Best of Costa Rica – Brief Bios

Why Brief Bios? For each of our trips, we have had a Brief Bio Page and it has been especially helpful in getting to know each other and our interests both before and during the trip. Plus, it is a wonderful way to remember peoples’ names.  Who We Are: There are 41 of us going on the trip which enables us to have the larger newest coach with recliner seats, a wash closet, and many other amenities. We range in age from 36 to 77 with the median age being 58. We come from both coasts and many states in between with about half of us married and half are single. Brief Bios are Private: Although this web page is on the 52Best website, it is private and only we who are traveling together know it is here. Sharing: Any of us are welcome to share this page but only with our friends and family. Updating: If your photo and/or Brief Bio needs updating, please get your updated photo or information to me. My email address is

Sandi:  Dallas, Texas – Terri is her Roommate – Born & raised on a dairy farm in northern New York State, but moved to Texas as fast as I could; in my early 20s! I retired from a career that started as an exploration geologist in Houston and ended as an environmental consultant for a major engineering firm. Spent 29 years in Houston raising a wonderful son & daughter. I was relocated to Dallas for my work in 2006. This will be my first time traveling with Sandy’s group. Costa Rica has been on my list for over 15 years! In my lifetime, I have been fortunate to have traveled internationally to some wonderful countries. I love our planet, therefore I gravitate to most outdoor activities. Activities such as sailing, hiking, kayaking, camping, and travel; especially travel! Different cultures and cuisines are fascinating to me. I am always open to trying new dishes and learning about their traditions. One can never have enough friends – friends that are kind with a wonderful sense of humor.

Joe and Jean:  Riverside, California – We are a retired couple from Riverside, California. In retirement, Jean spends her time volunteering and working on art projects. Joe purchases vehicles that are in fairly rough shape, turns them into collector cars and sells them. Jean is Sandy’s cousin and has been on two of his previous tours. It will be fun to see several of you again and to meet new friends. Joe is joining us for the first time and knows that he will have a great time.


Kevin:  Plano, Texas – Single Room – I’m a half-Dutch/half-American born in Japan and reared in Okinawa until age 18. Travel was a constant then and now. Retirement began last year just allows me to do more of it! I’m pre-disposed to focus on water activities. Hiking and walking are fun too. Know that I will likely just watch others jumping from perfectly good airplanes.



Wayne and Andrea:  Dallas, Texas – Wayne is currently a consultant for commercial real estate developments. He has led such efforts for two Fortune 500 companies, after owning a commercial contracting firm for over 20 years. He’s lived on three coasts, has enjoyed traveling his entire life, as well as good books and old scotch. He’s a native Tennessean but has lived in Texas for over 20 years. Andrea is a transplanted Yankee girl from Ohio. She is Director of Sales at a local firm associated with medical and financial information processing and storage, and a twenty-year employee. She enjoys watching cooking shows more than actually cooking, but knows her way around the kitchen when so inclined. She’s a mother and grandmother. Walks 5+ miles per day, weather permitting, and enjoys traveling to new places.

Geroge and Terri:  Conroe, Texas – George is a marketing executive and world traveler who has been all over Europe and Asia mixing business and pleasure for over 40 years. He thrives on planning his next trip and will never lose his wanderlust. He loves wine and fine dining at new restaurants and loves his children and grandchildren, his large group of friends from high school (near Dallas). Terri, a native Houstonian, is most happy at home in warm weather. She enjoys spending time with family and friends and especially appreciates sitting around the table with loved ones enjoying a home-cooked meal. She is also happy home alone meditating or reading a good book. Terri has worked as an Executive Assistant, Credit Analyst (Energy) and Specifications Clerk (Architecture /Engineering). George and Terri are like night and day – He says black, she says white. Despite their opposing views on how the universe works, they have managed to share a space together for almost 21 years.

Gail:  Richardson, Texas – Theresa is her Roommate – I am so looking forward to visiting Costa Rica. This will be my first time to travel to Costa Rica and my first to travel with the group. I’ve lived in Richardson most of my adult life. I am a Chemist and I’m fortunate to enjoy an amazing job working in the Municipal Water industry. I don’t have a roommate yet, however, looking at the profiles, it looks like anyone of you will be amazing to share a room. I speak a little Spanish and understand much more than I speak.


Sam:  Dallas, Texas – Single Room – 64 years young, a retired pharmacist. I have been single going on 7 years. I like cruise ship adventures, snorkeling, most anything that involves the water. Like to cycling but as of now still, need to buy a bike. lol. Listen to music from my era, ’60-’80s. I live close to Addison and enjoy finding new places to eat and hang out at. Tried my hand at sailing for a little while, know just enough to get into trouble, lol. I try to stay active by working out and walking. I also like going to museums, comedy clubs and just exploring. Day trips to casino occasionally also. Hard to write about oneself. Better to meet in person.

Theresa:  Irving, Texas – Gail is her Roommate – Enjoying entrepreneurship-and new love of bacon!! As a retired educator, I am thoroughly enjoying my free time to travel the country and the world. My recent trip to China has spurred my worldly adventures! I enjoy gardening, kayaking, hiking, and a nice cool refreshment! I am a health nut and enjoy learning new things about holistic avenues of healing. I am looking forward to a fun adventure with new friends!


Walt and Katy: Albuquerque, New Mexico – Walt and Katy are retired school administrators who are both transplanted New Englanders that are now settled in the southwest. Walt loves gardening, is a zealot Red Sox and Patriots fan, enjoys gourmet cooking, fine wine, murder mysteries, and politics. Katy is an avid reader, enjoys taking cooking classes, dotes on our grandchildren, and is a diehard Patriot’s fan, especially of Tom Brady. Toured Italy and then Spain and Portugal with Sandy’s groups. Both trips were sensational. We’re looking forward to traveling to Costa Rico with our dear friends Kathy and Larry Pinkel and Ruth and Chet Mills. Thanks, Sandy, for reaching out to us once again. Let the good times roll.

Ron and Kim:  Coppell, Texas – Kim and I have been married for four years. We love to travel and have been on the Rhine Cruise and Italy tour with Sandy. Most of our travel has been to Europe so we are excited to try something different on this trip. We also love all things Baylor and recently enjoyed traveling to Tampa to watch the Lady Bears win the National Championship in basketball! We have both retired from our full-time jobs but are lucky to be able to continue in our chosen fields on a part-time basis; giving us the time to enjoy retirement but stay involved to the extent we want. We are active in our local church and both are members of our local Lions Club and enjoy being of service in our community. Between us, we have four children and four grandchildren.

Catherine:  Carrollton, Texas – MaryAnn is her Roommate – I retired in March of last year. Looking forward to doing some traveling. So the trip to Costa Rica is a start. I want to Zipline and explore this new adventure. Make new friends.



Jill:  Van Alstyne, Texas – Claudine is her Roommate – Born and raised in Wisconsin until my family relocated to Boca Raton, Florida in the early ’70s. Enjoyed life in Florida until hubby up and relocated us to Plano, TX in the early 1980s. Raise three wonderful children and call home on 28 acres in Van Alstyne, TX for the past 22 years. Recently widowed in 2017 and now looking forward to some “Me” time. Want to travel, explore other cultures and make plenty of friends. Enjoy being outdoors, have several hobbies which include my dogs, cats and chickens, and my never-ending yard work. Also enjoy arts and crafts, going to the theater. Treated myself to Andre Bocelli last year. What a fantastic concert..

Marci:  Highlands Ranch, Colorado – Ina is her Roommate – Marci moved to Colorado from Albuquerque, NM where she was a high school librarian. Marci met Sandy Pofahl in the year 2000, on the 1st trip he organized for a marathon in Beijing. This fantastic experience found Marci joining Sandy for 8 additional trips. Each trip has been a unique adventure in seeing a country and observing the culture. Marci is looking forward to all aspects of the Costa Rica experience..


Amy:  Frisco, Texas – Lisa is her Roommate – I came from Taiwan. I like traveling, camping, gardening, dancing, taking cruises and hiking, especially mountain hiking. I love visiting national parks. I have been to many countries in Asia, Europe, Australia, and Central and North America. I’m currently planning to visit South America, and I’m taking beginning Spanish lessons. Africa will be my next destination. Someday, I would want to walk the Camino de Santiago. I’ve traveled with family and this is the first time I’m traveling with the group. Looking forward to exploring Costa Rica and its culture with new friends!.

Claudine:  Dallas, Texas – Jill is her Roommate:  Claudine is a Chef and Sommelier who nowadays works for a family in Dallas, but she also teaches private cooking classes. She graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and did an internship at a Michelin 3 star restaurant in the South of France. This was after working for years as a Paralegal and cooking as a hobby. She Managed a Cooking School and has owned a Cheese Business and led culinary tours 12 times to France and Italy. She has 3 children and 3 grandchildren. Her daughter is handicapped, and she spends time with her and advocates for people with disabilities. She is active in her church and loves art, culture, nightlife, museums, boating, animals and exploring new places. She lived in Budapest part of the year last year, and also went to Iceland. Claudine is the Slow Food International Governor for Texas.

Bill and Daleen:  Dallas, Texas – Bill is an Ohio transplant and a former Construction & Facilities Manager who spent the first ten years of semi-retirement doing residential construction and remodeling. Now fully retired, he enjoys volunteer work, traveling and not answering his phone. Daleen is a Central Kansas girl who came to the big city to find a great job with a great company …..and found it. After 20 years she realized that it wasn’t what she wanted any more, so she started her own business as a Shaklee wellness consultant. She also runs the Community Service Committee at our church. They both love their cats, baseball, basketball, crazy friends, birding, travel, visiting grandchildren, and theater. She still answers her phone. They just celebrated – really! – 26 years together. They are looking forward to an enriching experience and making new friends!

Chet and Ruth: Albuquerque, New Mexico – When we went on our first tour with Sandy and crew, we were newlyweds and had a grand time doing the perimeter of Italy. Last time, we went to Spain and Portugal. It was great! On our own, we have been to Mexico numerous times, love the country and the people, spent lots of time with our adult kids and the grands, and go to Denver Broncos home games in Denver. Chet has been a season ticket holder since 1969. When we are in Albuquerque our home base, we play lots of golf and are involved in numerous events at our church. Life is very GOOD! We are really looking forward to Costa Rica with a new group of traveling companions and our good friends Katy Harvey and Walt Gibson, and Larry and Kathy Pinkel. Can’t wait!

Jan and his Dad Charles: Arlington, Texas – I’m a software developer originally from Louisiana. Lived in Arkansas for three years, recently moved to Arlington, TX in October 2016, and love it out here. I saw this group on and have been wanting to go to Costa Rica for years now so I figured it is a great opportunity. This will be my second trip overseas so I’m very excited. Looking forward to meeting you all!.


onufrakJim and Carole: Carrollton, Texas – Transplanted from Michigan in the ’70s. Both of us are retired, Jim from IBM after 38 years, Carole from massage therapy working for the state of Texas, and as a school crossing guard. We enjoy wilderness camping, bicycle riding (last big trip was 150 miles), snow skiing and spending time with our family. We have 2 children and 7 grandchildren.



Rudy and Allison:  Sachse, Texas – We are thoroughly excited to join you all on the trip of a lifetime! We heard we are the youngest lovebirds and wanted to add a little spice to the trip! We will be celebrating our 5 year anniversary and thought we’d join you guys since we are adventurous thrill-seekers! Allison has been teaching elementary students for thirteen years while Rudy has been in the computer programing for ten years. We love to travel! We met in Albuquerque, NM and lived there for a few years together before making our way to Dallas, TX! We now have two handsome boys: 3 years old and a newborn! Both our hands and hearts our full! We look forward to joining you all, bonding as a couple, gaining wisdom for the wise group!.

Larry and Kathy:  Albuquerque, New Mexico – We are both happily retired! Kathy was a teacher and Middle School Principal. Larry was a USAF pilot and program manager for Boeing. We met at Vance AFB in Enid, OK and have lived in Albuquerque for over 30 years. We have a second home in Pagosa Springs Colorado where we live part-time. We love traveling, flying in our small plane, hiking, fine dining, wine tasting, entertaining our friends and attending Denver Bronco games (hoping for a better season). We are excited about our first trip with Sandy and enjoying another adventure with our pals Ruth and Chet Mills, Katy Harvey and Walt Gibson.

it-Pompeii-smallSandy:  Dallas, Texas – Single Room – The 52Best stories are my primary hobby which has grown from 250 friends 18 years ago to 18,652 friends today in 90 countries – some I have met and some I have not. This is the 22nd 52Best trip which I have arranged beginning in 2000 with a trip to China in which 14 of us ran the Beijing Marathon. I am active with real estate and venture capital investments as well as my Infinity Kids Foundation which gives $1,000 scholarships to fifth graders in blue-collar neighborhoods which they receive when they graduate from high school. My Golden Retriever passed this last year – ouch – and I now have two new fur friends which are each 60-pound loving white fur balls. I look forward to zip-lining, snorkeling, hiking, petting a sloth and exploring Costa Rica after dark. Does anyone want to join me?


Mark and Gayle:  Bluffton, South Carolina – We are recent transplants from Ohio to South Carolina, mostly to escape the snow. Mark is a semi-retired engineer/project manager and Gayle is a retired medical social worker. We have been on several great trips with Sandy in the past and are looking forward to exploring Costa Rica with everyone. We both love to travel, read, garden, with some cycling and yoga thrown in the mix. Gayle is also hoping to try zip lining this trip.


Terri Shepard.HeadTerri: Carrollton, Texas – Sandi is her Roommate – I retired from State Farm in 2015 after working as a claims adjuster for 23 yrs. I currently babysit for my 2 granddaughters, ages 4 & 6, who are the youngest of seven, 2 boys and 5 girls. I developed a passion for quilting when my grandmother made me my first quilt when I was in high school. I love to travel and I’ve been to England, France, Italy, Australia, and New Zealand with family and friends. It’s wonderful that I found a group that loves to travel as much as I do. I took my first trip with Sandy 5 yrs. ago when we went to Ireland and Scotland. Since then I have gone to Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Spain, and Portugal with his group and have always had a great time. They were wonderful trips and I’m sure I will love this trip just as much!

Ina:  Albuquerque, New Mexico – Marci is her Roommate – Have lived in Albuquerque for 40 years. My husband Bill and I have raised two sons, neither are married. Bill retired a couple of years ago but you never get to retire from being a housewife. I am still cooking, cleaning and doing the laundry. My main hobby is quilting, I also like to read and hike. My roommate Marci and I when on our first trip with Sandy in 2000 to Thailand.


Randy and Beth:  Lewisville, Texas – We both grew up in Wisconsin and have been married since November 1980. We have only one son who is married and they have given us two wonderful grandchildren. We moved on Labor Day last year to the Dallas-Fort Worth area and never envisioned living in Texas for retirement but we promised our son that we would relocate to be near the family. The grandchildren are 8 and 10 so they are growing so fast and they are a complete joy!
Beth retired in April 2017 after 42 years in the medical field, first as a medical technologist and then 30+ years working on the computer side of the medical field. She worked on lab, radiology and hospital billing side for the electronic medical record. Randy retired last July as Beth needed a year to herself to cope with retirement. In the end, she would have liked him to work another year but he said she was having too much fun and he wanted in. For 17 years he was the Director of planning and economic development for a small lakeside community 1/2 hour north of Milwaukee. Before that, he worked 22-years in community development. After his retirement, we downsized, sold our 2 homes, moved to the Dallas area and brought a home in Lewisville. As a couple, we enjoy most outdoor activities although Beth is more adventurous. We also enjoy travel, volunteering, meeting new people and of course some nightlife.

MaryAnn:  Dallas, Texas – Cathy is her Roommate – Lived in upstate NY for my formative years then moved to California for a decade. Landed in Phoenix/Scottsdale Arizona for quite a while. Company transfer to Dallas almost 10 years ago.  My son, and his family, live in Celina, TX so I don’t expect to move out of the Lone Star State! Still working as a Commercial Property Manager but looking forward to slowing down in the next few years..


Lisa:  Rockwall, Texas – Amy is her Roommate – My name is Lisa. I live in Rockwall, Texas… I am currently an elementary school teacher in Garland and I’m looking forward to retiring very soon. I am from New York and I lived in Mexico as well. I enjoy traveling and exploring new places. I’m open to all types of activities and definitely looking forward to visiting Costa Rica!.