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This grandmother says skydiving is like flying, not falling

posted Aug 26, 2014, 12:08 PM by Joyce Evans   [ updated Sep 5, 2014, 8:12 AM by Richard D'Ascoli ]
You might know Pat Russiano as a PSAR board member from 1999 to 2011. She also served as president in 2009, and was a member of a committee that explored the eventual 2012 merger between PSAR and the East San Diego County Association of REALTORS®. She has served as a C.A.R. director since 2005, and is serving this year as chair of C.A.R.’s Region 30.
But did you know that she eloped to get married on the same day she graduated from high school? It was 1969. She lived in Texas at the time, and was a member of the first graduating class at John Jay High School in San Antonio.  Pat was 18, Tom was 24 and recently discharged from the U.S. Air Force after a tour in Viet Nam. They eloped to Flour Bluff, Tex., a community of Corpus Christi. They recently celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary.
Pat and Tom relocated to San Diego in 1979 to raise their two daughters who attended schools in Chula Vista. Daughter Janet, who enjoys hiking and sports, lives with her family in Truckee, Calif., while daughter Suzanne and family, lives in San Diego.
For Janet’s 18th birthday present, Pat agreed to go skydiving with her in Hemet, Calif. “I’ll never forget the look on her face,” said Pat. “She was shocked and thrilled at the same time.”
Pat says, “Skydiving is one of the most difficult things to describe. It feels like flying, not falling. The views are spectacular.”
Pat and Tom now live in Bonita and have four grandchildren who range in age from 7 to 15.  Pat says spending time with the grandchildren is truly a joy. Tom retired in 1999 after a 32-year career with the Bell System, a reference to the Bell Telephone companies operated by American Telephone & Telegraph Corp. (AT&T) prior to 1984, when AT&T divested itself of 23 regional Bell operating companies.
“As for me, I can’t imagine ever being retired,” said Pat, 63.
Pat also worked with the Bell System prior to starting full-time real estate sales in January 1991. Her last assignment with Bell was teaching job-hunting classes, including resume writing and interviewing skills, to long-time Bell employees who would also soon be laid off.
“Many of my students were angry and bitter because they had never worked anywhere other than Bell,” said Pat. “While I was teaching those classes, I got my real estate license and started attending office meetings at Century 21 because I knew the end at Bell was near for me, too.” She was laid off just before Christmas in 1990, and joined Century 21 in January 1991. She has worked for Century 21 her entire real estate career.
“When I started selling, I was only one of two in our office to own a personal ‘laptop’ computer,” said Pat. “The business has certainly changed since then.”
Pat was raised in South Dakota, the oldest of five children. At age 13, her father died, leaving her mother widowed at age 32 with children ranging from age 13 to four months.  Pat’s mother later married Bob Jones, who passed away in 2003. Today, Pat’s mother, Jane Jones, is a vibrant and active 83 year-old great-grandmother who manages a HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) apartment building for seniors in Mission Hills.
“I admire my mother’s energy and stamina, she is amazing,” said Pat. “Throughout my life, whenever I have faced difficult circumstances, I have simply looked at my mom’s example and received inspiration. I believe that if you put your mind to it, you can truly get through anything.”
Among Pat’s other observations about life: “Folks are generally about as happy as they are willing to be. Life may seem tough but it’s certainly not boring. But, what you think you are. The way you think, determines the way you feel, and the way you feel, determines the way you act. So, the key to happiness and abundance is to focus on what you want, and believe it can be so.  You get what you think about, whether you want it or not.
Pat remains a staunch advocate for PSAR. “Getting involved in PSAR has been a very enriching experience, both personally and professionally,” said Pat. “The time I spent serving on association activities also was spent with the same agents I have done business with. The bottom line is that many of my transactions in my career have gone smoother when the other agent was a REALTOR® I know through my PSAR involvement.”