Bernice Thompson, 81, was named one of the “100 Most Inspiring St. Louisans” in 2009 by the St. Louis American, and she continues to be an inspiration today. She has remained active in her golden years as a counselor for Agape Christian Counseling, helping individuals and families cope with their challenges and find peace. She also serves as convener of the Congregational Crisis Committee for the Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy in St. Louis, which seeks to resolve conflicts and promote social justice. With a master’s degree in social work, she has served thousands of people in crisis as a former director of a mental health agency, addiction counselor, church elder, and professional instructor, always demonstrating her love of God in her work and throughout her full life.
Robert Snyder, 79, has spent the past six years since retiring from a successful accounting career advocating for individuals in long-term care communities as volunteer for the VOYCE Ombudsman Program. He visits long-term care communities at least once a week to identify issues, isolate particular areas of concern, and to skillfully resolve any challenges with compassion and respect for those living in the long-term care community. His knowledge of issues in aging, understanding of his designated long-term care community and passion for others make him an outstanding advocate. Residents have come to rely on him to obtain necessary medical attention, help correct unsafe care conditions and improve their quality of life. Bob also serves on the board of the Mid-East Area Agency on Aging, and chairs the Silver Haired Legislature, which annually advocates for seniors’ needs in Jefferson City.
William Siedhoff, 75, is the former director of Missouri’s Division of Family Services, where he oversaw a 6,000-employee agency delivering critical services statewide. As Human Services Director for the City of St. Louis, he implemented a 10-Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness that was hailed as a national model for moving homeless people into permanent housing. After retiring in 2014, he led a successful tax campaign to fund needed services that allow older adults to age in place in their own homes. Today, he chairs the Senior Service Fund Board and the Advisory Board of the St. Louis Crisis Nursery, helping young and old. Twenty board memberships keep him busy, but as he says, he’s familiar with the problems and committed to making a difference in people’s lives. He continues to provide volunteer and philanthropic support to the Saint Louis Crisis Nursery, the St. Louis Zoo and the Botanical Gardens.
Earl Robert Schultz, M.D., 86, retired in 2006 from private practice as a Neurologist and Psychiatrist after more than forty years, but he continues to impact the lives of thousands of patients and physicians. Dr. Schultz now volunteers at a free clinic in St. Charles helping to meet the health care needs of low-income, uninsured residents. He also devotes time to mentor medical students at Washington University and serves on the Cancer Research Review Board at Missouri Baptist Hospital.
Judith L. Roberts, 81, has served as a 50+ year member of the First Presbyterian Church of Kirkwood as a Deacon, Trustee, Elder and as a co-chair of a recent three-year project that included renovation of the chancel. She generously supports a variety of other organizations through her time, talent and financial resources. One outstanding example of her philanthropy is a $50,000 contribution to the Kirkwood School District instrumental music program.
Henrietta Parram, 80, volunteers as a “master gardener” in her North St. Louis neighborhood, creating community gardens, organizing beautification projects and sharing her love of gardening with others. She educates community members on the importance of eating fresh fruits and vegetables and provides hands-on instruction on how to grow food.
Arthur McDonnell, 75, served as a dedicated public servant in the city of Kirkwood for 16 years; 8 years as a city councilman, and 8 years as the Mayor of Kirkwood. Additionally, he is the long-time owner of McDonnell’s Market Place grocery in Kirkwood. Art has received many honors, including the Buzz Westfall Award from the Municipal League and a Kirkwood Lifetime Achievement Award earlier this year.
Judy Luepke, 80, a tour guide for a private company, decided to turn her love of St. Louis into a career and make herself available to conduct tours on a freelance basis. Now 50 years later, this Maryville University Alumna still gives tours of the city to various groups and counts in the thousands the number of people with whom she has shared the things she loves best about St. Louis.
Joan Krumrey, 83, & Norman Krumrey, 85, have been married for 59 years and raised five children while both juggled successful careers. Kicking back and relaxing was never an option for this ageless couple when they finally retired several years ago. On any given day, you’ll find them working the information desk in Forest Park, interpreting exhibits at the History Museum, greeting out-of-town visitors at Busch Stadium, or washing laundry at the Room at The Inn.
Ernest Theodore “Ted” Kretschmar, 81, is a graduate of the Naval Academy, a Marine officer, church deacon, and a highly successful businessman. Leveraging the leadership skills gained in those roles, when he finally retired in 2008, Ted helped start and serves on the board of the Focus Marines Foundation, a volunteer-led nonprofit that helps psychologically wounded servicemen transition back into civilian life.
Dr. Ira J. Kodner, 76, a retired colorectal surgeon, discovered a need to teach medical personnel better ways to deal with patients and their families early on in his career, which led him to a lifetime commitment to the study of medical ethics.
Today, he is a nationally recognized expert in the field. As director of the Washington University Center for the Study of Ethics and Human Values, Dr. Kodner advocated, published books and articles, and lectured across the country, bringing the issue of medical ethics and end-of-life issues to the forefront of healthcare.
Raymond Hoffstetter, 91, has been staying active during his 25 years of retirement volunteering at various organizations. An Emmy award winner who has met countless world leaders and covered wars and disasters, he is a regular at Sappington House and White Haven, where he shares his love of history and his engaging personality with audiences young and old, reflecting on his incredible experiences gained over a 50 years career as a cameraman, editor and archivist at Channel 5.
Barbara Gehringer, 79, retired from practicing and teaching nursing in 1999, but that doesn’t mean she slowed down. Today, Barbara and her dog, Maggie, regularly visit local senior communities, bringing the residents there the gift of friendship and canine companionship. She also helped coordinate the Animal Protection Associaton’s Prison Arts Program, through which offenders practicing Restorative Justice paint dog and cat portraits to raise funds for the animal shelter. Her involvement extends to the Center for Women in Transition, which helps women transition successfully from the criminal justice system back into society. Barbara took up piano lessons after retirement and also practices yoga, and her rich life includes having qualified for and run in the Boston Marathon; biked from California to Washington, DC; and climbed to the top of Machu Pichu .
Louis D. Cohen, 80 , a retired co-owner of a food manufacturing arm of Allen foods, now volunteers his time, wisdom and enthusiasm tutoring with the OASIS Institute. For the past 14 years, Lou has enjoyed tutoring academically at-risk students to help them to improve their reading skills and self-esteem and discover talents they never knew they had.
Don Carlson, 82, volunteers each week to collect tons of food for area food pantries at the Ladue Chapel and St. Louis Area Food Bank, tutors fifth graders at Hamilton School, and serves his church as an ordained elder. Don is also a long-time volunteer and supporter of ALIVE and the Women’s Self Help Center which deals with the prevention of domestic violence and the support of its victims.
Judy Bentley, 79, is a nurse practitioner on a mission to assure access to healthcare and social services for those who are underserved in the St. Louis Metropolitan community. Judy founded and for the past 27 years has been president and CEO of CHIPS Health and Wellness Center -- the Community Health-in-Partnership Services (CHIPS).
Sr. Judith Ann Bell, FSM, 76, worked for more than 50 years as a registered nurse and nurse practitioner, dedicating her life to assuring the provision of the best possible care to those in need of healing. Her calling to religious life has seen her bring care and healing to the poor and sick in remote areas of the U.S. with a special concern for the elderly. Sr. Judy’s tireless efforts have taken her to places like the Pima Native American Reservation in Arizona, and provided care for those in the margins of society in Appalachia.
Rev. Dr. Jack Batten, 90, is a retired lieutenant and World War II veteran and an ordained minister who packs more into an average week that others decades younger. He continues his career serving as a substitute worship leader and preaches at various churches, drawing on life experience gained travelling to 67 different counties on every continent.