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'New Meets Old' in Healdsburg Civic Club Presidents

Jim Vogt, almost 100, past president of Healdsburg Active 20-30 Club, meets up with Dan Chapin, 35, current Active 20-30 Club leader.

Jim Vogt and Dan Chapin both enjoy a good glass of beer, both love Healdsburg -- and both have been known to hit a few holes of golf and tell a good story.

If it weren't for the almost 65 years separating them in age, these two presidents would probably be the best of friends.

"It is truly an honor to have met you," Chapin, 35, told Vogt, who will be 100 years old on Nov. 26, when they first got to connect several weeks ago in a meeting arranged by Healdsburg Patch.

Chapin, who last year led the effort to re-charter the said he had not been aware that a past president of the earlier club was still alive and in the area.

Vogt's generation of the Healdsburg Active 20-30 Club dissolved around the time of the Vietnam War when the men were sent off in the draft.

Chapin's and Vogt's historical meeting at Vogt's current home in the Wikiup area of Santa Rosa was to discuss past and present activities -- and also was in anticipation of several major events this fall:

1. Vogt's family is planning a large 100th birthday celebration for him next month -- probably at in Healdsburg. Relatives, friends and former students of Vogt's from all over the country are expected to converge for the occasion.

In addition to being president of the earlier Healdsburg Active 20-30 Club, Vogt taught physics and chemistry at Healdsburg High School for 23 years, from 1943 to 1966.

He was also a physical sciences and astronomy professor at Santa Rosa Junior College from 1966 to 1976, when he retired.

2. Vogt attended a "Class of 1954" Healdsburg High School reunion Sept. 24 at Lake Sonoma. Even with his advanced age, and a leg injury in 2008, Vogt still attends school reunions, plays dominoes every week with a group of pals in Santa Rosa and still sports a good shock of black hair.

"I guess I'm not old enough to have grey hair," he quipped during one of the interviews with Patch.

3. Chapin and his group earlier this year held a new version of the " that in older times was the main social event of the year in town.

 Background for the dance came from research done by Chapin last year when the new Active 20-30 Club was chartered. Chapin said Holly Hoods of the helped him with historical research on old-fashioned club events.

After that, Chapin donated a vintage Healdsburg Active 20-30 Barn Dance poster (see photo gallery) which was purchased off of eBay and gifted to the club on their charter night last year. 

4. On Friday, Nov. 18, the Healdsburg Active 20-30 Club will hold its annual officer installation ceremony -- this year, possibly including a special guest: Vogt.

Vogt's daughter Colleen Estill of Santa Rosa said her father seems to have a fairly good recall of his life events -- although sometimes he forgets dates, she said.

"In the early 1950s, he and mom were in the Civil Air Patrol," said Estill, 54, who is Vogt's main caretaker. "He had his pilot license, flew a two-seater airplane and used to give ground school lessons."

Her parents were active golfers as well as social ballroom dancers, she said. Her mother, Stella Vogt, died at age 82 in 1999.

"He and mom were always dancing and they danced really well," she said.

Estill is the youngest of Vogt's children: she has two older brothers: Paul Vogt, 70, who lives in Scottdale, Ariz.; and Ted Vogt, 72, who lives in Madera.

Born in 1911 in Foxholm, North Dakota, Jim Vogt came to the Bay Area in 1943 after after stints in Nebraska, South Dakota and Idaho. He held jobs briefly in Livermore and Oakland before relocating to Healdsburg and starting his teaching job at HHS the same year.

In his free time, he started a golf club at HHS and was president of the Active 20-30 Club.

As per the Club's age limit, Vogt said he was "kicked out" when he turned 40.

"I'm facing that too in a couple years," Chapin said with a smile.

Healdsburg Active 20-30 Club is a civic organization for younger adults in Healdsburg who want not only a social network, but also to be active in helping the community.

Earlier this year, Chapin's club ran a successful event at Seghesio Family Vineyards, which raised money for Healdsburg schools.

Last year at holiday time, the then-newly chartered club donated money to the for toys and gifts.

"We've been blessed by the ," Chapin said at the time, referring to a collaboration between the generally older members of Rotary and the younger Active 20-30 Club roster.

"They want young people like us to learn how to take leadership roles in the community and then be able to become the next generation of leaders," Chapin noted.

Not to be outdone, Vogt said his club was also active in community work in Healdsburg.

"We did a raffle," he said, "and we paid off the cost of the ambulance in town."

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