By Isabel Pedersen
Few of us have been so committed to our home towns as Sallie Ann and Tom Luebbe, residents of Cincinnati, OH, for seventy years. They not only were born there, they were educated there, worked there, raised children there. Indeed Sallie says that she had never been farther away than Cleveland (same state!) until she was eighteen.
Sallie’s commitment to the medical profession is equally constant. She had studied nursing for a year and then pre-med for a year before she married her Annapolis-grad first husband. She followed him around the country as he trained to become a pilot, only to lose him in a plane accident five days before their second anniversary. With her ten-month-old son, Robert, she returned to Cincinnati, to the University, to complete her nursing degree.
While doing that, she met and then married a medical student. When that marriage ended in divorce, after twelve years, she found herself a single mother again, now with two more children, Bethany who was nine and Gary, a seven-year-old.
Sallie’s career included two more degrees, a Masters in Education and a Masters of Science in Nursing. Her jobs at two hospitals included staff nursing, training new nurses and Assistant Director of Nursing Education. She was involved in developing several new nursing programs, eventually coordinating with Xavier University (in Cincinnati, surprise).
Rather than join the Xavier faculty, a longtime urge to try her hand at real estate resulted in an Ohio license and eight years spent in that field.
Most important of all, in 1975, Tom had entered her life. At the Kentucky Derby Day party where they first noticed one another, a bet on whether they might marry “would have been the long shot of the day.” A thoroughly confirmed bachelor, Tom was everybody’s favorite Uncle Tom. For years, he was a Sunday-dinner part of her family but he was “not one to rush into anything or make quick decisions.” After five years, it became clear that her three children and her dog were to be his new family. And so it was, in 1980, that a 48-year-old bachelor stopped being one.
It should be no surprise that Tom, too, is a lifelong Cincinnati guy. His education included a degree in Business Administration from the University of Cincinnati and graduate work at Xavier University. A stint as an Army lieutenant followed, only to find himself unloaded by the army after he reinjured a bad knee.
Back in Cincinnati, Tom worked in sales, then spent five years as a territorial manager for W. R. Grace. When his brother suggested that they start their own business as manufacturers’ representatives, he jumped in and found it rewarding for the rest of his working life.
Though lifelong boaters on the Ohio River, their short visits to Boca Grande most winters did not translate into boating here. Moving into Heritage Oaks in 1997, golf took over as Tom’s, and then Sallie’s, love. Bridge lessons and art lessons have more than filled Sallie’s time along with tutoring at her Church of the Palms and the Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority. Tom thinks his new interest is going to be bocce.
Even if you cannot find Cincinnati on the map, you will enjoy meeting Sallie Ann and Tom, a pair whose interests you will enjoy sharing.