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TAUNTON — There’s a plethora of star athletes who were born in 1934 — from baseball icons such as Hank Aaron and Roberto Clemente, to Boston Celtics legend and 11 time NBA champion Bill Russell and Super Bowl I and II MVP Bart Starr.

But out on the links at the John F. Parker Golf Course, no star shines brighter than that of Ellie Boegler, whose kindness, dedication and love of the game of golf has made her an icon in her own right at the Taunton municipal course.

On Monday morning, the Parker community showed just how much Boegler means to all of them as they put together a surprise party to celebrate her 90th birthday, complete with her family and an official citation from the City of Taunton presented by Mayor Shaunna O’Connell.

For Boegler, who thought she was just coming in to play 18 holes with friends as she has almost daily since her retirement in 1993, the honor was completely unexpected and incredibly appreciated.

“It means everything in the world,” Boegler said of seeing everyone there to celebrate her. “They’re all my friends, all my golfing pals and I love them all. (Club Manager Paul Champagne), he’s just awesome and it was so nice to see (O’Connell) to come celebrate my day.”

Around the clubhouse, mementos to Boegler were everywhere, including a scrapbook of memories, a banner with facts about 1934 and one of her most prized golf mementos: the scorecard from when she shot a hole-in-one on the Clipper course at The Heritage Golf Collection in Hilton Head, S.C., which was signed by golf legends Jack Nicklaus and Nancy Lopez. A cake was served while friends and family serenaded her with “Happy Birthday.”

“One word that describes her here is family,” said Champagne, who helped organize the surprise party. “I wouldn’t miss it for the world. The look on her face was priceless.”

Her friend Judy Chambers, who has golfed with Boegler for the past 13 years and was one of the main organizers of the party, said her friend is a source of inspiration to her.

“We play every day, Monday through Friday, come rain or shine, except for when it snows,” Chambers said. “She’s out there walking: not riding a cart, but pushing a cart, at 90 years old and that’s tremendous. And she plays a good game (too).”

Boegler said she always wanted to golf, but didn’t get a chance to start until a couple of years before her retirement. For her, one of the early appeals was the satisfaction of hearing the clicking noise of metal golf spikes on the cement pathways.

“I love that feeling, and as soon as I started playing, they took the cleats out and you had to have rubber on the bottom,” Boegler said with a laugh. “(But) I’ve loved it, every minute. I always wanted to play golf and this is my thing.”

Not only is it the game that keeps her coming back, but the people she’s met at Parker.

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“Every one of them has been so nice to me,” Boegler said. “I couldn’t have asked for anything better.”

It’s an appreciation that goes both ways.

“Ellie’s been somewhat of an icon here,” Club Supervisor Ed Keyes said. “From the day I met her, I’ve heard stories about how consistent she was, and then to meet the person and to know the person and the love and care in her heart, she’s just a really appealing woman and we all look forward to seeing her every morning. She’s an inspiration.”

Champagne praised Boegler, who he described as a “fixture” of the golf course, for her energy and dedication, and said she’s always willing to play with anyone. That is, as long as they don’t hold her up.

“That’s always been her motto, if you can keep up with her, you’re more than welcome to play with her,” Champagne said. “She’s very regimented. She’ll be out there when nobody else is out there. She doesn’t care if she’s out there by herself.”

As she prepared to go out and play her daily round, Boegler said she feels truly grateful for everything she has.

“I’m just so happy to play golf every day, to make 90 and to have my loving family with me,” Boegler said.

Taunton Daily Gazette sports reporter Cameron Merritt can be reached at cmerritt@tauntongazette.com. You can follow him on X, formerly known as Twitter, at @CamMerritt_News. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to the Taunton Daily Gazette today.

This article originally appeared on The Taunton Daily Gazette: John F. Parker Golf Course honors Ellie Boegler on her 90th birthday

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