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97-year-old says golf a link to longevity

SWING AWAY—Camarillo resident Robert Pegg, 97, chips the ball at Leisure Village on July 30. Photos by RICHARD GILLARD/Acorn Newspapers

Surrounded by family members and friends, Camarillo resident Robert Pegg celebrated his 97th birthday July 21.

But he considers his days spent on the golf course just as much of a celebration. It’s a sport he loves, and one that he believes has contributed to his longevity.

Twice each week, Pegg and his golf cart can be spotted on Leisure Village’s 18-hole course.

“Just getting this far in good shape is an accomplishment,” Pegg said. “I’ve had a pretty good life all the way through.”

A Chicago native, Pegg said he enlisted in the US Navy shortly after graduating from high school.

He was trained as an electronics technician at various schools in Georgia, Indiana, Oklahoma and Texas.

Though he was discharged after World War II ended because of his height—he’s 6 feet, 6 inches tall—Pegg said he is grateful for all he learned during his time in the service.

Pegg later earned his bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and his master’s degree from Rutgers University, forging a career as an electrical engineer.

KEEP SMILING—Pegg, at left, says of golf: “I figure it's good exercise, and I meet interesting people.”

KEEP SMILING—Pegg, at left, says of golf: “I figure it’s good exercise, and I meet interesting people.”

“I liked electronics and designing stuff, making sure it was built right,” he said.

He married his first wife and had two children, Bob and David, while living in New Jersey.

After Lockheed Corp. purchased the company he worked for, Pegg spent his time in Southern California designing electronics for the military. I have managed a highly classified enemy submarine simulation design program.

In 1964, Pegg crossed paths again with a woman named Margo, whom he first met during the war. She was in the women’s branch of the US Naval Reserve and sang in the same band Pegg played the bass fiddle in.

The two married, and the family of five, including stepdaughter Kelly, moved to Sylmar.

Once Pegg retired at 59 years old, the couple traveled across the country and beyond together.

“We even made it around the world once,” he said.

He also began playing golf regularly.

“I always wanted to play and never had time,” Pegg said.

When a wildfire destroyed their San Fernando Valley home, they bought a home in Leisure Village in 2009. Pegg said he appreciated the close-knit community and the 18-hole golf course.

After 50 years of marriage, Margo Pegg died in 2017.

The other men who belong to Leisure Village’s golf club encouraged him to continue golfing.

“I enjoy it,” he said. “I figure it’s good exercise, and I meet interesting people. We have a good time.”

Golf, Robert Pegg said, is the ideal sport for old men. He is at least 10 years older than the other players in his group of him, so they help him when his ball falls into a sand trap, and he uses his golf cart to keep from slowing them down.

Though he’s tired when he finishes, he’s never tired enough to give up on the sport.

The grandfather of two said he doesn’t consider himself a good player and joked that he is jealous of the professionals he sees on TV.

“That’s what makes it enjoyable—there’s always some goal to reach for if you don’t take it too seriously, which I don’t,” Pegg said.

Leisure Village resident Tony Minero said he always looks forward to spending time on the green with Pegg.

“Him turning 97 as I turned 76 gives me someone to look up to—not just in height,” Minero said. “He shows us all what can be done at any age.”

Pegg’s stepdaughter Kelly Nelson said she is in awe of how active and independent he remains—qualities which she credits in part to golf.

“My father represents a very rare group of people we refer to as ‘the eldest of our elders.’ Turning 97 on July 21 of this year made me realize how special he is,” she said. “He’s clearly an inspiration in so many ways to so many of us.”

Though he attributes having never been in the hospital since the day he was born to good luck, Pegg said that with each birthday he is reminded that his health is most important. He no longer takes it for granted as he once did.

Pegg’s advice for the younger generation? Stay healthy by doing what you love.

“I’ve always liked to keep moving,” he said. “I feel good, so why stop?”

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