Meet Your Neighbor: Grace Hutchings

By George Stephens
Information Advisory Committe (IAC) Member

Grace with husband Tom

Grace Hutchings and her husband, Tom, came to Shadow Hills after living in Sun City Palm Desert for 8 years. They made the move to Shadow Hills because of the amenities including our beautiful clubhouses, clubs, activities, and the friendly residents. Some may say that Sun City Palm Desert is better because of self-management, but Grace and Tom don’t agree with that assessment: “We have lived in both communities, and we feel that Shadow Hills is better for us in so many different ways.

Shadow Hills residents come from many different backgrounds. Grace was born in Chicago, Illinois, and is a third-generation Japanese-American with roots in both Southern California and Japan. Grace’s grandfather graduated from the University of Southern California in 1914 and returned to Japan before the start of World War II and the attack on Pearl Harbor. The war affected her family dramatically in different ways. Her father’s cousin was uprooted and interned at Tule Lake, California, for the duration of the war. Her parents were living in Japan at the time of the war. Her father was drafted into the US army and became General MacArthur’s attaché and translator in Tokyo during the Korean War. Grace continues to nurture her Japanese heritage and has been involved with the Japanese Tea Ceremony activity for over 50 years.

Her family eventually moved to California, where she graduated from El Camino High School in Woodland Hills. She says that as a 10-year-old she watched the 1964 UCLA basketball team under legendary coach, John Wooden, win the NCAA National Championship and became determined to go to UCLA for her college education. She graduated from UCLA with a BA in Japanese and a minor in mathematics. Grace later earned her teaching certification and an MA from Cal Lutheran in Education Administration. She was a translator for the Japanese Olympic team in 1984 when Los Angeles hosted the Olympics. She was a math teacher in the LA Unified school district for many years. When she and Tom moved to the desert she taught for the Desert Sands Unified School District in its special math programs. By all accounts, she was an inspirational math teacher for her students. She won the prestigious Jaime Escalante Mathematic Teachers Award in 1991, given to the outstanding math educator. She is still recognized and fondly remembered by her former students when she and Tom are out and about in our community.

When she moved to the desert, she decided to take golf seriously and threw herself into learning golf and improving her game. Subsequently she has been involved with the women’s golf club for several years as rules and handicap chairwoman, tournament chairwomen, vice president, and president in 2014 and 2015. She was instrumental in starting the Shadow Hills Couples Golf Club. She was the Desert Women’s Team Play President from 2014 to 2016. Apparently she learned quickly, as evidenced by having her first hole-in-one at PGA West 3 years ago in a team play match.

She is currently involved with the SCGA (Southern California Golf Association) course rating team, which rates golf courses in Southern California. (They don’t rate themselves!) The team goes on a regular basis to each golf course and measures the lengths of the holes; widths of the fairways; the locations of water, trees, and sand bunkers; the depths, widths, and speeds of greens; and the overall difficulty of the golf course. Shadow Hills South golf course was given a course rating of 69.9 and a slope of 127 for men, and a 75.9 rating with a slope of 138 for women from the white tees. Of course, the slope is used to determine one’s course handicap, which is to help level the field of play with other players. The rating number indicates the difficulty of the course for a scratch player who can usually shoot par. Course rating itself is based on a determined shot length made by a scratch player, whether male or female, from the tee or fairway. Two other Shadow Hills residents, Marianna Lasch and Lynn Strinic, are also on the rating team.

Her other golf interest is making creative golf club and golf cart covers—when she has time to indulge in her artistic side.

It’s easy to take for granted the many amenities that we all enjoy here at Shadow Hills. Maintaining and operating our clubhouses, golf courses, clubs and activities are not performed automatically; they are shepherded by the many devoted members in our community. Grace is one of our leaders who makes Shadow Hills a great place to live.

* A Note from the Chair of the Information Advisory Committee: If you know someone whose story would interest our community, please send in your suggestions to: information@scshca.com

Meet Your Neighbor: Jerry Irwin

By George Stephens
Information Advisory Committe (IAC) Member

The best way to lower your handicap is to go on a golf outing with the Men’s Golf Club to Arizona for a quick three day- three golf course outing, organized by SCSH resident, Jerry Irwin. Golf courses, tee times, match lineups, hotel and dinner reservations all organized for a very reasonable price. You also hear some good jokes from Jerry (“the reason you shanked that shot Ed, ...There’s a piece of excrement at the end of your club!”)

Jerry and his wife Barbara have lived in Shadow Hills full-time for 10 years. While Barbara plays tennis, scrabble and line dances, Jerry is on the golf course making humorous comments and in general having a great time.

A little more concerning Jerry. Jerry was raised in Brooklyn, New York and as a kid he was so tall and skinny his nickname was “Bones”. He reports that his family was in the iron and steel business; he remembers his mother would iron and his father would steal! Never a dull moment while Jerry’s around!

He lived and worked in New Jersey as an accountant, later as a financial advisor for Smith Barney which explains why he is such an enthusiastic New Jersey Devils hockey fan. He loves hockey and he knows almost all of hockey history and players. Jerry has attended 3 Stanley Cup games. He loves to travel and he attends the NHL hockey draft each year no matter where it is held. He is an accomplished roller-skater and Wednesday evenings he will drive to Chino or Murrieta to skate. He and Barbara live in California because his favorite roller rink in New York closed! Why? That’s another story.

He picked Sun City Shadow Hills for its proximity to Los Angeles and his grandchildren. Shadow Hills amenities, value, and year-round golfing were the clinchers. He and Barbara love to travel and they’re always planning the next trip. Jerry started the SCSH Travel Club and was the President seven of nine years. He attends many of the Lifestyle events such as hockey and baseball games.

He’s a member of the Men’s Golf Club and has been its Treasurer for four of the past six years. He is full of stories and loves telling jokes, but he’s best known for his perfect timing telling jokes or pulling pranks.

Jerry is one of our residents, like so many others, who exemplifies the “can do attitude”. He volunteers his time to improve our living experience here at Sun City Shadow Hills. His sense of humor lightens the meeting or the day.

P.S. Ed picked up his club and looked at the head and said “there is no excrement on the end of my club! “To which Jerry replied “The other end of the club Ed, the other end!"

* A Note from the Chair of the Information Advisory Committee: If you know someone whose story would interest our community, please send in your suggestions to: information@scshca.com

Meet Your Neighbor: Cynthia Bakshy

By George Stephens
Information Advisory Committe (IAC) Member

Cynthia Bakshy

Do you remember plate spinning as a part of a juggling act that was presented on the Ed Sullivan Show in years past? When a spinning plate slows, it will topple, fall, and break. The juggler had to revisit each spinning plate as it slowed to speed it up again. The greater the number of plates, the more frantically the juggler had to dash from plate to plate to plate to keep them all spinning. The image of a juggler rushing from spinning plate to spinning plate is a good analogy for describing Cynthia Bakshy, who has a history of balancing many activities (if not plates).

Cynthia and husband David will be celebrating their fiftieth (50) anniversary next year. Before she married, Cynthia worked in hospitals as a radiology and cardiology technician. After she and David married and were living in St. Louis, she went back to college. There she obtained an art degree with the intention of becoming a medical illustrator or a graphic art designer. That didn’t work out as planned so . . .

She and David then moved to California where Cynthia started her second career. She sold heart and cardiovascular surgery devices for 18 years. As if that wasn’t challenging enough, she and David bought an event production company and ran that for 20 years. She was president and co-owner with David and, along with 40 employees, they planned and presented corporate events for groups of between 300 and 2,000 attendees. And you thought having a dinner party on the patio for 20 friends was a big job! Being responsible for such large and critically important events for corporate clients was stressful and required planning for any unexpected calamities, such as generators and public address systems in case of power disruptions.

After Cynthia thoroughly researched dozens of 55+ communities, in June 2014 she and David moved to SCSH from Cowan Heights in Orange County. Having demonstrated her ability to keep many “plates” in the air, she has been a positive addition to our community. She is currently a member of 10 clubs. (And some of us are overwhelmed about being challenged with two clubs.) Just to mention a few they include: Reformer Pilates, current Computer Club secretary, past president of Classy Niners, the Discussion Forum Club, and currently serving on both the Emergency Preparedness Subcommittee and the Covenants Committee.

Cynthia and David

Cynthia explains: “One of the things I’ve done all my life, as far back as I can remember, is to connect people to each other. Living here is the perfect scenario, with all of us starting a new life and finding all these amazing people! Everyone has a story to tell about their outstanding lives. I love finding out what residents might need and connecting them with another person to help them. I believe that’s why I was successful with my careers in sales and marketing.”

One of her current interests is in mentoring young women at Shadow Hills High School through the Ophelia Project. The JFK Foundation, through the Ophelia Project, “empowers and encourages young teens to increase their sense of self worth and maximize their potential contribution to society.” Cynthia meets with seven or eight high school coeds several times a month, hoping to be a positive influence in their lives.

I think you’ll agree with me that Cynthia has a lot of plates in the air. Like many others who help our community thrive, she deserves our respect for her devotion to our SCSH community.

Meet Your Neighbor: Marty Martin

By George Stephens, IAC Member

In our small city we call Shadow Hills we have 6000 souls, or thereabouts. All are interesting in their own way. Many of our neighbors have had successful careers and are now retired. They selected Shadow Hills over thousands of other communities. One of these souls is my friend Marty Martin. Here’s his abbreviated story:

We’ve all heard that you should warm up adequately before doing any exercise. But there are some of us in Shadow Hills who don’t subscribe to this theory. One person who does not is 80-year-old Navy Veteran, Marty Martin. Most club members arrive at the golf course 30 to 60 minutes early to hit golf balls to warm up. Marty doesn’t do this. From his perch above the driving range near the pro shop snack bar he looks out over the guys lined up 25 abreast and chuckles to himself, “I’m not going out there and using up any extra energy.”

Marty is a member of the Men’s Golf Club and his idea of warming up to play golf is to consume two cups of hot coffee before he goes to the first tee to hit his first golf ball.

Marty carries an 18 handicap and has braces on both knees restricting his ability to move. To describe his swing would not be a challenge since there’s not much to it. Just bring the club back about waist high and give it all you’ve got! Marty isn’t very far off the tee, but he is straight every time. While some members are hitting their balls left and right, and in some cases hitting them over 250 yards, Marty consistently goes straight down the middle of the fairway 140 to 150 yards! When you get to the green, Marty is there waiting for you!

Of course, playing with Marty can be very irritating because he’s on the green putting for a par or bogey and you’re hoping to get a double bogey! Proving the old adage: Drive for show, putt for dough!

Marty and his wife Jan of 59 years, love it here at Sun City Shadow Hills. They came here from Arrowhead Country Club across the mountains from San Bernardino. Marty was in the construction business during his career and built school district buildings around San Bernardino.

Marty is one of approximately 400 veterans that live in Shadow Hills. His Navy career consisted of aviation support. He met his wife Jan in Hawaii at a party celebrating it’s statehood on August 21, 1959. I wish I had such an easy way to remember our anniversary.

Marty is a fervent supporter of all that is Shadow Hills. An HOA Board candidate mentioned that Marty was behind every door that was opened during the campaign, including all the HOA Board meetings, the Veterans Club meeting, and the Political Action Committees, (including the Design Advisory Committee, Golf Advisory Committee, and the Finance Advisory Committee). He has also been the Men’s Golf President, Bridge Club President (Life Master) and he has been active in the RV Club. Marty and Jan are prime examples of the quality of people that we have living in Shadow Hills, who make living here so enjoyable.

We are not a great community because of who we are or what we have done. We are great because of the unselfishness of our neighbors who serve to make Shadow Hills better. Marty falls in this category.

If you are enjoying a cup of coffee with Marty remember this: he may be warming up to play golf!