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Moo Town News
By Judy Borello

A party was given on December 16th to honor Mike Nelson of the Olema Farmhouse for his fourteen years of service as restaurant owner and community-minded citizen of West Marin.

Mike is the proverbial "Boy from New York City," harking from there on January 25, 1924. It was in New York that he started Trans Global Import Resources, a company that imports metal from all over the world.

Purchasing the Farmhouse from Jerry and Agnes Bunce in 1990, Mike and his wife Pat have both been gregarious personalities in the community, quick to make friends, and anxious to hire locals for the landmark restaurant.

Talking with Ardelle Peri, the bookkeeper for the Farmhouse for the past 14 years, I was amazed at how many of our young people worked there.

All the Bunce kids whose grandparents had owned the Farmhouse previously, worked there along with Mike and Billy Durkee, Heather and Hilary Cheda and bartenders Annie Van Peer, Tim Farmer, coach of the Tomales High Basketball; and Joe Elwood.

My daughter Michele Hawley said that working for Mike and Pat was awesome!

One night Mike and Pat picked up Michele, Julie Valconesi, Jody Giacomini, and Rita Ketcham via a chaufered limo and took them to the World Food Center and then to dinner at a 5-star hotel. There, they each had their own personal waiter. The young ladies were totally taken off guard by this but they adapted quickly to the exclusive night of royal treatment.

Sometimes Pat and Mike would take the girls to their Nicasio home to make desserts for the restaurant and then would indulge in swim parties in the pool Sounds like a lot of fun to me!

In 1992, Mike Nelson was elected as president of the Pt. Reyes Business Association and served for two terms. He also put in the liquor store and deli right next to the Farmhouse which was a struggle in the beginning because some Olema neighbors thought there would be druken brawls and late night riots in front of the place. Never happened.

I asked Mike, "What is the most important thing you gained from owning the Farmhouse?"

He answered, "Friends. And lots of them. Especially the late Waldo Giacomin and the late Jerry McClellar."

Barbara McClellan told me that while Jerry was fighting for his health, Mike came over to their house three times a week and read to Jerry.

At the party on the 16th, many people professed so much love for him and it was because he gave so much of himself to them. And they were all there-the Sonny Chedas, the Toby Giacominis, the Joe Lumeys, the Gambolas, Father Decker, the Ruddy Giacominis, Ralph Giacomini, Sr., the Pat Martins and the list goes on and on.

When Mike stood addressing all the party goers, he mentioned that it was like "The Last Supper," surrounded by his frineds. And indeed it was!

The banquet was composed of many good dishes including lobster. The party was put on by Jackie Campigli, Amy Baker and Senior Services. Pasta was ours that night.

Being 80 years old and robusts in mind and body, Mike is going to continue in his import business.

The sale of the Farmhouse will go through December 31. Mike sold it to his neighbor, Jeff Harriman, who owns the Pt. Reyes Lodge right next door.

Looking back at that night there were so many people I hadn't seen in years and some people that I run into occasionally. Usually you experience this at a funeral, but it was so uplifiting to greet these people under a more joyous occasion.

I saw Bill Boris and his wife Nadine, Bill Morris and his wife Alice, Cindy Bunce waiiting on us and there were so many people there, it was like old home week.

And why were they there? To pay honor and respect to a man they dearly cherished, was one of them, and definitely a real part of our community.

PS To those of you I didn't mention, forgive me, as it was such a myriad of people there.

PPS Good luck Mike and Pat in whatever you do and Pat, please stay off the horses.

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