Pursuing Your Passion
By Kathryn Marchi

Much has been written about finding your passion, whether during your primary career or in retirement. Many of us have had a hobby that was put on the back burner until retirement and when we had the time, it still lay dormant. What can you do to make your passion come to fruition?

Let’s explore two stories about those who have made the time for pursuing their passions and have actually expanded upon them. For many, it was a completely different path from their former careers. Some even formed a new career and some simply enjoyed themselves.
As a classroom teacher for 23 years, I had a full-time career, as well as a family and we were frequently uprooted with my husband’s career – I was a busy woman. One of my first loves was horses and it was difficult finding the time to ride. When life slowed down for us, my husband and I bought a five-acre farm and began a small horse boarding business. It was a lot of extra work but allowed lots of time to ride and get paid for it as I wound down my teaching career. That’s my personal example of “pursing your passion.”
Another example comes from a man named Bill Turner. He worked long hours in the bread business for nearly 40 years. Six days a week, he would rise at 3 a.m. and work until 5 p.m. On the seventh day of the week, he played golf! This game was his passion and he was good at it — a “scratch golfer.” Many people urged him to become a golf pro, but having a young family, he was reluctant to take on something new. It was after WWII and into the 1950s and unlike in today’s world, people did not change jobs easily. Bill continued working at the bakery and quickly moved up to management.

When he retired in 1984, Bill was able to play golf as often as he wanted. He repaired some old clubs he had collected and soon he had a small building put up in his backyard. Bill moved all of his tools to this little house and had it wired for electricity. He also installed a telephone, intercom system to the main house (his wife did not favor this!) and a small heater and air conditioner. Everything was set for his comfort and when he was not on the golf course, he was in his “shop” working with golf clubs.

Soon others began bringing their old or broken golf clubs for repair and refinishing. Bill developed his own technique for these jobs and the word got out! Bill Turner’s golf repair business was launched. Customers including the postman and the UPS man were constant visitors to this little shop. Bill installed a stone pathway from the gate to the shop for easier access. He chose not to advertise, but posted a simple sign over the doorway which read, “Damn I’m Good!”

Bill’s golf repair business took off and soon he was even making new custom clubs for people. Other golf repair shops sent him their overload items to work on. Bill was one contented man and could play golf whenever he wanted and talk golf with his customers while working on their clubs. Every member of his family had their own clubs!

In pursuing and expanding his passion for golf, Bill Turner created a new career in retirement. It was a totally new direction in his life and he continued this path well into his 80s. Neighbors often commented on seeing Bill walking to “work” in his backyard with his little Corgi, Bounder, nipping at his heels.

Bill was a happy man and a fine example of someone who was successful in “pursuing his passion.”
I am dedicating this column to him. Bill Turner was my dad.
Kathryn and her husband Dennis live in Centreville where she recently rediscovered her passion for writing. She is grateful for a typing course she took in high school many years ago. It keeps her fingers flying over the keyboard as she pursues her new passion. She can be reached at [email protected]

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