By Margaret Maynard
For The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
Martha Passwater is well-known at the White River Club. She’s known as the 89-year-old who actively enjoys classes at the fitness club.
But the Knightstown native and longtime Anderson resident is also known for volunteering at St. Vincent Anderson Regional Hospital and playing golf with the Grandview Ladies League, weather permitting.
“She has a marvelous attitude and a great sense of humor,” said a friend, Pat Sites. “She still drives and is a very good driver. In fact, she manages to park within the lines in the parking lot much better than many younger drivers. When I’m 90, I would hope to be just like Martha.”
Sites, a fellow White River Club member, has been helping plan a Come-and-Go Open House to celebrate Passwater’s 90th birthday. The Open House will take place at WRC, 1545 S. Scatterfield Road, on Friday, May 24 from 10 a.m. until noon. Although Passwater’s actual birthday is May 27, friends and family are welcome to attend. She has requested no gifts.
“Party planners and participants are bringing a variety of cupcakes in addition to diet-friendly foods and drinks,” said Sites. “We hope to get lots of photos of Martha and her friends.”
Passwater has two adult daughters. “My oldest daughter, Teresa Bale lives in Carmel with her husband Tom and son Tyler,” said Passwater. “My other daughter, Ginger Alexander lives in Anderson with her husband Jim.”
Passwater, who started playing golf at age 50, wears a visor on the course, which displays her affectionately given nickname “Lil’ Bubba,” by the Grandview Ladies League.
“I purchased a new driver,” Passwater said. “Some couldn’t figure out why I would want to do that at my age. I told them that I planned to play golf as long as possible and wanted to see if I could improve my shot. The first day I teed off with it, the ball really took off and the ladies shouted, ‘Lil’ Bubba!’ Obviously, the purchase paid off.”
Physically active and mentally sharp, Passwater is an inspiration to those around her.
Her daughter, Ginger Alexander, said that her mom still cooks, not only for herself, but prepares family dinners. “She cooks and has us all over for dinner every Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter,” said Alexander.
When Passwater is at home, she occasionally works on a puzzle which is set up on a card table. It is one of those with tiny pieces that nearly covers the table. “She reads the newspaper daily, works a crossword and also does Sudoku puzzles,” said Alexander.
“I play a card game, Hand and Foot, once a week with a few friends,” Passwater said. “Then in the winter I play the same game on a different day with some of my golfing friends. When my daughters come over, we always play, with yet another set of rules. I think this game has 500 different sets of rules.”
When asked if she hadadvice for others who want to remain as healthy as she is, Passwater said that one thing her father told her always stuck with her. “Your body is God’s temple and you are to take care of it and keep it clean. I always remembered that,” said Passwater.
A member of Chesterfield Christian Church, Passwater was secretary there for 31 years before retiring. She still attends church every Sunday.
“I’ve been so blessed,” said Passwater. “Evidently I have good genes, because I do stay healthy. Both of my girls do, too. They both work out and have encouraged me to. They are good kids with nice families. I really enjoy them.”