Kathy LeClair


I was born in Los Angeles just after World War II. I grew up in the San Fernando Valley, west of Los Angeles when it was still a rural area. Our neighbors had chickens and horses. New home subdivisions were being built in the San Fernando Valley during the 50's and many people were moving out of the city areas. I was very active in school. In our Junior High school, we were the first graduating class. That was fun because we were able to name the mascot for the school as well being able to participate in many "firsts." High school was exciting and enjoyable too. I served as class officer and on the Student Body government. I was also active in Drill Team and was Drill Master in my senior year. I graduated from high school in January and was almost instantly in College at University of Southern California.

This was about the time my dad, Howard Vipperman, started his manufacturing business in Anaheim. I worked in the family business during the summer and at times worked on weekends with the accounting, payroll and even in manufacturing. My brother Howard and I painted the offices one time. Not really a very good job! I think dad had to have it repainted. We would go down to the company on the weekends and clean the offices and also do anything else necessary and that we could handle.

I was in a sorority while in college and was active in clubs. I was President of my sorority my senior year. Of course our family loved the football season and USC football. My family had season tickets from the time I entered college until right now; we still have tickets and attend the games. My dad had his own cardinal and gold suit to wear to the games, at home and away. My mom loved spending the time with my dad and our family at the football games. We attended many football games with our parents' friends Harry and Pearl McGee. Harry was the owner of Rubberite who was one of our customers and vendors as well. Dad and Harry had known each other since their days at Kirkhill Rubber Company. Summers during my college years, I worked at Disneyland.

I graduated from USC with a Business degree and an emphasis in Accounting. I went to work for VIP Rubber Company. I became their accounting department! My emphasis at VIP was Accounts Receivable and I think it still is!

I married Tom LeClair a few months after graduation from College. At the end of that year, Tom was transferred to Phoenix, Arizona where we lived for the next 5 years. We had two of our children in Arizona as well and then moved back to Anaheim, California when our children were 3 years and 9 months old. We bought a home in Anaheim where we ended up raising our family for the next 20 years.

Tom and I had another child after we moved back to California, so we had a wonderful family of three little girls born within 5 years! Babies, swimming lessons, ballet, preschool and elementary school kept me busy until my youngest child, Cindy started preschool at 3 years old. At that time, I started working again for my family's company. Accounting, in an office I shared with my mom. I worked part time and was fortunate enough to be able to take care of my children when they were not in school.

During those years, my part time work at Vip was shared with carpools, field trips, helping in classrooms, Sunday school teacher, PTA (I was President a few times), Girl Scout (I was a leader for 10 years), Girl Scout Cookie and Nut sales for my area, Bobby Sox Softball, High School Booster Club which included many years of Bingo operations. Many activities in which my children were involved, and working on the side!

Time moved on. My children grew up and my work days became much longer. In 1994, we decided as a family to move our company to La Habra, California. My brother, Howard, my mom and I drove out to the new building and wondered how in the world we would ever fill this large building up. Didn't take long, it seems. We have not only filled this building up with equipment and employees, we have two more buildings that are starting to become full!

My husband and I moved to La Habra from Anaheim in 1995 so that we would be near our business. I stopped most of my community activities and have devoted my time to Vip Rubber Company and to my grandchildren.

Tom and I just celebrated our 45th wedding anniversary. VIP Rubber just celebrated its 52nd year. Doesn't seem like that much time has passed. I have been blessed in my life with so much. I was allowed to raise my children and participate in their lives and still keep myself involved in our family business and hopefully be an asset to the growth of our company. I could retire now, but I am still having fun and enjoying the daily activity of our company.