In loving memory of Herbert P. Golenpaul

Herb Golenpaul, the so-called “sixth member” of the Sonoma City Council, was laid to rest and then celebrated on Friday, Jan. 17. To honor him, Assistant City Manager and City Clerk Gay Johann wrote the following proclamation that was read to his friends and family by Sonoma Mayor Tom Rouse:

WHEREAS, on Friday, December 13, 2013, our Heavenly Father called to rest Herbert P. Golenpaul (Herb), who is survived by his wife of 33 years, Tessa; daughters, Linda Wong and Jayne Dillashaw; grandchildren, Bobby and Kim; and great-grandchildren, Sabrina and Elijah and many, many friends; and

WHEREAS, Herb was a man who lived life to its fullest and always gave of himself. He served our country proudly, worked hard, earned an honest living, raised his family and stood up for many causes; and

WHEREAS, a search of city records concluded that the first City Council meeting that Herb attended may have been the March 2, 2005 meeting when the item for discussion was “Reconsideration of Council’s decision regarding public vote on the police station and community meeting facility project.” The facility remodel had become controversial and some felt the City Council should not move forward with the remodel without placing the matter on the ballot. Many people spoke on the subject and the minutes reflect, “Herb Golenpaul, Pueblo Serena Mobilehome Park, suggested there is nothing wrong with the current facility and declared that the money in the City coffers belongs to the citizens, not the Council.” That statement truly reflected the attitude that Herb held regarding City government and its responsibility for good fiscal management. He stayed true to that belief over-and-over, throughout the years, expressing it in many ways; and

WHEREAS, Herb was mentioned and his comments noted in the official minutes of City Council no less than 143 times following that meeting in 2005. He became such a consistent fixture at City Council meetings that if he was not present, people would ask, “Where’s Herb?” It just didn’t feel right to begin a meeting without looking out and seeing Herb, usually donning his sunglasses, sitting in the same aisle seat in the second row of the right side of the room; and

WHEREAS, seeking greater input towards the betterment of the community in which he lived, in 2011 Herb applied for and was appointed to the Traffic Safety Committee, evident of the fact that he still had more to give; and

WHEREAS, Herb was inquisitive, consistent, direct in his comments, persistent, bold, opinionated, enthusiastic, loving, and caring, but most of all, Herb was loved. Loved by councilmembers, staff, family, friends, neighbors and all those whose cause he chose to represent. Loved so much, that a group of followers created a Facebook page to share his council meeting comments with others; and

WHEREAS, Herb Golenpaul was a man devoted to his family, his friends, his neighbors, his community and his country, and his passing left us with a deep feeling of sorrow for the loss of such an honored and respected citizen. It was with heavy hearts that the Sonoma City Council adjourned our December 16, 2013 meeting in his memory.

NOW THEREFORE, I, Tom Rouse, Mayor of the City of Sonoma, do hereby recognize the contributions, commitment and service of Herbert P. Golenpaul to our community and beyond, and extend the sincere condolences of the entire City Council to his bereaved family. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the City of Sonoma to be affixed this 17th day of January, 2014.