Celebrating Pinehurst’s Ageless Pickleball Queen

Over 50 pickleball players and adoring fans gathered in early September at the courts at Pinehurst No. 6 to pay tribute to Mary Crusius. Celebrating her 90th birthday, Mary was instrumental in bringing one of the nation’s fastest growing sports to the golf-crazed town in 2012.

Mary dominated Court 1 at Pinehurst No. 6 during the celebration.

Members of the PCC Pickleball Club and Senior Enrichment Center partnered to set up a morning of round-robin play, snacks, and lots of reminiscing. The group surprised her with a personalized “Pickleball Queen” paddle signed on the back with congratulations and thanks by many of the participants. Mary’s biggest surprise was a visit from her daughter and son-in-law, Wendy and Gary Geiger, from California, both of whom also play pickleball. 

For the past six years pickleball has been played in Pinehurst, Mary has been a welcome example to beginners and experienced pickleball players alike with her pleasant smile, careful instruction, willingness to organize, and fun competitive spirit.

Over 50 of Mary’s “fans” gathered for her birthday and a thank-you for bringing pickleball to Pinehurst.


Every year, Mary participates in the Moore County Senior Games in the Pines and the NC Senior Games, usually bringing home a handful of medals from pickleball events and several other sports to add to her ever-growing collection. She has also served as a USAPA Ambassador, helping to grow the sport throughout the area. 

Contributed by Vicki Hancock, Pinehurst Country Club Pickleball

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