Thirty-Two years ago, Gary and Diana Egkan found their dream home in Blackhawk, and they say they have loved watching the neighborhood grow and change over the past three decades. “We feel so fortunate to have found our beautiful home on Fox Creek Dr. We have great neighbors, some of whom have been here as long as we have; we have met wonderful people within Blackhawk over the years, many of whom have become dear friends. Sadly, some people have moved on, but we all seem to stay connected in various ways. The people within our neighborhood have truly become a great support group, exactly what you would hope to find in a community,” says Diana.
The couple met at a restaurant in San Francisco. They happened to be dining near each other at John’s Grill on Ellis Street, the last Friday of 1984. Diana says she noticed Gary right away. “I saw this tall handsome man come through the door and sit down at the table behind me. Near the end of lunch, I excused myself and as I passed by Gary, I said hello. Our respective groups left the restaurant at the same time, and we proceeded to walk towards Market Street where we went our separate ways. As we approached the corner, I pulled a business card from my pocket to give to Gary but lost my nerve. Two of my colleagues happened to be going the same direction as Gary, and unbeknownst to me, Gary stopped one of them and asked for my name and number. A few hours later, my colleague returned and handed Gary’s business card to me and said my future husband would be calling me. During our first date (lunch at the Sheraton Palace in SF) Gary talked extensively about his family. I knew he was the man for me. We were married in Napa (my hometown) 18 months later.”
Gary was born and raised in a small town in the Los Angeles area. “My childhood home has been in our family since 1925 – it is a two-bedroom, one-bath house that I shared with my four siblings and parents. It was an idyllic childhood spent biking around the neighbor and playing whatever sport was in season. I spent countless hours in a nearby empty lot where the neighborhood kids would congregate to play ball – we made up the rules as we went along, and when the streetlights came on it was our signal to head home,” says Gary.
Diana’s family has been in Napa for three generations. Her family’s life outside of Napa centered around the family boat. If the boat wasn’t docked at the St Francis Yacht Club, it could be found in the Delta where the family would spend their summers. “Our summers were spent on the boat where my brother and I would be classified as River Rats. Days were spent water skiing, floating down the river, occasional trips to Tinsley Island, exploring the surrounding orchards and farms, and generally living the Delta Life,” says Diana.
Diana received her undergraduate in Business and her Graduate Degree in Telecommunications. Diana’s education and interests led her to a career in High-Tech in Silicon Valley – she spent time with several firms spanning more than 20 years. After having children, she made the decision to become a stay-at-home mom, a role which she cherished and where she excelled!
After receiving his degree in Business Finance with a minor in Economics, Gary enjoyed a very successful career in Banking, rising up through the ranks at Freddie Mac, and culminating in his last executive position as SVP National Sales for Radian Guaranty, Inc.
Six months after their marriage, the Egkans purchased their first home which was in Foster City. They loved living on the water, but the local weather wasn’t totally conducive to year-round outdoor living. While visiting friends in Alamo one weekend, the Egkans fell in love with the weather and the area. They were ready to move out of the fog for warmer weather and beautiful summer evenings. “We knew we wanted to be in the Alamo/Danville area, and I knew I wanted new construction” says Diana. “We eventually narrowed our search to Blackhawk; community, outdoor living, and Club activities were important to us, and Blackhawk was a perfect fit for what we were searching for,” says Gary.
Gary and Diana say they have loved raising their two children in Blackhawk. “Chrissy, our 32-year old daughter lives in San Francisco, and our 29-year old son, Justin, lives in Walnut Creek. Both kids attended St Isidore’s School, Carondelet and De La Salle High Schools. Chrissy was a 4-year Varsity Volleyball player, and Justin was a 3-year Varsity Water Polo player. Both children were captains of their respective teams. Chrissy graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and Justin graduated from the University of Arizona. Chrissy inherited her father’s aptitude for math and finance and currently works for First Republic Bank. Justin is pursuing a career in High-Tech Medical software sales,” says Gary.
Gary and Diana have been active parishioners at St Isidore’s for 31+ years; Gary coaching CYO basketball and Diana involved in Bible Study and charity work, most notably Loaves and Fishes.
After retiring nearly 3 years ago, Gary has renewed his love for tennis, which he put on hold for 20 years in order to help his children pursue their own athletic endeavors. “I love playing tennis and have renewed old acquaintances, as well as made many new friends on the court. I continue to marvel at what a great group of people belong to Blackhawk Country Club,” says Gary. Diana is a member of Blackhawk Women, Blackhawk Bloomers Garden Club, and enjoys playing a little golf and tennis.
Traveling is one of their favorite pastimes. “We love to travel and have been fortunate enough to have experienced so many wonderful trips, cruises, and cultures. We also love including our kids, and plan at least one family trip each year. Over the years we have traveled to most of the Western and Eastern European countries, as well as to Western Russia, Africa, and Central America. Although, at the end of the day, Italy holds a special place in our hearts, and is the one country we find ourselves revisiting time-and-again,” says Diana.
Wherever they are in the world, the Egkans say they always look forward to returning home to Blackhawk. “We have so many wonderful neighbors and friends; we look forward to our return and seeing everyone,” says Diana.
“Blackhawk is truly a magical place, with so many underlying qualities that were important to us as our kids were growing, and now even more so as we are enjoying our Golden Years,” says Gary
By Megan Scott, Resident since 2010
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