In 1942, Tom’s father Mark relocated the family from Wisconsin to work in San Diego as an aircraft mechanic for several years. After World War II ended, Mark opened a real estate office in 1944 called Mark H. Money & Associates at 355 Third Ave. In 1984, Mark served as the Association’s president when PSAR was called the South San Diego Bay Cities Board of REALTORS® (the Association’s name was changed to PSAR in 1993). In 1963, after his father’s passing, Tom, age 28 at the time, joined the family real estate business as a REALTOR® and has maintained the same office address ever since. Tom’s mother Jane was the broker for the real estate company.
But did you know that Tom hitchhiked around the world on sailboats? The Chula Vista native and graduate of Chula Vista High School (class of 1961) started his three-part, two-year journey around the globe in Hawaii. “I was 22 years old and working in Honolulu at odd jobs when I met a guy sailing to Tahiti in French Polynesia in the South Pacific who needed a crew member,” said Tom. “Then, in Tahiti I met a guy sailing to Africa who also needed a crew member. Then, in Africa, I met a guy sailing to Newport, Rhode Island. So, I call it a round-the-world trip on a sailboat as a hitchhiker.”
Tom, 72, is an avid sailor and has experienced a number of adventures in life. In 1969, he joined a gold mining company that was dredging the Bering Sea, between Alaska and Russia, looking for gold. “We were off the coast of Nome and a big storm came in and created huge chunks of ice. Our boat was crushed by the ice and we walked ashore on the ice about a quarter mile. The whole town turned out in the middle of the night with sleds to help us get our gear off the boat before it sank.”
In 1970, he was a member of the crew who sailed a 100-foot-long, square-rigged, iron windjammer ship (similar to the Star of India) from Tahiti to Sydney, Australia, to commemorate Captain James Cook’s discovery of Australia in 1770.
In 1991, at age 48, he sailed across the Pacific Ocean, 2,250 miles in 12-and-a-half days, from San Diego to Honolulu, with himself and National City resident John Walton, a member of the Walton family who founded Wal-Mart (John was a son of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton).
A race was being held to raise money for Mercy Hospital and John Walton was building a new style of trimaran sailboats that were lightweight and fast (a trimaran is a multihull sail boat that comprises a main hull and two smaller outrigger hulls, or floats, which are attached to the main hull with lateral beams).
According to Tom: “I went to John and asked him to sponsor me in this race. He kept asking me questions and then decided to go with me. We finished first by a day-and-a-half, but were declared to be in second place by 15 minutes because of our ship’s handicap. In some races, boats have handicaps just like golfers.” (John Walton passed away on June 27, 2005, in a private plane crash in Wyoming.)
Tom and his wife Sherry have been married since 1973. They have two daughters and two grandchildren. Tom has supported PSAR for many years. According to Tom, “Over the many decades, the Association has never lost its focus, which is to serve its members and homeowners.”