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Some of our members (in random order)


With her daughter Sarah


I am an upbeat people person who loves to live life to its fullest. I was born and raised in New York. I graduated in Anthropology from Vassar College, Class of ’81. I have lived abroad in Greece, Somalia and New Zealand and traveled extensively. I have three fabulous college age kids who were born and raised in La Selva Beach on an organic farm. For the last 14 years I have worked in schools as an administrative assistant. Currently I am working for local non-profit, Life Lab, where we cultivate in children a life long love of learning, healthy food and nature through garden-based education. I also volunteer for the Red Cross, Tandy Beal & Co., State Parks and the Santa Cruz Land Trust. I take great pleasure in walking long distances, singing in a choir, foraging, reading, gardening, cooking meals and baking bread and when time and money allow - traveling. I believe strongly in the value of living and working in communities where we care for and enjoy one another.

Diane and Dick

We are looking forward to downsizing, leaving a lighter footprint on our beloved earth, and sharing meals, conversations and events with a fantastic group of Walnut Commoners, our intentional community. We and our three children became permanent residents on our property in the Aptos foothills in 1974. We are failed apple farmers, successful hosts of 16 weddings (no divorces), and now Windy Oaks Estate Winery has a gold medal producing pinot vineyard on our acreage. We have been blessed by the land and the opportunities it has presented. Living in Santa Cruz has also made available life altering experiences in the political arena, social and environmental action and the cultural scene. Included are the Grand Jury (Diane), Democratic Central Committee (Dick), creating (Diane) and chairs of social action at Temple Beth El, board members of Capacitar (local non-profit teaching stress-reducing techniques world-wide), Habitat For Humanity builds and other projects in Latin America with local non-profit IF (Integrities Foundation), board members and president (Dick) of the Cabrillo Festival for Contemporary Music, board president (Dick) of Camphill Properties (nurturing residential communities for adults with developmental disabilities), and pro bono attorney services (Dick) for Capacitar, Camphill Communities California, and Ecology Action. We are celebrating 60 years of marriage this summer, having met as students at Stanford University. And in closing, we are the proud grandparents of six wonderful grandchildren, the two eldest now attending university (UC Berkeley and Stanford).

Peter and Francie

Peter and Frances (nickname: Francie) have been married over 30 years, and have two children: a daughter now a nurse-midwife in the SF Bay Area, and a son who just started medical school at UC San Diego. Francie came to Santa Cruz when she was 12, and her parents live up in Bonny Doon. Peter grew up in the New York and New Jersey areas, although his parents were from Europe. Peter earned his undergraduate degree at Harvard and Francie at UC Santa Cruz; both later earned Masters degrees from SJSU. Francie has worked in the field of aging, focusing on dementia care. Peter studied Sanskrit at college, but then went on to explore various careers, working with computers in Silicon Valley for the past 20 years. Francie, a Quaker, met Peter on a kibbutz in Israel and now that their children are grown, they would like to downsize and return to living in community.


I’m originally from the Chicago area but have lived in Northern California for four decades. Currently I live in a magnificent windowed home overlooking the Pacific Ocean in La Selva Beach south of Santa Cruz, but I’m looking to downsize and Walnut Commons’ intentional community seems just the right thing. My career was in sales and marketing. I’m retired now, a mother of 4, grandmother of 6, who loves to spend time and energy with my family. By family I include my 9-year-old dog Sunshine. I love cooking, entertaining, reading, sewing, knitting and attending my UCC church.

Will and Barbara

We were married in the late 1960s while serving with the Peace Corps as English teachers in Thailand. This experience introduced us to new cultural and social ways of seeing the world. After returning to the United States to further our own educations (Will with a M.A. in Linguistics and Barbara with a Teaching Credential), we went overseas again to teach and live on Saipan, an island in the Pacific Ocean. After the birth of our first child, we decided that we wanted to raise our children closer to our families so we came back to California and settled in Santa Cruz County. Will’s professional career has included being a teacher, real estate broker, and a computer programmer while Barbara’s has been in education as a Montessori teacher, owner of a small Montessori preschool, and as a first grade teacher in Watsonville. Now as retirees with two grown sons, we enjoy being grandparents and having the time to engage in personally meaningful activities.


I moved from Ossining, NY in May, 2015 following my retirement as a home care nurse in Westchester County. My plan had always been to live near one of my 3 children and I settled on Santa Cruz because it is a small walkable community with beautiful weather and many cultural advantages and it is close to my younger daughter and her family. My other 2 children and their families are in Bozeman, Mt. and Hamburg, Germany.

I have had a deep commitment to the environment since becoming a mother 40 years ago and have recently been involved in groups opposing fracking and the Keystone XL pipeline. I also participated in the Climate March in NYC. I believe climate change is the most important issue facing humanity and many species on earth. Cohousing at Walnut Commons enables me to act on my desire to live more sustainably. My other interests include gardening, cooking, knitting, hiking and reading. I have also become involved with food outreach for the homeless since coming to Santa Cruz.

Gail O

Retired Human Resources Director for two California cities; Co-Director, Healthcare For All Santa Cruz County; Trustee Watsonville Library Board; District Rep on Santa Cruz County Senior Commission; volunteer for Conflict Resolution Center; past president & current member Friday Shakespeare Club of Santa Cruz; reader, gardener, walker, movie buff.

Sheila and Helene

Sheila and Helene look forward to their collaboration in the cohousing project as a return to idealisms of an earlier moment and in anticipation of renewal in the future. For many years, Helene taught literature at UCSC, where she was also a Dean and Provost. She is a writer in several genres and a community organizer. Sheila is a psychologist and psychoanalyst who is now practicing in Santa Cruz after living and working in Los Angeles for thirty years. She practiced and published in community psychology and psychosocial oncology and is now applying her skills and training to community and non-profit efforts. Together, they teach a writing workshop for local veterans. They enjoy reading, seeing films, socializing with friends-- and the company of their three grandchildren.


I grew up near Los Angeles and I have degrees from Caltech and UC San Diego.

My past careers include teaching, real estate (a mistake), and services for textbook publishers, and currently I run a small website hosting service.

I enjoy music and animals, and I am passionate about human rights and environmental issues.

I have always loved the progressive vibe of Santa Cruz and I have been interested in cohousing for years, so Walnut Commons is a great find for me. I was living in Redwood City when I joined Walnut Commons in January 2013, and I moved near Santa Cruz in May 2013.

Gail G

I’m a native Californian who grew up in Sacramento and spent many hours visiting my grandparents who lived in Santa Cruz in the 1950’s. I retired from 34 years of community college history teaching a few years ago and have been rattling around in my big, beach house in Rio Del Mar where I’ve lived for twenty years. It’s a wonderful place to live and entertain, but with neither husband nor children to share it, I think a smaller place with community friends would be an ideal environment for the next stage of my life.

I have written two books for Al-Anon, some articles and stories and have a half done memoir in the proverbial “drawer.” While at American River College in Sacramento, I created the first courses in women’s history in the 70’s. Of course if it was to be done, I had to do it as the social science faculty consisted of 34 guys and me.

Currently I’m enjoying a lot of grandbaby sitting as I have 3 grands under 7 in the area and hopes for one more. I’m very blessed that my two children, Monica and Kevin live within about 30 minutes drive, though in opposite directions. Among the many things I love are ballroom dancing, travel (especially outside the country), life long learners, reading, walking, and meditating, having written (not the actual sitting down and doing it) and just about anything with fur or feathers. I have an adorable wave-surfing, bird-chasing mutt, Mari, who will be coming with me on this new adventure.

Paul and Cecile

Paul and Cecile Andrews are a bichon-loving writer couple from Seattle who after years of searching have found their dream cohousing community in Walnut Commons. Creator of simplicity circles and author of four books, including her most recent, Living Room Revolution, Cecile believes that the key to happiness and the common good is people coming together to talk, think and take action. She is involved in the Transition, Slow Life and Happiness movements. As a community educator she gives workshops and leads groups, helping people discover their particular paths of social engagement. She has a doctorate in education from Stanford. Described as a sheep dog in a former life, Cecile considers cohousing “the perfect expression of community in our lives.” A former technology journalist, Paul is author or contributor to numerous books, including the biography of Bill Gates, and is an avid cyclist who runs the BikeIntelligencer.com blog. Their current owner is Millie, a bichon frise who advocates co-petting. More at their Web sites, CecileAndrews.com and PaulAndrews.com.


I am excited to join Walnut Commons to create a greater sense of community in Santa Cruz. I began my life in South Korea but moved to California at the age of 13. I graduated from UC Berkeley in the 1970’s with a Masters in Social Welfare. After a rewarding career in the Bay Area, I retired and moved to Santa Cruz to be closer to my two children and three grandchildren. I enjoy the slower pace of life, fresh air, and beautiful surroundings. My hobbies include hiking, good food and travel. Most recently, my adventures have taken me to Tanzania, China, Peru, and across the US on the back of a motorcycle. I look forward to integrating into a group of active and engaged people in vibrant, downtown Santa Cruz.

Walnut Commons can be reached at 831-854-7206.