You might know John Carroll as recipient of PSAR’s 2013 affiliate of the year award and board member of PSAR’s Young Professionals Network (YPN) group. In addition, Carroll regularly attends South County’s Rally & Ride on Wednesday mornings, and he is a frequent participant at PSAR events, as well as a supporter of many fundraisers organized by individual PSAR members.
But did you know that his motivation for supporting charitable causes is due to his mother’s childhood? John’s mother, Nadine, now age 80, was born in Poland. Her mother died at age 2, and her father left the family to fight in the war when she was 3. Nadine and her two sisters, along with 11 other Polish girls, were taken by train to India, then by boat to San Francisco and eventually dropped off to be raised at Mission Santa Rosa, a Catholic orphanage, in Leon, a city in the Mexican state of Guanajuato. “My mom had nothing as a child that either wasn’t donated or borrowed, so she is the reason why I eagerly support non-profits and charities,” said John.
At age 14, John's mother was adopted by a family in Ohio, where she later became a nurse and married John’s dad, Tom, now age 78. John's mother grew up thinking that her birthday was Aug. 14, until records were found in England that revealed her real birthday was April 6. “She celebrated her 66th birthday twice,” John said.
From Ohio, the Carrolls moved around as a Navy family and ended up in Chula Vista, opened a bicycle retail store and raised six children, including two daughters and four sons, including John. “I worked at our family’s bike shop from age 12 to 34, until they sold the business,” said John. “We all decided it was a good time to sell and go do something else, so I got into real estate.”
John spent 10 years working as a real estate agent with McMillin Realty before joining Chicago Title as a strategic business partner in February 2012. With McMillin, John worked in real estate with two of his brothers and his wife Susan, who works together with John for Chicago Title as a strategic business partner.
John and Susan met in their senior year at Hilltop High School in Chula Vista. They have been married for 22 years as of last week and live in EastLake. They have twins, John Jr. and Katherine, now age 14, who are involved in wrestling and lacrosse.
In addition to PSAR, John’s community activities include serving on the boards of EastLake Education Foundation, EastLake Business Association and Friends of Otay Valley Regional Park, as well as a member of the County of San Diego’s Park Advisory Committee. He also serves on the board of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals.
He missed attending the PSAR Installation Dinner in January when his affiliate of the year award was announced. That’s because he was out of the country in Antarctica, earth’s southernmost continent. Susan’s father, a retired Navy admiral and oceanographer who escorted National Geographic photographers on trips to Antarctica, arranged the once-in-a-lifetime, 12-day experience for John and several family members.
“It was awesome. We watched humpback whales feeding and penguins being blown around by 80-mile-an-hour winds,” John recalled. “In preparation for the trip, we studied Antarctica with our kids for nearly two years, but were still blown away on the first day by the beauty and majesty.
“One day, we were preparing to do a tour of glaciers and huge icebergs when loud alarms went off on the ship. We quickly pushed off the ship on a zodiac craft and motored away to ride out waves because a 150-foot-high by 500-foot-long iceberg had rolled over just behind the ship. That was a close call.”
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Don't miss next week's member profile... Hint: Her first job was working 10-hour days in the corn fields of Illinois,
earning 50 cents an hour.