93-year-old Orange County Woman Fondly Recalls Lake Lucy Memories During Lake Appreciation Month

Community & Services

Peggy Lantz learned to swim in Lake Lucy at age four. Nearly nine decades later, she still heads out to the peaceful water every day.

She steps out her back door and rides her electric tricycle to her beloved dock. She sits with her Shetland Sheepdog, Sandy, and takes in the sights and sounds of nature.

Lantz can identify every nearby plant; she knows every bird by its call. “That’s a brown thrasher,” Lantz said, turning toward the cackling.

It’s no wonder Lantz knows Lake Lucy and its inhabitants so well. The 64-acre lake located east of Ocoee is a rich part of her family’s history. It’s where her grandparents lived. The five-acre property where Lantz’s home sits was purchased by her father in 1935.

As a child Lantz spent carefree summers in the lake, not retreating until long after her skin wrinkled.

Lantz watched her four children grow up near Lake Lucy where she lived with her husband of 61 years before his death in 2020.

Her late husband, Don, is now buried in the shade of a live oak near the shore. She too will be laid to rest here one day.

“Lake Lucy is the most wonderful place in the world,” the 93-year-old said. “This (lake) has been a very important part of my life.”

As Orange County celebrates Lakes Appreciation Month in July, Lantz is among many Orlando area residents who hold a special connection to a favorite body of water.

There are more than 600 lakes across Orange County, each providing a wide range of recreational opportunities valued by residents and visitors. Healthy lakes also help maintain and even increase the value of homes that surround them.

“We are lucky to be surrounded by a vast number of lakes,” said Liz Johnson, assistant manager of Orange County’s Environmental Protection Division. “Lakes give back in so many ways:  they provide a place for wildlife, a place where water can be stored and filtered, a place where humankind can rest, view, recreate, or even immerse.  It takes a partnership to maintain and enhance our lakes.”

Lantz loves Lake Lucy so much that she’s authored a book about it, one of ten books she’s penned about preserving the natural environment.

“I preach the gospel of nature as much as I can,” Lantz said.  “If anybody cares about lakes in Orange County, the best thing they can do is take care of them. Don’t run stuff into the lake that doesn’t belong there. Protect it from pesticides and fertilizers.”

Lantz smiles as she reflects on her memories of the lake — catching fireflies, boating, that first swim.

Lake Lucy, named after Lantz’s great-grandmother, was a lot deeper lake back in her day.

At 93, the shallow water is the only thing keeping Lantz from taking a plunge as she did so often throughout her life.

“I’m hoping I get to go swimming in Lake Lucy one more time before I die,” she said as a brown thrasher sang nearby.

To learn more about Orange County’s lakes, visit www.ocfl.net/epd.

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