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Patty Blakely Schwen

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Status: Confirmed 2014-03-03 Email Addr: Yes Private Profile: No No Profile Created
Spouse/Partner: Richard Resides: CA



Ten years ago I retired, after a 27 year career as a mortgage banker. Although I worked in Los Angeles and Orange County, the majority of those 27 years were spent here in San Diego. Since 1970 I held positions in middle management, senior management and an equity position in a mortgage company, with two partners. I did live in Las Vegas from '64 to '67, and amongst other things, had a darn good time there. I returned to Southern California and pursued a career in home loan finance.

Since 1980 my husband, Richard, and I have opened manufacturing businesses. We originally opened our current company, AEROMACH Mfg., Inc. in 1988, primarily as aerospace subcontractors. In the early '90's Richard was ahead of the curve and foresaw the exodus of aerospace from San Diego (mostly to AZ), and started our conversion to the commercial sector, i.e., medical (optical laser), photographic and high definition TV equipment, gauges for oil fields and components for submersibles used by the Navy and, believe it or not, treasure hunters. About this same time Richard designed and machined a set of mirrors (with stems) for our Harley Davidson, to eliminate the vibration, which is inherent in Harley stock mirrors. Other riders wanted to purchase sets, and that was the origin of our make-over to manufacturing aftermarket motorcycle and truck accessories. We slowly phased out the outside commerical work and about 4 years ago began manufacturing solely our own products. We now have a line of over 400 parts, which we sell at trade shows and to retail customers, dealers, custom bike builders, catalogs and wholesalers, all on a national and international basis. Once in a while I pause and am amazed at the fact that this all started with one set of mirrors.

Retirement has allowed me to pursue other activities and hobbies. Until 2 years ago I bred and showed miniature horses and was a board director for Gold Coast Miniature Horse Club, as well as show manager. I stopped this activity when my husband was no longer able to help me, due to serious health issues. Although I have some champion stock, my mini's are now strictly pets and I'm sure they're very pleased to be done with the ring and the training regimen.

In 1996 we invested in an opal mine, so I travel to the wilds of Northwestern Nevada to dig opal. Without electricity or running water (no plumbing), that experience is always a real adventure and a challenge. We are fortunate enough to mine a fair amount of both black and white fire opal. The season runs from June 1st to October 1st, or the first snow, but usually 30 days is about all I can take.

Sometime along the line I became interested in gourmet cooking and found I have a flair and a talent for it. I love cooking and entertaining. Dinner parties for two or three couples are always enjoyable, but our Christmas Eve party (professional Santa included) and Easter party are our two big, annual events. I start cooking 5 days in advance and love every minute of it. Due to Richard's health, he became a vegan last year. At first I was at a loss, but soon found that using tofu and soy products as substitutes, I am able to adapt many of my recipes to satisfy his dietary restrictions. It seems that with practice, determination and some skill, even one who starts out burning water can become an epicurean and bon vivant.

As for community involvement, I currently serve as an elected director on our local water district's board of directors. I have done volunteer work for the Salvation Army, most recently at the Lakeside Community (Senior) Center and in January, as a member of the San Diego Rose Society, I volunteer, with a multitude of others, to prune the rose garden at Balboa Park.

After a nasty surprise about three years ago, we decided to leave the stock market and invest our retirement funds elsewhere. Last year I researched the real estate market in several states, and since January of this year have donned the hat of Real Estate Investor and purchased multiple properties outside California. The last two are in Coeur d' Alene, ID, an area we've fallen in love with. We are talking about moving there one day.

Travel has always been my passion, both domestic and international. My husband isn't as big a fan as I, so if he won't go with me I travel with girlfriends, and sometimes alone (Australia and New Zealand). Also, we used to travel with our son and daughter-in-law, but after they blessed us with grandchildren, Jeff and Rhonda were replaced by Brooklyn, Cole and Jake. At 8 years old, Brooklyn, our first born grandchild, is a frequent flyer. Her 5 year old brothers, Cole and Jake, who are identical, mirror twins, are a little farther behind, but will make their first trip out of the country (Canada) the week after Christmas. I should have mentioned them earlier in this narrative, as they are central in our every consideration and truly fill our life with joy. They stay with us frequently and attend church with us almost every Sunday.

Aside from my husband's health, I have been blessed with a caring family (all seven of us kids and both my parents are still alive), a thoughtful, loving husband, a successful and happy son and daughter-in-law, three healthy, intelligent and active grandchildren, a relationship with God, good friends, a rewarding career and financial security. Overall, my life has been pretty good. It hasn't always been easy, and it still isn't always easy, but I can't complain. I'm looking forward to the future and the next horizon.

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