By: Celia Catlett

Karl and Ricky bring energy to everything they do. Whether it’s putting the final touches on their lovely apartment or joining with their neighbors to redecorate the shared space on the 25th floor, they work with enthusiasm and care.

It’s been a lifelong characteristic for both of them. Whilst still in high school, Ricky taught seven-to-nine-year-old Wolf Cub Scouts in her native Cheshire, England. Her pack name was Rikki-tikki-tavi (from Kipling’s famous story), hence her long-time alias, Ricky. As a young woman she rose rapidly from typist to secretarial-assistant, longing to see more of the world than her corner of England. She became, in 1970, a flight attendant with British Airways. “Where did you travel?” I asked. “Everywhere except Russia and Australia.”

She met her first husband at British Airways. Shortly before their marriage, Ricky was pulled from a Brussels flight and assigned a flight to Paris. She did not learn until her return to England that the Brussels-bound flight had crashed, with no survivors. Although mourning friends, she knew how lucky she had been. The incident confirmed her new husband-to-be’s wish to start his own business. Ricky returned to secretarial work until the birth of their children.

After several visits to Sarasota, they decided in 1955 to settle in America and bought a hotel on Siesta Key. Later, selling it, they bought a Holiday Inn in Punta Gorda. That hotel was destroyed by Hurricane Charley in 2004. As their marriage had ended in 2000, they sold what remained of the Punta Gorda Hotel and Ricky retired. In the meantime, Karl (born in Akron, Ohio) was using his degree in Industrial Engineering and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University to start his career. He, like Ricky, wanted to be “on the move” and joined accounting firm Arthur Andersen Co. As a CPA and partner, he became fascinated by Andersen’s increasing use of computers in business and swerved in that direction. Andersen Consulting grew rapidly and later split off to become Accenture, a consulting firm that helps businesses make the best use of modern technology.

The day after his retirement in 2002, tired of the cold, Karl came to Southwest Florida, intending to start in Tampa and work his way to Naples. He quickly fell under the Sarasota spell and went no further, buying a house on Longboat Key. “It was a lucky decision,” he says, because although he didn’t know it, Ricky lived here. They met, fell in love, and married in July 2006 on an unusual venue, a glacier above Juneau, Alaska.

This was Karl’s third marriage, and the couple share seven children, twenty grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. They are actively involved in promoting the education and happiness of this brood. Both like to read history, historical fiction, and biographies. Ricky enjoys cooking, gardening, ballroom dancing, and, oh yes, working on a magnificent dollhouse that I hope she will display. Karl is active as a board member of Ringling College of Art and Design and of the Van Wezel Foundation, which has involved him in Sarasota Bayfront 20:20. For relaxation, he enjoys watching sports and play-ing chess, backgammon, and card games.

This energetic couple has much to offer Plymouth Harbor.