Bill Silverfarb/Daily Journal
Bob Harmon leads a raffle for the Sons in Retirement luncheon in San Mateo Wednesday. He stands next to Big SIR Tom Keefer and special guest speaker Larry Souza, a former football at Hartnell College who gave a speech titled 'Football is Not a Matter of Life and Death.'
An organization that got its start in San Mateo 55 years ago is still going strong as the Sons in Retirement continue to seek out ways to enjoy life in the later years.
The group has about 180 branches in Central and Northern California now and Branch 1 in San Mateo is one of its strongest with about 200 members.
They enjoy bowling, fishing, golf, tennis, bicycling and other activities and the average age of Branch 1 members is about 83 years old.
Branch 1 just named Alex Kimmel its new publicity director with hopes of attracting new members to the group.
The goal of the group is to have fun and branch leaders are given the title "Big SIR.”
Branch 1 Big SIR Tom Keefer is looking to attract new members and keep them, especially with the advanced age of many of its members.
Sons In Retirement is a nonprofit group for the retired, regardless of age, that assists men in renewing old friendships and making new friends through various activities.
Wednesday, Branch 1 held its monthly luncheon at the Elk's Lodge in San Mateo with special guest speaker Larry Souza, a former football coach at North Monterey County High School and Hartnell College.
Souza's speech was titled "Football is Not a Matter of Life and Death,” timed with the San Francisco 49ers hosting the Green Bay Packers in the NFL playoffs this Saturday.
"It's much more important than that,” Souza said about life, death and football.
Some of the greatest moments as a coach were when his teams actually lost to stronger and faster teams because his teams stood up and battled, said Souza, who once appeared on the Today Show because his team had not scored a touchdown in two years.
After his speech, Souza then answered questions from Branch 1 members about concussions, steroids, tackling and the vast changes of the game over the decades.
Then he was asked to make a prediction about the playoff game in San Francisco Saturday.
"Go Niners,” Souza shouted before revealing he actually owns stock in the Packers. "My wife bought it for me.”
SIR membership is open to men retired from full-time occupation, regardless of age, race, color or religion and charges no dues, fees or assessments.
SIR supports no outside cause or interest and prohibits discussions of politics and religion or the selling of anything to any member, according to its bylaws.
The only requirements to join SIR are that a man be retired, or semi-retired, be able to attend the monthly luncheons and be sponsored by an active member.
SIR's logo is the rooster, chosen by original founders to represent the freedom it displays around the barnyard.
"We have paid our dues to the business world and now is the time for us to strut and crow a little,” is one of the group's mottos.
SIR was conceived by the late Damian Reynolds in 1958 who then recruited Claus Hink, Lorenz Hansen and Wallace Plummer who held its first luncheon in San Mateo.
To learn more about SIR visit www.sirinc.org.
Bill Silverfarb can be reached by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 106.