Meet Carlton Senior Living‘s spotlight resident Herb Sontag – Herb recently celebrated his 90th birthday with a festive party at the Carlton Senior Living Downtown Pleasant Hill attended by family and friends. Refreshments were provided by his granddaughter, Megan, who made many of Herb’s favorite cakes and pies. Not only were they delicious, but they were beautiful, too. Herb surprised everyone by tooting a few tunes on his trumpet – he still has it!
Playing trumpet in a band has been a constant in Herb’s life since he first began in fourth grade. Since then he has played in many dance bands including the Techtonians, MIT’s big band where he was its leader. Herb also played for 25 years with the Rossmoor Big Band, frequently soloing on his signature number, Li’l Darlin’.
Herb had an idyllic childhood growing up in Auburn, New York and spending his summers at magical Cobbet’s Pond, in New Hampshire. He followed in his father’s footsteps by attending Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he majored in mechanical engineering.
If asked about his most special moment Herb would say that it was his magical wedding to his sweetheart JoAnne in a tiny village chapel in Marburg, Germany. He was stationed there with the occupying forces during the Korean war and in between his army duties he and JoAnne “honeymooned” for nine months around Europe.
Herb and JoAnne eventually settled in Lafayette, California where Herb had a successful commercial real estate business. He remained active in his career until he finally retired at age 83!
Herb and JoAnne have three children – Heidi (Steve), Erich (Shelley), and Chris (Dawn) – and are very proud of their posterity that also includes nine grandchildren and fifteen great grandchildren. The family loves the “great outdoors” and spent most of their vacations backpacking in the Sierra Mountains. These family backpacking trips provided many wonderful memories for Herb’s children who have carried on the tradition of adventurous vacations.
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Written by Heidi Botts