May 4 will be a day that all Carbon County Senior Games participants remember for the rest of their lives. It was a day that they lost one of their own.

On Tuesday afternoon, Vicie Pecha of Nesquehoning was taken to Lehigh Valley Hospital via ambulance from the games, after she began experiencing chest pains and weakness. She passed away later that evening at the hospital.

On Wednesday morning, senior games organizers announced to the participants that Pecha had passed away.

Anne Horrigan, coordinator for the games, reminisced about Pecha's influence on the senior games and how she helped recruit many of today's participants throughout the years. The 82-year-old had been part of the games since 1989.

"We lost one of our key participants yesterday," Horrigan said during her announcement.

She noted that Vicie was not only a driving force in the games, but also in the Panther Valley Senior Center.

"She will be greatly missed," she said.

Horrigan noted that Pecha, who was known as the queen of beanbags, had just won a silver medal in the beanbag toss when she began to feel pain.

Cheri Mae Santore, director of the Carbon County Area Agency on Aging, then addressed the participants.

She spoke briefly about the drive that Pecha had for her community and the seniors.

"Vicie was very active in the senior games, the senior center and more," Santore said. "May we keep her in our prayers. She will be missed."

A number of her teammates were in attendance on Wednesday and all agreed that Vicie was a friend and a great person.

Fran Craigie, Panther Valley Senior Center manager, added that she will be missed at the senior center.

Pecha put her heart into the community that she loved.

Not only was she an annual participant in the Carbon County Senior Games and an active member in the Panther Valley Senior Center, she was a member of the Carbon County Voter Hall of Fame, the Panther Valley Golden Agers, Nesquehoning Senior Citizens, and a member of St. John's Slovak Lutheran Church in Lansford.

She was also a mother of two children, and had two grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Pecha's complete obituary can be found on page 4 of today's TIMES NEWS.