Museum honorees

Betty Galli (top) and Onalee Koster, two of the most active volunteers at the Tracy Historical Museum, are now honorary members of the sponsoring West Side Pioneer Association.

Two longtime core volunteers at the Tracy Historical Museum — Onalee Koster and Betty Galli — were named honorary members of the West Side Pioneer Association at the museum’s annual holiday open house.

Koster began her service with the Tracy Historical Museum when it was first organized by the West Side Pioneers in 1993 at the former Boy Scout Hut at the corner of Bessie Avenue and 23rd St.

She became the museum director, leading the West Side Pioneers in collecting, organizing, displaying and storing historical artifacts and photos that had been gathered over the years and any items being added to the collection.

Volunteers at the museum also demonstrated old-time chores, including churning butter and weaving.

After the city of Tracy allocated $890,000 to turn the original 1937 post office building into a museum that was opened in 2003, Koster continued as the museum director, working at the museum on Mondays and Thursdays and many days in between. She continued on the job until three years ago, when she retired.

Koster was named Tracy’s female citizen of the year in 2014 and lives on the historic Koster farm in the Vernalis area.

Galli was serving as president of the West Side Pioneers when the committee was formed to establish the Tracy Historical Museum in 1983 and was active in moving the museum to its present location in the original post office building at 12th and Adam streets.

She chaired the committee that raised funds and made plans to move the one-room Lammersville School building to Clyde Bland Park at the west end of Lowell Avenue.

The restored schoolhouse has become a living history museum, where third-grade students in Tracy schools spend a day learning what it was like attending classes in the 19th century.

Galli also organized the International Food luncheon that raised funds for the museum.

Named Tracy’s female citizen of the year in 2001, she lives at her family’s restored Victorian home north of town.

Also named an honorary member of the West Side Pioneer Association was Tracy Press Publisher Emeritus Sam Matthews. He was unable to attend the Dec. 2 presentation program and received his award at a later date.

He was recognized for his efforts supporting the Tracy Historical Museum and providing historical information on the area’s past through columns, articles and special editions of the Tracy Press.

Contact the Tracy Press at or 835-3030.

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