Gloria is a retired teacher. She and her husband Pete moved from St. Louis, MO to Punta Gorda after playing in the 1st Peace River Picklers' Tournament in 2016. Gloria was a director for the Peace River Picklers and helped organize a pickleball tournament for the Charlotte Harbor Yacht Club in the fall of 2016. Gloria and Pete are level 1 certified pickleball instructors with the IPTPA and have volunteered their time with the Peace River Picklers’ instructional program. Gloria is also a local Ambassador with the USAPA. Gloria served as Secretary/ Teasurer for the PicklePlex since from 2016 to 2020and has continued to help with tournaments and leagues.
Both Sue and her husband, Mac hail from Ann Arbor, Michigan (hail to the victors!) and return there each year to visit friends and family. Sue spent her career at the University of Michigan managing large research projects and Mac was a high school Industrial Arts teacher. They lived the dream of leaving their jobs, selling their home, and moving aboard their sailboat, sailing the Caribbean for 12 years. Until they found SWFL and then pickleball. Early on Sue took on the responsibility of co-authoring of the Peace River Picklers Newsletter (with Ginny MacDonald) and through that experience met so many fabulous folks and learned so much about the sport. She and Mac have volunteered for PicklePlex in a number of ways, from tournaments, hosting pro-camps, answering the call for help, developing an approach to fundraising, so they understand the importance of every volunteer, the lifeline of PicklePlex. Sue is honored to serve.
Mayor Nancy Prafke
Originally from Springfield, Ohio, Nancy moved to Punta Gorda in 2005 from Evergreen, Colorado. Nancy was drawn to helping our community get back on its feet after Hurricane Charley and began volunteering with TEAM Punta Gorda, a grass-roots civic organization, in 2006. She became the volunteer CEO at the end of 2007 and provided leadership that resulted in the completion of many collaborative solutions for our community. She resigned her CEO position in April 2013, to run for the City Council position which she won. Nancy accepted the role of City Council liaison to the pickleball community in November 2016 and began working with what has now become the board of the PicklePlex. She and her husband John are avid pickleball and PicklePlex fans!
Melissa was born and raised in Missouri but her dream was to always come to Florida. She started her career as a Registered Dietitian but soon learned that no one really listens to you concerning their diets. So, she moved to Technology training where people do need to listen or their programs will not work. After traveling extensively for work, she finally was lucky enough to settle down in Punta Gorda in 2011. Once arriving Punta Gorda, Melissa become addicted to Pickleball. She was an active founding member of Peace River Pickleball member by developing their first website and have an active role in all the tournaments. As Pickleball grew in the area, Melissa became a large supporter of PicklePlex®, giving up her a lot of free time to volunteer at PicklePlex®. One of her favor volunteer activities is Friday Night Lights at PicklePlex® where fellow Pickleballs can have some fun together. Melissa has not stopped there as she joined the PicklePlex® board in the fall of 2021, to support the growth of PicklePlex® and Pickleball in our community.
Director of Project Management
Hailing from Massachusetts, John and his wife Mary Ann retired and became full-time residents of Punta Gorda in 2017. Prior to retirement, John worked in the military defense industry as an Engineer for 36 years and has extensive experience in Project Management and Mechanical Design. Having never heard about pickleball, John was introduced to the sport by his wife who thought it would be a healthy, fun activity to enjoy together. Soon thereafter he became a regular on the courts, ready to chat up a good game. Once settled into retirement and seeking an opportunity to give back to the community, John joined the PicklePlex Board of Directors in September 2019 and is both honored and humbled to be involved in the continued development of PicklePlex.
Joel and Melissa came to Punta Gorda from St. Louis in 2011 where we tried to be snowbirds but they quickly found that Punta Gorda was their true home. Joel had great opportunities during his working years as a restaurant owner and a district manager for food service companies around the country. Since his arrival to our area, he immediately got involved with eleven fellow pickleball players to start promoting Pickleball to the community with the creation of pickleball courts and club. From being the first president of Peace River Picklers club, he knew we need to keep the Pickleball movement going so his next step was to became part of the original PicklePlex® board.