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On Saturday, Sept. 28th, 2019, the Packanack Lake community came out for the formal dedication ceremony of our two wonderful new hard courts.
The courts are dedicated to the memory of Sylvia Baker, the wife of Bill Baker, PLTC's beloved member and one of the club's long-time leaders. Bill's generosity was an essential part of getting the courts rebuilt, and the ceremony included tributes to Bill's decades of dedication to the community as well as heartfelt remembrances of Sylvia and her legendary "Wanderlust".
A beautiful plaque was unveiled on the wall between Courts #4 and 5. It will hang as a testament to all present and future players honoring the value of community service and spirit exemplified by Bill and Sylvia Baker.
Cindy was a dear friend to many of us, and a great supporter of our club. She helped PLTC to survive by the simple charitable act of loaning us so much of Ben's time and energy over the years.
Rest in peace, Cindy. And Ben-- know that the thoughts of the entire membership are with you and your family.
What follows is the beautiful tribute to Cindy posted on the website of Vander May Funeral Home:
Cynthia Jane Clarke, nee Lempke, passed away peacefully on June 6, 2020, surrounded by her loved ones. She succumbed to the long-term effects of a rare autoimmune disease (relapsing polychondritis) that she successfully battled from adolescence through grandmotherhood. She packed several lifetimes of joy, fun and love into her 64 years of life. Born and raised in Packanack Lake, the third of five Lempke children, Cindy was taught by her parents Dick and Betty never to let her physical impairments stand in her way, and boy did the lesson take. Despite having to live with a tracheostomy from age twelve to fifteen, she enjoyed all the normal activities of high school life, and then some. After graduating from William Paterson University in 1977, she became a Montessori pre-school teacher. No one was better with little children than Cindy, or loved them more. In the summer of 1976, she met her husband-to-be, Benjamin Clarke, during Hurricane Belle, while both were marooned in Buxton, North Carolina. Born, as a couple, in a crossfire hurricane, the two never parted. They married in 1982. Memorably, and to the quiet dismay of her always supportive mother, Cindy allowed Ben to hold a pick-up softball game during their reception, though she declined to play herself. Her bridal radiance was undiminished by the “what’s wrong with this picture” spectacle of having to cut her wedding cake with someone wearing cut-offs. A few years later, Cindy and Ben were joined by their son Ernest, the true love of Cindy’s life. Due to her narrowed airways, Cindy had to undergo a second tracheostomy prior to childbirth, but it would have taken a lot more than a plastic breathing tube to keep her from fulfilling her life’s dream of being a mother. Her Montessori training was put to good use on Ernie: the highlights of her adult life were seeing Ernie graduate first in his class at Boston University, attending his wedding to beloved daughter-in-law Pamela Bookbinder and (most of all) living to see the birth of her granddaughter Aviva and grandson Noah. With a close-knit family that extended beyond siblings, in-laws and offspring to nieces, nephews, cousins, grand-nephews and -nieces, and in-laws of in-laws, and a vast network of friends who were more like family, Cindy enjoyed travel, cooking, homemaking, beach life, gift-giving, card-writing, and anything that promised fun. A glint of mischief was always in her eyes, and remains behind in our memories forever. To those who loved her, and there are so many, her uncomplaining perseverance in the face of physical adversity was super-human, but to Cindy life was to be lived, love was to be shared, and time was to be savored, not wasted. As her brother Richard well put it, no one appreciated the gift of a day more than Cindy, and her days with us were all gifts. Predeceased by her “Irish twin” Susan, she is survived by her husband, Benjamin, son Ernest, daughter-in-law Pamela, two preposterously adorable grandchildren, Aviva and Noah, her sister and brother-in-law Elizabeth and William Cochrane, her niece and sometimes daughter Elizabeth Cochrane and her husband Kiyon Tavakolian, sister Meredith Lempke, brother Richard Lempke, and a bereft fan-club of extended family members and friends. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Relapsing Polychondritis Foundation, Planned Parenthood, or any green charity of your choosing.