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Herb Golenpaul

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Herb Golenpaul Obituary
Herb Golenpaul

Sonoma resident and well-known Bay Area volunteer Herb Golenpaul passed at 92

Herb Golenpaul passed away peacefully at his home in Sonoma on Dec. 13, 2013.

He lived a full life, and dedicated his time to the service of others in many organizations, making a difference in the communities in which he served.

He was born on August 16th, 1921 in Brooklyn, NY, where he spent his early years until leaving home to become a Signal Corps Inspector for the US Government at about age 20. At the onset of WW11 Herb enlisted in the Army Air Corps, As First Lieutenant, he helped develop radar counter measures in Europe. Returning home after the war in 1946, he worked as an electrician, on the new United Nations building being erected on the East River in New York City. Herb was recalled to active duty in the US Air Force in May of 1951 and remained in the service until May, 1965, when he was honorably discharged with the rank of Major and won three air medals. During his years of military service, he was able to attend classes at some of the nation's most prestigious academies, including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Rutgers and MIT. From 1965 to 1981 Herb worked in various kinds of manufacturing until a severe heart attack followed by multiple bypass surgery forced his retirement, though certainly not to a life of leisure. From that time on, his principal efforts were voluntary.

In 1982 Herb became a volunteer member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary, and his commitment to the USCG Auxiliary Flotilla 14, headquartered in Marin, impacted fellow auxiliary members so strongly, they produced a leather-bound book chronicling his mentoring contributions, complete with a proclamation detailing his 6,025 hours of service and nearly 50 awards, including the Presidential Unit Citation and the Coast Guard Meritorious Team Commendation. The Coast Guard proclaimed July 10 to be Herbert P. Golenpaul Day.

Herb was also a great supporter of the frail elderly. From 1982 he was a dedicated volunteer with On Lok, a San Francisco Bay Area non-profit organization committed to serving frail low-income seniors through the Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). Herb maintained a strong advocating leadership presence on the On Lok Senior Health Services Board until his illness overtook him. His level of commitment, dedication and energetic enthusiasm will be greatly missed by the On Lok family.

From 2005 he was a constant presence in Sonoma City Council meetings regularly addressing the Council on issues and concerns pertaining to the community. Although at times Herb was brutally honest in his opinions and concerns, the Council valued his presence and input as a community member.

Herb also served as President of the Pueblo Serena Homeowners Association, where he was a resident, advocating against the conversion of mobile home parks to subdivisions, and supporting concerns of his neighbors and his fellow park residents. "He was an incredible man who gave to the community here with such love and dignity," said a neighbor. "Herb was fighting to save all the residents." Herb had the courage to tell the truth, even to those reluctant to hear it. He was a seeker of solutions and improvements.  

He made a difference in all the branches in which he served, and will be missed by all who knew him.

Herb is survived by his wife, Tessa Fitzgerald, two daughters, a granddaughter and grandson, two great grandchildren, and a community that admired and honored him.

For those who wish to pay respects, An Honor Guard funeral service will be held on Friday, January 17 at 11:30a.m. at the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery, 5810 Midway Road in Dixon, to be followed by a 2:00pm celebration of Herb's life at the Pueblo Serena MHC Clubhouse, 951 Fifth Street West, in Sonoma.

Published in San Francisco Chronicle from Jan. 12 to Jan. 13, 2014
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