The name Rick Lemyre, as well as Rick himself, is synonymous with the Brentwood Press. When you see The Press, you think of Rick and vice versa. Rick was the managing editor of the Brentwood Press & Publishing Corp., which he co-founded with the late Jimmy Chamoures in 1999.
Rick’s idea to create a community newspaper, which featured the good things happening around town, sprinkled with hard news, blossomed from a single masthead into newspapers for each town and city in East Contra Costa County. In addition, under his leadership, the publishing corporation also launched the annual Welcome! Magazine and numerous other special publications.
Rick also believed in giving back to his community, which he was honored for in 2010 as the Brentwood Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year. His volunteerism spanned the spectrum of community involvement from mentoring youth to providing for those in need and to preserving history. He also served to improve the local watershed and agritourism in the region.
History is a very important part of Rick’s life. He has been known to engross himself in all aspects of it – devouring most every history book that comes his way, stopping at each historic roadside monument he comes upon to learn of its significance, and visiting cemeteries across the nation to learn more about the history of those who lie beneath, especially those in Civil War battleground states.
Locally, he has served 17 years as an East Contra Costa County Historical Society docent and helped to create the Society’s docent training manual. He spent 10 years as a Civil War reenactor, reliving one of his favorite eras in this nation’s history.
He also served five years as an El Campanil Preservation Foundation Board member and volunteer. The Foundation preserves, restores and operates the 1928-built theater to ensure its continued use as a cultural and architectural resource.
After retiring from the Brentwood Press & Publishing Corp., Rick became the executive director of the John Marsh Historic Trust in 2013. As executive director, he helped to preserve and promote the local and statewide significance of Pioneer John Marsh, the John Marsh Stone House and the Miwok Indians.
As executive director, Rick served as a grant writer, as well as securing a cooperating association agreement with California State Parks for the Trust and the Stone House. He developed programs to increase awareness of the house including, Star Gazing at the House, fourth-grade state history field trips, Marsh Creek State Historic Park Hikes and the annual Heritage Day. He also took the Trust on the road through presentations to various clubs in the area and strengthened the relationship the Trust has with Marsh family descendants.
Mentoring the youth of East County has always been at the forefront for Rick. As managing editor, he brought on interns at the newspaper (as young as middle schoolers) to show them the ropes and conducted tours of the Press Building for Scouts and other youth groups alike.
In 2001, Rick was pivotal in recruiting 126 charter members to form the Kiwanis Club of Brentwood, where he served as the Club’s first president. He served nearly 10 years in the club, which is dedicated to helping improve the world, one child and one community at a time.
Rick also served as a grant writer and Youth Expression project coordinator for One Day at a Time, a nonprofit group whose goal is to provide youth with a supportive network of peers, opportunities for academic and personal growth and exposure to positive transformative experiences.
In addition, Rick spent two years teaching reading and comprehension to learning-challenged youth at the Active Reading Center, a nonprofit in Walnut Creek, CA.
When local stalwart Jim Wangeman and then Mayor Mike McPoland argued about whose barbecue was the best, Rick suggested a cook-off between them – the Super Bowl BBQ King Cook-off was born. Now in its 19th year, the proceeds from the event each year benefit both youth (Brentwood Police Activities League) and historical preservation (East Contra Costa County Historical Society).
In 2002, when racial incidents arose at Liberty High School, Rick threw his hat in to be the co-chair of the Brentwood Diversity Committee, which he served for 10 years. The diverse group was dedicated to proactively helping to reduce friction and celebrate increasing diversity as the fastest-growing city in California grew from a rural farming community to a suburban city.
For seven years, Rick served the Brentwood community and beyond as the Vice President of the Brentwood Regional Community Chest. The non-profit is a community-based assistance program that provides boxes of food, turkeys and Christmas presents to about 500 families in need each year.
For the past four years, Rick also served as a Lions Club of Brentwood Board Member. An organization which creates and fosters a spirit of understanding among all people for humanitarian needs by providing voluntary services through community involvement.
As Program Director at Friends of Marsh Creek Watershed for 2 years, Rick managed the Marsh Creek Clean-up as part of the California Coastal Clean-up Day, organized Science Week creek activities in Oakley, helped with trash survey’s and water quality testing on Marsh Creek and set up a Marsh Creek Watershed Forum with Contra Costa Resource Conservation District, American Rivers and Flood Control.
And finally, as Harvest Time in Brentwood Marketing Director, Rick served to increase agritourism in the region through successful grant proposals for marketing and special events, as well as launching meaningful social media campaigns.
We want to extend thanks to Rick Lemyre for the tireless hours he has spent serving our community to make it a better place to live in. Thank you Rick!
I believe that I can speak for the community when I say that you and your lovely wife Cyndy will be sorely missed.
Thank you for being my friend,
City of Brentwood