Ray Leach ’65 spent 25 years as an executive for a savings and loan in Southern California before retiring and returning to his roots. During high school, he worked for his father and his uncles in the family business, selling animal feed. In 1990, he became a co-owner of the feed distributorship with his cousin and spent 10 years in sales. Today he does post-production work on movies for his son Jeremy’s firm, Vision QC, which allows him to play golf during the day and work in the evening. “I make sure the process of transferring movies to video tapes or DVDs has been done correctly,” he says. “It’s fun, and I feel semi-retired.”
Ray’s son Joshua ’94 works in a business that serves families: he owns his own company in Chico, Calif., which builds starter houses for young families. Like his father, he has switched careers. After graduating from Westmont with a degree in economics and business, Joshua joined the staff of Tynan Group in Santa Barbara and supervised the permitting process for the Bacara Resort and Spa. “I spent a great deal of time on the site from the beginning of construction through to completion,” he says. “It was a very high profile project at the time, so it got a lot of media attention. I learned a lot — it was my graduate school.”
Ray and Joshua have a family connection to Westmont. Both are married to Westmont alumnae (JK Walen Leach ’65 and Katie Edwards Leach ’97). Ray’s sister and her husband, David ’64 and Janet Leach ’62 Rohlander, went to Westmont and so did JK’s sister and brother-in-law, Wayne ’62 and Sharol Walen ’63 Siemens.
After completing a major in biology and a teaching credential, JK spent 38 years in the Los Angeles school system. Eventually she left the classroom to become a middle school counselor and an assistant principal. She helped develop a health program for middle schools as none existed, ran the pilot project at her school and co-authored a book on sex education. Ironically, health changed JK’s life in 1995 when she developed breast cancer. “I decided to retire so I could do the things I wanted to do while I could still do them,” she says. She has taken several trips to Europe and started to paint. “I love retirement, and I still volunteer at the school,” she says.
Katie played volleyball at Westmont, which is how she met Joshua, who announced the games. She majored in kinesiology and served as the assistant volleyball coach for several years. Raised in Chico, Katie convinced Joshua to move back there so they could buy a house and she could stay home with their three young children. She works part time in children’s ministry at their church.
Like his parents, Joshua participated in lots of college activities, especially intramural sports. “I was a poster child for Westmont and participated in everything I could,” he says. Even with a double major in social science and economics and business, Ray played “every sport possible” and JK “got involved in whatever was going on at the time.”
Both generations also combined college and marriage. “JK and I became the class project for Dr. Bouslough’s marriage course — our wedding took place halfway through it,” Ray says. Joshua and Katie got married at the end of her sophomore year.
Their commitment to Christ, their active lives and their experiences at Westmont help this family maintain strong ties.