Kathy Reed McCarthy knows a good rose


Kathy Reed McCarthy was born in Whittier. She earned her undergraduate degree at Scripps College in Claremont and her MBA at the University of LaVerne. In addition, she holds a CBC designation from the Business Marketing Association. She has spent her professional career in the electronics technology sector. Presently, she is a sales engineer for QuadRep Technologies.

When she is not at work, the Del Mar resident can be found tending to her garden of 85 roses. This year marks her second as president of the Del Mar Rose Society. She is an award-winning exhibitor, participating in many of the rose shows and competitions in Southern California, including the upcoming San Diego County Fair.

What brought you to Del Mar?

When I met my husband, Tom, he lived in Del Mar and my home was in Riverside. Hmm, let’s see where I would rather live? It was basically a no-brainer.

What makes Del Mar special to you?

Not needing an air conditioner! Seriously, what’s not to love? We are surrounded by incredible natural beauty - the ocean, Torrey Pines Reserve, the Lagoon Project. And I am truly blessed to be surrounded by neighbors who are like my extended family. We celebrate joyful occasions together and console one another in losses. We watch out for each other. It’s like Midwest neighborly values meet the Pacific Ocean.

If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in Del Mar?

This is an easy one. That would be the removal of all utility poles, which is the No. 1 desire of the residents of Del Mar. I have been an active participant in the creation and process of the Sunset District for undergrounding of the utility lines over the years. We are moving forward, but not fast enough. Our district (which is the north-most part of the hill in old Del Mar) in particular is especially vulnerable to the dangers and potential fire threats of still having these corroded telephone poles and transformer lines. The fire threat of October 2007 to our community should be a constant reminder of how much dry vegetation we are surrounded with, and how fast the hill of Del Mar would go up if there were a downed live wire or transformer explosion. Our charming streets are not conducive to mass departure.

Who or what inspires you?

My beloved husband, Tom, is the most inspirational person I have ever known. The spirit with which he lives his life inspires those around him. My five grandchildren provide daily inspiration about the future.

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

This is a tough question, because ideally the guest list would be hundreds. But if it had to be eight, definitely my three favorite artists: Edgar Degas, Kathe Kollowitz and Georgia O’Keefe. I would relish exploring their inspirations, hearing it in their own words. And I would want to invite these great teachers: Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham, Buddha, Mohammad and Jesus.

Tell us about what you are currently reading.

In support of my upcoming home re-landscape project, I am reading “The Art of Japanese Gardens” by Herb Gustafson, as I hope to create a drought-tolerant yard with creative tranquility. To help with my studies of the Middle East, I am reading “Infidel” by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. I have just recently ordered three books on “Wabi Sabi,” a subject that fascinates me.

What is your most prized possession?

The memories I possess of a very good life so far are among my most precious possessions. My cherished friendships are prized possessions. My marriage. My family. I would list my pets Kali, Marley and Jake, but they really possess me.

What do you do for fun?

Fun starts seven days a week with sunrise on the beach, thanks to our 110-pound baby, Jake, who is a 2-year-old Bernese mountain dog. He gets a 2- to 4-mile walk each day. Of course, I love my rose garden and basically anything involving gardening. My husband and I enjoy exploring the world, and we try to visit one or two new countries each year, ideally to help us learn about different cultures. We are currently researching Jordan and Saudi Arabia for this year. I also am a golfer and play on the Del Mar Country Club team.

Describe your greatest accomplishment.

I like to think that my greatest accomplishment was providing my mother with a secure and peaceful last few years of her life on this Earth, and when the time came, encouraging her to go on, being able to let her go and wish her well on her journey. I loved her deeply; she was my best friend. The ability to “let go” was major.

What is your motto or philosophy of life?

The “Pathways to Inner Peace” from Arlene Lorrance of the Teleos Institute provide me with these guidelines: 1) Be the change you want to see happen, instead of trying to change everyone else. 2) Receive all persons as beautiful, exactly where they are. 3) Provide people with opportunities to give. 4) Perceive problems as opportunities. 5) Have no expectations, but rather abundant expectancy. 6) Create your own reality consciously, rather than living as if you had no control over your life.