A Homestead Headlines Article by Chuck Oldenburg
Art Fontes was a 1939 graduate of Tamalpais High School and an outstanding all-round athlete. He lived with his parents and sister Jacqueline at 27 Montford on the corner of Ethel in Homestead Valley.
On October 4, 1954, Walter Filippi, commander of the Muir Woods Post 6741, Veterans of Foreign Wars of Mill Valley, dedicated the flagpole in the baseball field at Boyle Park to the memory of Arthur W. Fontes who lost his life in World War 2.
While at Tam High, Art excelled in football. He was given all-league mention as an end. In his last game, before graduation he played with a broken wrist in a cast.
His athletic abilities were not limited only to football, however. Art was captain of the baseball team. He held the all-time high school record for the highest batting average in the North Bay league, 0.765, in the 1939 season. He had 13 hits in a row in the final few games including five home runs. In fact, his baseball record was so outstanding that he received an offer to play professional baseball for the Brooklyn Dodgers. He had to turn down the offer, because his mother felt he was not old enough.
Art Fontes later joined the navy. As part of his service, he was stationed in the Marianas in the mid-Pacific for 22 months. He was then transferred to a base near Chicago. He served as an aviation metal smith. It was on a routine training flight that he lost his life. He had been stationed at the Illinois base for seven months. Fontes was 24 years old when he died in 1945.
The VFW, in choosing Fontes for the honor, pointed out that he had been an outstanding athlete, with nearly two years of active overseas duty in a highly dangerous zone. He was one of the few Mill Valley servicemen who lost their lives in World War 2.
The inscription on the plaque at the base of the flagpole reads, “To the memory of Arthur W. Fontes, athlete and airman.”
If you have comments or questions about this article or other topics
pertaining to the history of Homestead Valley,
please feel free to e-mail Chuck Oldenburg.