I had never given the subject of aging any thought at all. I observed my mother doing everything she could to look young, the make-up, dying her hair, never revealing her age. She went out of her way to never be with “those old people”. I was approaching my so-called mid-life age when a new awareness came into my life that changed the direction of my career dramatically, as well as my ideas about aging. (more…)
Mrs. Elizabeth Bridget “Betty Wall” Strohfus audaciously served her nation during WWII as a Women Air force Service Pilot (W.A.S.P.). She served from 1943 until the W.A.S.P. were disbanded in December, 1944. Piloting eight different aircraft including the B-17, B-26, P-39, and her favorite the AT-6, she flew anti-aircraft training missions against US Army ground and bomber forces, towed aerial targets, and even instructed male cadets in the skill of instrumental flight. Her critical efforts not only prepared and trained soldiers and airmen for war, but also freed male pilots to remain in combat. (more…)
Meet Milton “Beaver”!
Hi there, my name is Beaver to most people, but the birth-certificate reads Milton Edgar Adams, Junior. I am the luckiest guy in the world. I am 82 years of age. I am not rich but I’m comfortable. By age 9, I was orphaned, but loving grandparents and aunts and uncles stepped in to make my life normal, in spite of the Great Depression, and hard times and more deaths in the family. It was a very different time for kids when compared to today’s plush spending money allowances and parental control. In those times of safety and freedom we kids might leave the house in the morning and not come home until dinner. I grew up very independent. Today’s children are too dependent.
I was born on December 26, 1938, the first child of Elvera & Henry Hartman. There would be five more children born to this marriage over the next 17 years.
I attended a Catholic grade school (Perpetual Help), then attended a Catholic High School ( DeAndries).
DeAndries was on the border of the city of St. Louis, Missouri and St Louis County. I was from the inner city and the other students were from the suburbs.
I was born and raised in a 3 room tenement building and my fellow students came from families who owned their own homes. It was at this time that I learned that there are levels to our society.
I got my first job at age 11 where I delivered groceries to the residents of my area using a wagon. I also worked in the small grocery store stocking shelves, and general clean up work. The owners, Mr & Mrs. Kohring lived upstairs over the store. My wages were $.25 per hour and after school I worked 2 hours per day. It was great to get an occasional $.05 tip from the customers. I also set pins in a bowling alley for $.10 per line. I started that job at age 13, this was on Friday & Saturday evenings. I gave almost all of my money to my mother.
On November 23, 1957 I married my high school sweetheart, Ann. On July 28, 1959 our first daughter, Cynthia, was born. Our second daughter, Pamela, arrived April 28, 1964. We bought our first home in Florissant, Mo (a suburb of St Louis). I was still working in the grocery store business, now working for a chain store and had earned the position of Produce Manager in the company’s 2nd largest of 54 stores. Working to achieve the company’s goals of service, quality, and profit are the factors that I believe helped me reach that success.
I soon found out that one of the secrets to becoming successful in the service industry was to treat everyone the way that you would like to be treated. On February 1st, 1967 I became a full-time agent for American Family Insurance. In November of 1968 I went into management training and after looking at several management positions in different cities, I chose the Twin Cities where, in July of 1969, I acquired the remnants of 3 districts which had been disbanded and I began to build my district, District 62.
I retired from my position in July of 2003. During my career I built a district of 28 agents, some of which were among the larges agencies in the company. We won every award offered by the company and several times finished #1 Agent in the company.
1990 is when I began T.L.C. Toys, whose goal is to build quality wooden toys for less fortunate children. I was able to do this for 14 years while still working as a District Sales Manager. I was able to do both of these jobs because of the quality of my agents.
After retirement I devoted all of my available time to T.L.C. Toys, working primarily with senior citizens and the inmates at 3 prisons. The quality of the toys has to be good enough to give to my 5 grandchildren or they will not go out the door.
I had no wood working experience and I soon learned that if you take a challenge one step at a time, that you can usually solve the problem. I learned that there are many people in this world willing to help you, if you have a sincere desire to succeed. I have also learned “that the more you give, the more you will have to give”.
In developing insurance agents and building toys I found out that if you love what you are doing, that you seldom get tired and that you have a lot of energy and desire to do even better. On the other had, if you don’t really like what you are doing, then you get tired, bored, irritable, and should consider quitting and seek a new career. Life is too short to be miserable every day. This thought is reflected in T.L.C.’s motto, which is entitled “A Labor of Love”.
Labor of Love
One retired man made
beautiful toys and he
sold them to wealthy children.
It was hard work.
Another retired man made
beautiful toys and he
gave them away to poor children.
It was a pleasure.
Another thought that I would share:
THE WORLD OWES YOU NOTHING. HOWEVER – PAY ATTENTION AND YOU WILL SEE A LOT OF OPPORTUNITIES, IT’S YOUR CHOICE.
I was born on Feb. 2, 1928, the second twin son of Esther and Lynden Johncock. The Doctor drove horse and buggy from Hastings, 10 miles to deliver a son, but when Jack was born the Doctor said another baby was to be born. That was me, Jerry, 70 minutes later. When my dad asked the price the Doctor told him $20.00 for the tripand one boy, plus $5.00 for Jerry. What a bargain!
I grew up loving sports, fishing and hunting. At near 10 years old, I wanted to smoke cigarettes like my dad so I picked up several butts thrown down by dad. Dad failed in his attempt to stop this until one night after supper he offered me, some cigarettes to my delight, but shortly after, I got sick and never wanted another cigarette ever again. What a blessing. Dad also had an alcohol problem, which got worse, nearly breaking up our family. He got a truck driving job and knew he had to quit the alcohol to keep his job. In a few weeks he felt so much better and never drank again. Such a great change in his life taught me that alcohol was a bad idea, so I never started. God teaches us how to guard our health. I learned to swim at 5 years old and was the underwater champion of our 9th grade large school in Detroit. I swam two and a half lengths of the pool underwater. Swimming helped my lungs.
Basketball was my favorite sport. I was small but quick and good. This helped my lungs too. After marrying, Dorlene Ramey, in 1953 my sports went down mostly. We made missionary trips to Mexico and Trinidad, then started our family and settled down at Gun Lake. Our last of five sons was born in 1966. I worked at two jobs to support our family. In 1977 our three younger sons wanted to run an eight mile race near our Delton High School. I ran some track in Delton High School, so I knew you had to train for an eight mile race, so I joined them in a two mile run. They asked me to run the eight mile race but, I knew one month training at age 49 years would not be enough, but I told my boys I’d start next Spring training and then run with them in August, the eight mile race. I did and enjoyed it so much! I’ve been running ever since. I increased my mileage and got faster and running got easier.
I started winning and improving until age 60. I ran and won the Boston Marathon in 3:02:29. The year before I ran it in 3:09, but I increased my years mileage to 2,500 miles which put me in my best ever condition. At 60 I ran under 19 minutes 5K and under 39 minutes the 10K. Since then I’ve slowed each year, but my competition has also and more. In 2008 at age 80 I broke the National Marathon Record of 4:13 at Traverse City, Michigan (May) with a 4:11:51. October 5, I ran Twin Cities Marathon in 3:59:12 for another record plus $800.00. Labor Day I broke the 30K National Record in Milford, Michigan with a 2:45:25. December 31, I ran a 50K in Morganton, North Carolina in 5:36:27, which would break the old record by 17 minutes, only to find out in 2010 that the course was 50 yards short, so I need to try again. In 2008 I ran a 25:19 – 5K and a 54:03 – 10K, 1:24:19 – 10 miles. October 3, 2010 I ran 4:31 at Twin Cities Marathon and October 17, I ran 4:32 at Grand Rapids, Michigan Marathon (which is my 110th Marathon). December 31, 2010, I hope to run 50K at Morganton, North Carolina to set the 50K record.
My diet has changed only slightly since running. I’ve cut down on fats and refined sugar. I eat more fish and chicken. I also take vitamins, minerals and herbs. Jerry suggests, “Stay away from junk food.” As he puts it, “junk in – junk out – and the body won’t function to its’ highest potential.”
Jerry is a big promoter of the old adage, “use it or lose it.” He encourages everyone to get some physical exercise as least several days a week. Jerry shares, “Use what you have or the body muscles and brain function will deteriorate fast.” Jerry believes the stress of exercise strengthens his muscles and stimulates him mentally. Jerry refuses to allow age to be a detriment to being active and reaching his marathon goals. Instead, he advocates for a more intentional effort to be physically and mentally active as one grows older.
Goal setting is another important part of Jerry’s AgePotential success. Jerry likes a challenge and enjoys having something to look forward to or work toward. Goal setting helps him do that. Since running is Jerry’s love, his goal is to run a total of 200 marathons in his lifetime. To date, Jerry has completed 110 marathons. Jerry has been averaging 3 to 4 marathons a year, but has competed in as many as 8 in one year. No matter how many marathons Jerry ends up running, it is having the determination and a goal with a compelling future in the forefront of his mind that will keep him aging to his potential.
When asked, What does he do when he “hits the wall” and wants to quit? Jerry’s response: ”I take it to the Lord. The Lord helps me get through hardships.” ”Orange slices help too!”
Born in August, 1919 and raised in Cincinnati and Little Rock, Arkansas, Irv Williams first settled in the Twin Cities in 1942 while playing in the Navy band. Irv started out as a childhood violinist, a diminutive youngster who charmed the crowds with his musical talent and his undeniable “cuteness.”
His father, a doctor, prescribed the clarinet to strengthen Irv’s lungs during a bout with bronchitis at age 11. Williams fell in love with the horn and soon moved on to the sax – all he wanted to do was blow the horn. This beloved tenor sax player has worked in bands fronted by the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Fletcher Henderson, Mary Lou Williams, Billy Eckstine’s orchestra and many other jazz luminaries at venues like the Apollo Theater and the Howard Theater. His warm, soulful tone and mastery of the jazz ballad earned him the moniker “Mister Smooth” (as bestowed by former Pioneer Press jazz writer Bob Protzman).
Irv has performed in just about every jazz club the Twin Cities has hosted since WWII, including The Flame Bar where he split sets with stars like Sarah Vaughan, Dizzy Gillespie and Johnny Hodges. An educator and mentor to countless Twin Cities musicians, Irv’s contributions to the music scene go far beyond his estimable sax skills. He spent decades teaching in the St. Paul public schools, guest lecturing at the University of Minnesota, and performing with the late jazz messenger, Dr. Reginald Buckner. Irv was the first jazz musician to be honored by the State of Minnesota with his own “Irv Williams Day” in 1984, and had his picture on the “Celebrate Minnesota” official state map in 1990. His many awards include induction into the Minnesota Jazz Hall of Fame and receiving the Arts Midwest Jazz Masters Award in 1995.
At 90 years old, Irv Williams threatened retirement on several occasions – luckily for his fans retirement seems to be the one musical endeavor he just can’t master. Since turning 85, Irv has released two wonderful CDs and continues to be a hard working live performer. Describing Irv’s latest CD Dedicated To You in the Star Tribune, Tom Surowicz remarked, “It’s one thing to be prolific and vital at age 85. It’s quite another for an artist to be doing some of his best work.” Irv’s CD That’s All?, released in October 2004, was named one of the “Top 20 Local Albums” of 2004 by the Star Tribune, alongside rappers, rockers and a star named Prince.
Presently , Irv is not retired but continues to be creative and productive through his music. His latest CD is slated to be released in January, 2011. According to Irv, “everyone should have something they love to do.” Then, “work at it and perfect it.” Composing and playing music is Irv’s love. ”It keeps my mind sharp as I am thinking all the time remembering chords, counting melodies and improvising as needed.” The CD features songs of The Great American Songbook, a vital part of jazz repertoire in which jazz musicians often refer to as “Jazz standards.” Irv wrote 4 out of the 10 featured songs and states, “these are some of my favorite tunes because of their rich history and are easy to solo on.”
“No smoking, no drinking and having friends” are Irv’s words of wisdom on living out your AgePotential. Irv smoked cigars up until he was diagnosed with prostrate cancer in 1982 at the age of 63. As research states and Irv’s life attests to, it is never too late to begin to incorporate healthy lifestyle choices. Friendships have nurtured Irv as well as given him opportunities to nurture others and according to him, “gives you a reason to live.” Living out his Christian values is also important to him and a core value of his is “Love Thy Neighbor.” ”You may not like what they do, but you still love them,” explained Irv.
Irv accompanies the Kairos Dance Theater Company on occasion. In December, 2010 Irv along with Ida Arbeit who is 101 years old, presented “Take Me Back to Harlem” at Intermedia Arts in Minneapolis, MN. You can hear Irv and Irv Williams Quartet play at Dakota Jazz most Fridays from 4:30-6:30pm.
“Notes from Williams’ saxophone seem to float on air rather than fill it.” – Pioneer Press.
When asked, what’s next? Irv replied, “I want to continue to be productive and keep spreading love around.”
Fran Heitzman 86 has been the motivation behind the organization Bridging Inc. that has helped more than 100,000 individuals turn empty houses into comfortable homes for the past 23 years.
Bridging got it start when Fran was the maintenance man at Pax Christi Church in Eden Prairie. A parishioner asked him if the church could use a crib for the nursery, Fran said “no, but he would find someone who could use it” After a few calls the crib was gone and Fran thought “Why can’t we take things people no longer need and give it to someone who needs it?” Twenty three years later Bridging is one of the metro’s most successful non-profit organizations, storing and distributing items at warehouses in Bloomington and Roseville Minnesota.
Fran Heitzman is a past Eleven Who Kare winner and is actively volunteering at Bridging, the organization he founded in 1987. As a volunteer, Fran is a daily fixture around Bridging, interacting with staff, volunteers and clients. He maintains a watchful eye on inventory and helps solicit donated inventory to insure Bridging clients have a selection on their “once in a lifetime” shopping experience.
Of course, Fran loves the opportunity to speak about Bridging whenever possible. He enjoys the opportunity to get in front of a group and challenge them to make donations of good used items for Bridging. His volunteer efforts sometime extend his week to seven days of volunteering. He actively talks to staff on a daily basis and loves interacting with the many new volunteers and donors who support Bridging facilities. Since its start in 1987, Bridging has served over 55,000 families and become the national model for other organizations in other states that are attempting to set up operations.
Bridging is a volunteer driven organization that has a strong volunteer work force. Last year, Bridging volunteers provided over 88,000 hours of service, the equivalent of 43 full time positions.
Each year, the reuse of used furniture saves thousands of dollars in landfill costs while helping others less fortunate. In 2009, Bridging extended the use of over 100,000 large items which otherwise would have be sent to the land fill.
“I always liked to bake. I remember so well the first thing I baked. I was eight years old and I had baked a chocolate cake. After it was baked my mother and I had some cake. There was a knock on the back door and my mother went to the door and I heard her say. “Oh Doris, you must come in and have some of this cake Marjorie made. You’ll never believe how great it is!” With that, Marjorie began a lifetime of baking.
My name is Salvador Jesse Valdovinos, born October 25,1925, In Leon,Guanajuato Mexico. Came to the United States with my parents and family in 1930. And of all places we could haven settled, we settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This is where my father came to find work before we came to join him. I really learned to like Milwaukee even though I had my share of difficulties going through school. I did complete the equivalent of tenth grade at age eighteen. I learned Cabinet making and welding at the trade school my eighth grade teacher recommended I attend. This school was called Boy’s Technical High School. Without the girls around our focus for learning was great and we accomplished so much more.