Every person has a story and Donna Ritchie wants to help tell it in her new column, “Meet Your Neighbors.” Residents who would like to make a recommendation for this column may contact her at KustomDzines@aol.com.
Meet your neighbors, Canyon Lake residents Richtina and Walter Ivancich. Richitina, known as “Tina” and “Richi” to her friends and family, was born in Bellflower, California. Although her family didn’t move to Canyon Lake until she was 12 years old, Tina had spent much of her young life in Canyon Lake. Her grandparents were Canyon Lake residents and she spent much of her time at their home, especially in the summers.
“My grandfather build two homes in Canyon Lake – one on Stampede Way and the other on Steel Head Drive. I practically grew up here,” says Tina. Tina’s grandmother, Marjorie Zingg, still lives in Canyon Lake, as does her mother Janice McCrory, brother Tim Payne, sister Margie McCloskey, uncle Mike Zingg and cousin Julie Nunez.
Tina’s grandfather and two of her cousins were killed when the plane her grandfather was flying crashed over Niagara Falls. They were in Michigan for a family wedding. “After the wedding, my grandfather took three of my cousins to go sightseeing in his plane. One of my cousins was never found, one went over the falls and the other one survived. My surviving cousin lost his pregnant wife in the crash,” explains Tina. “It was a difficult year for our family.”
Walter was born in Jersey City, New Jersey. His family moved to Lake Elsinore when he was 10 years old. Tina and Walter met in high school. After high school, they parted ways. Tina earned an Associate in Science Degree in Computer information Systems. Walter earned an Associate in Science Degree in Engineering.
In 1995, they met up again and started dating. They married on February 7, 1998. “Our wedding ceremony was at Canyon Lake Community Church. Pastor Pete married us. We had our wedding reception at the old Canyon Lake Lodge, the original Lodge,” says Tina.
Three years after they were married, Walter sold the home he owned in Menifee and the couple purchased a home together in Canyon Lake.
The Ivanciches have three children, 25-year-old Miranda, 23-year-old Mikey and 17-year-old Jacob. Miranda lives in Canyon Lake off Vacation Dr., Mikey is a U.S Army National Guard serving overseas and Jacob lives at home with Tina and Walter. “Mikey is married to Tania. She cannot wait until he comes home from overseas,” says Tina.
Tina’s grandfather and Walter’s father both owned automotive shops, so it was only natural for the couple to purchase an automotive shop of their own. “Cars are in our blood,” says Tina. After seven years of researching for the right automotive business to buy, Tina and Walter purchased a Meineke Car Care Center franchise in Temecula. “Everything just fell into place with God’s blessing,” says Tina.
The Ivanciches Meineke Car Care Center has six bays and offers complete auto repair and service. They employ seven full-time employees and two part-time employees. Their son Jacob also works there part-time. Tina says, “Jacob loves working on cars; that’s his thing.”
Jacob loves cars so much that he has fully restored a 1940 Chevy that Tina and Walter purchased about 10 years ago and gifted to him when he turned 15. “He fell in love with the Chevy and showed an interested in restoring it, so we gave it to him when he turned 15,” says Tina. He’s also a member of the Canyon Lake Car Club. Tina says, “He wanted to join the Car Club and purchase the membership with his own money, so we let him.”
Tina and Walter have been members of the Canyon Lake Car Club for the past five years. Tina is on the board of directors and serves as the club’s secretary. Their pride and joy is a 1964 white convertible Thunderbird that they purchased seven years ago.
Before purchasing their Meineke Car Care Center, Tina worked as an accountant at Pepe’s Restaurant, and sold real estate with Coldwell Banker Associated Broker Realty in Canyon Lake. “I currently have my real estate license but I’m not actively selling real estate,” she says.
Walter has worked for the past 25 years at Infineon Technologies, a world leader in power management technology. He’s worked there as a technician for 21 years and as a supervisor the past four years.
When it comes to their business and “giving back,” the Ivanciches do that in a number of ways. They support local fire departments and veteran organizations, offer a free oil change for active and inactive veterans on Veterans Day, sponsor the Canyon Lake Car Club and other organizations, and offer discounts to Canyon Lake residents.
When not working, Tina and Walter enjoy attending cars shows, camping, quad and motorcycle riding, and spending time with their very large family.
The Ivancich’s Meineke Car Care Center & Econo Lube is located at 27685 Jefferson Avenue in Temecula. For more information, call 951-694-4073 or visit www.meineke.com/locations/ca/temecula-4181.