Meet our Members
Maria's parents are Filipino immigrants, but Fremont is her hometown. In the male-dominated field of Autonomous Vehicles, Maria loves breaking stereotypes. She’s an Asian woman who works in tech, knows plenty about cars, and loves sports.
Until her softball coach pushed her to call the ball during practice, Maria says she was incredibly shy. Maria still plays softball on weekends sometimes! When she was volunteering for the Peace Corps on the island of St. Vincent, Maria played scrum-half in rugby (an impressive position to rugby fans). At a rugby party, she met her now-husband Wayne.
With a passion for affordable housing and keeping her kids in Fremont, Maria can’t wait to live in a place where her biracial
family feels accepted. She’s excited to bring what she calls terriyakified jerk chicken and Reggae music to common meals.
Advice that stuck: A lot of people will push you down, but more will lift you up.
Wayne emigrated from the Caribbean about 13 years ago to be with his wife, Maria. Though Wayne is from Jamaica, he hopped around the Caribbean frequently for a travel column he used to write about politics and cultures among different islands. Despite his many travels, Wayne considers a childhood trip to London to be his favorite adventure. What he considered freezing summer weather had locals sunbathing in bikinis.
Wayne also worked for the Caribbean Family Planning Affiliation, doing very important work to spread awareness about sexual health and safety surrounding HIV — at a time when the region's infection rate was 2nd in the world.
Of course, Wayne isn't a one-note kind of guy. He once had a deal with Island Records for his band Dead Dog, but it fell through when their first song flopped. Wayne still loves music and hopes to throw his hat in the ring again one day.
Advice that stuck: You don't have to be smart to be a millionaire. *Wayne is not a millionaire.
Jane was born and raised in Los Angeles, but chose to stay in the Bay Area after she graduated from Mills College. She and her late husband raised two daughters in Fremont. Following her husband's death, Jane worked in marketing communications for the software manufacturing industry before founding a consultancy dubbed Well Chosen Words, which she ran for 20 years.
She has served on the Boards of Directors for the League of Women Voters, Abode Services, and LIFE ElderCare. While a member of the Abode Board, she attended a 2008 housing conference in Sacramento at which Katie McCamant spoke about cohousing. About eight years ago, she and fiancé Doug started talking seriously with friends about how to make it happen. Ever since, Jane has been the force driving cohousing to Fremont.
Jane’s passion for social change and cultivating genuine
friendships are evident in her commitment to building Mission Peak Village. Late in 2020, Jane realized the ambition of buying an electric car, and she loves driving it past gas stations.
Advice that stuck: Try to have your circle of friends include multiple generations.
Coming from a line of Christian Church ministers, Doug started out following in his family’s footsteps. As it turned out, his ideas of what a minister ought to be were too liberal for two congregations in Texas and one in San Jose. Doug has always been passionate about social justice, so he spent 30 years working for non-profits after he left the ministry.
Doug even helped to organize an intentional community in San Jose, called “Becoming.” Everyone had separate homes but would engage in frequent activities together. Many participants eventually moved away, but many of the group’s members still keep in contact — a sign of true community connection.
When he’s not working to improve the lives of people around him, Doug is a man who likes to play poker with his friends.
He enjoys spending time with his fiancée and Mission Peak Village’s burning soul, Jane. He fondly remembers their trip to Ireland, where they got a taste of Irish spirit(s)!
Advice that stuck: A good day is a day with tequila. / Don’t take life too seriously.
Like Evelyn and Maria, Donna is a former Peace Corps volunteer in Mission Peak Village. She’s lived in Costa Rica, Jordan, Puerto Rico, and Bangladesh, but her affinity for Fremont’s Mediterranean weather never wavered. Jordan was the only place she lived that compared to home.
Once upon a time, Donna was a school psychologist. These days she enjoys cruises, volunteer work, dancing, and anything by The Beatles. Donna appreciates both alone time and socializing when she chooses. Cohousing just makes people more accessible for sharing everyday activities, such as walking around Lake Elizabeth.
A self-proclaimed open book, Donna doesn’t hold back. Donna’s an adventurous cook who loves life and a really good Shepherd’s pie. She supports Fremont’s local journalism by
regularly reading Tri-City Voice, in which other Mission Peak Village members’ articles have been published.
Advice that stuck: Live where you want to live, and then find a job.
Photo by Wayne Bowen
Anna is moving from Southern California to Fremont to be closer to her son and his family. She found Mission Peak Village online and instantly fell in love with the site and the wonderful people.
Anna has been a lifelong member of AAUW (American Association of University Women). Through the organization, Anna fundraised for projects like Tech Trek, which sends middle school girls to college campuses for a week to encourage their STEM pursuits. Tech Trek alumnae are known to far surpass their peers in math and science.
Formerly a hospital librarian, Anna’s last read was The Sum of Us, which explores the ways racism hurts everyone. Forever learning, Anna likes to spend time outside as well. She enjoys birdwatching, hiking, and long-distance bicycle tours. She
used to cover 400-500 miles over two weeks every summer! Due to the extreme activity, she could eat whatever she wanted, and it would burn right off. Her favorite tour was the beautiful Canadian Rockies.
Advice that stuck: Smile more.
After working for the Library of Congress for 3½ years, Sandi moved to Fremont for a job as a public librarian. Though she’s been retired for over 20 years now, she still spends a lot of time reading. Mysteries are her latest obsession!
Sandi’s career revolved around public service, which bled into her pursuit of community activity. She has been a member of the local League of Women Voters since the 1970s, and even served as president. Not to mention she was the first female president of Niles Rotary in 1991; Sandi and her husband Dick are still quite active with the club.
Avid travelers, the two of them enjoy nearly annual trips to Kauai, where they get to relax and enjoy slack-key guitar music. Most recently, they cruised along the Douro River in
Portugal for their 53rd anniversary.
Advice that stuck: Don’t let the small things worry you.
Dick is a proud graduate of Stanford University. He’ll tell you he fell into his career working for the County Bureau of Sanitation by accident. With his job experience and knowledge of cohousers’ minimal waste lifestyle, Dick hopes to cut a deal with Mission Peak Village’s local garbage company.
Dick was born without an ear and endured a series of surgeries as a child, but he has maintained a great sense of humor and optimism about him. He’s always cracking jokes in meetings and bringing up the mood. Despite a lifetime of crunching numbers, Dick enjoys crossword puzzles.
Dick and his wife Sandi are famed wine collectors in their community, belonging to multiple wine clubs. He enjoys the finer things in life, hence his affinity for travel. Dick comes
from a long line of Greek cooks, so when he finally went to Greece, the food felt almost nostalgic.
Advice that stuck: Buy low, sell high.
Evelyn LaTorre and her husband Walter ditched an Italian class eight years ago to attend a public presentation about cohousing, and the rest is history.
As a Peace Corps volunteer, Evelyn saw community-oriented cultures she envied. During the pandemic, she wrote two very successful memoirs about her adventures in Peru, where she met Walter. Evelyn thinks Peace Corps volunteers aren’t too unlike cohousers — they are down-to-earth, common-sense people. Which is why she speculates so many members used to be in the Peace Corps!
She looks forward to activities with her neighbors that Walter may not share interest in, and the view of Mission Peak from her future home. She still loves to explore and visit her sons, but she mostly keeps busy with her 13 groups. Including, but
not limited to the League of Women Voters, Amigos Anonymous, and Delta Kappa Gamma for educators.
Advice that stuck: It's the risks in life that make your time here exciting.
Walter's birth certificate says he was born in Machu Picchu, Peru, though it was not inside the 15th century Inca citadel that is the 7th wonder of the world. He lived below the 7,300-foot mountain in the district of the same name. Walter saw the ruins for the first time after he married Evelyn in Cusco at the end of her two-year Peace Corps commitment.
He decided to move to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1966. For a year-and-a-half he returned to teach at the university in Cusco where he'd been a college student. Cohousing reminds Walter of the small, tight-knit Peruvian community he grew up in.
Since retiring as a computer program analyst in the Silicon Valley, he developed a program for learning Italian and is presently compiling a dictionary for Quechua, the language of
his Incan ancestors. Besides visits back to Peru, Walter has traveled to over 100 other countries.
Advice that stuck: Stay healthy as you age by eating right, socializing, and exercising every day.
Caroline came to the United States as a player for Great Britain Women’s Underwater Hockey over 20 years ago. She saw a help wanted ad for the implementation of SAP enterprise software systems, applied, got it, and has lived in the Bay Area ever since! These days, she keeps busy as a business analyst and Chairperson of the Tri-City Ecology Center — a local environmental advocacy organization.
When Caroline talks about bringing her reusable wooden fork on a trip to Mexico, it’s clear she cares about sustainability. In her free time, she tends to her garden and talks to her worm friends who replenish the soil. Caroline and her partner Greg have two cats who plan to roam Mission Peak Village in stride.
Caroline has no qualms with the stereotypes about British cooking and likes to keep her menu to boiled eggs. However,
there’s nothing typical about Caroline. She’s an adventurer at heart, who dances if the music calls to her.
Advice that stuck: Listen to your mum!
Lucretia, grew up near the hills of Bernal Heights in San Francisco. She and her siblings spent countless summertime hours sliding down the dry grassy hills on sleds crafted from cardboard boxes. Lucretia's family enjoyed Golden Gate Park and the Fleishhacker Zoo before moving to Palo Alto when she was in sixth grade.
Lucretia’s mother instilled her lifelong love for learning. She holds a B.A. in history from Pitzer College, an M.A. from Claremont Graduate University in teaching with a concentration in history and social science, and a Ph.D. in educational policy and administration. Before retirement, Lucretia served on the faculties of Spelman College, the University of Denver, St. Mary’s College, and Loyola Marymount University.
Currently, Lucretia and her mother both live in Fremont. She has a son, four grandchildren, and two great grandsons. Her interests — playing musical instruments, writing, walking, and reading — fit right in at Mission Peak Village.
Advice that stuck: I talk an inch but live a mile.
A graduate of Pomona College who spent her junior year abroad in Munich, Germany, Esther felt she was not making adequate use of her education in her role as wife and mother of two sons. As it turned out, she developed two careers that were not directly related to her degree. As she puts it, both times she was “hired as a warm body off the street”. While the family lived in Louisville, Kentucky, and the schools were overflowing with students, she was hired as a provisional teacher. After the family settled in Jacksonville, Florida, she was hired and trained as a computer programmer based on an aptitude test, thus beginning a 30 year career in IT.
Following a divorce, Esther had returned to California with two boys — then aged 9 and 12 — eventually settling in the Bay Area. Here she met her late husband Charlie, an aeronautical engineer and NASA scientist at Ames Research Center.
Now retired, Esther read about Mission Peak Village in the newspaper. "I knew as soon as I read about Mission Peak Village in the San Jose Mercury that this was an idea I would pursue," she says. We are very glad for her decision.
Advice that stuck: Be intimate with few, sociable with many, and civil to all.