Klembara’s “My Place” Story Earns Couple Trip to Academy Awards
In today’s rough-and-tumble world, it’s refreshing to meet a couple like Teresa and Gary Klembara of Garland, Texas.
Married for 36 years, the magic between them remains palpable – twinkling eyes, gentle touches and warm banter speak to an enduring love story that rivals anything in the movies.
It’s easy to imagine the sparks flying when they first met at J.C. Penney – he as a senior manager and she a manager trainee. They dated off and on for seven years before they, as Teresa says, “came to our senses and got married.”
Gary transitioned into a successful career as an international IT businessman and, after opting to leave her own successful retail management career at JCP, Teresa joined him on the road whenever she could. She also kept busy with sports and civic activities – “Keeping the home fires burning,” she says brightly.
Teresa’s bubbly laughter comes easily and often, especially when her affectionate rescue pooch, Brody, jumps into her lap for yet another smooch and snuggle. Gary shakes his head indulgently and pats Brody. This is, indeed, one lovingly pampered pup who, not surprisingly, embodies the couple’s lifelong commitment to each other and others.
They have a long-standing date for dinner and a movie with friends. “There are several couples we’ve been friends with for the past 30 years,” explains Gary. “When we’re in town we get together for dinner and a movie every Saturday.”
When asked about their favorite movie to win an Oscar this year, Gary favored “Bohemian Rhapsody” while Teresa leaned towards “A Star is Born.”
It’s not all butterflies and unicorns
Lest they sound entirely too Pollyanna-perfect, however, just watch Teresa at a Dallas Stars hockey game. (They’ve been season ticket holders for 24 years). Without going into too much detail, let’s just say that her otherwise ladylike demeanor gives way when the puck drops. “She’s hilarious to watch,” says Gary.
Then there’s their latest shared musical obsession – the Chicago-based heavy metal band Disturbed. “Their version of ‘Sounds of Silence’ is haunting,” she says.
“When they came to Dallas recently, we went to their concert,” adds Gary. “We probably looked a little out of place, but nobody seemed to mind.”
“See, we can be edgy, too!” Teresa quips.
Edgy or staid, the secret to their relationship is commitment – the promise to put each other first.
“We both tend to go with the flow,” says Gary. “We’re grateful for the opportunity to make the most of what it is or isn’t,” adds Teresa. They often complete each other’s thoughts.
Their latest opportunity – making the most of an out-of-the-blue invitation to attend the upcoming 91stAcademy Awards ceremony on Sunday, Feb. 24thin Hollywood.
It’s an unlikely tale that not even a Hollywood scriptwriter could fashion.
A throne fit for a furry king
The story actually goes back nearly 25 years ago, when Gary – an admitted car guy – checked out Lexus and, admiring the brand’s comfort, beauty and sense of security, bought a GS300.
Several weeks later, it was Teresa’s first rescue dog, Lacey, who really sealed the deal with their second Lexus, an ES300, in what developed into a lasting relationship with Dallas-based Park Place Dealerships.
“I know how this sounds,” she chuckles, “but Lacey traveled with me all the time and the car’s armrest wasn’t big enough for her to sit by me, so I had to say no.”
Undaunted, their sales rep, Carl Keith, went to his home garage and fashioned a custom, leather-clad doggy perch. He called Teresa and showed her the homemade accessory. She welled up and bought the car “in three minutes flat.”
“I was blown away,” says Gary. That show of dedication from the dealership led to a relationship that continues to this day. In fact, Gary has acquired an astonishingly unbroken line of 18 Lexus vehicles from Park Place.
“We want our clients to think of Park Place as ‘My Place,” explains Dave Evans, Park Place Dealerships Chief Marketing Officer. “Park Place team members are committed every day to create an ownership experience that can’t be found anywhere else. Our clients have fabulous stories about Park Place members who have gone above and beyond to make their experience memorable and we are sharing some of those stories through the “My Place” campaign starting with the Klembaras.”
The campaign kicks off locally during the Academy Awards show on Sunday, February 24.
“We thought it only fitting that our stars, Teresa and Gary Klembara, should go to Hollywood and enjoy the Academy Award experience,” said Evans. “This is our way to say ‘thank you’ for their commitment to Park Place.”
So the burning question – what designer will they wear?
“Probably jeans and cowboy boots,” Gary grins.
“Texas chic!” Teresa pipes up. “We’ll represent Texas in all its glory. What do you think, Brody?”
Hearing his name, the rescue pup’s ears perk up and he answers with a lively bark.
Meanwhile, Carl Keith, the Park Place Lexus sales manager, is happy to play “best supporting” role in this story.