Pictured left to right:

John Beck— Documentary film maker, new baby
Marcel Sloane—Regional Manager at REM, school-aged kids
Alan Wolken— City of Richmond Redevelopment Director, college-aged kids
Pat Kelly— Retired airline pilot, grandkids

How many children do you have and how old are they?

John: My first and only is Zoe Elizabeth Beck – she’s almost 4 months now.
Marcel: Three: 16, 13, and 10
Alan: I have a small litter! Ages 22, 20, 18 and 12.
Pat: Four children and four grandchildren. The grandkids are 16, 14, 7 and 4

When did you first find out that you’d be a dad? How did you feel?

John: My wife, Patty, woke me up at 7am with pregnancy test in hand. We’d been trying for quite awhile and were just enrolling in a fertility program at Kaiser, so we were overjoyed!
Marcel: It was the first day of a new position I had just been promoted to. All hell was breaking loose. My wife called…I was ecstatic.
Alan: I was in Calgary during the Winter Olympics. I felt great! Very excited.
Pat: When my wife told me she was pregnant back in 1968. I felt scared.

How has being a dad changed you?

John: I once again appreciate all the little things I’d almost forgotten about – like a half-smile or a bat of an eye or a picnic.
Marcel: It has humbled me. I thought I knew all the answers. Clearly, I do not.
Alan: It has made me look at life through my kids’ eyes.
Pat: I settled down. It just changes everything—you aren’t going to ride motorcycles anymore.

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned from being a dad?

John: To treasure every moment. Nothing is more important than family.
Marcel: Think about what you are going to say BEFORE you say it. Listening. Patience.
Alan: To always try to be a good role model and be myself.
Pat: Patience. I wish I could have changed the order around. By the time I got around to the fourth child, I had it all figured out.

What is the best parenting advice you have been given? By whom?

John: I waiver between "The best advice is there is no advice" from my friend Steve Leone, and "Make sure you savor every moment" from my mother.
Marcel: My mom told me to enjoy the moment because pretty soon they’ll be gone.
Alan: My dad told me to instill values in my children that I’d want them to instill in theirs.
Pat: Pick your battles. My dad told me that.

What advice do you have for your children, about being a parent?

John: Well, since she’s only four months old, how about – "Don’t rush into it!"
Marcel: Remember to always tell them you love them –no matter what — you always love them.
Alan: Make family your priority. Spend a lot of time doing things with your kids.
Pat: Don’t rush into things. Don’t lose your sense of humor. And don’t react fast – take your time and think things through.

What do you like to do for fun when you’re not being a dad?

John: I love kayaking…crossing the Carquinez Strait with my first mate Scout, our Australian shepherd) and getting a beer at The Warehouse Bar in Port Costa.
Marcel: Anytime on the water. Sailing and sailboat racing is my salvation. It’s my sanity.
Alan: Sleep, and run! But I like to do things with my kids—ski, water ski and share experiences.
Pat: I go fishing.

What is/has been the best part of raising your family in Benicia?

John: The incredible family support. My wife’s father is former mayor Jerry Hayes and her mother is Maryellen, owner of the Camellia Tea Room, not to mention her fawning aunts, uncles and cousins.
Marcel: The sense of community. Seems like walking with my family downtown I always run into someone I know. It’s very social, its diverse.
Alan: I like the family atmosphere Benicia offers. The parades, events, and the level of interaction with school and sports.
Pat: The recreational facilities—and the City’s recreation department. The schools are good too.