Steve Louden

 
Went to FSU.

Gretchen Crow, my next door neighbor on San Remo Terrace, and I married and I graduated with a degree in business.

Interviewed with Ford Motor Co. and flew to Detroit for further interviews. Got off the plane in a snow blizzard and decided I did not want to work there. They offered me a job and I told them I would only take the job if I could be in a district office somewhere in a warmer climate.

Off to Dallas, Texas with Ford. Did a lot of sports car racing and won several championships. Up through the management training program, called on dealers in Texas and held several different management jobs, the last one as Merchandising Manager for the Lincoln Mercury Division for Texas and Oklahoma. It then became time for a promotion to Detroit.

Gretchen Crow and I had divorced. I was on a ski trip to Park City Utah and met a lady from Dallas who was on the same single's ski club trip. She had a wholesale gift business in The Dallas Trade Mart and graduated from Duke University. She immediately said I could have football season, but the basketball season belonged to her. In recent years FSU actually upset top ranked Duke in basketball and football is a non-issue. We married in 1975 and are still very happily married 35 years later.

We have one 29 year old son who has a steady girl friend, of four years, but not married, yet, and obviously no grandchildren. Derek is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin and works for a large advertising agency in Dallas doing search marketing on the internet. He is presently working on his MBA at night and week-ends in a UT-MBA program in Dallas. His girl friend is also a UT graduate and works for Neiman Marcus in Dallas. Derek is 6'5" tall and Hayley is 6' tall. She chose Derek to escort her at her debutant ball as he was tall enough to be her escort. They have been together ever since.

I resigned from Ford in 1977 and started an independent Mercedes Benz, BMW and Porsche repair business which has won several local, regional and national awards. Over the years I have been very involved in our industry and have served as chairman of the board of our national association of 12,000 independent repair business owners as well as on the board of The Automotive Hall Of Fame in Dearborn, Michigan. I am presently serving on the Board of Directors of The National Institute For Automotive Service Excellence, ASE with the Blue gear logo. I am a member of a networking group of business owners and we meet twice a year at different resorts across the country and Canada. Judy and I traveled to Europe with The Robert Bosch Corp. as well as a Caribbean cruise with the same company. Business and board meetings have brought us back to Key West, Naples, Tallahassee, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale, so we have never been long out of Florida.

I am semi-retired and in the process of selling my business to my manager of 10 years.

Judy and I just completed a home, barn and guest house on a working cattle ranch in the Texas Hill Country 60 miles West of San Antonio. We spend about half of our time there and the other half in Dallas.

Our joint hobbies are snow skiing and traveling the country in our 42 foot diesel motor coach. We love to travel to Mexico, not in the motor coach, with Puerto Vallarta being one of our favorite destinations. Our favorite ski destination is Deer Valley, Utah. Both Judy and I are NASTAR racing medalists. And, I mean recently. I think Dick Coble, a fellow 1960 graduate, is also an avid NASTAR participant and medal winner.

Judy and I both enjoy working and will probably never really quit working at something. We also own several warehouses in Dallas which we lease out and this also keeps our time occupied. Judy still has her wholesale gift business with her brother as partner. They have a showroom in The Dallas Trade Mart, cover 5 states and have 14 sales people on the road calling on retail stores

In the small world category, a Sarasota couple own property five miles from us in The Texas Hill Country and plan to build there in the future. We keep in touch when they come to Texas to visit and we have visited them in Sarasota when visiting my 96 year old mother who, until recently, lived at the Fountains at Lake Pointe Woods on the South Trail. We recently moved her to a nursing home in Hartford, CT. to be close to my older brother Bruce and his family.

In the same small world category, my wife's ex-father-in-law from Washington D.C., which she adores, also lives at The Fountains which made visiting a one stop trip.

We have been blessed in so many ways, over the years, and so far have avoided any personal health issues.

We are true Texans and feel very lucky to be living here, especially in the current economic times.

Judy and I are planning to attend the reunion.
 

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