The couple met when Nez (Necdet) was a Turkish exchange student at Leah’s high school in Redwood City. They married three years later when both were students at San Jose State University and they moved to Boulder Creek with their two sons, Chet and Ken, in 1969. Leah taught at Boulder Creek Elementary for 20 years and at Redwood Elementary School for 10 while Nez working as an engineering manager at IBM. Nez also coached soccer in the San Lorenzo Valley for eight years and, at a time when there were no girls’ soccer teams in the county, was proud to coach the first integrated boy-girl team to a county championship.
Since Nez’ whole family still lives in Turkey, the couple visits each summer and has taken each of their four grandchildren to meet their Turkish cousins.
Nez and Leah say their cultural differences were not difficult to overcome as they both have so many interests in common, the main of which are hiking and dancing. They have folk danced at Cabrillo College every Friday night for over 40 years and do Israeli dancing weekly at the Santa Cruz Congregational Church. The couple love the feeling of a traditional extended family, and share their home with Leah’s 97-year-old mother, Irene, and daily take care of Malena and Katiya, both granddaughters who attend San Lorenzo Valley Elementary.
As a 50th anniversary treat to the family, they plan to take their sons, daughter-in-laws, mother and grandchildren with them to Hawaii in July.