For over thirty years Dave and Kathleen Pickering have made their home on the west side of Danville, a place filled with love, hard work and generosity. They’ve made lasting friendships with their neighbors, created a dream backyard for themselves and their pets, and spent years working with local pet rescue organization, ARF.
In 1962, right after his high school graduation, Dave Pickering joined the Air Force and left his home in Indiana. During his four year tour of duty, he was stationed in places such as Texas, Nevada, Greenland, and San Francisco. In 1965, while stationed above the Arctic Circle in Greenland at a remote 17 man site, Dave was involved in the DEW line (Distant Early Warning) defense program, necessary for listening for military transmissions over the polar ice cap during the Cold War. There was a long stretch where the sun didn’t rise and the daily temperature was on average -30 to -50 degrees. “During the 90 day dark period when the sun never rose, I could enjoy the most amazing displays of the Aura Borealis. The heavens were dancing with murmuring waves of green lights,” said Dave of his time up north.
Dave literally “left his heart in San Francisco” when he fell in love with the city while stationed there in 1964. In 1966 he was honorably discharged from the Air Force, and 30 days after returning home to Indiana, Dave made the trek back to San Francisco in a family car with $300 and a single suitcase. “A week later I applied to a newspaper ‘want ad’ in the Palo Alto Times for a job at Pacific Telephone & Telegraph in Palo Alto, and was hired that same week.”
Both Kathleen and Dave had long careers in various roles, including IT/Operations at Pacific Telephone & Telegraph, which through a series of name changes is now better known as AT&T. “We met at Pacific Telephone & Telegraph sharing a rolling ladder working on a problem in the Central Office in 1980,” says Kathleen. They’ve been together for over four decades, officially tying the knot on February 29, 2016 – which means they just celebrated their “first” anniversary earlier this year!
Kathleen worked for AT&T for over 30 years, and after that moved on to working at Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation for over 11 years. Her most adorable coworker is their certified therapy dog, Romeo, “He works with ARF in their Pet Hug Pack program visiting schools and participating in ARF’s All Ears Reading program. He also visits children with disabilities during the summer at Camp Arroyo in Livermore.” A few years ago Romeo went Twitter famous when Danica Patrick gave him a smooch and shared it with her 500,000 followers!
The Pickerings also adopted sweet Gracie from ARF. These days she hangs out in her Catopia aptly named Gracieland. Dave built the whole thing, and Gracie is able to access it whenever she wants thanks to a pet door inside the house. Aside from being a talented woodworker, Dave is an accomplished stained glass maker as well. “Dave loves stained glass and is currently making ‘Toucans with Attitude’ for mounting in our palm trees by the pool,” says Kathleen.
With a complementing creative mindset, Kathleen’s hobbies include handbell ringing, gardening, and teaching friends how to make chocolate tulips and other confectionery delights. The Pickerings can proudly say that after many years of growing giant pumpkins, they can now add “First Place Winner” to their trophy case! “We would have the neighbors bring their kids to watch their dads help load it into a trailer to take to the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival each year.”
The neighborhood that Dave and Kathleen call home is a tight-knit one. Dave serves as the Neighborhood Watch ambassador and is the go-to guy for mail and package collection when friends go on vacation. When they first moved in, Dave helped out elderly next door neighbor Winifred Haagensen with her trash cans. “She lived alone next door and for the next 11 years Dave volunteered to help her with whatever she needed so she could live out her days in her home, which she did until age 91. She was quite a woman and started the “Tree of Lights” fundraiser event to help hospice.” It was a beautiful connection that set the tone for how neighbors can become so much more.
By Alexandra Sullivan, Resident since 2017
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