New Northgate residents Josie and Jonathan Decker met while working in the food and beverage industry in Michigan. It was there that Josie, a college student at Michigan State University and part-time server at a local country club met Jon, who was the club’s Sous Chef. Jon had already graduated from nearby Northern Michigan University with a Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management. They fell in love over delicious meals and hard work. Even though they have both moved on to different careers, it was there at the country club where Josie witnessed Jon’s amazing work ethic and what eventually led the couple to the food-centric Bay Area.
After Josie graduated from Michigan with her BFA in graphic design, they moved to Hilton Head, SC to be closer to Josie’s family. They married in 2008 on the beach. In 2010 they moved for a while to Chicago to be near Jon’s family. This is also when Jon made the big career change to accounting. He now serves as Accounting Manager for a private family investment and philanthropy fund in San Francisco’s Presidio, a position that ultimately led the Deckers to the Bay Area in 2014.
Not knowing anything about California, let alone San Francisco, they researched and settled on the centrally located Mission District. Craving suburban life and warmer summers after their daughter, Dylan, was born, they found Walnut Creek with a Google Maps search in 2016. They found the Northgate neighborhood and had their eyes on it for a long time because of the mid-west vibe with big backyards and lots of trails. They were finally able to buy their forever home in Dec. 2019. Josie says, “Once we got serious about looking, we toured our current home a couple times before it suddenly clicked that “it’s THE ONE.” The stars aligned and we closed in early December, officially moving in just before the holidays so that we could enjoy our first Christmas in our new home. Moving in the midst of winter can make it a challenge to get a flair for the neighborhood and get acquainted with your surroundings, and toss in a pandemic and a shelter- in-place order and you cozy up to your new home real quick. We still enjoy getting outdoors and are enjoying warmer weather. Our neighbors have been SO welcoming, which is exactly what we hoped for. We are staying safe and sound, but look forward to the SIP lifting so we can mingle and start building bonds and share Jon’s awesome chef skills with our neighbors!”
Josie spent her early career as a Graphic Designer and Art Director for various publishers/magazines. She now balances motherhood and freelance design work with her boutique graphic design studio, Spade & Anchor Creative. She specializes in logos, brand identity and web design for women-led small businesses in the Bay Area and beyond. “I realized that moms in business have a tenacity and passion that’s often only tapped into after journeying into motherhood. Many moms launch a new business in order to pursue ‘their happy’ while still being readily available to their kiddos. But often, they have a tough time visually portraying their business in a way that’s authentic, yet appealing… and that’s where Spade & Anchor Creative steps in,” says Josie.
Jon, having grown up in a suburb of Chicago, Evergreen Park, is a forever White Sox and Chicago Bears fan. He also plays basketball with a group of area dads called the “Dad Bods.” The Deckers are outdoors enthusiasts and love hiking, camping and biking in our beautiful East Bay trails and soaking up the sun at Lake Berryessa.
Dylan, who is now 5, loves swimming and biking. She has recently discovered a love of art as well and “can sing the entire Frozen II soundtrack at the drop of a hat.”
Shady, their 13-year-old brown lab mutt, was a stray found in a trailer park in Shady Glen, SC (hence the name “Shady,” given to her by the Humane Society who found her). Shady is an accomplished escape artist, but luckily her tags always help fellow neighbors guide her way back home.
Jon’s experience as a chef often has him cooking up feasts large enough to feed the neighborhood, something they hope to be able to do more of soon!
“We’re excited to become a part of the community in our new home! We’ve been waiting a very long time to put down roots and have been really deliberate about our location and timing, so we’re thrilled to get to know everyone on our street better – once it’s safe to do so – of course. And a big shout out to all the amazing neighbors who came by to welcome us, gift us cookies and well wishes, and we can’t wait to return the gesture,” says Jon.
By Kara Navolio, Resident since 1991