Meet Bruce and Donna Newland
Today’s article features a well-known couple in our pickleball community, Bruce and Donna Newland. They are “frequent fliers” on the pickleball courts, playing daily in a variety of groups, at drop-in games and assisting as subs when asked. Generosity, positivity, and likability are three words that aptly describe this couple. I have experienced first-hand the fun-loving spirit they bring to the courts, never missing a chance to encourage and compliment their fellow players. It is a true pleasure to play with them.
As for a little history, I will begin with Donna. She was raised in Orange County and stayed there through her college years majoring in anthropology with a special interest in osteology, the study of bones. Career opportunities centered in forensics, but job availability was not to be found, and so Donna decided to work for the airlines. She was a flight attendant for Frontier and moved to Denver, attracted by the chance to snow ski all she wanted. When she realized she was in a big city with the slopes two hours away, she transferred to Salt Lake City, which made her favorite pastime much more doable. It was there that she met Bruce at a doughnut social in the apartment complex where they both lived. Bruce claims that it took forever for Donna to give him the time of day and Donna contends that Bruce’s reputation as a lady’s man had preceded him and she intentionally ignored him. It was a group date to the movie Towering Inferno that finally got them to connect and from that point on, neither ever dated another person.
Now, I will give you a little background on Bruce. Born and raised in Washington State near the Tri-Cities, he was one of four children, three boys and a girl. He decided to join the Air Force right out of high school and served four years with maintenance crews. He claims it was the best experience one could ever imagine. He traveled everywhere and had some amazing adventures. For a month, he lived off the beaches of Madagascar supporting the Gemini 9 space endeavor. At another interval, his crew hauled the legendary Thunderbirds around for a month as they performed air shows daily. Bruce reflects on his time of service as a complete pleasure and highlight in his life.
After leaving the Air Force, he went to college and got his degree in business. His first career was in sales with Black and Decker and found he was good at it. When the opportunity for promotion came up, it included a transfer to Alabama. Bruce and Donna had been dating for just six months and he asked her to go with him. She answered that she wasn’t moving clear across the country not being married. Quickly, Bruce said, “Then let’s do it!”
A beautiful ceremony under the gazebo in their apartment complex left both bride and groom teary eyed and joyful as they embarked upon their life together.
Another transfer by Black and Decker brought Bruce and Donna back to Southern California, and the couple settled only blocks from Donna’s childhood home. Donna no longer worked and enjoyed being a mom for their only child, Laura. Nine years of being a Girl Scout troop leader afforded Donna great purpose and lots of creative experiences to organize. In addition to Girl Scouts, Donna became very involved with the Special Olympics, first started in 1962. Her dear brother Johnny was a source of great inspiration as the family learned to support his special needs. Donna credits Johnny for giving her lessons in kindness and goodness that made her the person she is today. For the Special Olympics, she was assigned to the deaf kids to help them learn to ski. She quickly learned to sign and later took more classes to become proficient. It has proved to be a great asset many times in her life.
Life in So Cal had its benefits, and Bruce saw a golden opportunity in real estate. Initially, Donna got her license and within the first four months of work, she had out-earned Bruce’s prior 15 years at Black and Decker. He decided to quit his job and go into real estate, as well. It was a smart and extremely profitable move, as the couple did quite well achieving national recognition for sales. Life was good. For occasional R & R, they would go up to his parents farm in Washington to relax. Eventually, the opportunity to buy the farm presented itself and Bruce and Donna decided to move there permanently with their then teenage daughter. Another great decision by all accounts. Donna was the principal farmer growing grapes, asparagus, silage corn and the like while Bruce retained a full time job in sales to keep the financial ups and downs of farm life to a minimum. In all they farmed for 23 years before deciding to move back to California and closer to their daughter, grandchildren and Donna’s ailing mother.
When asked how they came upon Lake Wildwood, Donna replied that she did an internet search for communities with water. Clear Lake was quickly ruled out and Lake of the Pines was given a nod. It was driving into Lake Wildwood when the both of them fell in love with the surroundings and the vibe they felt here. Bruce recalls saying to Donna that they had ten good years left to do what they like. We laughed, saying that his plan was already eight years in so he had better revise it a bit. We agreed that another ten was totally in order. Both are so young at heart and physically fit that it’s not hard to imagine. They believe they are living the best years of their life and enjoying wonderful friends and lots of social activity. They travel at will, and having seen so many parts of the world they are hoping to focus on major sights in the U.S. The Florida Keys was the destination postponed when Covid hit, so that is first on the bucket list.
Bruce and Donna look for ways to contribute to our pickleball community. Bruce shows his handy craftsmanship in building dividers for our courts and a holder for paddles, organizing them for drop-in. He serves on the Pickleball Board as vice president and the two of them recently organized and orchestrated a Wild West Casino Night. They are generous with their time and talents. They are friendly and upbeat to be around and both play an impressive game of pickleball. Lake Wildwood is lucky to have this wonderful couple and I am grateful that they let me feature them in this article.
The Wildwood Independent Editor
Hello, friends, neighbors, and fellow residents of District 4. I hope the latest issue of my newsletter finds you staying cool, enjoying the last days of summer before school starts back up, and looking forward…
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