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Beyond the Boardroom

John Wotring Sr.

Author: Sarah Treseler
December, 2016 Issue


In 1966, during his time in the army. John Wotring Sr. was stationed at Two Rock Ranch Station in Petaluma. ”I needed to supplement my military income of $79.00 per month to support my young family, so I worked at Crestview Convalescent Hospital in Petaluma. I enjoyed the patients a lot and found pleasure in making their lives better,” he remembers. “The owner offered me a job as an administrator but I declined, saying I was going to stay in the Army for a career. I later wrote to him from my bunker in Vietnam and asked if that job offer was still open.” Following his discharge from service, Wotring went to work as an administrator at Fircrest Convalescent Hospital in Sebastopol.

He received a bachelor of arts degree in management from Golden Gate University in 1972 and an MBA in 1974. He then attended Empire School of Law in Santa Rosa and graduated with a juris doctor in 1979 and practiced law for 17 years while pursuing various health-related business opportunities. In 1996, he founded Primrose Alzheimers Living in Santa Rosa.

When and why did you start Primrose?

I purchased Montgomery Convalescent Hospital in 1976 after finding that I totally enjoyed making peoples lives better even though at times it was challenging. I sold my convalescent hospital in 1995 and started Primrose Alzheimer’s Living in 1996. I felt there was a better way to take care of people who needed memory care. We developed the social model of memory care in Sonoma County in a residential care facility. It was a better fit and better care for the residents than the medical model used in skilled nursing facilities at that time.

Do you have a big family?

I’m lucky to have two wonderful children, a son and a daughter, and each has given me three grandchildren. I also met the love of my life, Myrna, in 2000. With six grandchildren, you might say I have a large family.

What do you love to do outside of work?

I love to exercise and go for bike rides, runs (now jogs) and hike in beautiful Sonoma County.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Being part of the team that developed the social model of memory care in Sonoma County.

What do you consider your best quality?

My ability to listen to people and help them achieve their goals.

What value or virtue was most emphasized in your home when you were growing up?

I was raised in a household that taught consideration and empathy for others.

If you could be invisible for a day, what would you do?

I would listen to others without them being aware of it, to find out how I could really help them.

Is there anything unusual in your briefcase?

I have a coupon for Bed Bath and Beyond.

What childhood dream has come true for you?

I dreamed of going to Alaska, where my older brother and sister were born. I finally went there a few years ago

What food do you eat almost every day?

I eat oatmeal and walnuts Monday through Friday.

What’s something you intended to do today but didn’t?

I intended to call the east coast but ran out of time.

What’s something you should throw away, but can’t?

I should throw away my old computer but I don’t because it still works, it just won’t handle the new software.

Who’s your best friend?

Myrna, the love of my life, is my best friend. She’s the kindest person I have ever known.

If you could change one thing in the world right now, what would you alter?

I would change the way people act. Everyone would consider the effect of their actions on others and act in the best interests of all, not just themselves



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