THE 15TH ANNUAL
BROADWAY IN THE PARK
“KISS ME KATE” TO
On the third Thursday in August for the last 14 years, you would find Elizabeth Pankey in Pepper Tree Park, surrounded by family and friends, engaged in a Broadway musical production. Libby lights up when you mention the Tustin Area Council for Fine Arts signature program, Broadway in the Park.
She enjoyed the arts as a child, growing up in Canandaigua, New York. Coming from a musical family, Libby loved singing and performing with Glee Clubs and choirs. She played the saxophone and clarinet in the school orchestra. She
spent evenings with her family during the summer picnicking and listening to bands play at the gazebo in the town center. Libby met her future husband, Edgar, while attending Pomona College, performing with the Blue and White Jubilee Band. Like so many, Edgar Pankey fell for Libby’s big blue eyes, her quick wit and beautiful smile. Ed also shared Libby’s love of music.
After courting for over a year, the two were married in 1939. Together, they began their life as citrus growers, a challenging occupation. From the beginning, the pair was unstoppable. Their love for each other was powerful, producing four wonderful children, a multitude of successes in life and business, while contributing to a community they both loved.
For practical reasons, as the Pankey’s farming business expanded to other parts of California, Arizona and Australia, Ed got his pilot’s license. He insisted for safety purposes, that Libby do the same. At age 50, Libby Pankey became a licensed pilot and life changed. Once during a flight to visit her daughter in Austin, she flew into a cloud bank on final approach with zero visibility. Blinded by the clouds, the control tower directed her between two high rise towers, ultimately landing safely. In the same year, she became a certified scuba diver, “yet another midlife adventure” experiencing a face to face encounter with a shark while diving in the Great Barrier Reef.
During her lifetime, she has served as a trustee, chairperson and leader in numerous organizations. She and Edgar published Love of the Land, a fascinating story about their lives. In addition to her other accomplishments, she earned a Doctorate from Hillsdale College in Michigan.
Elizabeth Pankey is a remarkable woman filled with love and appreciation for life. A couple years shy of being a century old, she’s traveled the world many times, dining with and entertaining heads of state, royalty and foreign diplomats from more than 40 nations, abroad and at home.
Fortunately, her deepest roots remain in Tustin. She loves and supports Broadway in the Park. In fact, it is the Pankey family contribution that has remained the foundation of our sponsorship campaign and success for the last 14 years! We thank Libby and the Pankey family for their generous commitment to support the arts in our community.
It is with enormous gratitude that The Tustin Area Council for Fine Arts salutes and honors Libby Pankey as we dedicate this year’s show to her!