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Elder Leal V. Grunke

Page 1

  In 1948 Elder Leal V. Grunke learned that the site and many buildings of Camp McQuaide were to be disposed of through the War Assets Administration. Upon investigation he was impressed with the suitability of the land and location for a boarding academy. The proposition was brought before the local and union conference leaders, and after much prayer and contemplation, it was decided that the Central California Conference would apply for the property.

  With the encouragement and assistance of Mr. John P. Grfford, of the U.S. Department of Education, Elder Grunke was able to secure the former army camp for conversion into a school plant. After the award was made, Elder Grunke was given the task of overseeing salvage operations and of planning the utilization of buildings and materials for school purposes. A sincere belief in the objectives and methods of Christian education and a vision of the possibilities for realizing those objectives at Monterey Bay Academy characterized his work.

  Elder and Mrs. Grunke and Darlene moved into the ghost camp and watched it shake itself, come to life, and grow into a full-fledged Christian boarding academy. The students of the school whose origin was so real to them gratefully extend to the Grunke's this word of recognition for services so hopefully rendered.

 


Page 2

Elder Leal V. Grunke [pictured on the top of this article] took his ministerial training at Walla Walla College. Shortly after his graduation he married Ruth and together too up ministry in the Central California Conference. They were living in Chowchilla, CA when news about the Camp McQuaide government property going on the market came to them. Emmett Downing, a member of the Watsonville SDA Church tells this story.

"Capt. George C. Scheppler, M.D. was living in a trailer on my property in Watsonville and I was working at Pep Creameries. One day in February of 1948 Dr. Scheppler came into Pep Creameries and announced that the War Assets Commission (now called the War Assets Administration) had just put Camp McQuaide on its surplus list and it was going to be sold. He wanted to know what we should do. I told him to call Leal Grunke, procurement officer for Central California Conference, and let him know."

After being notified Elder Grunke began to investigate the possibility of purchasing the property, and seeing the location, was impressed with its suitability for a boarding academy. But unbeknownst to Elder Grunke, the providence of God had already been at work for the future of Monterey Bay Academy.

Prior to the Was Assets Administration putting Camp McQuaide on their surplus list, they had offered the property to Santa Cruz County at a bargain, Strictly for the development of a junior college. But it was not to be due to an intense rivalry between Watsonville and Santa Cruz. The two cities had disagreed on almost every major issue since the 1850's. This was no exception. It is evident to us today that the providence of God was in the works.

The Property was then offered [to the] State Division of Parks and Beaches for the development of a state park. The state put up their portion of the money but Santa Cruz County could not come up with the matching funds needed for purchasing it. Once again the conversion of the property from war time peace time use fell through.

With Santa Cruz County turning down the property, Camp McQuaide went on the War Assets Administration's surplus list. A general in the San Francisco office was put in charge of disposing of the property to the highest bidder. The oceanfront property was originally appraised at $650,000, but was reduced to $367,000. Contractors with the desire to subdivide the Camp McQuaide property began submitting bids. Fourteen bids came in ranging from $141,000 to $151,000. All were rejected.

 

It was about this time that Elder Grunke was notified about the Camp McQuaide property, and his vision for a boarding academy began to take root. He put together a proposal and presented it to Central California Conference officials on May 6, 1948, but was met with almost total resistance. There was no support among conference officials for the development of another academy, let alone a boarding academy. The conference already had three academies and, Lodi Academy was already open to day and boarding students. The need for another school was not deemed necessary. But this resistance didn't stop Elder Grunke. He had a vision for the Camp McQuaide property and refused to give it up. He kept praying and kept pushing, and was finally given permission to apply for the property on behalf of the Church.

Part of the condition for the conversion of the property was a guarantee to improve the property over a specified period of time from the date of transfer. Central California Conference approached Northern California conference and the two agreed to participate in funding the required improvements. With the necessary support in place, officials in Washington, D.C. were notified by Elder Grunke of Central California Conference's intent to buy and develop the property for a school.

During this time the catholic Church learned of the surplus property and the Adventist Church's negotiations with the War Assets Administration. The wanted the property as well, and felt that it should be given to them because the camp had been named after a Catholic priest, Father John P. McQuaide. The catholic Church sent four men to Washington, D.C. in an attempt to halt the transfer of the property to the Adventist Church. They did not succeed, but as a conciliation were given the Catholic chapel that was located on the northwest side of the camp.

When everything was thought to be in place, at the last possible moment just before negotiations were completed, Northern California Conference pulled out of the agreement and left the burden of development to Central California Conference. But once again, this did not discourage Elder Grunke.

 


Page 3

God's providence opened the way. With the encouragement and assistance of Mr. John P. Giffird of the US Department of Education, on August 13, 1948 the Seventh-day Adventist Church was awarded Camp McQuaide for conversion in a school facility.

We would like to recall the beginnings of Monterey Bay Academy from one of the first three people who arrived on this campus in 1948. She writes:

"The memory is vivid still, the trailer behind our car swaying gently from side to side. Facing backwards on my knees in the back seat, I can remember only one item contained -- it was our piano. I was five.

"My father paused at a strange little one-room building, my mother called at a Guard House. A man in a dull-looking uniform with much brighter buttons stepped out of the cubicle, saluted, and handed my father a key.

 

the first intercom on campus was in service. My father could have chosen no better helpmate.

"From my father's point of view, at 40, the rewards, challenges and frustrations were endless, as was the stinging undeserved criticism, sleepless nights, blatant fabrications of fact that were all too transparent to those who knew the truth, wading through masses of red-tape, and just plain hard work. But also ceaseless were the earnest prayers, the daily health and sustenance extended from a gracious God, and the loyal support of those who understood. God's continual leading, Dad's tenacity and unswerving dedication to Christian education, and Mother's constant encouragement made the vision continue on. A school where the Good News of a risen Savior would be the message to teenagers seemed, perhaps, obtainable.

The man walked crisply to his vehicle and both cars parted, the last soldier representing the Army of the United States of America drove away and we, and our piano continued deep into the 379 acres, all the way to The General's House. The war had ended, the property was deserted, and we three were the first civilians to enter Camp McQuaide.

"The sparkling sea, the purple-blue flowers, and the staccato-stepping quail were a constant source of delight to a five year old. The former Guard House was now a playhouse in our backyard with a curtain in the window. Our days were full. Our work took us over the entire campus. I would accompany Daddy on what he called inventory trips.

 And, Contrary to popular church tradition, no money was paid. No, not one dollar or even the proverbial 50 cents! To quote a War Assets Administration document in my possession, 'In legal terminology... the camp will be 'sold' at 100% discount.
And it was.

"During the months prior to moving to Camp McQuaide, Dad spent hours in the San Francisco office of John Gifford. During one meeting a messenger arrived with a telegram. Dad noticed Mr. Gifford place it, unopened, at the bottom of a very high stack of papers. Since it was solely Mr. Gifford's concern, Dad did not inquire as to why someone would not open a telegram, which in those days screamed "Top Importance bordering Urgent!" After the acquisition of the property was secure, his by-then-friend Gifford revealed, Leal, remember the unopened telegram that day in my office? I already knew it was a request from another organization, but I wanted Camp McQuaide to be yours!. The word miracle comes readily to mind. To quote Mother: 'John Gifford will need a small wagon to

The Government, whatever that was, required him to give a full accounting for every item, down to the last screwdriver in the shop, and how it could be benefit to an educational institution. At the completion of this minute task and without photocopiers, he provided the required 60 copies of the resulting report, which contained 105 pages and was impressively thick. All I knew was that Daddy and Mama wished Camp McQuadie to become a school due to some man named Matthew challenging my father to go ... and teach... When I met Mr. Gifford, the nice man who helped us get the property, I thought maybe his first name was Matthew, but it wasn't.

"From my mother's point of view at 37, life was a happy challenge. While living in a General's House may sound appealing, it was the house in least disrepair. She dodged the garter snakes to hang the lines in the sunshine, battled endless battalions of ants, sang and played the piano whenever needed, entertained at a moments notice. It was not unusual to have 11 for lunch and 18 for supper. And since we had the one and only phone on campus, when a message was urgent, she climbed on her bike, gently lifted her daughter into the pillowed basket on the handlebars, and

 

pull heaven, as his crown will be too heavy to wear.' And, contrary to popular church tradition, no money was paid. No, not one dollar or even the proverbial 50 cents! To quote a War Assets Administration document in my possession, 'In legal terminology... the camp will be 'sold' at 100% discount.' And it was.

"The naming of the school was given: we were located at Monterey Bay. The choosing of the motto is vague but pure Mother. the choice of P.O. Box 191, Watsonville is a distinct memory. We would drive into town every day to pick up the mail, often stopping to retrieve a head of lettuce or a couple of artichokes that had toppled off the produce truck directly ahead. And the first students? What a good natured and adaptable bunch! At one Saturday night program a very tall and bulky 'girl' entered wearing a heavy coat and scarf concealing 'her' face. I can remember the stifled snickering when 'she' sat in the middle of a row of girls on their side of the theater that, due to the stage, had been adapted to an auditorium. When the guffaws could be squelched no longer, one of the teachers made HIM go back to the boys 'side'. (And, as as aside, if 'Mr. Him/Her' is in attendance this weekend, will you kindly make yourself

 

known to me! your sense of fun is still a fond memory!) And visiting the 'big girls' in the half round barracks that served as temporary dorms was a joy. The rooms were warm and cozy. There was much laughter. The words answered prayer come readily to mind.

"There were those who unkindly labeled this endeavor 'Grunk's Folly' and 'Shack Town' and made comments such as 'here is he that troubleth Israel' but they were seeing only the 600 old buildings and acres of unsightly cement, camp McQuaide was not aesthetically pleasing.

 

"School opened with the maximum number of students that could be accommodated, and on Dedication Day, even at six. I cold tell from the back row where the three of us were seated, that the platform overflowed with church dignitaries. Mother, never small-minded and always magnanimous, was sorrowful for my father. When we returned home, in his usual putting-self-aside way, he said, 'Ruthie, you know, I know, and God Knows.'

 

EDITOR'S NOTE

The following is a transcript of the hall of Faith Award that was given in honor of Leal V. Grunke at MBA'S 50th Annual Homecoming, It is included in this edition of the SandScripts in total, in part due to the many requests for it made by the alumni. During last winter, a providential set of circumstances provided the Alumni Office with information that had never been known about the beginning of MBA. As that story unfolded, it became readily apparent that Elder Grunke needed to be honored, This transcript was read to Sabbath morning's packed service by jon '75 and Kinzie Speyer '76 and was received with many tears and cheers. A special thanks goes to Darlene Sanders, Leal's daughter, for all her putting this story together and taking time out of her busy schedule to come and accept this award on Alumni Weekend on her father's behalf. What we could find about Elder Grunke suggests that he would have never sought such praise and adulation - which makes this award that much more worthy of his name. Along with the award given on Alumni Weekend, a large 16x20" brass picture with the quote from Leal Grunke's diary (above) was mounted on the front of the administration building (now called Grunke Hall). the first part of October 2000 to complete this award.

 

 

 

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This page last updated
April 29, 2012