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Morgan Hill
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October 22, 2020

Morgan Hill honors city’s founders

More than 200 people attended the 46th annual Founders Day Dinner, one of Morgan Hill’s favorite long-time traditions that celebrates the city’s first residents.

The Founders Day Dinner was first organized by the city, then it was taken over by the Chamber of Commerce several years later, and in recent years has been organized by the Morgan Hill Historical Society. This year’s dinner was held Sept. 19 at the Morgan Hill Community and Cultural Center.

“The purpose is to honor long-term residents in the community who have made contributions to make Morgan Hill what it is today,” said MHHS President Kathy Sullivan. “In terms of longevity, they’ve all made a difference in the community.”

Specifically, the MHHS annually invites residents who have lived in Morgan Hill for 50 years or longer to the dinner. As part of the tradition, those who have lived here for at least 70 years enjoy a complimentary dinner at the ceremony, Sullivan added.

Among the festivities Sept. 19 was a video produced by MHHS that highlighted six of Morgan Hill’s long-term residents:

  • Vic Locarnini, 93, is a former rancher. When his family’s farming operation was split down the middle by the construction of U.S. 101, Lacarnini took a job with the U.S. Postal Service delivering mail, which allowed him to see his friends and neighbors every day.

  • Gladys Payne Martin, 93, was born and raised in the house that still stands at the corner of Diana Avenue and Butterfield Boulevard, behind Frank’s Plumbing.

  • Elena Oberg Moreno, 93, is the widow of Morgan Hill’s first chief of police, John Moreno. She is a former kindergarten teacher, and her family had a prune ranch in Morgan Hill.

  • Peter Musachia, 93, is also the son of a farming family who owned vineyards and made wine during Prohibition. He quit school in eighth grade and worked on the family’s farm.

  • Paul Ward, 92, also grew with a farming family. The Ward ranch was located on Oak Glen Avenue, and his grandparents built the house he grew up in, which still stands in west Morgan Hill.

  • Maxine Ryser Edes, 92, was a hair dresser who ran her own beauty shops in town. Her family founded the Morgan Hill Times.

DVD copies of the video are available at the MHHS museum for $25, and the price goes to pay for the production of the video, Sullivan said. The museum is located at the Villa Mira Monte house, 17860 Monterey Road.

The MHHS keeps a running list of the city’s long-term residents, and Sullivan said anyone who has lived in Morgan Hill for more than 50 years and is not on the list can contact the society at (408) 779-5755.

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