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Jim Drennan
Harry James "Jim" Drennan, Jr. 

Jim Drennan
1936 - 2022

President VBL 2010 - 2022

(Copy by Allen Chamberlin)

A Jim-dandy Little Bio.

I have yet to find evidence to support my guess that Jim Drennan never wanted to grow up to be a fireman, or president, or racecar driver. But drawing his life's timeline backwards points unwaveringly toward his always wanting to be a journalist. It seems likely his childhood super hero would have been Clark Kent -- not Superman. I can imagine him dreaming of the day he could be cub reporter Jimmy Olsen, Clark's colleague and very, very special loyal friend.

Speculation aside, at age 11 he was writing for his junior high school newspaper. Within two issues he rose to literary editor. A year later (1948) he edited and appeared to publish Miss Hanson's Homeroom sheet "Spilled Ink". He or his parents proudly kept the full set. But in all of Jim's documents, there is only one issue of The Challenge, Bakersfield's First Baptist Church bulletin. Why would he have kept this mimeographed rag from May 1951 when he was 14 years old? My guess is because it contains his first by-line in a non-school publication. He interviewed Reverend Selby Swift and with a touch of wit employed through-out life, he titled the piece "A Swift Interview".

From there it was on. He became Bakersfield High School's newspaper and yearbook editor. He edited Bakersfield College's Yearbook where he earned his Associate's Degree. He received his B.A. in journalism at San Jose State where he was a member of the Sigma Delta Chi fraternity and News Editor of Spartan Daily. Thereafter, he served in the military (1958-60). His boot camp training took place at Fort Ord. During this time he does not appear to have edited anyone else's writing. Upon discharge he went straight to work for major newspapers in …. Madera then Reno.

Ya gotta start somewhere. It was there in Reno where he made the leap from print to broadcast medium, becoming KOLO-TV news director in 1967. By 1969 he was ready to go to where the there was there, i.e. here, Sacramento. He joined KXTV as assignment editor.

Speaking of beginnings, in 1973 Jim and Kenneth Matsumoto fell in love forming a partnership that lasted 46 years until Lewy Body dementia took Kenny on Christmas Eve 2019. Matsumoto was a social worker for the Sacramento County Welfare Department, handling over a 30-year career such things as child protective services, adult protective services and foster parenting. According to Jim, "Kenny's main job in life was helping people with warmth and kindness and love." Unlike Jim who has no surviving relatives, Kenny had a large and loving family, with a multitude of aunts, uncles and cousins. Two more extremely important things to know about Kenneth Matsumoto: 1) he was born in Manzanar Concentration Camp, and 2) Jim and he were able to visit his relations in his ancestral home town of Hiroshima, Japan.

After 10 years at Channel 10, Jim got the Kelly brothers' call and took the job of news assignment editor for KCRA. He stayed until retiring in 1993.

Of course retirement didn't slow him down. He passionately volunteered 24 years with both the Sacramento Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association as well as the Association's California Council. He rose to hold office in both affiliates.

Which brings us to the zenith of his career. In 2009 Jim Drennan gained a seat on the board of directors for the prestigious Valley Broadcast Legends organization. With meteoric speed he ascended to the presidency in 2010. That's how and when I met him and his partner Kenny Matsumoto. Which leaves me only one more thing to consider about the arc of Jim Drennan's life: meteor ascend? That can't be the right direction, can it?

Allen Chamberlin, Jim's trustee/executor/hagiographer

Brief Timeline:

28 May 1936 born in Bakersfield, CA

1941-52 cub pre-reporter

1947 literary editor Red & White Oildale Junior High School newspaper

1951 contributor to The Challenge, Bakersfield's First Baptist Church bulletin

1953-54 editor in chief of Bakersfield High School Blue & White Newspaper

1954 editor Bakersfield High School Oracle Yearbook

1956 editor Bakersfield College Raconteur Yearbook where he earned his Associate's Degree

1958 member of San Jose State journalism fraternity Sigma Delta Chi

1958 News Editor of San Jose State Spartan Daily, graduating with a B.A. in journalism

1958-60 Military Service (boot camp at Fort Ord)

1960-1967 Worked for newspapers in Madera and Reno as reporter & editor

1967-69 news director for KOLO-TV Reno.

1969-78 KXTV Channel 10 assignment editor

1973 Jim and Kenny Matsumoto become a thing

1979-93 KCRA Channel 3 news assignment editor

1993-2018 officer with both the Alzheimer's Association Sacramento Chapter and the California Council of the Association.

2009 -2022 Valley Broadcast Legends board member and president since 2010

Jim's remains will be interred at Hillcrest Memorial Park and Mortuary in Bakersfield, California.



last edited 12 September 2022