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Tom Blake

By Tom Blake

Today, I mention six courageous women I’ve had the privilege to meet.


Geody lives in San Juan Capistrano. Her husband, Richard, opened Dana Point Auto Service 50 years ago and was one of the most beloved residents of Dana Point. Together, they did much for charity.

Geody was Richard’s strength. She was a caregiver to him for his last few years. He passed away in 2021. She continues to manage Dana Point Auto Service.

Recently, Geody drove her SUV across the country with only her dog for company to see her daughter and grandkids in Florida, while staying overnight at SUV parks along the way. She’s a courageous woman.


When I go stand-up paddleboarding at Baby Beach in Dana Point Harbor—three to four times a week—I usually spot the courageous Candice Appleby.

Her office is small, about 12-feet long by 24-inches wide. It’s a stand-up paddleboard. Candice is usually at work by 8 a.m., giving SUP lessons to aspiring men and women paddleboarders. In her job, she encounters sea lions, pelicans, dolphins and an occasional shark.

Candice is one of the best woman paddleboarders in the world, having won several world competitions. 

I personally witnessed and wrote about Candice’s courage a year ago, when she saw an injured baby sea lion trying to swim while gasping for air in Dana Point Harbor. She rescued the pup by lifting it onto her paddleboard and bringing it ashore, so the Marine Mammal Rescue team could take it to its facility.

Her website:


I’ve known Donna of Laguna Niguel for nearly 20 years. Her significant other, Bob, and I worked for the Orange County Register years ago.

Last August, Bob passed away. Donna said, “I took care of Bob full-time for two years while teaching full-time. He was suffering so much at the end. Holding his hand while he died was by far the toughest thing I’ve ever done, but I wouldn’t change it if I could.

Tom’s comment: Caregivers are courageous; Donna fits that description.


J. Karen wrote, “I’ve lived 30 years in San Clemente and have been one of your readers for 25 years. 

“At 62, instead of retiring, I opened my first shop—Mobile Sewing and Upholstery—and have been serving our community ever since. I fell into repairing wetsuits about 15 years ago and love my surfers who call me ‘Granny J.’

“When the pandemic hit, I loved to go to San Onofre Beach to hear the waves and read a good book, which made my days happy. 

“Each summer, I drive to British Columbia, where I build custom tiny houses. Up there, I SUP (stand-up paddleboard) with beavers and wildlife. Plus, I fish from my paddleboard. I have no problem crossing the border, as I’m legal in both the U.S. and Canada. I was part of the classic car events that opened the Talega community in San Clemente and the Beach Fire restaurant with my ’67 Corvette. 

“Last year, I drove my 1990 red Chevy truck back from British Columbia, towing an old 1969 classic 12-foot trailer I’m restoring. My dad taught me as a kid that busy hands make the heart happy.”

Tom’s comment: I admire J. Karen’s grit and courage.


One is a caregiver for her husband; the other is a caregiver for her mother. Both of these South County women have contributed greatly to our community and are courageous beyond belief.

Tom Blake is a retired Dana Point business owner and resident who has authored books on middle-aged dating. See his website at To comment:

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