How long have you lived in Hernando County, and where do you live? Where did you live previously?
My wife, Janice, and I were both born and raised in Chicago. We have been married for 53 years. While I was serving in the military in Germany, I made time to visit family in Italy. Janice was in Italy with her parents visiting family when we first met. After I got out of the service, and after learning she lived in Chicago, we met up again, and the rest is history.
We purchased property in Spring Hill in 1978 and built our home in 1981. The house was on the 13th fairway of the Spring Hill Golf & Country Club before we had neighbors. It was very picturesque. In 2000, we sold our home and purchased a condominium in River Run, also picturesque with the Weeki Wachee River view as a part of our back yard.
Who are the members of your family?
My wife and I have two sons — Larry and David — and one daughter, Julie Bradwell.
Larry is a legal information and technology manager for the Colgate-Palmolive Co. in New York. David is a designer for Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects in Illinois. Julie is a licensed recreational therapist at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. She and her husband, Willie Bradwell, live in North Carolina.
Tell us about your career.
I received an associate's degree from Wright Junior College in Illinois. After being drafted into the Army, I was stationed in Heidelberg, Germany, from 1953 to 1954. I was attached to the machine records unit (now known as IBM), which kept track of the Army civilians. The service enabled me to travel and visit throughout Europe.
After the service, I became a partner in an independent grocery business with my two brothers. The business, Ray & Joe's, was in Chicago. We later opened the Medical Center Food Mart.
In 1980, I sold and moved to Florida, where I opened the first Bresler's Ice Cream shop in the Gulf View Square mall, next to where Sam Seltzer's is now. In 1985, I sold the ice cream shop and began working for Walgreens. I worked at the Commercial Way store, and then later in the store at Cortez and Mariner boulevards, where I became the liquor manager until I retired in 1994.
What kinds of activities are you involved in now?
I play third base on the Suncoast Urology team of the Charlie Misiak Senior Softball League. I'm also the team's manager. I've been a member since 1996. On Mondays, I conduct batting and fielding practice at the Little Red School House. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, we hold our regularly scheduled games at Anderson Snow Park.
I am also a writer and editor of our league's Web page, which I created. I am proud to say that the players and their families, both in and out of state, enjoy reading about our games and the players. We have reporters from each team who submit the scores and any highlights. It has been very gratifying to receive positive comments from people who appreciate being kept abreast of what is happening, plus a sense of involvement.
I also love to bowl. I've been bowling all my adult life. I belong to the Friday Morning Senior Bowling League that bowls at Spring Hill Lanes. I can honestly say that since my two total knee surgeries in 2005, it is wonderful to be able to participate in sports and everyday activities without pain.
Do you have any special hobbies?
I enjoy working on the computer, whether I'm working on the league's Web site, burning CDs of interviews with some of the old-time, classic movie stars, or just searching the Internet. And as mentioned before, I bowl and play golf.
What are your favorite things to do in Hernando County?
I enjoy our local restaurants, but my wife's cooking is still the best. We also enjoy going to the movies and having a quiet picnic at Pine Island.
What do you think would make Hernando County a better place to live?
Putting a cap on construction. Recently, it was reported that there were 850 foreclosures in the county. It is upsetting to see the empty houses with tall weeds where lawns once grew and the many storefronts with "for rent" or "for sale" on the doors.
When we owned our home in Spring Hill, it was in the area of Veterans Memorial Park, and in recent years it appears to me that Spring Hill Drive could utilize additional landscaping. Also, the areas facing Commercial Way where brick columns are erected require attention.
Our home backs up to the Weeki Wachee River, and, needless to say, the river is low. I would like to see restrictions as to the size of boats and motors that can utilize the river. Those using kayaks and canoes often resort to self-defense maneuvers, going into the bushes and overhanging trees, to avoid the larger boats. And with the river being so low, the boats put additional dangers on the manatees.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don't know.
I do a great imitation of Donald Duck. My wife says that I should have been employed by Disney. Actually, my imitation helped win her over when we were dating. She was the only girl I dated that thought it was funny. My family and friends also enjoy my Donald.
Also, I am known by my friends as the "bread man" because I make the best bread. My specialties are rye and Italian.
Hernando Neighbors is an occasional feature of the Hernando Times. Do you know someone who would make a good profile? We'd like to hear from you. Contact Jean Hayes, community news coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1438.