Ron and Marcia Krull
Photo by Marshall Smith

Pine Cove residents Ron and Marcia Krull have lived lives of serving others subtly shaped by serendipity. Now, after distinguished careers as teachers, they have made volunteering for Hill nonprofits and governmental agencies their post-career missions.

“Being teachers, we have the knowledge and ability to help people,” said Ron. “So, the transition to volunteering was natural.”

The Pennsylvania natives (Marcia from Pittsburgh and Ron from Allentown) met while attending the University of Pittsburgh. Marcia was pursuing double majors in psychology and French, and Ron was studying biology as a premed student.

They met while both were working at the National Record Mart on the Pitt campus. “Marcia had been working there for a while,” Ron remembered. “On my first day, the store manager asked Marcia to show me around and she did.” The store manager had a background in classical music and members of the Pittsburgh Symphony came into the store’s cultural milieu regularly. It was in this rarified atmosphere that, on the first day, Marcia knew Ron would be the man to spend her life with. “It was an immediate knowing,” she smilingly remembered. Two weeks later, they made a life commitment that has never wavered.

Together, they navigated separate yet related teaching career paths — Ron as a science teacher and Marcia, after obtaining a master’s degree at Pitt, as a specialist in teaching and designing programs for emotionally disturbed children. Another chance moment occurred when a special ed teacher unexpectedly retired at the school where Ron was teaching in Mt. Pleasant, New Jersey, giving Marcia the opportunity to teach in the same school.

While teaching in New Jersey, Ron also coached golf and wrestling. “At 17, I was a 2-handicap golfer, and later club champion at two local country clubs,’ he related. “I was a pretty good athlete and thought about turning pro.”

In 1977, Ron’s brother Neil, who had moved to California, sent Ron and Marcia wedding-gift plane tickets to the Idyllwild/desert area. After a visit to Idyllwild, Ron, fresh from obtaining a Master of Education degree in biology, and Marcia, made the decision to move West. “In 1980, we put everything we had in a U-Haul and drove to California,” said Ron. “We had this sense of ultimate freedom, as pioneers moving West to begin a new life.”

They rented a house off Franklin in Pine Cove. Marcia found work with the Riverside County Office of Education. Ron taught, first in Coachella, then in Riverside at the school that became his teaching home, Riverside Polytechnic High School.

In 1982, a new position in learning-disability education opened for Marcia at Mt. San Jacinto Community College. She remained there until 2008. For 10 years, Marcia was the statewide resource person in Learning Disabilities for the California Community College system, digitizing a learning disabilities program developed at the University of Kansas and becoming lead trainer for the state in implementing this new educational model. In order to train new learning-disability specialists, Marcia worked with programmers to computerize the program. She also chaired the Learning Disabilities Field Advisory Committee for the state Community College system.

Also, Marcia served as the learning-disabilities specialist at Mt. San Jacinto and as coordinator for learning centers on both campuses. She capped her distinguished career in education by becoming an English professor at the San Jacinto campus.

In 1994, Ron was chosen by researchers and scientists at Genentech in San Francisco as one of the 100 best biology teachers in the country. Candidates submitted credentials and lesson plans from their science teaching experiences. The chosen 100 spent a week at Cal Berkley meeting with Nobel Laureate scientists. “We were given computers and tasked to create an online community of educators,” said Ron.

In addition to teaching at Riverside Poly, Ron also taught at Mt. San Jacinto College.

As teachers and longtime-area residents, the Krulls were often sought for volunteer positions. Upon retiring from teaching, each took up new “professions” as community volunteers.

As Ron had mentioned, as teachers, the transition to volunteering came naturally. “I do it now because it is a part of my soul. I’m in the place where I want to be [Idyllwild] and I have the kind of contact with people that nourishes me.”

Ron has served since 2008 as a volunteer for the Forest Service, with a primary function of patrolling trails and the wilderness, trail maintenance and educating the public on the ethos of leaving no trace. He also has volunteered for the Nature Center, helping to organize and digitize slides and print material for a Visitor Center kiosk, as a Woodie splitting and transporting wood, as a Fire Safe Council Goldspotted oak borer tree inspector and as a six-year volunteer for the Idyllwild Community Center, serving as board vice president and newsletter editor.

Marcia began her volunteer stint in 2006 with the Soroptimists helping with programs and fundraising. She also taught ESL at Idyllwild School and in 2012, she began volunteering for the Friends of the Library, as editor for the newsletter.

“In a small town, we have a significant opportunity to interact with people and organizations to make a difference,” said Marcia. “We feel a part of this community that we care so much about, and we do what we can to express our gratitude. And in volunteering, I get to do something that enriches me and contributes to the community.”

A chance meeting at a record store began a life of partnership and contribution that richly continues. Both Ron and Marcia are private people and hope that their post-career decisions to volunteer will encourage to others to give back to the community.