penfield class of 1960

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Bob Kraft
Apple Valley, CA
24 December, 2007


This time of the year corresponds to the 11th Hour for the BENEVOLENT and PROTECTANT BROTHERHOOD of ELKS, of which I am a long-time member, a time for recollection, a homecoming for those who wander, a mystic roll call for those who will come no more. Thus, I take a few moments to submit, to those of you who are interested, some of my personal history.

In January of 1964, after majoring in Psyche at COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, I went to Florida, trained in Scuba, Desco, and Hard Hat Diving, worked a short time for NitroAir Corporation as an underwater burner and welder, sky-dived, and married Nancy, the ex-wife of our Sky diving Club's pilot. In June of the following year we moved to Long Beach, California to hook up with Don Sands and build another bitchin gas coupe or rail. Nancy and I were married 7 years or so before we "split the sheets."

Although Don and I haven't been in touch for a number of years, I'm still "spinnin' wrenches" and putting together a coupla nice street machines. My "gearhead" buddies and I have hit the SEMA SHOW in VEGAS for 16 consecutive years. Additionally, I've owned and rode more Harleys than I can remember.

Career wise, I've spent 42 years in the Life Insurance business. My career company was CONNECTICUT MUTUAL. Five years after CML merged with MASS MUTUAL (not a marriage made in heaven) I became an independent agent. Long ago I earned my professional designations from the AMERICAN COLLEGE, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania: CLU, Chartered Life Underwriter and ChFC, Chartered Financial Consultant. For several years now, my business comes strictly by referrals from Physicians, Attorneys and CPA'S in Newport Beach, San Diego, Los Angeles, and Vegas. I've served as President of many industry associations and in the same capacity on many private and public corporations including not-for-profit corps such as the Boys & Girls Club locally.

My second marriage produced two beautiful daughters, Amanda and Allyson, ages 22 and 20 respectively. Allyson, a stone fox, drop dead beauty lives with her mother and is as yet undecided as to her future. Amanda, very beautiful as well, finished her Sophomore year in college and joined the US ARMY. The ARMY trained her in nursing/pre-med at Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas and the Walter Read ARMY Hospital, Washington, DC. She is now a reservist stationed at Nellis AFB in Vegas and studying for her Masters in nursing, if not her M.D., at University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) via an ARMY scholarship. She will be commissioned shortly and, I suspect, be career ARMY. She lives in my "get away home" in VEGAS.

My, shall I say, permanent home is in Apple Valley, California, here in the High Desert about 2 1/2 hours South of Vegas. The High Desert is controversial: Some love it. Some don't. Just like a Holley carburetor: Ya love 'em or ya hate 'em. As a mechanic, I've always been partial to Holleys. As a "Desert Rat" for 7 years now, I'm lovin' it. This is mostly small town around here. Everybody knows everybody and who's sleepin' with who. Social life for the most part involves membership in the ELKS, MOOSE, EAGLES, VFW or all of the above. And for you brother and sister ELKS out there, I was Exalted Ruler of Victorville Lodge # 1877 for 2 years.

The move to the High Desert was primarily for two reasons: to get away from the Orange County/LA rat race and to cut back on my Life Insurance activity. Sadly, one of my long-time partners died shortly after my move and I, by contract, had to take over his end of the practice. But I'm not complainin'. In today's world of electronic communications, it's not at all that difficult. So I guess I could call myself semi-retired.

I do still cook professionally from time to time. Or will prepare Italian entrées, soups, deserts and the like on order for Vegas contacts. My Ultimate Chocolate Chip cookies are renowned. Next time you hit Vegas, ask for some.

Best wishes for your reunion.

Bob Kraft

Photo Left: Bob and daughter Amanda at SEMA show

Photo Right: Bob sacrifices himself for photo to get the hat








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