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Clytie Valentino Koehler

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Status: Confirmed 2013-04-08 Email Addr: Yes Private Profile: No No Profile Created
Resides: CA



Biographies:

2004

40 years! I feel like I have lived several lifetimes since 1964 and El Cap!
Let's see... there was that misbegotten marriage in May 1964, barely hanging on at school through graduation in June and my first child in November. I was so unprepared in so many ways! Well at least I was out of my alcoholic mother's house and away from her chain of poor choices for partners By the time I was twenty-one I had two children, had moved half a dozen times, gained weight and thought my life was over. Boy how one's perspective changes over time!
I was born with embryonic toxoplasmosis, a disease which affects the central nervous system; in my case it damaged my eyes. In those days medical science could not tell whether the dark shadows on the retina of my left eye were cancerous growths or not, so the prudent thing to do was to remove my eye. I had that surgery in the fall, just after I started kindergarten, before my fifth birthday.
I went to school with some of you from Santee Elementary through Lakeside Junior High School and then El Capitan. You may remember me as Clytie Valentino, Clytie McWhinney, or 'glass-eyed billy goat'. My left eyelid always drooped, I had poor vision in my remaining eye, and I was easy prey. Some of you called me names, chased me, and even threatened to beat me up. One person actually slammed a sliding window into the left side of my head when I stood looking out before class one day. I was hurt, from the blow to my head but more so that I mattered so little in the world that someone could just casually attack me as I stood unseeing and defenseless. I hated me, too, for being unworthy of standing and looking out of a window safely.
I was scared, wounded, and shy . If I had only known then what I know now! But it was a long, long time ago, so, for those of you who played that game let's just consider this our middle-finger-moment and move on.
Within a couple of years of our El Cap graduation my mother finally got clean and sober and started college only to get involved in the sixties hippie and drugs scene. She experimented with everything, did a lot of really cool counter-culture things but turned my young sister on to pot and LSD, mushrooms and whatever when she was still in junior high school. Both of their lives have been profoundly damaged by some of the things they 'did' in those days and my sister continues to 'do'. My mother died in 1995, at the age of 68.
In case you are wondering, I never knew my father. Mom left him behind before I was born and changed partners a number of times as I was growing up. After using different last names in school and then my married name I chose to use my natural father's name when I divorced. That is how I became Clytie Koehler.
In 1973, when I was 26, I lost my beloved brother. He was stabbed to death in the jungle in Honduras where he had been working for a little more than one year as an agricultural advisor for the Dole Company. Bill was only 28 years old. He had taken that job straight out of college. He and his wife had struggled for nine years to attain that first step on his quest for success. He left behind his wife, and 7-year-old and 6-month-old sons. He had always been my hero. I loved him more than anyone in my life except my children. We had lived through a lot together. I was devastated.
I was married to Ed Stoll from May 1964 until our divorce was final in May 1980. By the time we were divorced we had three children had moved 23 times and had at various times lived in a tent, a postal van, a bus, and for 2 and + years in a condemned house. Once, for about a minute, we were homeless.
Ed and I actually separated in January 1979 when I enrolled at Grossmont Community College. I had come to the conclusion that the only hope for a stable life for my children, and that they would not grow up to think and live just like their father was for me to get us out of his lifestyle and to find a way to earn our living myself. I was completely transformed by my Grossmont College experience. I got fired up! I breezed through full time class-work and part time work, obtained counseling for us and used every resource, government and otherwise to change our lifestyle, my parenting and our circumstances.
For the next 7 years I was a full time student first at Grossmont, where I earned an Associate of Arts degree, and then at USD where I earned my Bachelors degree (magna cum laude) and Juris Doctorate. I graduated from law school, passed the bar, turned 40, became a grandmother, and was sworn in as an attorney all within a six-month period from May through December 1986. My daughter Medea was just 22, John was 19, and Billy was 15.
In June 1987 I went to work in the Merced office of Central California Legal Services. I worked there.well, I think I will just add my resume at the end of this overflow experience.
The only other things I wanted to tell you are about the love I found with a Black Viet Nam Veteran who shared my life for almost ten years and whose unique spirit touched my family in so many ways that we are forever deepened and enlightened by his presence in our lives. Together we explored as much of the world as we could reach by car (VW bus) and on a limited budget, reggae music and Rastafari, love, family dimensions, education, and certain philosophies all meaning intensified and more complex in light of our different racial, geographical, economic, life and familial experiences. He died in 1998 of bone cancer from Agent Orange exposure. We had separated seven years earlier because his post traumatic stress and dioxin poisoning had made him so irritable that I thought I was making him unhappy. We both regretted that decision later.
And I wanted to tell you that my three children have grown up to be loving, thoughtful and responsible adults. I made sure to teach them that they are loved, valued and value-able and to respect themselves and others. So far among them they have 5 children, plus one due in April 2004 and, since my daughter is raising my sister's two girls well I consider myself to have 8 grandchildren!
Finally I must mention my grandmother. She was an undemonstrative 'practical' woman who was the only stability my brother and I knew growing up. Going to visit her on weekends or in the summer time could sometimes put me on red alert but it was also escape from chaos and want. In the spring of 1994 when she was 93 years old, she called me on the phone and asked me if I had room for her to come and live with me. I quaked a little inside and said of course she could come. She lived with me for over nine years. She died at home, last summer, three months short of her 103rd birthday. She was a tough lady, did her duty and kept her pains and sorrows to herself. She sure did like a shot of whiskey and water in the evening though, to help her sleep!
This is really long, I know. I really appreciated the openness and candor of the bios I read on the website and decided that whether I make the reunion or not (I hope to be there) it is time to stand in front of the kids from back then, to open my heart without fear, and know that we all have stretched and grown, messed up and suffered and thrilled - and endured.
Here we are as what we could not imagine ever being back then, a bunch of 'senior citizens', or nearly so. I have often wondered how many times I may have crossed paths with someone from years ago without recognizing or being recognized, and then musing on the likely truth that some of the worst of my early tormentors may easily have turned out to be the makings of good friends today? Life is utterly fascinating!

Admitted to California State Bar and Southern Federal District Court practice December 15th, 1986; and to the Eastern Federal District in 1994. Bar #125855
EDUCATION

University of San Diego School of Law: Juris Doctor May 1986.

Honors: National Association of Women Lawyers: Outstanding Woman Law Graduate 1986-87

Merit Certificate for Outstanding Service to the Diversity Law Students Association 1983-1986

Merit Certificate for Outstanding Service as a member of ?Women in Law?

Merit Certificate for Outstanding Service as Co-director of the 'Fifteenth Annual Far West Regional Conference on Women and the Law' November 1985. I was Co-director, Community Liaison, Registration Chairperson, and Executive Board Member.

Merit Certificate as Co-founder Physically Challenged Law Student?s Association. Instrumental in assuring administrative sensitivity to reasonable accommodation and privacy issues for physically challenged students and applicants.

University of San Diego: Bachelor of Arts Magna Cum Laude, June 1983.
Delta Epsilon Sigma National Scholastic Honor Society

San Diego Community Mediation Center: Certificate, November 30, 1999
Volunteer in the San Diego Mediation Center's small claims court project in Kearney Mesa and in El Cajon 2000 - 2001.

PUBLICATIONS

California Regulatory Law Reporter: Vol. 4 Issue No.4 and Vol. 5 Issue Nos. 1 through 3; Report of the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Bi-lingual Education for Merced City School District..
EXPERIENCE
Currently:
I am in solo practice in Ramona California. My general civil practice includes bankruptcy, social security, some family issues, elder abuse, personal injury and residential landlord/tenant matters. I continue to mediate all types of matters in conjunction with my private practice.

January 1998 to December 1998:
I visited Colorado and Costa Rica, found and purchased a home and moved my household (7 people including my then-98-year-old grandmother) from Santa Barbara to Ramona.

January 1995 to January 1998:
I was executive director of the Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County, where I
- Oversaw and kept three offices staffed and equipped;
- Recruited, trained, supervised and mentored staff and volunteers;
- Sought and developed new programs and funding;
- Prepared and monitored budgets, monthly, quarterly semi and annual reports;
- Reported and presented personally to funding sources;
- Organized fund-raiser;
- Organized, scheduled and noticed board meetings;
- Advised and reported orally and in writing to the board of directors;
- Oversaw all cleaning and maintenance of grounds and buildings;
- Provided for and participated in community relations and education;
- Networked and collaborated with other agencies; and
- Maintained a small legal caseload.
Essentially I continued the same approaches and methods outlined below, while fulfilling the expanded duties of Executive Director. In addition I continued as a member of the Board of Directors and volunteer of Benchmark Institute.

September 1989 to January 1995:
As managing attorney in the Merced office of Central California Legal Services it was my responsibility to supervise and support legal workers and staff. I worked to optimize the quality of training, materials, equipment, and work environment; to provide quality legal services to low income and disabled clients; organize and develop pro bono programs; and provide outreach and community education. We developed and provided self-help programs and materials such as pro per Housing and Family Law Clinics as well as bi-lingual packet materials available as hand-outs in the office or by mail. In order to facilitate and develop the participation, satisfaction and unique contribution of each person I supported an atmosphere of mutual respect, teamwork, and affirming the individual worth of both staff and clients. I evaluated staff's performance with specific focus on their individual styles, needs, strengths and desires. I encouraged creative and innovative approaches to all challenges and sought to achieve a balance between individual and client needs while maximizing the overall benefit to the community. I participated in the management team and served as a liaison between the Executive Director and the staff, as well as between the agency itself and the community. I sought and obtained grants from local sources and administered those funds for the benefit of the client community, aiming always to assist, educate and empower all persons whose circumstances brought them within our reach.
In addition, my own caseload allowed me to provide direct, high quality legal assistance to clients. I added bilingual and other education issues to my practice and served as chairperson on the Blue Ribbon Task Force for Bilingual Education, which made a year-long evaluation and wrote a detailed set of recommendations for the Merced City School District. . I was administrator of Merced County's Lawyer Referral Services Program and reported to the Program's Board of Directors on a monthly basis.
In addition I served as: board member and as president of the board of A Woman's Place, the local battered women's shelter; president of the Family Self Sufficiency Advisory Council - Community Housing Resources Board; member Vista Volunteers Advisory Council for Lao Family; leadership consultant for Benchmark Institute; member Equal Rights Congress; and member Volunteers in Parole.

June 1987 ?September 1989:
As a staff attorney at Central California Legal Services, Inc., Merced I provided all phases of legal assistance to low-income persons - from evaluation of their status, counsel and brief services - to preparation of pleadings and all aspects of litigation; provided representation both in court and before administrative tribunals; and presented weekly pro per housing clinics for low income tenants. My practice focused primarily on landlord/tenant, senior citizen, disability, public benefits and access to health care. Beginning in May 1989, I included certain family law matters in my practice.

December 1986 - May 1987
Provided free legal assistance to clients of the San Diego Volunteer Lawyers Program.




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