Pearl City senior turns daily walks into labor of love

Pearl City resident Bob Stiver has a passion for gardening.

Every day, he tends to his wife’s favorite flower. Then he laces up his shoes and heads for the hills.

“I first went up Kaahumanu in 1985 and that time, about halfway up the street, it was just a dirt trail,” Stiver said. “This is my 33rd year of going up that hill.”

One year ago this week, Stiver nearly walked away from walking after losing his greatest love of all, his wife, Masako.

“Forty-nine years of marriage. It’s tough,” he said. “She’d been ill for many, many years. … I almost stopped running after Masako died.”

But Stiver promised his wife he’d take care of himself, and he’s kept that promise with daily treks with his dog, Frankie, despite a congenital back condition.

“I’m approaching the end with this spine of mine,” he said, but admitted his walks are “therapeutic, both emotionally and physically.”

Things were much different in the early years, when he ran marathons. Back then, it was about speed.

“That became my marathon training run. I ran 21 marathons starting in ’86,” Stiver said. “I used to run it big time. I’d go up there at about eight-and-a-half-minute pace and run eight miles in 64 minutes. Now I run about four miles and it takes me 90 minutes.”

Now it’s about nature and making friends.

“Sometimes I say, ‘Gee, how does that person know my name?'” Stiver said. “Makes me realize how wonderful people are.”

At 73, he’s making the most of life, one step and one smile at a time.

“Life does go on. We have to persevere,” he said.

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