A bio is pretty much standard web stuff ... so here's a bit about me and my roots.
I was born in Toledo, Ohio the oldest of 10 children. Of course, we are Catholic. There were 9 girls and only 1 boy. No, he wasn't spoiled. In fact, he had it pretty tough in a house full of hormones! He's in the middle and in addition to all those sisters our Grandma Schaefer lived with us. It was definitely a "girl" world. Our sister Karen died when she was 3 in 1957. Pat died in 1976 at 20 years old.
Dad was a policeman in Toledo for 29 years. He retired to take care of Pat while she was sick. Later he went to work for Dana Corporation as executive driver for the President. Mom worked for First National Bank and then for the Toledo Police Credit Union. Grandma Schaefer lived with us (when she wasn't mad at us). We lived in a small house on near the university of Toledo until I was 13. It was originally a 3 bedroom one bath. Dad built a huge breakfast room with a dormer above. All the girls shared that one dormer bedroom. That would have been 7 of us! We spent my high school years in the Old West End in Toledo.
This is the house we lived in while I was in high school. (Click on the picture to see a larger version.) It actually looks about the same now as it did then except for the trim color. When I was married (at 22), we held our reception in the yard in that house. Several years later Mom and Dad moved to a smaller house ... when most everyone had moved out (or so they thought). Then in 1980 they moved to Margate Florida. For more details, see my roots page.
I have 2 beautiful children. They have grown into kind, loving, talented and beautiful adults. I've often said that my kids have palm tree roots and eagle's wings. A palm tree has very shallow roots so it can withstand a hurricane. If a palm is blown over, you simply set it upright after the storm and throw some more sand on the roots and it will thrive. And, of course, eagles can soar high and forever. That's Dan and Jen.
Dan came first. He is bright, handsome,and multi-talented. A number of years ago he moved to Seattle. I don't know ... he must like the rain. Actually, I know he loves it there. He loves to mountain bike and snow board. You just can't do a lot of that here in the Black Swamp where I live! He has a very nice group of friends in Seattle. He is working for a web development company programming high end online surveys. Before moving to Seattle he worked for a few years as web programmer at the University of Toledo. I was told by the CIO that he changed the culture of web programming at the University. Yes! I grinned big time! Dan married Jenn Bogren at the Tsillian Cellars Winery in Chelan WA on June 23, 2007. Lots of family and friends were there. It was a magical place and a wonderful week. Jenn is a native Seattle-ite. So it looks like they'll be staying out west forever. Of course, we can only hope that someday there will be grand babies. Then we will likely have to rack up the frequent flyer miles.
Jen is smart, beautiful and talented. She's a Florida girl and currently lives in Wesley Chapel just north of Tampa. She has a masters degree in Civil Engineering. She received her P. E. (Professional Engineer) a few years ago and designs bridges for a living. She's crazy about concrete and hates steel! She is actively involved in ASCE in Tampa, has taught at University of North Florida and is making her presence know in Florida Civil Engineering circles! Jen and Chris Whiteside were married in Toledo on June 10, 2006. They were blessed with a gorgeous baby girl, our first grand baby Chloe Paige on May 7, 2007. Jen is expecting HAiley Brooke WHiteside to be born on October 19, 2009. We can't wait to meet her. They live with Midas, their hound dog and Matrix their little kitty.
Both Dan and Jen graduated from Florida State University (Go 'Noles!). They have grown and matured and made good lives for themselves. Like I said they have great wings and shallow roots. I guess that's a parent's main job...help them find their way and then let them go. I'm so proud of the people they've become and I thank God for His help in raising them. We are very close in our hearts. I think we appreciate each other as the people each of us has grown into over the years. I pray every day that someday we'll be physically close again. For right now, I guess we'll have to rely on video messaging and the airlines.
Their father and I were divorced in 1981. In 1982 Dan, Jen and I followed my folks to Florida. It was good to have the my parents close to help raise them. The kids and I spent about 15 years living together in South Florida. I worked for a number of years for different companies that installed windows and doors mainly in new construction. I managed their office and computer systems as well as did the purchasing. As you might imagine, back then business was booming in South Florida. People were moving in so fast it was hard to keep up. Shortly after I arrived in Florida, I was lucky to meet Ken, who was...and still is...my best friend in Florida. I learned so much from him and he gave me to confidence to move on to other things. I am who I am today partly because of his influence. Thanks Ken!
I married again in 1987 in Florida. I went to work for a small but growing not-for-profit. In the 9 years I was the Director of Information Services for them, Food For The Poor grew to become the 4th largest International charity in the US. (It's now the largest!) That was also a tremendous learning experience for me. I met some wonderful people who mentored me along the way both in business and spiritually. After a number of years, ti was clear that we had made a mistale in amrrying so quickly. We were divorced in 1997. I moved back to Toledo from South Florida that same year. I really wasn't sure why but I was driven to come back. It was something Dan, the philosopher, called a "categorical imperative". That's when every logical thing says go one way but "something" says go another ... and you must. I am certain, now, that it was a wake up call from God. I immediately began to question everything I ever thought I knew and who I had become. What a learning experience! Upon arriving back in Toledo, I went to work for The University of Toledo Foundation. It has been a great place to land. Brenda and the whole staff were anc continue to be wonderful. And even though the university has had its ongoing challenges, it's been a good experience for me.
Shortly after I arrived in Toledo, we found out that my dad had terminal lung cancer. I was so very lucky to spend his last year with him. Each of my sisters took turns caring for him so he never had to go to a hospital or a nursing home. What a great bunch of women they are! Each strong in her own way and all of them tender hearted too. Even though it was very hard to see our always strong ... rock solid dad so sick, I was so proud to be a part of that. Dad passed away on June 20, 1999 ... Father's Day. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't miss him still.
This picture was taken on my parents' 50th anniversary. It was just a week before dad died. Even in the midst of his own sickness, Dad did a good job of protecting my Mom until the very end. He kept telling each of us to "take care of your mother". We didn't realize until after he was gone that there was something terribly wrong.
When he wasn't around to protect her, we started to notice some odd behavior. She had a long battle with Alzheimer's. It's an insidious disease. It stole her memory and her personality. I am so proud of all my sisters for pitching in to help but especially proud of Margaret (to the right of Dad in the picture) who took care of Mom for the last few years of her life. It was hard for Marg and for her family but also very rewarding. What a lesson to teach her children about respect and love! She's a very special woman. Mom passed away on October 26th 2003. We miss her still ... but she was really "gone" a long time ago.
I met Jerry almost as soon as I returned to Toledo. I was a System i (AS/400, iSeries) geek and wanted to hook up with other users in the area. Jerry worked for the UT Foundation's IBM business partner. He was president of the local IBM midrange user's group. The president of his company (whose wife worked for the UT Foundation) invited me to a meeting. Over time, Jerry and I became good friends and the rest is his-story ... well ... the rest is OUR story. You can find it on Jer's page.
In August 2002 I was privileged to be a part of the Leadership Toledo class of 2003. What a year that was! I learned so much about this place where I grew up and lived a majority of my life. The class of 50 some professionals from the Toledo area learned about the history, culture, economics, health care, education, government, and other hidden treasures all around Toledo and the surrounding suburbs. I mad a lot of friends that I will treasure forever. I was asked to serve on the board of LT after the class ended. That's been an interesting and fun experience. That experience challeneged me to get involved in my community...to make a difference. I served on their board for 6 years. I am now involved with Heartbeat of Toledo, an abortion alternative and counseling agency. I'm sure I will continue to be involved in community life for the rest of my life.
Toledo gets a bad rap ... sometimes it's deserved. But it is a nice town. We have a gorgeous museum, a wonderful zoo, the best metro-park system around and several universities within 40 miles. We are 50 miles from Detroit, 40 miles form Ann Arbor, 120 miles from Columbus, 100 miles from Cleveland, 4 hours to Chicago, 3 hours to Cincinnati. Close enough to all these but far enough away that we don't have the big city hassle. The weather is OK. Not great...Spring is beautiful. Summer is warm and sunny. Fall is spectacular. Winter is...well...gray...and a little longer than I would like. But we don't get too much snow...so it's tolerable, If only we could get our act together, elect some good people and move forward. We have a tremendous opportunity right now with the solar cell industry. Come on Toledo...Let's get rolling!