Petaluma Co-Operative Creamery Driver Identified!

Albert Vietheer (1925-2008) is the driver in the photo labeled “unidentified Petaluma Cooperative Creamery driver” shown below that was featured in “My Milkman Memory” post.

The original photo appeared in the February 16, 1955 edition of the Petaluma Argus Courier with the following caption: “Santa Rosa bound – Al Vietheer, one of the several drivers employed by the Petaluma Co-Operative Creamery, gets ready to board his truck, just loaded with dairy products for Santa Rosa. The local creamery has built up a considerable trade at the county seat, and maintains a plant there for milk processing. Butter and cottage cheese are supplied from the plant here on Western Avenue.”

Using Ancestry.com and other resources available at the Sonoma County History and Genealogy Library I discovered that Albert Clarence Vietheer was born in Petaluma in October of 1925 and was the son of Albert and Myrtle Vietheer. Albert, Sr. owned Al’s Paint Store which was located at 140 Main Street. Albert, Jr. lived with his parents and two sisters: Arleen and Gladys at 832 Western Avenue.

After serving in the U.S. Navy as a seamen during World War II, Albert, Jr. returned to Petaluma, married Marileigh Runge and secured a job at the Petaluma Cooperative Creamery where he would work for the next 40 years. 

Albert surely witnessed a lot of change in the dairy industry during his time with the Creamery. Perhaps someone took down his story?

About Katherine J. Rinehart

Katherine J. Rinehart received a MA in History from Sonoma State University in 1994. For the past 19 years, Ms. Rinehart has worked in various positions within the fields of Cultural Resource Management and Historic Preservation and is currently employed by the Sonoma County Library where she has worked in the Sonoma County History and Genealogy Department since 2002. Katherine is the author of Petaluma: A History in Architecture, a contributor to Celebrating Petaluma published by the Petaluma Sesquicentennial Committee and the Petaluma Visitors Program. Ms. Rinehart is an occasional contributor to the Press Democrat and is proud to be a Petaluma Good Egg.
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6 Responses to Petaluma Co-Operative Creamery Driver Identified!

  1. Sue McIsaac says:

    OMG…Al was a longtime family friend. Going to share this with his son & family!!

  2. Jim Vietheer says:

    Great photo of my Dad! “The Creamery” was the only place he worked as you posted 40+ years. He started there in 1946 after returning from his tour in the south Pacific during WWII, and worked there his entire working career. He began working in the cottage cheese room and became the first truck driver to Santa Rosa in 1949. If you find “The Creamery” 50 year book it has many interesting facts about an important institution in Petaluma and Sonoma County. Even in retirement he still worked sometimes hanging dairy signs all over state. Some of my best memories are of the “The Creamery” picnics every summer held at the Red Hill deer camp. It is too bad you never had an opportunity to interview him as he had many, many stories about what took place there and how it changed over the years.

    • Katherine J. Rinehart says:

      Hi Jim – Thank you for all the new information. I can include some of it in the note field when we update the cataloging on the photo. I’m so pleased that Sue was able to get this post to you. We have a handful of pictures of men working in the cottage cheese room. I’ll be sure to check if your dad is featured. We do have the 50th Anniversary book. Your reference to the Red Hill Deer Camp is very helpful as we have some early creamery photos that feature what appear to be early PCC directors on a picnic at an unidentified location. Take care! Katherine

  3. Bob says:

    I just picked up at old milk cream can jug that has been made into a lamp. It is marked Petaluma coop cry reg cal. It’s really nice, and I enjoyed learning about the creamery.

    • Katherine J. Rinehart says:

      Hi Bob:

      Fun to hear. Wonder how many other milk cans have been repurposed. Glad you enjoyed the story. Katherine

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