Jennifer Tinholt feels a lifetime of satisfaction watching her sons play on the Lakeside Park tennis courts.
The courts were a staple in Tinholt’s youth, a place she and her siblings Chris and Karla would often find themselves with their parents, Santo and Anna Rizzuto.
“I have a lot of early memories of playing tennis,” says Tinholt. “My brother and I were the ball chasers when my mom and dad would play with their friends. We spent a lot of time playing tennis.”
Now the courts hold a deeper meaning to the family. Anna passed away in October, 2011, and Santo followed her last April.
When Chris returned for Santo’s funeral, he found the courts ruined by last year’s wind storm and saw an opportunity to honour his parents. So the three Rizzuto children made a donation to the city to have the courts restored.
The family declined to make the amount donated public, but it was significant (Tinholt’s childhood friend Sante Pulice also contributed a $5,000 donation on behalf of Selkirk Paving). Tinholt said the contribution was primarily made to recognize their parent’s community involvement, and to give back to the place her family has made a home since 1974.
“I think it wasn’t so much the tennis as it was something we could donate to the community, somewhere where the community gathers,” says Tinholt, who took over her father’s dental practice in 2007.
“Of course my mom and dad knew a lot of the Italian club that plays bocce there. We’d come and pick chestnuts in the fall at the chestnut tree with my dad. I don’t know that it was so much tennis-specific. We have lots of tennis memories but it wasn’t so tennis specific as it was a community endeavour.”
As Tinholt spoke, her sons Xavier and Arand played tennis and basketball with their father Mark on a court nearby. She’s hopeful her parent’s memory lives on in her family’s gesture.
“It’s pretty awesome to be living in the place you grew up in,” she says. “Our memories definitely run deep here.”
(Correction: A previous version of this article stated Jennifer Tinholt took over Santo Rizzuto’s dental practice last year. In fact, she did so in 2007.)