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She was accepted to become a nun but later worked as a cocktail waitress

posted Jun 13, 2014, 2:06 PM by Joyce Evans   [ updated Jun 13, 2014, 3:29 PM ]
You might know Peg Tischer-Keeley as the “merger president.” In 2012, when the merger occurred between the El Cajon-based East San Diego County Association of REALTORS® and the Chula Vista-based Pacific Southwest Association of REALTORS®, Peg served as president of the newly-formed combined association which retained the PSAR name.
 
You also might know that Peg is the mother of 10 children, including five from her first marriage to the late Jack Tischer, a former teacher and baseball umpire in the minor leagues, and five from Tom Keeley, who she married in 1990. All five Tischer kids have first names starting with “t,” including Tracy, Trent, Thomas John, Teri and Tim. Tom, a widower, was a single dad for five years before meeting Peg at a singles group at Santa Sophia Catholic Church in Spring Valley.  When Peg and Tom were married, seven of the 10 children still lived at home.
 
But, did you know that Peg grew up in the Chicago suburb of Glen Ellyn, Ill., wanting to be an artist and live in Paris? She also wanted to be a nun. In fact, she was invited to join the Sisters of Charity in Pueblo, Colo. She also wanted to be a real estate agent. “We moved every two years while growing up and had real estate agents often visiting in our home. Their jobs seemed so exciting,” Peg said.
 
However, her father, a World War II Marine Corps veteran, recommended her becoming a school teacher.
 
Peg earned a bachelor’s degree from Clarke University in Dubuque, Iowa, and a master’s degree in education from Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass. Peg taught in elementary schools over a span of about 10 years while raising children.
 
Her first job at age 12 was working 10-hour days in the summer, removing tassels in the corn fields of Illinois, earning 50 cents an hour. While in her 30s, she did the same job when the family needed money. “Before dawn, I loaded up the kids in the car and went out to the fields,” recalled Peg. “At the time I think our oldest was age 9 and the youngest was 4. Of course, the pay was better than it was the first time I did it.”
 
She also worked as a cocktail waitress right out of college.
 
Peg was in her 50s when she started in real estate. “I was working for the County of San Diego in the early 1990s before I finally decided to pursue real estate. I’ve always told new agents at orientation sessions that it doesn’t matter how old you are to start following your dreams.”
 
Peg joined the East County association in 1995, and served as president of the Women’s Council of Realtors, East County chapter, in 1996. She was elected to the East San Diego County Association of REALTORS® board and served for many years, as well as serving as a California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.) director.
 
“My philosophy about leadership is to always be on the lookout for new talent so that you can step back and provide the opportunity for others to grow and develop their skills and talents,” Peg said.
 
Today, Peg and Tom live in El Cajon and work together in sales with Keller Williams Realty’s La Mesa office. Son Trent Tischer also works with them in sales.
 
“People might give me credit for a successful merger between the two associations, but I know better,” said Peg. “Instead, the credit goes to all the people who worked so hard together in uniting the two associations.
 
“Not everything with the merger went smoothly. Yes, we had disagreements, especially when people were resistant to change, and I can be tough at times. But, we realized that teamwork divides the task and multiplies our success. Every successful individual knows that success depends on a community of people uniting to a common goal showing respect and kindness. We cannot accomplish all that needs to be done without working together.”
 
Peg and Tom attend Holy Trinity Catholic Church in El Cajon, and will celebrate their 24th wedding anniversary on Aug. 17. Said Peg, “God still has plans for me to do here on earth and I’m looking forward to His next adventure!”

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Hint for next week's story: Her nickname as a soccer player was “Speedy Gonzales.”

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