The late Ken Hafer — a man whose love of Manteca was matched by his devotion to the community’s history — is being bestowed with two honors.
One is an honor he steadfastly refused to accept while the other is one that those who knew him dare not suggest while he was living.
Hafer is being inducted into the Manteca Hall of Fame on Saturday, May 20, under the category of special recognition. Then on Sunday, May 21, the main building at the Manteca museum is being named in his honor.
The dedication takes place on May 21 at 1 p.m. at the museum, 600 W. Yosemite Ave. A sign is being placed on the outside of the structure that will be referred to as the Ken Hafer Building.
The 25th annual induction Hall of Fame ceremonies and dinner takes place at the Manteca Senior Center, 295 Cherry Lane. Dinner is at 7 p.m. Tickets are $60. They are available through the Boys & Girls Club by calling 239-KIDSO.
Other members of the Class of 2017 being inducted are Jack Devincenzi, athletics; Rick Arucan, education; Rick Hammarstrom, art; Dr. Glenn Brown, health care; Jack Lewis, business; Scott Blevins, business; Jerry Rose, at large, Bill Van Ryn, agriculture ; and Tevani Liotard, community service.
Hafer’s refusal to allow his induction into the Hall of Fame was frustrating to the committee despite Hafer being nominated repeatedly. Making it all the more ironic was the fact Hafer was a key player in making sure Manteca residents who had passed on received the recognition they deserved. Of the five members of the first class inducted in 1993, four were nominated by Hafer who literally provided volumes on their accomplishments.
When some grew frustrated at what they simply perceived as Hafer’s modesty, he made it clear that he would never allow his induction as long as he was living.
Hafer passes away in March.
Hafer was the key linchpin behind establishing the museum 25 years ago.
But his involvement with Manteca history proceeded the museum’s founding by decades. He had been using a house he purchased years prior near the furniture store he founded to start collecting historical Manteca items including bound copies of the Manteca Bulletin dating back a century.
After helping get the museum established and securing its present home in the 100-year-old church that once housed Manteca’s Episcopalian and Methodist congregations, he oversaw the museum’s organization and operation for years.
He owned Hafer’s Furniture for years.
The 1950 Manteca High graduate served two terms as president of the Manteca Chamber of Commerce. He also was a past president of the San Joaquin Valley Swiss Club as well as serving as president of the Swiss Echoes choral group. He was a member of the Manteca Kiwanis Club, American Legion, and the St. Anthony’s Men’s Federation. He was also a master of ceremonies for Swiss Radio.
Hafer also has a long list of civic projects he was involved with over the years.
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