MEET THE SENIOR SENIORS


      Articles from past Roseburg Senior Center Golden Oldies News Newsletters.

Roseburg Senior Center

Photo Mark Savagen

George Breeze   Written By June Ervin


This issue, I had the extreme pleasure of talking with Mr. George Breeze.  This delightful gentleman joined the Senior Center back in April of 2009.  His interest in water color painting and especially wood carving was what drew him to join our group of folks with similar interests.  He said that while he has been a member for nearly ten years, he has focused his time with the two things that brought him here.



George and his late wife Barbara spent their working years as teachers.  He taught both at the elementary level as well as high school.  When he retired he was employed by the Glide School District, as was his wife.  She retired from the Deer Creek School, and he from Glide.  During his tenure he taught many different classes and levels of education.  Once when he was a P.E. instructor, one of his fellow teachers found out that he owned a little MG sports car.  He was approached to begin teaching an auto repair class due to interest in that particular little car among the boys, so he started the class.

Travel is and always has been one of George’s greatest pleasures.  He and his wife have literally traveled the whole world.  He has so many interesting stories to tell about all the places he has been, I could have filled several pages instead of the one I make it a practice to stick to with this reoccurring article.  Some of the places he mentioned visiting were Ireland, (one of his favorites) Spain, Portugal, China, Europe all over, Scotland, England, Egypt, Morocco, Australia and New Zealand.

One of the stories he related about Scotland was that he was a guest in a private home when he was there.  This if often the only available place to stay in smaller towns and villages, even more so in past years.  So while visiting with his hostess, she said, “you will need to excuse me for a bit while I go check my wee spooty”.  What she was referring to was her watering system for her garden!

Of course there are castles everywhere in Europe and he visited many.  But he said one of the most unusual things he did was lay on his back in order to kiss the Blarney Stone while in Ireland.

While visiting in London, he found out that the horses used in the honor guard ceremony during the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace who have been taught to “prance” with their feet tipped down, are outfitted with weighted shoes.

In New Zealand, in the guest house they occupied, the lady of the house supplied them with hot bricks wrapped in warm towels from the oven, at bed time, to chase the chill of the bed.  Guess they had not discovered electric blankets, yet.  He never mentioned how long ago this happened, but he is in his nineties so it may well have been prior to the invention…….or maybe the village was just not very modern. This is still the case in many of the small hamlets there.  To properly see New Zealand it is necessary to travel by car or bus as there are many, many towns where there is no other way to reach them.

You really should make it a point to meet this nice man and visit with him.  He is very friendly and out- going, easy to talk with and one of the more interesting folks I have met here at the center.

George lost his wife, Barbara only last December and is still adjusting to bachelorhood and says he is still learning to cook.  But his many thoughtful neighbors come thru with tasty meals and are generous to keep him supplied with garden produce as well.  He continues to reside out W. Harvard in the home they shared



Roseburg Senior Center

Photo Ron Elliott

Helen Szeremeta    Written By June Ervin


This issue we are talking to a lady very well known by all the “old timers” of the Center.  Helen Szeremeta joined the Senior Center back in December 2007.
She had pretty much retired in 2005, to part time “on call”  work so she had time to join and play bingo, a game she still enjoys here on Wednesday and Friday nights.  Helen said she is not a fanatic about it, just plays when she can.  She does still remember her first win here at the Center, she played only a one sheet double action.  Her best win to date was a $500.  Jack pot back around April 2014, or so.

Helen started out living in Minnesota, where two of her three children still reside.  She has five grandchildren.  She left St. Paul in 1980 to work for Champion International, a paper products company in Ohio, remaining there until moving out west in 1990 to live in the mountains.  Her desire was to be able to do that before she died, she said, so she moved to Oregon.  It was mostly farm land where she had always lived before, pretty flat.  Small town life without a lot of traffic appealed to her, so she chose Roseburg.

In February of 1991 Helen started work at the Roseburg Building Facility Dept. at the court house and finally retired in 2005.

After joining the Senior Center, she was appointed to the Board of Directors to fill a vacancy created when someone left.  She was re-elected at the next election.  While on the board she became editor of the Newsletter.  Back then she wrote the letter at home and it was printed out of house.  Often, she filled in with jokes and recipes when news was sparse.  She went to the city information center to get their weekly activities sheet and printed some items in our newsletter.

Helen presently lives alone in Shadow Ranch.  He ex-husband is deceased.  In the past she enjoyed sewing and crocheted some, too.  Now, she really likes movies!

Her collection of 400 plus movies provides her with entertainment whenever she is in the mood to indulge.  Not much on TV appeals to her these days, but there is one program she tunes in nearly daily that she enjoys about bible study.


Roseburg Senior Center

Photo Barbara Kinnan

Margaret & Dale Roark   Written By June Ervin


Margaret and Dale Roark joined the Senior Center in August 2007.

Tom Weathers was the reason given to me by Margaret as the reason they joined.  She said he talked them into it.  Tom told me he had designs on Dale as a future president, at the time.  In fact, at the annual election that September, both were elected to the Board of Directors.  They are the only married couple to have been board members at the same time, as far as I have been able to discover from talking with some of the older members.  If this is not the case, I would like to know.



At the time they joined, Dale’s sister was on the board at the Sutherlin Senior Center and very involved with bingo.  She also joined down here and got them into bingo and many other activities, as it turned out. Before long, Margaret was helping out with the food prep on Fridays for the pot luck that was held at the time.  That led to helping with baking cookies for both of them and continued on to helping with cooking lunch as the kitchen progressed.  Both can be found in kitchen duties almost any time we have a big event here at the Center.  From manning a grill in the parking lot to making candy by the pounds at Christmastime, they have their hands involved.  Both worked tirelessly manning the booth out at the Santa Center during the Festival of Lights, last winter.

Margaret is also is one of our main helpers in the kitchen each fall making jams and jellies for sale during our annual Christmas Bazaar.  Since we became a licensed kitchen, we have added lots of money to our coffers with canned foods and candy during our sale.  They both pick berries and fruit to donate to the Center every summer.

Dale served as Vice president, under Mona Lee Wilson, going on to become President of the Board. During that time, he said he and Tom spent lots of time cruising the streets of Roseburg searching for a suitable building for the Center to re-locate from the county building, where they had been for many years.  The membership had out grown the space and we were prevented from using it after hours at night and on week-ends, when some activities might have been held.  That search, by later board members finally resulted in our move to our present location and ownership of our facility.

From the beginning, Dale was on the building committee.  After we moved into our new space and the kitchen was built, the committee went dark.  Now, as we move into the future that will require more planning and remodeling, he is back on the committee again.  He is always helpful when problems arise in the building.  Fixing leaks, repairing plumbing, chasing down light bulbs and such things He hardly ever says “no” when asked to help with something, even if it is washing pots and pans.

Married in 1961 in the Lookingglass Church, they have lived in and around the Roseburg area most of the time since.  They did live in Yamhill, Oregon for a nine- year period when Dale was employed and retired from a water and waste water facility as a Public Works Supervisor.  Dale was born in Idaho but has lived in Roseburg from an early age.  Margaret moved here as an early teen to live with her Grandmother after a tragic accident took most of her family.

They had three sons, all born at the old Mercy hospital.  They lost their first child at the age of eight.  Both grown boys are married and also have sons.  One son, Ed, who lives here in town is retired from 24 years in U.S. Navy.  His two sons, both Eagle Scouts, are in college.  The younger son lives in California and has one son in college and one about to graduate from High School.  They also are both Eagle Scouts, a point that the grandparents are very proud of.

This couple, my first interview as a couple, lives in East Roseburg where Deer Creek runs through their property.  Dale has been having fun with a riding lawn mower on his grass, lately.  His other hobby is Pickle Ball, at the “Y” and he said the Senior Center is his main hobby.  Margaret enjoys needlework and nearly always has a project with her when she is here.  She makes items of clothing for friends, to sell, for the Senior Center and for charities.  She is very generous with the time and thread.

This popular couple attends just about every function held here and is known by almost everyone in the Center.



Roseburg Senior Center

Photo Mark Savage

Donna Bursik    Written By June Ervin


Donna Bursik joined the Roseburg Senior Center on September 2, 2005.  Right from the start, she joined the working part of the membership.  She joined the bingo committee and has helped to run the Penny Bingo games on Monday for years, as she continues to do.  In the beginning she worked with Margaret Roark, who was already involved in many things at the center, as she still is.

A little later she was employed to help clean the kitchen and became acquainted with the group who was in charge of the food for the potluck, which was held on Fridays for lunch.  This was before there was a cook to prepare a meal.  All the members who came for lunch brought a dish to share.  The various volunteers who worked in the kitchen took care of the food as it arrived and arranged the table for service at noon.  Seemed like something she would enjoy, so she joined them.  She also made what seemed like rooms full of cookies during this time while we were still in the County building.

A while after she joined, she joined the board, during the time they were searching for a new facility.  The membership was advised they had to move out of the building they had occupied for many years and it was up to the board to head a search for another building.  After many trips thru many buildings, it was decided that this one, that we now own, was the best fit for us.

Both Donna and her husband of 59 years, Lyle, are Roseburg natives.  They were born and raised here and this is the only place they have called home in all their years together.  They raised five children, 3 girls and two boys who all also live here.  At the present time three of them, all single at this time, share a home together.  That is a close family.

Over the years, when time allowed, Donna held a variety of jobs.  Some that she mentioned were fast food, working in a service station and as a housekeeper in local motels.  All jobs she could do short term as her family duties and needs allowed.

Currently, Donna is on the committee of the Gadabouts and hopes to be able to travel with them more once she recovers from back surgery that is scheduled for the near future.  Best of luck, in a speedy recovery!



Roseburg Senior Center

Photo Mark Savage

Cindy Harris   Written By June Ervin


Cindy Harris is the petite gal with flaming red hair that you will often see at the pinochle tables here at the Senior Center.  She grew up playing all kind of card games, board games and such with her family in Klamath County.


In 1956 she moved to Roseburg and graduated as a secretary from Robertson’s School with a degree in accounting as well.  She next worked for Douglas County in the Environmental Health Dept.  It was while she worked there that she became aware of the Senior Center, located downstairs.



Being an avid card player, it was just what she was looking for and she and her husband started to attending on a regular basis.  This was back when rules were pretty loose and she doesn't think they actually “joined” but rather just attended.  The only food served was the potluck on Fridays.  At first they played Hand & Foot.

At that time she and her husband went to Lake Havasu for the winter and came back for summers.  They had been a couple for 50 years and married for 48 when she lost him.  For about a year she didn't go out much or do fun things; being alone was new and strange for her.  Finally, she decided to give the Senior Center another try and by then there was an active Pinochle group, and she joined. She was able to make new friends, renew some old ones and be the happy, vivacious person we all know.

About that time, she lost her Daughter to cancer and had a rough time going thru five months of her illness after being diagnosed.  She just got back on her feet from that and found that she too was facing the same issue herself.  Following surgery and months of chemo she returned to us as the same Spunky, fun lady that we all know.

Cindy has always loved to dance and does every chance she gets.  Thru a local square dancing class her granddaughter met John Swanson and decided he was just the guy her grandma should meet.  She arranged a meeting without telling either one about the other and of course she was right.  Just before Valentine Day this past winter, they attended their first dance together at the Senior Center and haven’t had a reason to stop dancing since.  They attend all our parties and lots of other places all over the area to dance.  They both play cards twice a week here and have lunch in the 50+ Café regularly.  Cindy is another example of how easy it is to make friends and fill the lonely places in your life by attending our wonderful Senior Center.



Roseburg Senior Center

Photo by Ron Elliott

Bill Crenshaw   Written By June Ervin


Bill Crenshaw joined the RSC back on October 10, 2007 when Tom Weathers was president (five Presidents back).  He was already friends with Mona Lee Wilson who was then Secretary of the Board, and she invited him to come to a meeting and consider joining as they were in need of more help.  Not only did he attend the meeting, he joined, was elected to the board and made Treasurer all at the same meeting (I guess they had way different by-laws back then).  He continued in that

position on the Board for eight years.  He put the bookkeeping system on his computer and afforded the Board a print-out of the monthly reports of the accounting of the Center for the first time.  Because he did such a great job, no one ever ran against him for the job until he advised the Board he really wanted to step down as soon as a qualified person joined the center.  Along came recently retired, Linda Sheridan, who had been an office manager and accountant for various firms here in town for most of her working years. Not only was she highly qualified, she was willing to assume the job. Bill was set free to pursue other interests, which he did, but continued to be a member and active in our Center as well.  When he first became a member of the center, he played pool with a group of five other men and ladies who came in every Friday night to shoot pool and then went out and had dinner together, followed by playing cards at Bill’s home.

Back then there wasn't much of a kitchen staff, and the pot luck held on Fridays, with food from the membership, was pretty much being run by Vera Nance who was then already well into her 90’s.  Chris Anderson (Larry’s mom) was then our Cookie Lady, and known as such all over town.  She not only baked cookies for us, but delivered them to various other places around town, like nursing homes and care centers  (Larry came into the center later on). On Friday before lunch was ready, Chris led the assembled group in playing games.  Sometimes cards, board games and many old time games no one even remembered any more until she reminded them.  Later, when she needed more care and moved into the facility down in Canyonville, she had to give up her activities at the center.  It was later on that the Country music was added to the entertainment before lunch was served.

At that time, Bill had three “charges” that he always saw that they got to the center for Friday lunch; other events, too, but always Fridays.  They were Chris Anderson, Vera Nance, and Ada McDonald.  Since then he has lost two, with only Vera left, who is now 104 years young, and our most senior member!  Recently, since one of our older members, Larry Jansen, lost his Senior Companion, Bill has taken him under his wing to escort on Fridays along with Ray Knight.

When Bill first began as a member, there was a very active group of ladies who made quilts and lap robes, meeting twice a week, and headed up by Trudy White with her mom, Helen Haynes, among others.  The lap robes were donated to places where there was need of them.  They made two full sized quilts which were raffled off and the money went to the Senior Center.  The Craft program was begun by a lady named Bernice (no one can remember her last name) followed by a “Louise” and then Trudy.  At that time Trudy was the member in charge of the Fir Grove School project that is still continued by our members today, with our baskets at the holidays, and school supplies in the fall.

After Bill left as Treasurer, he had a position elsewhere, in town, that kept him too busy to contribute to our Board.  Now he is back as one of our newly elected Directors and we are all so glad to have him back to help take us into the future of the Roseburg Senior Center.

Born in Roseburg, Bill grew up on a 500 acre ranch in the Oakland area and spent his whole life in Oregon.  He worked for Roseburg Lumber for many years and retired as their Safety Supervisor.



Roseburg Senior Center

Photo by Ron Elliott

Carmen Miller   Written By June Ervin


Carmen Miller joined what was then the Senior Center about 30 years ago.  Back then she said you really didn't “join”, you just attended. She doesn't recall if there were even dues at that time.  Helen Hayes was the president about that time.  She was the mother of Trudy White, another long time member and a more recent member of the board of directors.

Even back then there were trips, some over night, from the center.  She told me about several she remembers going on.

One over night was to Seaside, she remembers the beautiful long beach they all walked on. Even back then there were trips, some over night, from the center.  She told me about several she remembers going on.  One over night was to Seaside, she remembers the beautiful long beach they all walked on.

Twice they went on trips to Ashland to the theaters to see important singers of the day.  Once they were in Portland to see a play in one of the theaters and she looked up at the people passing by her seat and there was her sister!  She lived in Portland but Carmen had no idea that she would be at that play.  Quite a surprise!

One of the day trips she recalls was to a good pizza place they all wanted to try, over at Winchester Bay.
On a trip to the Tulip Festival there was an unexpected rain storm when it just poured.  They were provided cold box lunches, served in an unheated shed, STANDING UP.  A totally miserable cold day she said she will never forget.

Carmen joined the senior center because she enjoys people and to get out of the house and be active.  Something she thinks is very important.  She regularly pays Bingo and Pinochle, enjoys meeting new people and seeing old friends.  You will often see her attending special events, also.  She just plain enjoys people.

Carmen was born and raised east of Roseburg and has spent her whole life here.  Her parents were Dairy farmers on a ranch in the Dixonville area.  The only time she spent away from Douglas County was during WWII when she traveled with her husband who was in the service.

She now lives in Roseburg, but her Grandson lives on the family ranch in the Dixonville area that she and her late husband purchased right after the war.

If you do not already know Carmen, look her up, here at the center.  She is a lovely lady, interesting to talk with and popular with everyone who knows her, and that includes a lot of us.



Roseburg Senior Center

Photo by Ron Elliott

Tom Weathers   Written By June Ervin


Tom joined the RSC back in 2001.  He was kind of kidnapped into the job.  At the time, there were two separate clubs operating in the same building, (the same one we moved from) at the same time with not too much co-operation between the memberships.  He told me there were a lot of yelling, name calling and grudges going on.  The lady who was in charge of the overall project was the second from the top of directors at the County Health Dept.  Her name was Vicky Neuncamp.

She was more than fed up with the bickering and knew Tom and some of his background in several different organizations, some at state and national level.  He was coming in to play pool at the center at the time.  So she drafted him into service to head up the Roseburg Senior Center, combine it with the Roseburg Senior Advisory Commission (the second part of the group) and get it running in a professional manner.  This worked out with some success for about a year.  Then they were told they would need to vacate the county building within two years.

It was decided that there needed to be a board of directors formed and an election was held.  Tom was the president.  There were five on the board including the only other officer, a secretary-treasurer.  At the time the two clubs combined, their net worth was about $40,000.  Tom said he consulted with the officials at Seven Feathers at every turn because they were having great success and were very willing to advise him any way they were able to help.  About then, they decided to have Friday night Bingo at the Center and the money began to roll in, and with almost no expense, it added up fast.

They then went through very similar actions that we did when we moved to this building.  They applied for grants and held fund raisers.  There were many “sales” of every kind and they got the Mayor on board and had a big, all day event at the High School called Senior Center Day.  They were allotted use of the cafeteria to hold the event and several small rooms to branch out for all the presentations they hope to attract local folks to and raise a of of money.  It was NOT a big success!  Not much money was raised.

Their plan was to build on a lot donated by the county out at the location where the current county buildings are now, near COSTCO.  This never happened and they stayed on at the health dept. building where the Center was still located up to the recent past when we were asked to leave.

Tom is a local guy who has been in many businesses.  Once a logger, he was very successful in the Real Estate field, once owning the largest office in Roseburg.  He lived in Camas Valley while raising his family, and moved to Roseburg in 1965 where he currently resides with his partner of 23 years.