Alan Thomas — the face of Manteca’s municipal golf course for four decades — has passed away.
Manteca Mayor Steve DeBrum closed Tuesday night’s council meeting in memory of Thomas who was preparing to retire after serving more than 40 years as the city’s contracted golf pro.
Thomas played an instrumental role in the transformation of the original 9-hole golf course built on the site of the city’s original wastewater treatment plant into an 18-hole success story that incudes arguably the grandest clubhouse for a public course in Northern San Joaquin Valley.
A survey four years ago showed that Manteca had the most rounds of golf played on an annual basis of any course in the 209. Council leadership over the years attributed much of that to Thomas’ marketing and skills as the golf pro.
The 67-year-old Bay Area native given his longevity in Manteca was widely viewed as the 209 Dean of Golf Pros.
Thomas started playing golf growing up in San Lorenzo. During an interview five years ago, he recalled his first round ever that he played on the Lake Chabot course in Oakland.
He was getting bummed because he couldn’t get the ball airborne on the first 17 holes.
“I never got it airborne,” Thomas recalled. “Then on the 18th hole I got it to sail 250 yards. It was a great feeling.”
It also got him hooked.
He ended up playing varsity golf as a sophomore for San Lorenzo High. He played on the golf team at Chabot College and then another two years at Cal State Hayward.
Back in the 1990s the golf course — and so therefore Thomas — was at the center of an ongoing Manteca political controversy over how the contract was administered. The golf course was a major issue in four back-to-back council elections prompting some to joke that while golf was a gentleman’s game elsewhere when it came to politics in Manteca it was a full-contact sport.
three to standing
David Ventura, Pamela Bell, and Dreama Diaz were appointed Tuesday to serve on standing City of Manteca committees and commissions.
Ventura was picked by Mayor Steve DeBrum and confirmed by the Manteca City Council to serve in the Manteca Public Safety Committee.
Ventura is currently a software analyst with Aldelo Systems in Pleasanton. Previously he served as district manager for Quick Stop Markets out of Fremont, district manager for Bonfare/Stop ‘n Shave Markets out of Milpitas, was an account executive for Core Mark International, and was owner of Evergreen Grocery in San Jose.
He is a former member and chairman of the California State Lottery Retailers Advisory Committee.
Bell was named to the alternative seat on the Manteca Senior Advisory Commission.
Bell is retired and has been active at the senior center for 4½ years as a volunteer. She also cuts hair for the homeless at a church in Modesto.
Diaz was named to a vacancy on the Manteca Youth Advisory Commission.
The Sierra High student is a participant in Manteca Youth Focus as well as the Police Chief Foundation’s CSI Junior Academy. She has volunteered at the Boys & Girls Club, Relay for life, GK Music, Second Harvest Food Bank, and created a songwriting club at Sierra called “Press Play.”
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