen.”  “I had seen ‘Carmen’ in the States,” she recalls. “The Opera Company was made up of singers from different backgrounds, but when they started singing Carmen in three different languages, Spanish, Italian and Japanese, at least I knew Spanish, and enough Italian to follow the story. Both Kiyoko and Blanche found the tri-lingual production hilarious although beautifully staged with beautiful music. The nursemaid, Keiko, was 17 or 18 years old and the Aguilars were the first American family she worked for. “The children loved her.” As was the Japanese custom, Keiko slept on a futon on the floor in the nursery. Because her husband was busy on duty at the airbase, Blanche soon took on lots of volunteer work helping the troops with Latin-American backgrounds and their families. Besides teaching ballroom dancing to the soldiers and helping organize the dinner parties, she listened quietly whenever the young men she calls to this day, ‘the boys,’ showed her pictures of their families or talked about their often harrowing experiences in combat. “I also volunteered at the Tokyo General Hospital in the day room where I visited GIs of Latin-American heritage who had been injured.” Depending on their injuries, she would read the letters from their families written in Spanish and take down their dictated replies to send home. While at the hospital, she was selected as one of the volunteers to go into the psychiatric ward where the non-violent patients were. “Some were comatose and sat in their beds like statues while I went from bed to bed smiling and talking to them to try to get a response. But I never did,” she says sadly. Then she would go to a long table where all those who could walk and talk sat. “I would go to each one and offer them cake or pie on paper plates with no forks or spoons. One of the men had a toy dog. He would always ask me for a piece of cake or pie for the dog also so I would talk to the patient and the dog and give them both their treats.” When the Korean War broke out on June 25, 1950, the military wives in Tokyo were asked to take over some of the jobs on the base so “the boys could be sent to Korea.” Blanche’s job was to organize and dispatch busses into Tokyo for the use of base civilians and military. One nerve-wracking time came when General MacArthur and the whole Far East Command of senior officers and aides flew to Korea on a reconnaissance mission. On the General’s airplane, “The Bataan II,” named after the tragic battle that cost the US the Philippines not to mention many soldiers in 1942, was the general and some staff while the rest of the Command was on another airplane called the ’45. As they neared the Korean peninsula, the group was attacked by North Koreans flying Russian MIG fighters. The Bataan managed to escape with no damage. The ’45 was hit by a bullet that passed between the radio equipment and the radio operator. “But all were safe,” Blanche notes. “On the return, the radio operator called me on my landline so I could take the bus to the airbase to meet them when they arrived. My husband brought the crew back to our house for dinner, to relax, and spend the night. In the morning when I went into the living room, they were all asleep under the rug.” It turned out that the North Koreans learned of the trip when it was leaked by a newspaper reporter who was sent back to the States as a result. From then on, families of crew members were told that when anyone asked where the husbands were,  the response was to be “oh, he has duty at the base.” A man, whose real name and rank was never known to them, was assigned to be with the families whenever they were all together. Also not long after, one of the soldiers in their group was killed near the Chosin Reservoir during the American retreat in the brutal winter of 1950 when the Chinese invaded North Korea in an attempt to drive the Allies off the peninsula. Blanche was one of the wives who rallied around to support the widow during this tragic time. This treasured part of Blanche’s life changed in April 1951, when President Truman removed General MacArthur from his command in a very controversial move at the time but which was soon proved in Senate hearings to have been in the best interests of the United States. General Matthew Ridgeway succeeded MacArthur. MacArthur and his staff were sent back to the States immediately. The crew Alex was part of remained in Tokyo until February 1952. When February rolled around in 10 months, Blanche was sad. “I did not want to leave, but we had no choice. I loved the country and the gentle people, Lake Hakone, the Buddhist temples, the Ginza,” she recalls with regret. “My daughter took me back to Yokohama in 2003. It wasn’t the same,” Blanche observes sadly. “Instead of lovely Japanese girls in their lovely kimonos, there were dark business suits and briefcases. We did go to a wedding in a Buddhist Temple. That was the Japan we knew. We (also) saw some of the shopping centers that were the same.” Not long after the family returned home to Southern California from Japan in 1952, Blanche had found she was pregnant with her third child, Toni. Air Force rules did not allow an expectant wife to travel by ship. But Blanche refused to fly so as it was still early in the pregnancy, she said nothing and sailed home with the group with the other wives covering for her as she began to show by bringing her food and good cheer. The family settled in Los Angeles where soon the marriage was failing seriously enough that the Catholic Church gave Blanche permission to divorce Alex. Once again, the telephone company flung open the employment doors for Blanche. Meanwhile, John Perry, the widower of a friend of Blanche’s whom she had known since 1946, contacted her mother letting her know of his interest in renewing contact with Blanche. The rest of the story is a happy ending. Marrying John, Blanche moved from Los Angeles to Watsonville expecting to be hired at the local telephone office as she had during the 17 years when she worked for them sporadically in Southern California. Already informed that she’d been accepted for a position in the Watsonville office, she was stunned to find out when she arrived that there was no job for her. The office manager told her that “since she was a ‘big city girl,’ she wouldn’t like working here.” Blanche never worked for the phone company again, she says, in a tone that suggests that some well-known place freezing over first would be required for her to change her mind. John owned a home in the town and had a job as a ‘heavy-duty mechanic’ with the Pajaro Unified School District so in 1961, she settled down as a housewife and mother with Harold, Rita, and Toni, now at or near school-age. John was a very good father to them, Blanche says. They all welcomed baby sister, Patricia, in 1963. When the little one entered kindergarten, Blanche volunteered as a classroom aide. “They kept trying to hire me,” she says, so eventually she ended up as a paid classroom aide, the first of several jobs not to mention volunteer stints in the school district over 17 years. Because of her bilingual skills, she worked with Spanish-speaking parents because most of the instructional aides spoke limited Spanish. Then Blanche became involved with the State Department of Education when she helped the school district develop the first bilingual school support grant in California. Later she transferred to another elementary school as the attendance clerk before becoming secretary to the vice-principal. In that position, she learned the Pajaro School Board policy manual backwards and forwards to keep green vice-principals from making troublesome mistakes. Occasionally she helped with nurse duties when needed. She once held a young boy in her arms as he had six grand mal seizures while they waited for the ambulance. As anyone who has worked in a school in any capacity knows, there are countless times when emergency coverage of a classroom or opening up the building because the principal was at a conference meant that ‘somebody had to do it’ and in a small school in Watsonville, that ‘somebody’ was often Blanche. In fact, the Superintendent would tell anyone who had a problem to be solved or a project to be worked on, “to borrow Blanche.” She literally ‘paid for that’ when she retired as she was docked for a total of seven years of retirement credit because nobody told her (or the superintendent apparently) that she wouldn’t get credit for doing work that was not part of her official job description. John decided to retire in 1983 and asked Blanche if she would also so they could travel. “It was a great retirement,” she recalls. They had a trailer they pulled through all of California and Arizona and owned property in Paradise Pines which they parked the trailer on while traveling around Northern California. They spent a month each summer in Hawaii where one of Blanche’s sisters lives with her husband, an Australian who had worked for Qantas airlines before becoming an executive with Sheraton. Looking back, Blanche describes her life experience this way: “It takes a lot of people to help. You don’t do anything alone. The Good Lord always has been there for me to help me avoid mistakes. He has always guided me.” She is looking forward very much to new Carlton Pleasant Hill-Martinez resident Father Walt serving Mass each Sunday here starting June 21 as he did at Carlton Concord. Written by Harriett Burt, Carlton Senior Living Pleasant Hill-Martinez Resident Read additional pieces by Harriett Burt Read more

Resident Spotlight - Bob Fox

Resident Spotlight - Bob Fox

Meet Carlton Senior Living spotlight resident, Bob Fox - Robert “Bob” Fox was born on December 6, 1943 in Minneapolis, Minnesota to parents Darlene Blumenberg and Henry Fox. He has one brother, Jim. Bob went to high school in Birmingham, Michigan. Bob knew from a young age that he wanted to become an attorney. He attended the University of Minnesota for his bachelor’s and then went to law school at Duke University. He practiced law for a few years before deciding that he wanted to do something different. In 1972 he became a founding faculty member at Metropolitan State University in Minneapolis. Over the next thirty-five years, he helped develop student-centered curriculum and taught courses on a wide range of subjects, including law and education. Bob is an accomplished and internationally renowned table tennis player. He began playing during law school and has since competed all over the world. In 1992 he became the team leader for the U.S. National and Olympic table tennis teams. As team leader, he attended four Olympics, most recently the 2008 games in Beijing, twelve world championships, and the Pan American Games. Bob has lived and traveled all over the U.S. In addition to California and Minnesota, he has lived in South Dakota, North Carolina, and New Mexico. He has fond memories of many family road trips when he was little. He has been married “a few times.” He has two children, Andrew and Brianna, who are both very successful in their chosen fields. He moved to Davis in December 2019 in order to be closer to Andrew. Bob describes himself as intelligent, engaging, and a man of broad interests. He has centered his life around education and learning. He would like to be remembered as someone who was always learning and for his contributions to table tennis. Aside from his passion for table tennis, Bob is a self-described “wine nut.” He had an expansive wine cellar and used to lead tours of wineries and vineyards. Here at Carlton Davis, Bob appreciates that he can relax after living a very active life. He is not a big music person, but he does enjoy Mississippi Delta folk music. He loves Spanish food, like tapas, and all types of seafood and shellfish. His favorite scent is lavender. He enjoys watching videos on activism and politics. He advises others to be accepting of others. He always taught his children about the importance of accepting others’ race, cultures, and beliefs and believes that everyone should strive to do the same. Read more about Bob on the Team USA website. View additional Resident Spotlight articles. Written by Ben Slade, Resident Liaison at Carlton Senior Living Davis   Read more

"The Story of the Old House" from the Memoirs of James Thompson Sr.

"The Story of the Old House" is just one of the many short stories from the memoirs of James Thompson Sr., a resident of Carlton Senior Living San Jose. Written during the 1970s, Thompson's writings illustrate what life was like as a child growing up in the small town of Dyer, Indiana during the 1930s. Dyer is a town in St. John Township, Lake County, Indiana and is a southeastern suburb of Chicago. According to census records, the population of Dyer was just 672 in 1930 and had increased to 976 by 1940. "The Story of the Old House" by James Thompson Sr. [caption id="attachment_23332" align="alignleft" width="120"] James as a high school student.[/caption] We lived in an old house that rented from the Hilbrich’s. After the war, we had to buy it, because they wanted to sell it. It wasn’t much, an old farmhouse built before the Civil War. It was built before electricity. The electrical wiring was added after the house was built. A single cold water faucet was in the kitchen. There was no hot water unless it was heated on the cookstove. There was originally a barn beside the road but it burned. A chicken house, broody coop, an outhouse, a garage and a woodshed were there. When we moved in, the house had an old outhouse in the back with a brick walkway. The outhouse was in danger of falling down. Uncle Henry built a new outhouse which lasted until a bathroom was built five years later. The bathroom had an old used cast iron tub and was built very cheaply. The outhouse then became a woodshed. Another memory was the bare pine floors in the bedrooms. I got slivers in my feet, unless I wore slippers or shoes. The house had a shallow cellar made with limestone blocks and had a dirt floor. It was fine for me as a child, but the adults had to duck their heads. The cellar finally was made deeper and a cement floor was put in. I found an arrowhead in the dirt that was excavated from the floor. There was no basement under the dining room or the kitchen. The kitchen was added to the original house, lean-to. In the winter, the kitchen faucet could freeze, so the water was left on just a trickle. I used to get my baths in the kitchen sink when I was two or three. To get soft water, rainwater was pumped from the cistern under the front porch and heated on the stove. The drawback was there was soot in the water. The Saturday night bath was more truth than fiction. Uncle Henry worked on the railroad. Before we had inside plumbing, he would take a bucket of water and a wash pan to his room and wash up. He was in the army in France near the front lines during the war (WWII), he said his early years training stood him in good stead. We look forward to sharing more of James' short stories on Carlton Senior Living's blog in the future. Want to read more from our resident writers? Check out these pieces by Elma Blaud and Harriett Burt. Read more

"Why I Wait For the Bus in Front of Carlton" by Elma Blaud

"It’s the people, the dear people," says Elma Blaud, a resident of Carlton Senior Living. "I like to sit (and I arrive early so that I can) under the apple tree – oh no, no, that is still another story," Elma, a life-long lover of music says jokingly. "Back to square one. I like to sit under the overhang at the front of the Carlton Senior Living San Jose community. My reason: I wish to be the first person to enter the bus! Why? You ask – because I want to observe all the beauty of San Jose and the surrounding views as we glide to our destination, whether it be Santa Cruz, Half Moon Bay, Watsonville, etc. They are all beautiful and most interesting to visit. I have been quite successful during the past ten years," recalls Elma. "Do you realize the number of very nice people who enter our building and the same number who leave it?" Elma queries. "It is such a wonderful experience to greet these very nice people and to spend a few minutes with them. It is such a great delight to greet these charming people. Life has so many beautiful people and stories, with many entering and leaving the Carlton." "It would be interesting to develop imaginary stories about the families of so many," envisions the friendly observer of people. "We have all lived through so much in our long lives. Some journeys are amazing. Would you care to share yours? What an exciting book!" she concludes with a smile. Read: "The Beautiful Music in Everything" by Elma Blaud Watch this interview with Elma from 2017 and learn more about how music has impacted her life.   Read more

"At Home in the World of Animals and of People" by Harriett Burt

“There’s nothing more daunting than taking a blood sample from a lion,” Carlton Senior Living Pleasant Hill-Martinez resident and retired veterinarian Denny Bohlke observes. He ought to know because his Yakima office was close enough to a retired circus animal ranch to hear them roaring and to make a ‘home visit’ from time to time. Oh, by the way, how do you take the sample? From its tail, he says. Denny was born in 1931 and grew up on a 12-acre farm near Yakima. His dad was a fruit inspector in Washington’s largest fruit growing area. It was the beginning of the Great Depression so keeping the wolf from the door meant everybody in the family worked. His two sisters had their tasks. His mother and he would get 500 chickens and butcher them for sale to folks who came from miles around. Occasionally they sold a cow. Denny got up each morning before school to milk them. They also had pigs. Two they ate over a year’s time. The rest of the piglets were sold. “I wanted to be a vet since 5th grade,” he says. He made pocket money during World War II by raising rabbits and selling them to area customers for meat. After the war ended and while he was still in high school, he continued raising them for sale to French restaurants which often featured rabbit on their menus. Graduating from high school in 1948, Denny attended Washington State in Pullman for both his Bachelor of Science degree and his veterinary degree. He stood out in his vet school class as the only student who entered the program only to be thrown from a horse on the first day because he had never ridden one before. When he graduated with his veterinary degree and certification in 1956, he was drafted by the Army for two years of service between the Korean and Vietnam wars. He feels a bit guilty now that he did not serve in either of those wars. But he did help feed the troops when he and another veterinarian graduate were posted in Seattle during their entire service as army meat inspectors for troops stationed in Alaska. It was a good posting. “We got meat to taste and whatever we said went. The officers always took our word for it. We saved the Army lots of money as there was $60,000 (in 1956 dollars) worth of meat in each shipment. I think we did a good job. We didn’t reject any good food and we didn’t accept any bad.” Besides Denny’s military duties, he could always get a job on the side as a night or emergency vet.  When he left the army in 1958, he worked for a Seattle veterinarian and lived at the clinic. He handled emergency night calls and other tasks. The owner later hired him to manage another clinic which gave him valuable experience in the business side of the profession and no doubt encouraged him to move back to Yakima to establish his own clinic in 1960. A nurse from Minnesota was living in Yakima with friends all of whom were working there. The vet met the nurse and the rest was a slow move to history. “I was slow to propose,” Danny admits. “But when she told me she was moving back to Minnesota, I said “No, you can’t because we are getting married!” “I always owned part of my own business and I always had great partners.” His first partner, a Yakima Indian, stayed for 32 years before retiring and the second worked there for ten or 15 years becoming a partner when the first one retired. He bought Denny out when he retired. They still talk frequently 30 years later. At first, the business took in any animal that came along such as the retired lions but as time went on, they would focus only on the smaller animals with Denny working on the occasional wild eagles and hawks. As a good businessman, Denny felt it would be smart to have some type of specialty no other veterinary business provided which would increase profits and financial stability. In the 1940s  a University of Washington veterinarian and a physician had developed a new way of setting broken limbs in humans and animals by putting steel pins in the bones rather than using splints. Denny was one of the few in Washington State to use that technique in his veterinary practice. Soon, other vets in the surrounding area were referring their bone business customers to Denny. “Putting a splint on a dog is not easy. Most dogs would jump over the fence (after the process) to get rid of it. The new method was time-consuming surgery, but I loved it.” “I always liked the way we got on with our employees, nearly all of whom stayed for a long time.” Denny likes people as well as animals and appreciated his clientele who took good care of their pets.  He did have to tell a doctor’s wife who always insisted on being taken first even if she was fourth in line and was always rude to staff,  “you mistreat our help. We’re going to send you to another vet because you are too much to deal with.” But most were fine people. He and Joyce owned a 10-acre farm like the one he grew up on. A contractor friend built a beautiful house for them. Their three children and Denny kept the lawn groomed. Denny planted 10 redwoods that thrived as well as fruit trees and a few cattle. But as time went on, Denny’s health faltered. He says he knew from his own education that he had symptoms that could result in a heart attack, so he sold his part of the practice two months before it actually happened.  “For our area, we were a very successful business. Veterinarians don’t get rich, but we usually are comfortable. When he recovered, Denny became a relief veterinarian working a month or so at a time to cover vacations and such. “I really enjoyed it. You work with different people and clients.” Joyce had been skeptical about buying a trailer, even a nice one, but she soon grew to like it. They traveled around not just Washington but as far away as San Diego, working at many clinics and meeting lots of people through that and eating out. Soon they were being invited to local events including a family wedding, by people they had just met. They even took a trailer trip across the US once working along the way. As the children grew up and left home, Denny realized taking care of the lawn etc. would become his job. Joyce suggested that they move to Concord where they could help one of their daughters who was married and starting a family. They bought a house there, once again making lots of friends while Denny still served as a relief vet and also worked in five area vaccination clinics getting to meet a variety of people from all parts of the East Bay. He loved that job. Joyce died eight years ago after 52 years of marriage, a blow which took time to adjust to. By coming to Carlton and developing a very good relationship with a close friend of Joyce’s in Concord, he regained his equilibrium. Now 89, Denny recalls that once when he was much younger, he thought about going into research because, as he says, “I like science.”  So, the family lived in a trailer in Seattle with the children while he went to a three-week class on research animals.  “I didn’t like it,” he recalls so he happily returned to where there were plenty of people and animals. Joyce may have been relieved Denny admits because as he says, “of course, she carried all the water. She bought the food, cooked the meals, and chased after three young children in an RV park.” Looking back, “I have had a good life,” he volunteers. “I never got tired of animals and I never got tired of treating animals.”  And talking with him shows he has never gotten tired of people either to which he agrees. Written by Harriett Burt, Carlton Senior Living Pleasant Hill-Martinez Resident Read additional pieces by Harriett Burt Read more