Aug 10, 2015 09:11AM ● Published by Bryan Scott
By Alisha Soeken
In an unassuming home off Winchester Street in Murray lives a spunky young woman in a 97-year-old body. If you are lucky enough to know her, perhaps you’ve been invited in and heard her story. But if not, lucky for you: you can read it.
All Utahns celebrated the day Lucy Tibolla was born. It was on the 24th of July in 1918 in Bingham Canyon, Utah, a ghost town gobbled up by the mine that created it. Lucy was one of nine children and a twin, which wasn’t special in her home, since her parents John and Mary Fassio had three sets of them.
Her childhood was sweet, literally; her parents owned a bakery and she remembers the smells of frosting sweet rolls and making donuts. They lived on a 30-acre farm off Redwood Road in Taylorsville. “I remember roller skating down Redwood Road,” Lucy said. “There wasn’t much traffic then.” Helping on the farm, she learned early to work hard, physically as well as intellectually; at Granite High School she was top of her class.
Lucy met John Tibolla, the man she would marry, at Covey’s Coconut Grove, a dance hall-turned-parking lot in 1987 for the Little America Hotel in Salt Lake City. “He was the best dressed man,” she remembered. John was Italian and moved to the United Sates when he was six. Together they had their own small farm and four children who also learned the art of hard work. They loved to garden together and share its abundance with others.
Lucy also loved sports and was good at them. She has a huge collection of pins awarded for each game she bowled 200, and brags about being able to beat her husband at a round of golf.
Perhaps that love is why in her early fifties, the Heritage Center in Murray was such a good fit. The Heritage Center is a recreational facility for adults 55 and older and is funded by Murray City. Lucy and John started going over 40 year ago. “I just love it there. I enjoy helping out, having lunch and playing bingo,” Lucy said.
John passed away in November of 1999, but Lucy kept going. At the very young age of 78, Lucy began teaching chair aerobics at the center and did so for almost 20 years. “I think I’m so young because I keep moving,” she said. At age 97 Lucy still attends two aerobics classes a week. “It would be three, but I hurt my knee recently in a Zumba class,” she said. Lucy also volunteers at the center and has given thousands of hours of service. “I wipe off the table tops for lunch,” She said. “I just love it.”
As impressive as her physicality and service are, it’s her disposition that’s truly remarkable. “Well, I’m just completely happy,” Lucy said of her life. “I have no worries.” And that’s the magic of Lucy, as you sit next to her and see the way her eyes and voice proclaim it, that joy can’t help but seep inside you.