South Tahoe resident gives credit to healthy lifestyle |

South Tahoe resident gives credit to healthy lifestyle

Emily Aughinbaugh, Tribune staff writer

Sitting in her immaculate house, South Shore resident Elizabeth Pastory points to a framed, faded newspaper clipping, which looks out of place from the crystal vases and bowls that surround it.

The clipping features Pastory swinging a club at a golf tournament, and is just one of several mementos she keeps to remember the three decades she’s played the game.

Pastory’s 86-year-old fit frame is complemented by her upbeat attitude and personable countenance. She attributes her youthful demeanor to her biweekly 18-hole rejuvenation at Lake Tahoe Golf Course.

Pastory has played at the course since 1969, when it was called the Lake Tahoe Country Club. She took borrowed clubs to a free golf lesson the city advertised at the middle school that year.

Pastory’s only son Kurt remembers the day his mother took up golf and the mild embarrassment it caused him.

“I remember sitting in a seventh-grade science class, looking out the window and there was my mother hitting golf balls in the football field,” he said.

Pastory said she instantly fell in love with the game that day, although she has struggled to master it ever since.

“It takes time to learn golf,” she said. “You should do it when you’re young. I learned that.”

Although Pastory would not comment on what she shoots in a typical round, she said she has done her best to improve her game.

“I might not play well but at least I’m out there. I think that’s important,” Pastory said. “I go out and play with one of my friends and she puts up with me.”

One of Pastory’s friends, Margaret Novak met Pastory playing golf in 1982.

Novak said Pastory keeps her motivated to stay active.

“She’s been an inspiration to me,” Novak said. “The temperature would be so hot and she’d have her straw hat on, sashaying down the golf course and saying, ‘Oh, it’s OK, I’ll walk.'”

Pastory said she never thought of slowing down on the course until her friends and family were concerned she was overdoing it.

“I used to walk until everybody thought I was too old,” Pastory said with a chuckle. “And it does become a little harder for me to walk 18 holes.

“But I enjoy the walking,” she added. “To my way of thinking it’s the only way to play golf, because you’re concentrating more on what you’re going to do.”

Pastory’s strong will has kept her from getting discouraged in golf and in life.

“I’ve learned to take things in stride,” she said. “Growing up during the Depression, I learned to always be thankful for what I’ve got.”

Kurt Pastory said his mother taught him lessons in perseverance and hard work when he was young.

“I’m very fortunate to have had parents like mine,” he said. “I can thank them for instilling a good work ethic and values in my life.

“How can you grow up in Lake Tahoe and not be active,” he added. “When I was young we would go out in August and start gathering wood for the winter.”

Pastory said growing grapes and peaches on her childhood ranch in Modesto taught her the merits of outdoor activity.

“When you’re ranching you have duties to do,” Pastory said. “I can’t get that way of thinking out of my system.”

Pastory even feels the need to bowl once a week with the senior citizens on top of her golf sessions and yard work. In February, Novak organized a group of more than 70 seniors who surprised Pastory with a birthday party at the bowling alley.

“It was good,” Pastory said with a grin. “Everybody had cake and sang Happy Birthday to me. We made good memories.”

Novak said the party was her way of showing how much she appreciated Pastory’s constant friendship over the years.

“She’s very near and dear to me,” Novak said. “She’s a very sincere person, and I encourage her to keep going.”

Living by herself, Pastory said playing golf and bowling with friends emboldens her to keep energetic. Pastory’s husband Jim of 30 years died in 1975 from cancer.

“He was a really nice man,” Pastory remembered. “He just didn’t live long enough to enjoy life.”

Pastory said she became much more particular about her lawn and flowers after her husband’s death.

“Now I do things around the yard pretty much the way I want them done,” she said. “It’s my exercise and I enjoy doing it. I don’t just want to sit at home.”

Novak said she admires her friend for being so self-sufficient.

“She gets out and washes her car and mows her lawn,” she said. “All of the things little old widowed ladies have to do.”

Pastory said as long as she’s physically able she’ll continue to do all the things that have nurtured her exemplary health, especially golf.

“Every year I think this might be my last,” she said. “But every year I keep going. If you’re physically well and you don’t have any health problems I think you should be active and really into something.”

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