President Mike Gertner invited Ken Dufour to give the invocation. Ken thanked God for our beautiful home and the opportunity to serve others less fortunate than ourselves Wally Ziglar led us in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Mike gave Gary TeWinkle $3 for being “low man” in the football pool. Ed Romeo and Bob Washer tied for second and each won $6. Fran Murphy took first and won $27. Cynthia Strasmann invited members and spouses to her home December 18th for the Christmas party. Sign up next week.
Mike welcomed George Lesley to share his story. George was born Friday, November the 13th, 1942 in Pomona. His parents had a strong moral code and work ethic. George suspects his older brother considered him “a pain.” Citrus groves were a huge industry in Pomona when George was very young. On cold nights, pots filled with oil were lit and placed near the fruit trees for heat. Soot arose from them and hung in the air for days. George suffered from asthma and this was detrimental to his health. His doctor recommended the family move to an area with clean, dry air. They chose Mt. Baldy. They loved it, although his father suffered a long commute to work.
George enjoyed small-town life. When he first enrolled, his elementary school had one room and teacher for twenty students. By 8th grade, it grew to three rooms and teachers, and an 8th grade class of ten. George outgrew asthma and enjoyed the outdoors including skiing and hiking. At Christmas time, he and his friends harvest- ed mistletoe and sold it to passing cars. He proudly earned $20 in 7th grade. One time, a car took mistletoe without paying. He and his team weren’t letting that happen again. They kept a supply of rocks to pelt at guilty parties. They also enjoyed taunting visitors to the local restaurant. They placed stones inside their hub caps and snickered at the terrific noise as the cars drove away.
George reflects fondly on high school football. He wasn’t passionate about it, especially the tough, physical work. But, he learned “when the going gets tough, the tough get going,” and he befriended diverse people he might not otherwise have met.
George attended San Jose State where he was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon and earned a B.S. in Accounting. Senior year, his tax professor recruited him for accounting work at a high-end women’s shoe store. After twenty minutes of training, he was responsible for inventory, payroll, check writing, and weekly reports. Initially, he was apprehensive, until he recalled “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.”
Two memories stand out from this job. The first time he wrote a check for inventory, uncertain whether the criteria was met, George ignored the early payment discount. His boss insisted George rewrite the check for the lesser amount, adamant “you always take the discount.”
On another occasion, George drove off with a pile of endorsed checks on top of his car. George clearly was a very valued employee, because his boss never said a word when a stranger found and returned those checks.
George saved $2,500 for a post-graduation European adventure with his fraternity brothers. His savings, along with a graduation gift from his parents, funded more than seven months of travel.
He toured in style in a VW Beetle he purchased. With its single gage and no heat, he didn’t know the tank was empty until the car ran out of gas. George visited typical tourist spots and his Jewish friend also steered him to Israel near the Gaza Strip. Although they worked at a kibbutz several weeks, eventually, he was down to $67. He stretched that to traverse several countries to arrive to Luxemburg to claim his standby ticket home.
Once home, George had no money or job and a big credit card bill. His father’s friend worked at Lockheed in Ontario and helped George secure an accounting position. George wasn’t fond of the multiple rows of desks in the windowless room, or the long hours. He hung on for a year and eight months, until he took a 20% pay cut to escape to a more promising CPA firm.
In May of 1968, George flew to San Francisco en route to Yosemite for back packing. In flight, he met a beautiful blonde, Gina. He got her phone number, but promptly lost it. It was luck, or fate, that Gina was on the return flight! They married June 15, 1974 at a beautiful park in Santa Ana. In 1978, Gina gave birth to Amy.
Amy married her high school sweetheart and football star, Josh. Amy and Josh have two boys who love football and an artistic daughter.
Rudy Baron, George’s boss at the CPA firm, knew George loved skiing, and introduced him to the OC Ski Club where he met Fran Murphy. In 1978, a client named Alex Staniforth proposed George for Exchange Club membership. Members at the time included Mitch Mitchell, Seymour Week, Von Herzen, and Garry TeWinkle. The first few years, George didn’t attend many meetings. After a very fun Octoberfest fundraiser, he became more involved.
After seven years with the CPA firm, George and five others were determined to buy the local practice. At first, the firm’s managing partner was annoyed at the suggestion and fired them. Ultimately, the group negotiated a deal requiring each of them, and their spouses, to sign a $250,000 note. Gina’s first response was “No!” A few cocktails later, she signed.
George enjoyed this firm, but later left to form his current forensic accounting practice. George feels fortunate to have a happy life and is proud to be a member of our club.
Sep 30 - Nancy Scarbrough, “The Real
Significance of Senate Bills 9 and 10”
Oct 7 - Cindy Otto & Kate Wheeler, President & CEO, respectively Crystal Cove Conservancy, “Protecting Crystal Cove for Generations to Come”
Oct 14 - Kristina Mermelstein-- Paraeducator
at Bridges Community Day High School
Luncheon meetings at the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club have resumed, with indoor seating in one of the banquet rooms. Lunch will be served at 12:20 pm. You will be emailed an invitation two days before the meeting. Please notify Richard Swinney by this Wed 2 PM if you are planning on attending.