Jean Breitenbucher, who was born ten years after the club was founded, became its Office Manager in 1975. In the next 41 years, she saw it transform from a place where ladies dressed in gloves, long dresses and heels for Friday night dinner dances to one where she herself will now be an honorary member.
At 92 years old, Jean Breitenbucher is retiring after a 41-year-career at Stockton (Calif.) Golf & Country Club, The Record of Stockton reported.
“I’m both happy and sad. I don’t know what I am,” said Breitenbucher, whose desk was covered with cards and balloons from club members and staff who were sad to see her go.
A gin bottle was also among the farewell gifts. “I do have a gin once in a while,” Breitenbucher admitted to The Record.
Breitenbucher had worked other jobs before starting at the club as its Office Manager in 1975, The Record reported.
In those days, The Record noted, membership in the club “carried real prestige” and the waiting list was long. Ladies dressed in gloves, long dresses and heels for Friday night dinner dances.
Billionaire developer Alex Spanos, a Stockton native who owns the San Diego Chargers of the National Football League, would show up at the club with celebrities such as Bob Hope or Telly Savalas, The Record reported, and Stockton’s business elite made deals on the fairways of the club’s golf course.
Over her 41 years of working at Stockton G&CC, The Record reported, Breitenbucher has been on the receiving end of warm friendships, but also some country club snobbery.
“To this day, some of them—the women, mostly—will go by without even looking my way or saying good morning, or anything,” Breitenbucher told The Record. “I just never let ’em bother me.”
But other members would exchange jigsaw puzzles with her, and Spanos would occasionally drop five $100 bills into her hand. “He was big-hearted. So I miss him not coming out,” she laughed, recalling her encounters with the now 93-year-old Spanos.
Breitenbucher never belonged to the club—“I didn’t have the money. I was born in the Depression in 1924,” she told The Record—nor did she golf, though she took a class with a couple of friends. “They were able to get it up in the sky; I gave it up,” she says.
In her job as Office Manager, Breitenbucher did the profit-and-loss statement for the club, The Record reported, and once she even took over briefly as its top manager, after the person holding that position died unexpectedly of a heart attack.
But with the advent of computers, which she found baffling, she asked to step down to another office-support position, which she handled until two years ago, when she asked to become the receptionist. “At 90, all that other responsibility I didn’t need,” she told The Record.
Club members expressed sadness to The Record over Breitenbucher’s departure. “God bless her, she’s the best,” said Jimmie Rishwain, a former Mayor of Stockton.
“She’s fabulous,” added Linda Stead.” “She’s an institution.”
Breitenbucher told The Record that she has no big plans for her retirement—except perhaps to visit the club, as management awarded her with an honorary membership.
“My friends said, ‘Jean, why don’t you lay back and smell the roses?’ she said. “That’s just what I’m going to do.”