by ZEENA GREGG
Special to 92129 Magazine

Mountain climbing, skiing in Big Bear and road-trips are some of the ways the Cowart family of Rancho Penasquitos stays bonded together.

John David (JD) and Christine Cowart – married almost 21 years – live with their two children, Philip (16) and KayLeigh (15) near Mt. Carmel High School, where both children are students.

Originally from Houston, the Cowart family moved to San Diego 13 years ago and chose Rancho Penasquitos for its location and proximity to friends.  “We love the slightly-urban, casual-suburban feel of this part of town, (plus) its moderate inland temperatures, its cultural and social blend, and the warm small-community feel we’ve always experienced, particularly in the schools,” said JD Cowart.  “My job gave us the opportunity (to move to San Diego), and the beauty of San Diego did the seducing.”

JD Cowart, an attorney, has been with Teradata Corporation in Rancho Bernardo as Chief Intellectual Property Counsel since 2007.  Christine Cowart, an active member of American Society of Interior Designers, opened her own interior design business, Christine Cowart Interiors, in 2005.  Kayleigh plays basketball for Mt. Carmel’s JV Girls team and is also a member of the track team.  Philip is a level 10 competitive gymnast at the San Diego United Training Center, plays trumpet and guitar, and participates in three different bands at Mt. Carmel.

The Cowarts are a fun-loving adventurous family, who enjoy travel and experiencing new cultures and cuisines.  Together, they have climbed Mount Gorgonio in the nearby San Bernadino Mountains.  A little farther from home, father and son have climbed Mount Whitney as well as Mount Meru (near Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania).  Sunny afternoons at Petco Park and skiing and snowboarding are other ways the family spends quality time together.

The Cowarts’ church, St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Poway, also plays a big part in their lives.  The family also is involved with a local charity – Friends and Family Community Connection (FFCC) – and regularly participates in charitable events.  “I have traveled to Tanzania twice with FFCC, and Philip will make his second trip to Tanzania this June.  KayLeigh plans to travel to Haiti with FFCC in 2012 and while there, hope to complete a service project toward her Girl Scout Gold Award,” JD Cowart said.

Music is another love the family shares together.  They especially enjoy live music and frequently attend concerts by San Diego’s Jesse LaMonaca and other local musicians.  Songs are such a part of their life that they even sometimes communicate using song lyrics.

As a family, the Cowarts look forward to taking long road trips, logging mileage to  Texas, Seattle, Vancouver, Idaho and Colorado and they are planning a trip to Iowa in the near future to visit family.  “There’s something that just seems uniquely American in the freedom to point a car in whichever direction we want, drive until we’re ready to stop, and arrive wherever and whenever we’re ready to get there,” said JD Cowart. “As busy as our lives are, the time we spend together in the car on these trips is probably the best ‘family time’ we ever have.”