Last Updated on Dec. 28, 2020
Since the group was started in 1988, Mt. Soledad Mens has benefited from some fascinating members whose stories live on, even though they themselves may have passed away.
On this page, we've tried to capture some photos, memories and where possible, actual recordings of these members who contributed so much to the sobriety of many while they were here with us.
This is a work in progress! If you have suggestions or (better yet) more material to be added to the listing which you may find here, please drop us a note at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bill O'Brien got sober in 1957 and stayed sober from that time until he passed away -- except for "two bad days" in 1959. Bill was there at Joe Meiner's 20th anniversary in New York, when AA was only 25 years old and Bill Wilson led the meeting.
Here are two short clips of Bill's most popular stories:
Here is the entire talk given by Bill at the Round Up at Lake Havasu City, Arizona in 1999.
resident of Chula Vista, Bill was one of the most generous men in AA,
taking meetings into Donovan State Prison and working with "hopeless"
cases at South Bay Pioneers.
Group photo was taken in 2002 at a dinner celebrating Bill O'Brien's 85th birthday.
Fr. Bill Wilson
Fr. Bill Wilson was the assistant pastor at All Hallows Catholic Church, where Mt. Soledad Mens held its meetings until moving across the street around 2000.
Although he came from Ireland, Fr. Bill professed to never drinking until after he became a priest and was sent to Rome by his church to help further his studies.
A regular member of Mt. Soledad Mens until he moved to a retirement home for the last few years of his life, Fr. Bill is remembered for his enthusiasm and his great sense of humor, which he shared generously with the men of the group.
Ergo was a top executive at one of the Big 4 automakers in Detroit before eventually hitting bottom.
He spoke often of realizing finally that he was simply "a loving child of a loving God" and described love as "doing something nice for someone else without expecting anything in return."
We are currently looking for a recording of Ergo to post on this site, so if you have access to one, please drop a line to email@example.com
Ray Murphy was a transplant from North County (and before that, the East Coast). He celebrated 50 years of sobriety in 2007 and passed away on November 29, 2009 at the age of 82 with 52 years sobriety.
From Ray's complete obituary, which can be found here, is the following:
"He was honorably discharged twice from the U.S. Navy and was active in Veterans' affairs. Ray was a well known member of the recovery community for 52 years, positively influencing everyone he met. He lived his life in service to others and will be remembered for his wamth and sense of humor."
He was one of the founders of Smokers Anonymous and did extensive service work, particularly in organizing meetings at the SARP program facilities at Naval Base Point Loma which continue to this day.
We are currently looking for a recording of Ray Murphy to post on this site so if you have access to one, please drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org
After successfully battling alcoholism and getting sober in 1994, André was very active in AA until he passed away due to complications from HIV-AIDS in 2006 at the age of 44.
He was named a Gates Millennium Scholar, a program funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to provide educational opportunities to people of color, and used his scholarship to earn a bachelor's degree in diversified liberal arts at the University of San Diego in 2004. His complete obituary in the Union-Tribune can be found here.
He helped support a sober living home in Clairemont for many years which made it possible for many men to also get sober.
He was also a willing speaker, sharing his stength, hope and experience with audiences both in recovery and otherwise, before he passed. Here is one of his talks which was recorded in 2001.
Dick Hogue was one of the founders of the Wednesday night meeting, "His Majesty the Baby."
Part of Dick's story was his relapse after 15 years' sobriety when the chase for "money, power and prestige" (as he put it) became more important than his sobriety.
In the 1960's, Dick developed Phoenix International Raceway and with his then-wife Nancy, owning and operating it for 10 years before selling it to businessman Malcolm Bricklin.
After his relapse, Dick stayed sober for more than 35 years before he passed away in June, 2001. In his later years, Dick loved sailing almost as much as he loved car racing when he was younger.
Dick sponsored many men over the years and it is hoped that some of them may share more of Dick's history for this entry. We are currently looking for a recording of Dick Hogue to post on this site, so if you have access to one, please drop a line to email@example.com
One of Dick's favorite sayings was the following:
"I am here for the peace of my soul; and to climb the spiritual ladder that leads me to God. Underneath are the everlasting arms."
Dave grew up a “military brat,” living in Oklahoma and many other places before settling in San Diego, where he worked most often in the hotel industry, where he worked in sales management.
His sobriety date was Sept. 19, 1986 and he passed away on Dec. 19, 2019 with 33 years of sobriety at the age of 73.
Dave loved motorcycles, fast cars, his dog Hack and playing pool but none of those compared to his love for Alcoholics Anonymous and talking to newcomers. He had a special gift for listening and sharing his experience, strength and hope with others and he sponsored many men during his AA career, often carrying meetings into prisons and jail.
He could often be seen standing outside the Mt. Soledad Men's meeting on Saturdays, talking to a newcomer for an hour or so after the meeting had ended and everyone else went on with their day.
He was a strong believer in the idea that we could work the 12 Steps on any problem -- any person, place, thing or idea in our lives that we were powerless over -- and get relief, not just our drinking problem.
For almost 20 years, Dave suffered from a painful and debilitating medical condition called CIDP that affected his muscles and nerves but for most of his life, he was able to rise above it, saying simply that the disease was a gift that brought him closer to his Higher Power.
Among his favorite sayings were: “Ain’t God great?!” and “There I go again, being me.”
Here is a recording of a speaker meeting featuring Dave from 2002.
Photo (above) shows Dave Moore with the late Dick Hogue.
Harry Kaplan got sober in 1975 at the age of 50 after his
first wife died and left him to raise their three children alone.
One of the last men standing of the “Greatest Generation,” Harry served in WWII as a radio operator/gunner in the China-Burma-India theater of Operations. He flew a total of 93 missions over the Himalayan mountains – “Over the Hump.” For his service, Harry was awarded many decorations, including two Distinguished Flying Crosses.
This was also, he said, when he
learned how to really drink.
A native New Yorker, Harry was not shy about sharing his experience, strength and hope and he actively sponsored many men throughout his sobriety, right up to the end. He was not a fan of men's meetings originally but became a convert and advocate after joining the Mt. Soledad Men's Group.
One of his favorite sayings was, “Meeting makers
make it.” Although he himself found a wonderful wife in AA, he didn't encourage
other men to follow his example, saying that when dating women in the program, “the
odds are good that the goods are odd.”
Here is the plaque that was placed in Harry's honor at Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial.
early interest in moving parts bloomed in Dale with building and fixing
bicycles, motorcycles and later, cars: Dale opened his foreign car
repair business, "Foreign Quality" in 1956 and operated it successfully
for over 20 years on Kurtz Street. Dale got sober in 1985 and in the
late '80s, he moved his shop to Santa Fe Street as "Jaguar Specialists."
Dale ran this business until he and his wife, Maryolive retired to Rancho las Barracas on the Sea of Cortez coast of Baja, California.
There, they realized their dream of living on the beach and off the grid. He and Maryolive spent more than 25 years in Baja, returning to San Diego for the hottest summer months and that is when he was most often seen at Mt. Soledad Mens and other meetings around San Diego.
passed away on July 25, 2017 at the age of 88 and with 32 years'
sobriety, surrounded by his many friends and AA family who had been
bringing meetings to him for some time during his illness.
Dale were his wife, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren...
not to mention his many AA brothers and sisters who loved him very
much. His "Celebration of Life" took place at Mt. Soledad Presbyterian
church, one of the many homes for the Soledad Men's group meeting.
Steve believed that when he got to be a doctor, he
would finally feel “okay." But then, he graduated from medical school and he felt
exactly the same: uncomfortable and not good enough.
His father was an alcoholic and Steve swore he never wanted
to be like him. But one day, he saw the look in his son’s eyes and realized he
had become just like his father. That’s what got him to AA in his home state of
Steve was a vital part of the Atlanta Men’s Workshop and the Central Florida Men’s Workshop for many years even after moving to the West Coast to be closer to his son, Steve, who is also in recovery.
One of his first sponsors in
California was Dr. Paul O. (author of “Acceptance Was the Answer” in the Big Book). Steve's recorded talk at
the final day of the 2014 Atlanta Men’s Workshop can be heard here.
both Atlanta and Central Florida, an important contribution to the
Men's Workshops was Steve's Saturday night "Sex In Sobriety" sessions,
which allowed men to speak frankly about the challenge of intimate
relationships when no longer under the influence. Steve's outline for
the workshops can be found here.
In San Diego, one of Steve’s important legacies was re-establishing
the local H&I program serving the U.S. military’s SARP unit (Substance
Abuse Recovery Program) located at Naval Base Pt. Loma, which had been dormant
for many years.
In 2019, he relocated to El Paso with his wife Lynn to be closer to her daughter and family. After a brief (6-month) illness, he entered hospice and passed away peacefully at his home on Feb. 9, 2024 at the age of 85. He celebrated 43 years’ sobriety on Sept. 3, 2023.
Other "Favorite Sons" we would like to include: