The woman fondly known by many as “The Mayor of Bay Point” is back in action after a months-long recovery from a stroke in August.
Gloria Magleby, 84, has moved out of the home on Marys Avenue where she had lived since 1942, and will stay at a board and care home in Concord.
Magleby said she was “in and out of the hospital” for several months before settling at the care facility in March.
“The illness is fine, but this is going to be my home now,” she said. “They can’t let me be alone after the stroke.”
Magleby has helped run or develop nearly every community organization in Bay Point, a low-income unincorporated area that has long struggled to find an identity.
She has served on the Bay Point Municipal Advisory Council and the Ambrose Recreation and Park District board, the community’s two governing bodies, since 1998.
Magleby founded the Bay Point Garden Club, which honors residents with well-maintained yards, and Bay Point Pride, which mobilizes youths to eliminate graffiti from public areas, along with the Bay Point Chamber of Commerce and the Bay Point Historical Society.
“She’s the voice of the community and has been for years,” said Supervisor Federal Glover, of Pittsburg, whose district includes Bay Point. “She enjoys the work that she does, and she’s very effective at it.”
Magleby arrived in Bay Point, then known as West Pittsburg, from Utah in 1942 after her father found a job at the Shell Chemical Company in Martinez.
She attended Mt. Diablo High School in Concord for her final two years of high school and went on to college at the University of Nevada and UC Berkeley, commuting to Berkeley from Bay Point.
She did clerical work for a time after high school for the Port Chicago Naval Magazine. Fortunately, she happened to be working from home, a few miles away, on July 17, 1944, when two munitions ships blew up at the magazine, killing 320 sailors and civilians and wiping out a large portion of the town of Port Chicago.
“I was doing some typing when this tremendous noise rocked the entire house,” she said.
After college, she founded and operated a company that manufactured and distributed business forms, before beginning a 30-year career in sales for her father’s old company, Shell Chemical, a manufacturer of aircraft adhesives.
Her volunteer work began in earnest after she retired in 1988.
Although she is back attending Ambrose board meetings, her move to Concord may present some barriers to continuing with the board and the advisory council.
Magleby’s home is encumbered by a reverse mortgage, and she may have to give it up to the bank.
Her elected position with the park district board ends next year, but she must maintain a home in Bay Point to serve, said Ambrose General Manager Tarry Smith.
“If and when (she gives up the home), we’ll look at it,” Smith said.
Glover appoints the Bay Point MAC board. The supervisor is concerned that Magleby has left Bay Point and hasn't been able to attend board meetings, said aide Ed Diokno.
“We’ve granted her as much leeway as possible, but she’s been out for six months,” Diokno said. “If she is willing and able, we’d love for her to serve.”
Magleby said she wants to stay on the Ambrose council as it begins construction on a $2.2 million swim facility, but she seems resigned to leaving.
“I’m going to keep on working,” she said. “An attitude can make a difference.”
Plans are in the works for an event honoring Magleby this month at the Ambrose Community Center in Bay Point.
Contact Rick Radin at 925-779-7166.
HOMETOWN: Bay Point (now living in Concord)
CLAIM TO FAME: Founded several community organizations. Longtime member of the Bay Point Municipal Advisory Council and the Ambrose Recreation and Park District board.
QUOTE: “I’m going to keep on working. An attitude can make a difference.”
By Rick Radin
Contra Costa Times