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102-Year-Old Celebrates Long-Lasting Community Ties

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Via Press Release
07/26/2014 6:15 PM

Beau Gillman and Alice Dufrene celebrate her 102nd birthday. Photo courtesy to the Amador Ledger Dispatch

Alice Dufrene is a very special woman. On June 26, 2014, the Jackson, CA resident reached an incredible milestone – turning 102 years young. However, what really makes this centenarian so special is less about how many years lived, but about how many lives she touched throughout those years.

Alice’s family tree has deep roots within the Jackson area, dating as far back as the 1860s. This was a time when the Pony

Express delivered mail, Lincoln was president and the West was still wild. Jackson, in Amador County, was settled by pioneers after the discovery of gold in the Sierra foothills around 1848. In fact, Amador is called “The Heart of the Mother Lode” in reference to a 20-mile-long belt of gold that runs through the western part of the county.

Alice was born on June 26, 1912 in Volcano, CA to winery-owner parents, Barton “Bert” Sutton and Julia Bianchetti Sutton. Although the family winery operations shut down years ago, the old stone building still stands today as a proud reminder of their family heritage within the community. Historically, some of California’s oldest vineyards and oldest vines are located in the area, and produce some of the best Zinfandels in the U.S.

After graduating from Jackson High School in the late 1920s, Alice became a teacher and devoted herself to molding the minds of 8th grade students throughout the 1930s. She taught her pupils in the one-room New York Ranch Road Schoolhouse. Alice married Ralph Dufrene in 1935. Ralph was born, raised and lived in Amador County his entire life. In 1937, the couple purchased a farm together in nearby Ione, where they ran cattle and raised their children. During that time, Alice and Ralph continued forging strong, lifelong ties in the community which, no doubt, made immeasurable impact on the lives of others.

Although Ralph passed away in 1988 at age 75, Alice still lives in the same the same house...and continues to enjoy long-standing personal and business relationships, including those shared with her insurance advisors. Over 50 years ago, Alice and Ralph purchased their first agricultural business policy to protect their farm and property. An insurance man named Nedjo “Ned” Vukovich sold them the coverage. It’s evident the ties that bind a community and its people together are strong, especially for Alice. Ned’s grandson, Beau Gillman, is Alice’s current insurance advisor. Beau is a third-generation insurance broker and the company his grandfather founded, Matich Vukovich Insurance Services, is a local Capital Insurance Group agency.

In celebration of Alice’s 102nd birthday and long-time allegiance to her insurance advisors, Beau Gillman, along with Jeff Batozech, CIG’s Northern California Regional Field Executive, recently surprised Alice with a birthday cake and a gift card for $102. Alice was in good spirits, lively and bright, as she reminisced with her son Gene about the long and valuable friendship shared with her insurance carrier and the many years spent building a life for her family in Amador County.

Copyright © 2016 Amador Ledger Dispatch
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