David and Ann Kulchin
When David Kulchin came home one day in 1978 and told his wife Ann he had accepted a job with Hughes Aircraft in Carlsbad, she thought they were moving from their home in Saratoga, California to New Mexico. The only Carlsbad she’d heard of was Carlsbad Caverns! Of course, neither one realized at the time that the move would be much more than just a physical relocation, but rather the beginning of a nearly four-decade relationship with the city they would come to love; a city that would grow and mature and become known, thanks in large part to the couple’s community advocacy and volunteerism over those many years, as the “jewel of north county.”
Ann and David’s story begins in Brooklyn, New York where they spent their childhoods. Despite the geographic proximity, they came from very different backgrounds. David and his brother, the sons of European immigrants, grew up in a poor Orthodox Jewish household, while Ann, an only child, lived in a wealthier section of the borough where she attended an all-girl Catholic school. They met in an art class at the University of Miami in 1953, where they were both studying to become teachers. Six months later they married and their 63-year journey together began. That journey would take them from the east coast to the west, as David’s career evolved from teaching to human resources.
While living in Saratoga, Ann got involved in politics for the first time: she helped a friend run for Santa Clara County Supervisor and he won. Ann ran his field offices. When they moved to Carlsbad, Ann jumped into the political arena: in 1980, she ran for Carlsbad city council. Through an “old-fashioned” grass roots campaign, Ann raised $3,000 and defeated an incumbent. She successfully won her city council seat in eight elections and for many years was the only council representative south of Palomar Airport Road.
Ann served on the Carlsbad city council for 32 years, retiring in 2012. During her tenure, she was instrumental in the growth of the Dove library, the project she’s most proud of. The coaster was built during the time she was chair of the North County Transit District; Ann was involved in selecting the trains. As Chair of the Shoreline Preservation Committee, she lobbied for construction of the mile-long coastal sea wall along Carlsbad Blvd. Ann helped in every way to make Carlsbad the community it is today.
Meanwhile, David was also making his mark. In fact, his advocacy and hard work led to his being named Carlsbad Citizen of the Year in 2013. One of the most significant accomplishments for the Kulchins was raising $1.2 million to build the branch of the Boys & Girls Club in Bressi Ranch that opened in 2011. There was a need for the new branch and the community responded to that need because “People not only give to people, but they give to worthwhile causes.” During his long tenure on the Boys & Girls Club’s board of directors, David held many roles, including board president. He currently holds the highest honor of all: Lifetime Honorary Board Member.
These days, the Kulchins relish their active retirement – they enjoy watching their eight grandchildren flourish. For the first time, they’re both involved with the same organization, the Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas Community Advisory Board; through the Circle of Life service organization, which Ann chairs, they work to raise funds to support the hospital.
In 2014, Ann and David wrote a book titled Aren’t We Lucky! A Carlsbad Love Story. They dedicated the book to their family, to help their children and grandchildren understand their lives. When asked what advice she would give to all young people, Ann says, “I would tell them my favorite quote from Maya Angelou: People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Not only is the book about Ann and David’s life story, their love for each other, their children and their grandchildren but also the story of their love for their home—Carlsbad, the community that continues to benefit today from all they’ve given over the past 38 years. How lucky for Carlsbad that Ann and David didn’t end up in New Mexico!