LIVING IN THE CITY: “San Diego Is Like My Third Child”

Urban booster Joyce Summer has lived downtown for 30 years and is about to celebrate her 60th wedding anniversary
Joyce and Gordon Summer atop downtown’s Mister A’s restaurant.

“Living In the City” is the San Diego Sun’s feature Q&A with downtown San Diego residents. It’s a way to get to know the city by meeting the people who live here. This is number 31 in an ongoing series.

Name: Joyce Summer

Location: 20 years at Discovery condos on Cortez Hill. Previously, 10 years at Meridian in the Marina District.

Personal deets: Born in Tacoma (Washington). Grew up in Paramus (New Jersey) but wanted to switch coasts again and live in an urban environment. My husband, Gordon Summer, and I were married on May 11, 1963. We’re about to celebrate our 60th wedding anniversary.

Pets: Nope. Just my husband. I walk him every day.

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Gordon and Joyce Summer on their 1963 wedding day.

Work deets: I’ve been a sales/marketing consultant and an event producer. Currently on the advisory board of the Downtown San Diego Partnership.

Recognition: Distinctions from professional and volunteer life:

  • Alonzo Award (Volunteer of the Year) from the DSDP
  • National Smart Growth Award from Urban Land Institute 
  • Directors Award from former Centre City Development Corporation
  • National Field Manager of the Year from Welcome Wagon International
  • National Sales Rep of the Year for Occidental Chemical Corporation

Having a day: On September 20, 2004, the City of San Diego designated a “Joyce Summer Day.” Told city councilmembers, “the city of San Diego is like my third child.”

It’s a beautiful Joyce Summer day!

Gordon knows cars: From a distance Gordon can spot the make, model and year of any car. His other notable distinctions include:

  • Judge at the La Jolla Concours d’Elegance
  • Board Member of Young Audiences of San Diego; winner of Star Award from Performing Arts League
  • EVP of Bates Worldwide and a partner in Einson Freeman, Inc
  • Top Ten Campaign of the Decade Award (1980s) from Advertising Age 
  • Multiple award-winner from American Marketing Association, Promotion Marketing Association, Association of Promotion Marketing Agencies, and Clio Awards

Best aspect of your building: Everyone is friendly, nice and a good neighbor.

Worst aspect of your building: Occasional water problems.

Why live downtown: It’s great to be able to walk around downtown. We hope it will return to being that way once again, soon.

Places to avoid: City streets where people are living in tents. I’m afraid to leave Cortez Hill and walk downtown, especially at night.

Yes, sand: Together, Gordon and I produced the U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge and 3D Art Expo for eight years (2012-2019) on San Diego’s piers. The international sculptors are such nice people.

The U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge and 3D Art Expo.

Transportation breakdown: 50% walking, 50% driving.

Scooters: At present, they’re not safe for riders or vehicles on San Diego streets.

Scariest moments: When I tripped and fell on a sidewalk grate. And, another time when I tripped over a scooter.

Go-to coffee shop: Achilles Coffee Roasters. Good coffee at the Cortez Hill location. I order in person.

Lunch fave: Jo’s Diner in Mission Hills. Love their onion soup and their breakfast potatoes are to die for.

Currently watching: Blue Bloods, Bosch.

Tom Selleck stars in Blue Bloods. (CBS)

Downtown politicians: Mayor Todd Gloria and City Councilmember Stephen Whitburn could do more. The unhoused have no right to infringe the rights of the housed residents.

Parking: Lobby our elected officials to change the current regulations for new developments to once again require parking – both residential and commercial.

Cost of living: A lot of things downtown have high prices because they’re geared toward tourists. As a result, the residents suffer.

Final word: If you want to live downtown be willing to put up with city noises. SDSun

☀️To read the entire Living In The City series, go to: Profiles.☀️


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