2000-08-05 / Columnists

Par Tee News

Last Sunday’s deluge and the next day’s drizzly start were enough to postpone the Guys and Dolls Tournament for that morning to August 3. Because of the rainout, this column’s focus has shifted to a very "sunny" subject, a profile on Peggy Ansbro, one of our top golfers for the past few years.

Formerly named Margaret Felicita Ansbro, Peggy was not too fond of Felicia. But since it means happy I’d say the name fits her very well. She has a positive outlook and is rarely seen without a smile. With energy and enthusiasm to match, she heads the Part Tee Committee 2000.

Peggy was born in St. Vincent’s Hospital where her parents were a nurse and an intern on staff. The family lived in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn and she attended Little Flower Elementary and Catherine Mcauley High School. Throughout her childhood and into her teens she loved all kinds of sports, skating, softball, archery, two-hand touch football, but especially basketball. So it’s no surprise that she won most valuable player awards in high school. In 1950, Breezy Point became the Ansbro’s summer haven (or is it spelt heaven?) and Peggy has been there every season since, building memories and lasting friendships.

After taking an aptitude test given by a nursing program, which indicates this was not the career for her, Peggy decided on a child study and sociology major at St. Joseph College and prepared for the work she truly loved, teaching children. Her first assignment was in a tough school in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn. She was challenged, but happy teaching in the lower grades there before transferring to P.S. 102 in Bay Ridge. She earned her Master’s Degree in education at Brooklyn College and years later received another in administration, but she did not take a job in that field, preferring to remain the classroom. Her father used to tease her, saying, "You shouldn’t be paid for doing something you love that much."

However, after teaching first through fourth graders for 30 years, Peggy made another move in a direction she loved even more. Taking a sabbatical, she enrolled at Kingsboro for courses in golf, tennis, first aid, and history of New York, for her own enrichment. Then a physical education position opened up and she found the job of her dreams. Her students won many sports competitions in track and field events, basketball and others. During her summers she taught youngsters and teenagers in the athletic program here in St. Thomas More.

Peggy also enjoyed traveling and she recalled an exciting cruise adventure of 54 days that she took with her father sometime after her mother’s death. They stopped at many exotic ports in Europe, Asia and North Africa. In the Middle East things got a little too hot. While waiting outside their hotel in Beirut they were suddenly pulled back inside, just second before bullets sprayed the street.

When she took a Bermuda vacation, Peggy discovered a new and surprising interest -- motorcycles -- and she bought one as soon as she returned home. She enjoyed the feel and freedom if the "bike", which she rode for about five years before letting it go.

Although she retired in 1991, she remained on call and went back to the gym classes periodically. But Peggy was concerned that retirement life might not have enough stimulation and fulfillment. She soon dismissed those worries by giving more serious time to golf and tennis. She plays golf on the long course weekly (never weakly) and at Riis Park with Par Tee, which she joined in 1997. You can find her at the tennis courts on Wednesday mornings from 8:30 to 12 noon. In her Florida retreat at Myles Grant the schedule is pretty rigorous; golf three days and tennis four.

In addition to delivering Meals-on-Wheels around the Point, she also serves as lector for Sunday masses, and explains that this has helped her get over the painful shyness she had felt most of her life. She also has great fun exploring her computer possibilities.

Peggy loves this community and her home on Suffolk Walk with its charm and memories of the Ansbro household since 1950. Her brother Paul lives in Upstate New York, Jim is in Boston, and Mary Ellen in Orlando. She connects as often as she can with them, her 12 nieces and nephews and 19 grand nieces and nephews (God Bless e-mail!).

Along with her committee members, Marge Driscoll, Kate Hanratty and Doris Neimeth, Peggy has devoted time and talent toward keeping Par Tee on track and its members happy. And they do it with flexibility, patience and spirit.

There are three Post Scripts to this rather lengthy column:

To Doris Neimeth we extend our prayers and heartfelt wishes for a speedy recovery from her emergency appendectomy last Friday night. When she can return to active play is uncertain, but we hope she will join us for lunch whenever possible.

Mildred Duffy, Mildred Seligman and Lillian Hanratty get my vote for being the most dedicated, persistent, tenacious, steadfast, unwavering, and crazy Par Tee players. Although the tournament was cancelled due to unplayable conditions, they played 18 holes last Thursday. "It was our own private course," they reported. "Not a soul out there until we were leaving." They not only survived, Seligman made a chip-in-birdie on one and Duffy had a regular one on 14. While no money can be paid on these the satisfaction is priceless.

Here’s a mini headline from "Night on the Green" at the Catholic Club last Saturday night. Gloria Tropea made a hole-in-one, the only woman to manage that. If she does nothing else this season, she has made her mark!



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