Dennis Rydgren

After St. Mo’s, I spent two years at Santa Monica City College, and two years at Valley State—now CSUN—receiving a B.S. in Business Administration in 1968. I worked with Dennis Orlando for his father Frank and uncle Rudy doing maintenance work at their seniors rest homes and convalescent hospitals during my years in college.

December, 1968, I was drafted into the U.S. Army. My year in Vietnam would define my views and values for the next 45 years. I always joked I had a “grass roots” approach to the Vietnamese problem spending my year in the “bush”. I spent the last 5 months leading an infantry rifle platoon with the 1st Cavalry Division, and was awarded the CIB and two bronze stars for valor. We had a saying “that you have never lived until you have fought beside the men who have died for it—life has a taste the protected will never know”. Those of us that were in combat know only too well how precious life is, and cherish every day forward.

I came home somewhat unscathed, received a second B.A. in history from Cal State Northridge in 1977, and spent the next 40 plus years in retail management. The highlight in my retail career was opening a Home Depot store in San Jose as Store Manager. It was one of the largest Home Depot stores on the West Coast at 145,000 square feet, with 320 employees doing $85 million per year, and at one time ranked number 7 in sales out of over 1200 stores nationwide. In the summer of 2012, I attended with Bruno and Ellen Tonin Dennis Orlando’s funeral in Frisco, Texas. It was a fitting farewell albeit sad for an old friend.

Now somewhat semi-retired with my wife Carolyn (27 years in October). Combined, we have 5 children and 8 grandchildren. We’ve been involved in Real Estate Management as owners of an 11 unit apartment building, a duplex, and a single family home, and an occasional purchase and rehabilitation of homes for resale. We reside in the east bay seaside community of Pt. Richmond. Panoramic views of The City, San Francisco Bay, Angel Island and Marin County making retirement not too hard of an adjustment. We share a great home with our two canine kids Magic and Maggie. We also have 6 backyard chickens .
Looking forward to September and catching up on a lot of lost times and friendships.