Mary was born and raised in Guam, the fifth child of a Catholic family of eleven children. She and her husband left Guam in 1971 for Georgia, but in 1972 moved to California where Bryan, her first son was born. She returned to Guam in 1973 where her son Kevin was born. When he was 3 weeks old the family moved to Hawaii, for special medical treatment for Kevin. They lived in Hawaii until 1981. Upon returning to the U.S. mainland, she settled in Richmond, where she bore her third son, Justin, in 1986. In addition to her sons, she has two granddaughters and four grandsons. Mary raised her family, living and working in Richmond, serving the community in sales and in the banking field since 1982. She started her career with Mechanics Bank on September 3rd, 2003, and just retired this last December. Mary also served as Secretary for our Chamber Board for years, but in 2011 had to resign her position to battle lung cancer. She is so glad to say, she will be cancer free for 7 years in March of this year. Why is Mary so deserving of this award tonight? Mary exemplifies what makes our community so special. She demonstrates a high standard of work ethics, dedication and loyalty to her employer, and genuine friendliness and excellent customer service as a teller at Mechanics Bank. Congratulations to Mary Hill, on being named Citizen of the Year 2017!
Martha was born in 1940 in Chicago, the eldest of three daughters. In 1946 her family moved to Pasadena, California, where she was raised. She graduated from Pasadena High School in 1958, and went on to Pomona College in Claremont, CA, where she studied German. Martha studied abroad while living with a German family and in 1962 received her BA in German. She took a Master’s in German in 1964, and earned a General Secondary teaching credential.
Martha had been a high school teacher for 4 years when she decided to pursue a Ph.D. in Plant Physiology. In 1973 she married Jim Ullrey, moved to UC Davis, and entered the Ph.D. Program. Within 8 years she had 2 daughters and had received her Ph.D. Her career began with a 2 year position with the USDA lab in Albany, and progressed to a position at Bio-Rad Labs in 1983. While at Bio-Rad she developed and managed the technical service department. She also worked as a project manager for the company’s website until her retirement in 2008.
Her hobbies include gardening, especially with California native plants, taking her dog for walks, knitting, and contributing to the community of El Sobrante. She has graciously served as the Chamber liaison with the county, overseeing the Trees and Planters Project on San Pablo Dam Road. She is the editor of the Chamber’s “About Town” newsletter, and keeps the Chamber website updated. She is the President of the Friends of El Sobrante Library, giving hours every week to that organization. She also collected signatures for a petition to the Richmond City Council to downzone the hills to the south of El Sobrante from housing to agricultural and recreational. The petition drive was successful, and resulted in the Richmond City Council adopting an ordinance changing the Richmond General Plan to prevent further housing development in the hills.
Martha is an energetic, dedicated, clever and interesting person, who has great ideas and vision and she’s not finished yet! She wants to work at least another 10 years both in the community and in the work force. The Chamber feels lucky to have such a dedicated person wanting to contribute to the community. She comments, “It’s just so much fun for me! I really enjoy contributing and helping!” Continue reading