In 1988, reporter Bruce Coleman wrote an article for the Marin Independent Journal entitled, “She’s the Mayor of Montford Avenue” referring to Mary Greyerbiehl. Her parents had immigrated from Lucca, Italy. They first lived in an apartment in the rear of a dry goods store at 23 Montford Ave. Mary was born in 1921 and grew up around the corner in a house on Ethel Ave.
Her father, Giacomo Galeotti and his brother-in-law, Pasquale Pieri raised vegetables on La Goma along the creek. Mary’s father died when she was 4 years old. When he was delivering vegetables on the mountain, the brakes on his model T Ford failed and the car backed over him. Mary’s mother was left with five kids aged 2 to 12. They lived on $75 per month welfare from the state. Her father’s life insurance policy had paid off the mortgage on the house.
In 1937, during her junior year at Tam High, she hiked from Sausalito across the Golden Gate bridge on Pedestrian Day. She repeated the fete in 1987 at the 50th anniversary celebration.
In March 1939. Pete Starr and Nick Stanich, owners of The Brown Jug, a historic saloon on the corner of Montford and Miller, changed its name to The 2 AM Club. In 1940, Mary’s future husband Wilbur “Bill” Greyerbiehl (1914-1990) and his brother Breslin “Bres” (1918-1976) bought the 2 AM Club. They had lived across the street at 16 Montford since 1937. When both of them were called up for military service in 1942, management of the 2 AM Club fell to their father, Louis. Shortly thereafter, Louis and his wife were in an automobile accident. Louis died and his wife who was severely injured arranged for someone else to manage the bar until Bill and Bres returned from the war. Meanwhile, Mary had married a sailor, Ken Milkey, and lived with his aunt and uncle back east for a year after which she obtained a divorce and returned to Mill Valley.
In 1946, she married Bill Greyerbiehl. Although a teetotaler, she tended bar on Sundays when Bill and Bres played baseball where the Safeway is today.
Homesteaders who had known Mary for decades said that she was a difficult person to deal with. Ray Miller, an operating engineer who lived in Homestead from 1945 to 1957 frequently met his buddies at the 2 AM Club for a beer after work-regulars knew it as “The Deuce.” Ray knew Mary, Bill and Bres very well. According to Ray, “Mary was a tough cookie who probably had the first nickel she ever earned.” Ray told me that I wouldn’t believe some of the stories about what went on at the 2AM Club. But he never told me those stories. In 2006, the Mill Valley Historical Society took Mary’s oral history. One of her 2 AM Club stories was that at age 50 she somersaulted the length of the bar.Bill Greyerbiehl sold the 2 AM Club in 1979.
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.