Jim Kleinschmidt lived most of his early life in Arkansas, where he was educated as a physician. After a stint in the Navy, Jim and his wife Nancy sailed from the West Coast to the East Coast over a two-year period before settling down in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia for the next 20 years. He practiced General Surgery and after further education, where he received his Masters in Medical Management from Carnegie Mellon University, he moved into hospital administration, where he completed his career as a vice president in Valley Health Systems in Virginia. During the many years that Jim and Nancy have sailed the East Coast of the US, they have stopped at St. Augustine many times. They finally chose to stay and plant roots in the wonderful community they had enjoyed so much and have lived here for over a year. Jim enjoys sailing and woodworking and dabbles in writing computer programs as a hobby. He was president of his HOA in Virginia for 6 years prior to his retirement.
After living in Belgrade, Montana for 30 years, Judy Rente recently returned to St. Augustine and will be lifting and restoring her family home…something she’s dreamed of doing for many years! Judy grew up in Old City South at 331 St. George Street and graduated from St Augustine High School. She took ballet at the Lightner Museum studio of Lillian Lindsley who had students dancing in many venues around St Augustine. She attended St John’s River Junior College and North Florida Junior College and ultimately graduated from FSU. One of her favorite summer jobs was lecturing at Potter’s Wax Museum…it was much larger back then!
After graduation, Judy worked in the Public Relations Department at the main office of Mackie Brothers/Deltona Corp in Miami, eventually editing the company newspaper. She left the company to fly for National Airlines. It was in Miami where Judy was introduced to her husband, Dr. Sid Rente. Together they traveled extensively, scuba-dived and did underwater photography for many years. It was a great life!
When a friend of Sid’s moved out to Bozeman, MT, they followed a few years later. Judy reintroduced Jazzercise to Bozeman and taught it for 27 years. After the death of her husband two years ago, she decided it was time to get back to her hometown. Every day is a joy to be back home!
Board member-at-large and Chair, Membership Committee and Social Committee
Gail Crocetta was born in upstate New York where she and her husband Pat lived and raised their 2 children. Gail graduated from the State University of New York at Albany and became a Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC). She managed vocational programs serving individuals with disabilities and other barriers to employment.
With relatives in Palm Coast, Gail and Pat often visited St. Augustine and spent several years looking for a neighborhood in the city that felt comfortable. In December, 2009, shortly after retiring, Gail and Pat purchased their house at 289 St. George Street. It took a year of renovating to make it feel like home. From all the activities of our historic city to the coziness of our neighborhood, they feel St. Augustine is the perfect place to live.
An avid traveler, Gail also enjoys kayaking, bicycling, and hiking, along with attending spin, pump, and yoga classes. Most of all, she loves spending time with friends and family. As an OCSNA board member, Gail is most interested in helping to organize social gatherings, welcome new members, and promote the bonds that make us a neighborhood.
Mark Brand and his wife Margrit Kuehn moved to St. Augustine in 2015 from the Chicago area, where they raised their three children. Mark is a native of Minnesota where he graduated from Concordia College. He received his law degree from Notre Dame and practiced for more than 35 years before he and Margrit moved to 316 St. George Street. He has served on a number of bar and civic committees and boards, as well as the executive committee of his law firm, and for many years coached his children’s youth sports. Although mostly retired, he still does a little legal and business consulting.
Mark likes to walk, jog, bike and go to the beaches around St. Augustine. Mostly, he and Margrit appreciate the many good friends who have welcomed them to this wonderful neighborhood.
Tara A. Owenand her husband Malcolm Frank are delighted to be brand new residents of Old City South, having purchased 252 Saint George Street in June of 2020. Transitioning into semi-retirement, Tara has spent much of her career running her own executive communications firm. She has ghost-written hundreds of speeches, articles, scripts, reports, and book chapters for Fortune 500 C-suite executives across every sector. It is hoped that some of that experience and expertise might prove useful to the OCSNA. She and her husband met at their 20th Yale college reunion and have 4 nearly adult children between them and two shelter dogs, Dudley & Tina. Current interests include audio books and cross-stitching…at the same time.
Entrepreneur and businessman Henry Whetstone of 282 St. George Street is a life-long St. Augustine resident and long-time resident of the Old City South neighborhood. A 1953 graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University with a degree in mathematics and physics, Henry opened his first business in 1963, an ice cream parlor on Aviles Street following service in the Air Force, the Army Corps of Engineers and a short stint working at his father’s motel.
In 1967, Henry opened Los Dulces Chocolate Shop at 42 St. George Street, beginning a long career making and selling premium chocolates in Northeast Florida. At first Henry and wife Esther made chocolates for the shop in their home kitchen at night. Then in 1969, they established their first chocolate factory at 51 Cordova Street, ultimately moving it to a 10,000 sq. ft. facility on Hwy 312, which now provides premium chocolates to their retail business, Whetstone Chocolates and to a number of wholesale clients across the country. In 1997, Henry founded the Bank of St. Augustine, and served as its chairman of the board for seventeen years.
Henry holds a second-degree black belt in karate and has served as president of St. Augustine’s Fourth of July event, of the St. Augustine Art Association, and of both the Harley Motorcycle Owners Group and the Suzuki Motorcycle Club.
After living in Coral Gables, FL, Chicago, Wilmette, IL and Texas, Thalia Snyder first came to St. Augustine twenty years ago when she and husband Jack visited their daughter, an educator at Gamble Rogers Middle School. They liked the area so much that they decided to move to St. Augustine. As Thalia tells it, “We went back to our friends in Texas and told them we put $5,000 down on some dirt in St. Augustine, and they all thought we were nuts!”.
A full-time resident at the Views at Baypointe Condominiums, Thalia has served on its board for most of the past twenty years. She has been active in each of the communities in which she has lived, and St. Augustine is no exception. She has attended many City of St. Augustine board and commission meetings, and for many years volunteered at the Council on Aging, providing extra assistance to those who needed it. As Thalia puts it, “This little area of St. Augustine is rather unique (in a very nice way) and of course we all wish it to remain so. I hope we can continue to keep it this way and I will do my best to do so.”
Burry Gowen is a founding member of the OCSNA and immediate past president, who continues to provide counsel to the Board as an emeritus member. Prior to moving to their home at 5 Tremerton Street, Burry and his wife Wendy lived in the Boston area, where Burry taught middle school social studies in the Lexington Public School system. While at Lexington, Burry served as Social Studies Department Chair from 1998 to 2005 and was named Lexington Public Schools Secondary Teacher of the Year in 2004. Burry has a B. A. in Economics from Marietta College and an Ed.M. from Harvard University. Wendy and Burry love their adopted hometown, its historical neighborhoods, and the warmth and welcoming nature of their neighbors.
Old City South Neighborhood Association seeks to represent the beautiful historic St. Augustine area & America's oldest residential neighborhood. Get involved, become a member, and/or explore our great resources.