We received the very sad news that PRA member Bernie Weinraub passed away this past weekend.
Bernie took up archery in his seventies, after retiring from his teaching position at The Waverly School. He joined the PRA in 2011. Bernie became my student when Coach Eric Tollefson moved to Yankton, SD. We usually met on Mondays, and our sessions always began with one of Bernie’s jokes. He practiced with his Olympic recurve bow several mornings a week, usually on either target 5 or 6. At least once a week he would send me photos of the results of his practice.
An avid cyclist, Bernie was always preparing for a century ride. He swore he had no interest in competition; archery was just for fun. But eventually I talked him into participating in a tournament. Bernie’s first tournament was the 2015 Pasadena Senior Games. He shot the 600 round and earned a gold medal in the Male Recurve, 70-79.
Bernie lived near the Rose Bowl. When his friends and neighbors asked him about the rumors and stories they heard about the range, he shared the truth with them. Bernie wrote to the City Council and attended last year’s epic City Council meeting.
While searching for a photo of Bernie, I found a copy of the email he sent to the Pasadena City Council.
I am a retired teacher. My last position was as an instructor at The Waverly School, here in Pasadena. Out of love for the school I still substitute there from time to time, even though all my former students have graduated.
Two weeks ago I was walking across the campus when I saw a young woman whose windbreaker had the legend “Archer” across its back. I asked if this referred to the girls’ school of that name, in Brentwood. She laughed, and with great pride declared that she was not “at” Archer; she was “an” archer, and a competitive one! She had learned archery as a child, taking classes in the lower Arroyo, given by the Pasadena Roving Archers.
Archery is a popular sport for young people. In a culture which tends to scatter one’s attention, and to value excitement over contemplation, archery is about focus, form, practice, and calm. A young man whom I used to teach took up archery at sixteen, during a troubled time in his life. He is now a successful college student, and competes in statewide archery tournaments.
After years of walking along the Arroyo, with my dog and without, one day I stopped to watch a class being taught by Pasadena Roving Archers, and realized that in this, as in so many other things, young people had something to teach me by example. I decided in my early seventies to to take up archery.
I have been studying and practicing archery in the Arroyo–a short distance from my home in the Linda Vista area–for several years now. As a citizen and someone who knows something about organizations, I’ve developed an enormous respect for Pasadena Roving Archers–for their emphasis on safety, their respect for the environment; their sense of themselves as part of the community.
I urge you to continue the club to operate as it is, and where it is. It is a fine way to utilize the Arroyo as a recreational area, and deserves our support.
I miss Bernie. He was intelligent, kind, and very, very funny. Our heartfelt condolences go out to Bernie’s friends, former students, and his family.