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John and Faye Pekar are R-C’s featured senior citizens

by Nancy Hamlett

John and Faye Pekar think that being chosen as The Record-Courier’s featured seniors is “a riot.” But when you consider the couple’s easy smiles and helpful hands, it is easy to understand why they were chosen to receive the honor.

The Pekar’s moved to the Carson Valley from San Diego approximately 6 years ago and immediately became involved with their new community. They both volunteer time at the senior center. John serves meals in the dining room and keeps the yard looking tidy, and Faye helps out where she is needed. Although both of them are active, Faye confesses that John does a little bit more than she does.

“I like to work with John,” she said. “He works so hard that I don’t have to do much.”

John is used to hard work. For 24 years he was the project manager for the University of California at San Diego. He said that his job entailed some electrical and plumbing work, but in fact he supervised a crew that did all of the repairs to the building at the University.

“If it wasn’t new construction, I was in charge,” said John. “I guess it kept me pretty busy.”

The Pekar’s met while John was in the Navy, stationed in San Diego. Faye was born and raised in San Diego. John comes from Texas.

“He had to stay after he was discharged,” said Faye. “We married in 1953. He wasn’t discharged until 1956.”

While raising two sons, Faye worked for the County of San Diego as a caseworker. She retired after 27 years, but then worked another 5 years as a consultant.

“I needed to keep busy, I wasn’t ready to retire,” said Faye. “But I also believed in what I was doing. It was rewarding.”

Faye isn’t ready to retire now, either. This year she was elected as the first vice president of American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and previous to that she was in charge of public relations for the organization. She is a Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) volunteer at the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office substation in the Gardnerville Ranchos, and she volunteers at the Carson Valley Museum and Cultural Center.

In the meantime, John is an RSVP volunteer and contributes a large amount of time to the Kid’s Fishing Derby.

“Fishing is probably my favorite hobby,” said John. “I enjoy watching the kids learn to fish and catch their first one. It’s all for the kids, but I think the volunteers have just as much fun as they do.”

In their time away from volunteering, the couple enjoys assembling their favorite crafts. John makes the tin man character right out of the Wizard of Oz using cans and lids and bottle caps.

“A lot of the seniors save the cans for me,” said John. “The others I pick up at the recycle center, and the scrap metal from a metal shop in Gardnerville.”

John also enjoys woodworking. He makes three-dimensional tulips for the garden, soulful-eyed cows and just about anything else that strikes his fancy. Faye enjoys wood crafting also. John uses a template to cut out her Rudolph reindeer and she does the painting, dressing Rudolph in a tie and mistletoe on his antlers.

Faye also enjoys tole painting, flower arranging and cross stitch, while John works the garden, weather permitting.

“The weather took some getting used to,” said John. “One year I set out the tomato plants on Memorial Day weekend. They froze that night.”

The Pekar’s have two sons that live nearby, and it is always a treat when the grandchildren come to visit.

“Scott lives up at the Lake with his wife and children,” said Faye. “The twins, Faye-Marie and Elliott are 9 1/2, and Neil is 12 1/2.”

“When the twins were small, it was all we could do to keep track of them,” said John.

Son, Tracy lives in Gardnerville and is the manager of a tire store in Carson City.

“We first came through the Carson Valley when both boys were living at the lake,” said Faye.

“We’d visit in our motor home, and after the Carson Valley Inn was built we would stop there to catch our breath before driving home,” said John. “We thought that it would be a good place to live.”

There isn’t a lot that the Pekar’s don’t like about the Carson Valley, unless it is the wind.

“John hates the wind,” said Faye. “But without it, the wind decorations wouldn’t work as well.”

“I have to make sure they’re anchored down tight,” said John.

And for a person raised in San Diego, Faye says that she enjoys the snow.

“As long as she doesn’t have to shovel it,” joked John.

The Pekar’s said that they volunteer their time to improve the quality of life for seniors and everyone in Douglas County.

“That’s what is should be,” said Faye. “It you can’t help improve quality of life you’re in deep trouble.” She then smiled. “Volunteering at the senior center gives us something to do, and it keeps John out of my hair.”

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