Betty Goerke and Chuck Oldenburg recognized for lifetime achievements

In 2020, during our Zoom-due-to-Covid annual meeting, the Mill Valley Historical Society presented Lifetime Achievement Awards to two of our most active and enduring members: 

  • Betty Goerke, anthropologist/archeologist, emeritus board member and author of multiple history books on Coast Miwok Indians
  • Chuck Oldenburg, former MVHS board member and author of hundreds of history vignettes published online and in book form. 

Two years later, in December 2022, we organized an in-person, outdoor celebration. Family and community members gathered on a cold and festive Sunday afternoon in the Mill Valley Library’s Smart Garden, where we planted a maple tree, representing the roots and branches of Mill Valley’s history that Betty and Chuck have cultivated, and we will place a commemorative plaque recognizing their contributions.  Board member Steven Pitsenbarger provided background music while attendees gathered, followed by a bagpipe processional by MVHS member Brian Muir. Board president Eric Macris introduced the honorees, and Board member and event organizer Debra Schwartz presented the awards. Light refreshments were enjoyed by the crowd, happy to meet again in person.

MVHS is grateful for the assistance of many people in bringing the recognition tree to life in Old Mill Park:

  • Board members Debra Schwartz, who spearheaded the project, and Steven Pitsenbarger, who with his friend Ray Goodenough selected the maple tree and rock, and assisted with tree planting. 
  • City of Mill Valley Manager Todd Cusimano for the city’s support and contribution, Park Supervisor Mack Douglas and maintenance workers Carlos Arellino, Tom Haddad, and Shanna Upton for their cheerful preparation, planting and placement of the tree and rock. 
  • Abby Wasserman for providing the wording of the plaque. 

Click first image to view gallery.