SPOTLIGHT ON THE HONORARY BOARD – James “Jim” Serventi
by Lloyd Crenna
I have known Jim Serventi since we were kids living on Bonifacio Street in Concord. He was the big brother I didn’t have. Jim lived near Port Chicago Highway, and I lived at the other end at Galindo Street in the Kelly House. It was a walk of several blocks for me as a third grader to go to Jim’s house to play baseball in an empty lot across from his family’s home. Jim started his mentoring of me, and many others, in that ball field. As chief altar boy at Queen of All Saints Church and later, when Queen of All Saints school was opened, he continued to keep me on the straight and narrow. I wasn’t tuned into it then but his father and mine worked together for many years. Little did I know in those early years, but should have, that Jim would go on to have a successful career in the US Air Force and, after retirement, devote many years to the Concord Historical Society as a member of the Board, an officer of the Board and its resident historian.
Jim is the oldest of the nine children born to Bill and Henrietta Serventi. He was a member of Concord’s Cub Pack 19 and Boy Scout Troop 167. As a young man, he was the chief Altar Server for Queen of All Saints Parish, where years later he would create the extensive photo and history display for the simultaneous celebrations of the Parish’s 125th and its school’s 50th Anniversary. He attended Concord Elementary kindergarten through 3rd grade, then the new Williams School for grades 4 and 5, and then the new Queen of All Saints School, graduating in its first class in 1951. He attended Mt. Diablo High School, was a member of the Block “D” Society and of the Student Council, and graduated in 1955. He graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1960.
His early employment included delivering the Contra Costa Gazette and the Concord Transcript newspapers. He worked throughout his high school and college years. He was commissioned in the US Air Force in 1960, serving as a Logistics Officer, a Nuclear Ordnance Officer, an Air Intelligence Instructor, an Air Intelligence Analyst, a Targets Officer, and a Command Briefing Officer. He retired a full Colonel in 1987 as the Director of Intelligence Systems and Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence for the US Pacific Air Forces. His military assignments included tours of duty in Texas, New Hampshire, Colorado, Alabama, California, Florida, Washington D.C., Virginia, Hawaii, Turkey, South Vietnam, Thailand/Laos, and Italy.
After retirement from the Air Force, he served on the City of Concord’s Redevelopment Advisory Committee, the City Parks and Recreation Commission Trails Sub Committee, the City’s General Plan Working Group, and the City’s advisory committee for the new Police Facility, overseeing the consolidation of community items for the time capsule installed during the opening of the Facility. As a volunteer at the Public Information Office of the Naval Weapons Station – Concord, he gave tours of the Station’s historically significant civilian and military sites. He also developed the time capsule which was installed at its 50th anniversary in 1992.
As a member of the Concord Historical Society, he has served as its Treasurer and participated in the creation, setup and early operation of the Society’s Resource Center. He developed numerous public displays, conducted history tours and local history presentations. He also produced and narrated the City-sponsored extended television series on Concord Area History. He is married to his beloved wife Gayle, and they have four children.
I am pleased to have Jim Serventi on our Honorary Board and look forward to his continuing to mentor me and the Society’s Board.