Anita Koontz Stichter, the longest living
resident of Manhattan Beach (92 years), passed away peacefully on Feb. 16, 2021.
She was 102 years old.
Anita was born in Portland, OR on Nov. 12, 1918, the day after the Armistice Agreement was signed ending World War I. The family moved to the LA area in search of jobs (her father was a builder), and her family (mother Ruth, father Frank Sr, and younger brother Frank Jr) chose to live in Manhattan Beach because there were building opportunities and it was affordable. At that time there were only about 3 houses on the Strand.
Anita was 10.
Anita attended Redondo Beach High School which was the only high school in the South Bay. She was part of a group of girls called the Peppy Steppers who remained friends throughout their lives. Anita graduated from RBHS in 1936.
During this time, Anita and her brother Frank became avid beach goers, and they were charter members of the surfing club known in the South Bay as the Water Rats. They used what would now be known as paddle boards. Anita and her girlfriends would also be known to jump off the end of the pier and swim to shore!
In 1940 Anita met her future husband Charles (Bob) on a blind date set up by her cousin. Bob was a handsome athlete (track scholarship to UCLA and a ranked tennis player in CA) who was teaching in the physical education department at UCLA. They married and 2 years later Bob Jr. was born. When WWII began, Bob Sr was deployed in the army to the Philippines, and Anita and her young son moved in with her parents on 14th St and Highland.
While Bob was overseas, Anita found a lot for sale on Pacific Ave. So when Bob returned from the war, Anita asked her father to build them a home. Their daughter Patti was born when the house was being built. This home is where Anita has lived for 73 years.
After WWII ended, Anita and Bob found an active group of friends moving
into the area. In 1948 they became founders of the first public Manhattan Beach Tennis Club at Live Oak Park. Bob became the first president of this social and competitive club with Anita's help. Besides the great tennis opportunities offered to the public, from tournaments to free tennis lessons for kids, the highlight of the club was its monthly potluck dinners usually held in Anita's backyard. All of this offered at 25 cents per month dues!
Later in life, Anita was very active in charitable and service groups. She volunteered for 25 years at the old South Bay Hospital and for several years at the Thrift Store downtown Manhattan Beach whose proceeds went to helping children with cancer. Anita was also an avid and vocal member of the "Save the Pier" movement. She was a preschool teacher for several years and has been a "living source of information" at the Manhattan Beach Historical Society.
Anita loved to travel, visiting her son in Spain twice and her cousin Janette in Belgium. She had numerous "vacations" at her daughter's home in Colorado. Anita also took several cruises in the Pacific, the Mediterranean, and the
Caribbean. Her favorite vacation destination was always Maui. She lived her
life "her way."
Anita is survived by her son Bob Stichter, her daughter Patti Stichter
Asbury, her grandchildren Jenni Heath, Rob Stichter, Rebecca Lavery, and Heidi Asbury-Wagner, a niece Frankie Murray, a cousin Donna Epperly, and 10 great grandchildren.
A celebration of life for Anita will be planned in the future.
Published in The Beach Reporter on Feb. 23, 2021.