Truckee local built town’s first golf course
Betty Kielhofer, who lived in Truckee for more than 40 years and was the driving force behind the volunteer effort to build the Ponderosa Golf Course, died on June 28. She was 78.Kielhofer was a real estate agent, columnist for the Sierra Sun and well-known community activist in Truckee. She died near Palm Springs where she lived since the late 1980s.Those that knew Kielhofer remember her as a friendly, outgoing person who cared deeply about her community. She was linked closely with the efforts to create recreation activities in town, and the beginnings of the Truckee Tahoe Airport.”Betty was a lovely person,” said Stefanie Olivieri, who attended school with Kielhofer’s son, Kary. “She was involved in all the social activities that we had here.”Olivieri remembers Kielhofer as an avid golfer. And it was that love of golf that led her to organize a large group of volunteers to build Truckee’s first golf course.”That was the major thing that she accomplished in Truckee,” said her son Kary Kielhofer.The Ponderosa Golf Course construction in the early 1960s was a barn-raising style activity for the growing Truckee community, which was experiencing a busy time following the winter Olympics at Squaw Valley.”There was a lot going on at that time,” said Kary Kielhofer. “The area just all of the sudden blossomed.”Road construction crews from the interstate construction volunteered time and equipment, as well as hundreds of members of the Truckee community. The course and clubhouse, which was earlier named Shadow Valley Country Club, was completed for a mere $110,000 because of all the volunteers, Kary Kielhofer said. After the construction of the golf course, Kielhofer soon became the champion of the country club.Sharon Pace Arnold remembers Kielhofer’s involvement in many other important community affairs.”She was very much a part of the community,” said Arnold. “She was just a very fine lady.”Many remember Kielhofer for “Truckee Tales” and “Divot Diggers” – two columns that she wrote for the Sierra Sun on community affairs and golf.Through her weekly columns, Kielhofer brought together citizens to oppose water treatment ponds in the Martis Valley and early plans for an asphalt plant. But it was her personal stories and knowledge of the locals in the community that truly showed through her “Truckee Tales” column.Kielhofer was preceded in death by her husband Karl and her brothers Jack Ellis, former owner of the Truckee Hotel and Cliff Ellis, former owner of the Star Hotel. She is survived by her son Kary and her granddaughter Jennifer. The Kielhofer family plans to hold a burial service for Betty Kielhofer on August 27 at 10 a.m. at the Sierra Mountain Cemetery.