“Hi. This is Gary Stork, Executive Director of
As residents of Carlsbad-by-the-Sea (CBTS), we’ve all heard the familiar message on Gary’s answering machine. What do we appreciate about him in his role here at CBTS: His genial nature? Willingness to talk over concerns? Evenhandedness with residents and staff? Sense of humor? Haircut and mustache?
Each resident could easily add to this list of characteristics and traits. The more curious among us felt it was time (high time!) to learn more about the off-the-job side of his life.
Gary Robert Stork was very young when he joined his parents on November 3, 1946 at the family home in Long Beach, CA. He eventually gained two sisters. Later the beach and surfing became irresistible pleasures that extended through high school and college where he chose a communications major. One fortunate day during his Cal State Fullerton years, he met his wife-to-be, DeAnna, at a Methodist church in Orange. They’ve been married 36 years and have one son, 24-year-old Micah, who is a 2001 graduate of San Diego State as a history major. DeAnna, a home economics major, enjoys substitute teaching in Anaheim.
Gary’s parents moved the family from Long Beach to Orange in 1964, and he has lived there ever since, finally moving to a large enough property in Orange Park Acres to accommodate the two horses, fourteen chickens, seven turtles, two dogs and a cat named Maggie. (The family of turtles grew by three when former resident, the late Jeanette Henderson, needed a good home for her pets. They hibernate from November to March in his garage, each in their own carton).
Back while Micah was growing up, Gary and DeAnna headed a 4-H pygmy goat project for seven years. These small animals (24” high) make wonderful pets and several were part of the Stork menagerie. (Micah even won a gold medal for his prize pygmy and served as club president when he was thirteen.)
Without doubt, Gary’s favorite pets are the horses. A year ago he added seven-yr-old Dually (Dooley) to the stable, a black paint with a stocky bull-dog type build that’s superb for trail rides. This brings up Gary’s second favorite thing: extensive trail rides in outlying areas with a group of 125 like-minded men. As president of the group this year he’s been responsible for planning and participating in the six-day October ride near Julian. To call the outing “camping” misses the reality by a mile: daily happy hour, camp cooks and comfortable accommodations are all part of an exciting experience, one that son Micah enjoys too.
Surprisingly, Gary has had time for employment in addition to caring for all his livestock, even though it means a 5 a.m. wake-up call each morning. When asked how he achieves his dapper look for work, he said, “I just brush off the manure and head out!” Alpha Beta benefited for fourteen years from his management skills before Hughes Aircraft lured him away for eight years as Division Administrator over 1,600 engineers dealing with anti-submarine warfare. California Lutheran Homes enters the picture next, thanks to Kevin Gerber, then Vice President of Operations, who hired Gary in 1994 as Assistant Administrator at Walnut Manor, followed by two years as Administrator at Southland Lutheran Home.
Kevin chose Gary to be Executive Director of the still-under-construction CBTS. Gary’s assignment was to become familiar with the structure and build a staff to operate the facility, an immense task that often required seven-day weeks to accomplish. So why, we hasten to ask, is he leaving us to do the same thing at the Covington? Because as he says, “I needed a new challenge.” Also, his friend Kevin, who is now CEO of Episcopal Homes, asked Gary to take the new position.
In reminiscing about his six years at CBTS, Gary feels he accom- plished his vision of creating a community “with positive energy and as much laughter as possible from the staff, providing a beach-casual environment for residents and guests.” Interviews for potential employees begins with the question, “Did you have fun in your previous occupation?” Gary has “loved” each of his careers and thinks so highly of our Care Center that he recently moved his father to the third floor after four years at Walnut Manor.
His most intensive or memorable time here was when former residents began returning along with new move-ins in 1998, sometimes as many as six in one day. Lucky him! He gets to experience a repeat performance at the Covington next summer.
As we wish Gary well in his new endeavor, its also “Bon Voyage” as he and De Anna enjoy a relaxing Caribbean cruise.
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