The following are members of the initial inductees into the Manteca Hall of Fame — the Class of 1999. The Manteca Hall of Fame Committee working with the Manteca Boys & Girls Club will induct the 25th annual class in May during the City of Manteca’s Centennial month. They represent community leaders in various fields as well as those from the Manteca area that have achieved success in their respective field.
Phillip Harmon, Athletics
Philip S. Harmon was hired in 1957 as Manteca High’s football coach.
Harmon, who received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Texas Tech in 1940 and master’s from Eastern New Mexico University in 1955, served as a first sergeant in the U.S. Army Calvary from 1942 to 1945.
Harmon was football coach at Manteca High from 1957 to 1965 and 1968 to 1969. He compiled a record of 47 wins, 27 losses and one tie while leading the Buffaloes. Under his leadership, Manteca High earned two Valley Oak League championships. He served as athletic director at Manteca High in 1966 and 1967. He coached Manteca’s Pop Warner football team, the Cowboys, from 1976 to 1978.
He was the coach of the winning team in the South Texas Valley All-Star Game in 1961 and was inducted into the San Joaquin Coaching Association’s Hall of Fame in 1984. He was the grand marshal for the 1978 Manteca High homecoming game and had an athletic scholarship established in his honor in 1987 by a former football player. Harmon received the Masonic Lodge’s Golden Veterans Award for 50 years of Masonic service in 1991.
Former colleagues, players, and non-athlete students have credited Harmon with instilling in them the value of teamwork, cooperation, fair play, scholarship, dedication, obedience, and respect.
Barbara Fitch Hildebrand ,
Barbara Fitch Hildebrand and her husband Alex bought farmland along the San Joaquin River south of Manteca in 1945 and moved to the property in 1962.
She graduated from Pasadena Junior College in 1941 as the class valedictorian and earned a degree from the University of California at Los Angeles with the highest honors in 1943 and was awarded two Stanford University fellowships — one for teaching and the other for research.
After moving to Manteca, Hildebrand set up the Nile Garden School library and ran it several years as a parent volunteer. Other schools in the district modeled libraries after the one Hildebrand established.
She became involved with the Manteca Library after passage of Proposition 13 cut into operating funds. She has served as a library volunteer from 1974 to the present and handles virtually every aspect of volunteer work including helping to train other volunteers. For the past 21 years, she’s also ordered and displayed tax forms that the community would not have had if it weren’t for her efforts. Since records started being kept of volunteer service five years ago, Hildebrand has logged 4,555 hours. In 1998, the number of hours donated to the community through library service by Hildebrand numbered 911.
Hildebrand is a charter member of the Friends of the Manteca Library and has served as treasurer since 1981.
She has served on every library task force and advisory board formed this decade.
George Perry, Agriculture
George Perry & Sons is a family agricultural business that was started over 70 years ago. It was founded by Perry’s father, Delphino, who was an immigrant from the Azores Islands. Delphino established a dairy and laid the foundation of what was to become one of Manteca’s largest agricultural concerns.
Perry worked hard alongside his father. In 1965, Perry continued his efforts to find ways to expand the family business and began buying and selling watermelons from local growers in order to fulfill the increasing demands from customers.
Today, the fourth generation has joined the family business that Perry has helped build into the largest shipper of pumpkins in the United States, the largest shipper of watermelons in California, and one of the largest year-round supplier of melons and squash.
Perry was instrumental in establishing the Manteca Pumpkin Festival.
He has appeared in numerous newspapers, TV shows, and magazine articles promoting Manteca and pumpkins including being recognized in the Nov. 1, 1982 edition of “People” magazine as the “Pumpkin King.”
He was recognized as the Manteca Chamber of Commerce’s Large Business of the Year in 1997.
Clarese J. Anderson has been active in Manteca civic and arts groups since moving to the community in l965.
She was the founder and president of the Manteca Federated Women’s Club, the founder and president of the Manteca Camera Club, the founder and chairperson of the Manteca Beautification Committee, served on the founding committee for the Manteca Arts Council (later known as the Mayor’s Committee on the Arts), and participated with the committee founding the Manteca Historical Society.
Anderson also was on the organization committees and boards fo Manteca’s first drug abuse program, the Manteca Kindred Arts, and Manteca’s first community arts center.
She has been recognized for outstanding contributions to the community and various endeavors by the Manteca Chamber of Commerce in 1974 (Outstanding Woman of the Year), Beta Sigma Phi International in 1985 (First Lady of the Year), Soroptimist International of Manteca in 1996 (Woman of Distinction), Manteca Bulletin in 1977 (Best Dressed Women in Manteca), and California Republican Organization in 1969 (Republican Woman of the Year - San Joaquin County).
She has received numerous arts awards, taught arts classes and served as a judge in juried shows.
Dr. Randall Williams, Health Care
Dr. S. (Sumner) Randall “Randy” Williams arrived in Manteca in 1987 to become the community’s first orthopedic surgeon.
He had possibly the largest orthopedic practice of a single practitioner in a two-county area seeing approximately 13,000 new patients in his 18 years in practice.
Williams became an unofficial team doctor for local high schools attending games and seeing injured athletes referred by coaches. Attending sports awards banquets was one of his favorite tasks to see young men and women he recognized for their achievements.
Williams served on the St. Dominic’s Hospital board and was chief of surgery at both Doctors Hospital of Manteca and St. Dominic’s Hospital. The Harvard University graduate received his medical degree at the University of Southwestern Texas in 1972 and performed his subsequent four-year orthopedic residency there as well.
He interned in straight surgery at Los Angeles County harbor General Hospital.
He served two years in the U.S. Air Force at the rank of Major as a physician at Caswell Air Force Base in Texas.
He was known to waive fees for patients who couldn’t afford his services. His favorite pastime was attending various community functions such as crab feeds and regularly demonstrated his love of Manteca by volunteering time at health fairs and supporting various community endeavors.
Jose Baron, Education
Jose Chepe Baron graduated from Stockton College in 1961, earned a bachelor of music from the University of Pacific in l964, and a Masters’ in Education from California State University of Sacramento in 1974.
Baron is recognized by his peers as having one of the finest music programs in the Central Valley. The East Union High Lancers are consistent top performers in music contests and festivals throughout Northern California.
Baron has devoted more than three decades to furthering the musical education of Manteca’s young people.
From 1964 to 1967, he taught instrumental music at Lathrop and French Camp schools before he was also retained as East Union High’s first band director in 1967. In 1972, Baron added beginning guitar and jazz bands to his East Union duties plus serving as a part-time assistant to the principal. From 1977 to 1992, Baron became the activity director, yearbook advisor, and student council advisor for EU Baron, handled the dean of students job for discipline and attendance in 1992-93, and resumed his role as full-time band director in 1993 covering all aspects of the school’s instrumental music programs.
He was recognized as the California Teachers Association’s teacher of the year for 1998. Numerous students speak highly of how Baron has inspired and motivated them to strive for their maximum potential whether in music or other endeavors.
Mabel Domenica Brocchini moved to Manteca in 1942 and graduated from Manteca Union High School in 1944. Mabel met Aldo Brocchini and the two were married in 1947.
Brocchini has dedicated her life to her family and the community of Manteca. For 25 years from 1962 to 1987, she served as chairman of the Manteca Chamber of Commerce Special Events Committee. She’s volunteered and has played an instrumental role in numerous Manteca functions: The Christmas parade; the Fourth of July Committee; Miss Manteca Pageant Committee; Manteca Highway 120 Bypass Committee; Manteca Pumpkin Festival Committee; the Chamber Ag Tour; and literally dozens upon dozens of other civic committees.
In 1997, the chamber established the annual “Manteca Chamber of Commerce Mabel Brocchini Outstanding Community Service Award” in her honor.
She also lists among her involvements a number of other community activities including current board member and founding member of the Manteca Historical Society.
Brocchini is one of only two people in the 80-year history of Manteca to be presented a key to the city by action of the Manteca City Council.
Darell Phillips, Business
Darell Phillips devoted more than three decades to chronicling Manteca through various newspapers.
Phillips attended elementary school in Manteca briefly in 1945 and returned in 1952 to attend and graduate from Manteca High in 1955. He graduated from Pepperdine University in 1959 and played professional baseball for a short time with minor league farm teams.
Phillips was the news editor of the Manteca Bulletin from 1959 to 1965 under publisher George Murphy, his future father-in-law at that time.
He went to work in 1965 as the Modesto Bee sports editor and returned to the community in 1977 to help Antone Raymus start the Manteca News. In 1979, Phillips rejoined the Manteca Bulletin to start an 18-year stint as publisher.
Phillips worked for a time with his wife, Patsy, at the Bulletin. Four of their six children are either involved in newspapers or related publications.
Phillips served as president of the California Newspaper Publishers Association in 1993 and served on the San Joaquin County Fair Board.
A scholar-athlete award for Manteca area high school graduating seniors was established in his honor by the Manteca Bulletin