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SHARPS bid adieu to 16-year volunteer
Manteca Police Chief Nick Obligacion, left, and Shorty Wolf share a laugh over challenge coins. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

Short in stature, huge in heart for everyone he has met in the Manteca, Ripon and Escalon communities, “Shorty” Wolf, 84, is moving to his native Oklahoma today to live with son Michael Wolf.

Wolf moved to Manteca at the age of 10 with his family in 1940.

Wolf greeted some 30 friends crowding around him at the Union Road and Yosemite Avenue McDonalds Friday morning at a breakfast hosted by his fellow Seniors Helping Area Residents and Police volunteers. Wolf has served as a SHARP volunteer for 16 years.

McDonalds has served as his breakfast stop four out of five days each week before heading off to the police department for his routine shifts.

Manteca Police Chief Nick Obligacion was there to wish Wolf well and give him a chief’s challenge coin for him to carry in his pocket.  The chief also paid for everyone’s breakfast at the restaurant.  There was a level of sadness in the air with the passing of his wife Donna just two weeks prior.

An appreciated sketch artist, he would sit at a booth every week at McDonalds and use window light with his colored pencils in hand to make his creations – most of which he has given away to friends and onlookers.  It all began with landscapes before he branched off into animals and school mascots that he has presented to the elementary schools he visits in delivering materials for the Give Every Child a Chance program.

Just about every elementary school office in the region has a piece of Shorty’s art work on their walls.

His SHARPS’ partner Bob Pfirmann said when they worked together driving to Ripon and Escalon educational facilities; they would always make a coffee stop at the new McDonalds in Ripon near Highway 99.  If there were any kids in the eatery, Shorty would always take the time to walk over to them and hand out the stick-on police badges, Pfirmann said.  And there is one retired man always sitting in his open garage when we passed, he added, always having to stop and say hello.

A former chief of the Oceanside New York Fire Department with over 200 firefighters, Pfirmann said there would always be a table at McDonalds with the same women chatting and having coffee as they walked in the door. Wolf never failed to take the time to make the rounds and get them laughing, Pfirmann said.

Everyone in the Manteca SHARPS unit refers to the former New York firefighter as “Chief.”  Once a fire chief, you are always a fire chief, they have told him. He and Wolf are both 84 – six months apart in age.

Pfirmann noted that Wolf once worked for CalFire in a region between Fresno and Bakersfield after being a produce trucker in Oregon.

 “When we worked together, we always were sharing fire stories,” he quipped.  “He’s a tough old bird. He had a sports car when he was younger and got stopped several times for doing more than 100 miles an hour – finally totaling it.”

Wolf is moving to a town of 600 people where he says he plans to get to know everyone there in the first week – since he will become number 601 – while continuing his sketching with his colored pencils.  He has a warm spot in his heart for Oklahoma where he still remembers his first grade teacher Rubina Couch because she was a cousin in that one room school house long ago.

He said he and his siblings were in her multi-grade classroom along with her three boys and two of his brothers and five other school kids at Nellie School located in a “wide place in the road” on the top of a hill.  Being related to her, you knew who “would catch hell” when we were out of line, Wolf said.

Loid Shipp worked with Shorty since he signed up for SHARP many years ago, started out riding the department mule on the Tidewater Bike Path under Wolf’s mentoring. 

Shorty’s real name is Carrol Gleen Wolf.