Ageless Honorees - 2015
Carol Duhme’s mother started the Roblee Foundation in 1970 as a way to help other people help themselves. Under Carol’s stewardship, that legacy has endured for the past 45 years. Still engaging and energetic at age 98, Carol’s days are spent carefully reviewing hundreds of grant requests, visiting local agencies, attending board and committee meetings, and volunteering at her church. Her summers are spent at the Chautauqua Institution of New York, where she immerses herself in arts, cultural and educational activities, explaining that, “there’s always something new to learn.” Guided by her faith in, Carol views each day as an opportunity to do what the Bible says, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Jacqueline Dyer learned a few tricks during her 42-year career as a teacher. “Don’t smile until December,” is one example, she says, “because the kids will think you’re a patsy if you do.” Don’t get the wrong idea, however. This is one lady who thoroughly enjoys life and loves working with young people. She still tutors children 10 to 15 hours a week. “I never going to stop sharing what I know with little people,” she explains. These days, Jacqueline is busier than ever, singing with the Symphony’s Unison Chorus, volunteering at the Centennial Christian Church Disciples of Christ, and participating in a book club that seeks to inspire bridges across racial polarization. She brings a smile to the face of everyone she meets, even if it’s not yet December.
Sr. Antona Ebo
Sister Antona Ebo, FSM says her life is guided by what she calls the “P Word,” God’s Providence. It was providence, she says, that she was introduced as a young girl to the Catholic faith. It was providence that St. Louis had one of the only nursing schools that accepted African Americans in the 1940s. And it was providence, she is sure, that directed her to go to Selma, Alabama on March 10, 1965, where she become a symbol of the civil rights protests there, one of the famous Sisters of Selma. Described on the fateful day as “one of the great moral forces of the world,” at age 92 she still travels the country, spreading a message of love, compassion and respect for others. “
Judith Robertson Hanses
One word describes Judith Hanses best: LEADERSHIP. Whether it was her 44-year career as a dietitian and educator at Barnes Medical Center or the VA Medical Center, her service as a colonel in the U.S. Army during Desert Storm, or her volunteer work at her church, the MAC or her American Legion Post, Judith has always been a leader. At Barnes she guided the preparation of more than 10,000 meals a day. At the VA, she developed the first electronic medical records system national training program, training thousands of clinical staff and administrators. Called to active military duty at age 50, she endured the challenges and hardships of desert warfare with skill and distinction. Now retired, she continues to seek out ways to serve, and shows no signs of slowing down.
When it comes to taking care of others, Patricia Kapsar has few equals. From her early career as an operating room nurse, to her 25 years as an executive with Bethesda Health Group, Pat has made improving the health and welfare of seniors her mission in life. As a longtime board member and former president of LeadingAge Missouri, Pat is a regular fixture in Jefferson City, educating legislators on a wide range of senior health and Medicaid funding issues. For her efforts, she has received numerous awards, but her greatest reward comes from knowing that she has helped to make life better and perhaps a little easier for all those in her care.
Dr. Kent Kreh
Dr. Kent Kreh has a real knack for business. Graduating from Mizzou in 1957, he embarked on a career path in marketing, franchising and business development that spanned the likes of Ford Motor Co., Bristol Myers, General Mills and H. J. Heinz. At each stop, Kent made his mark, growing one company from $50 million to $2 billion in sales, recruiting Sarah Ferguson and Kirstie Alley as celebrity spokeswomen for Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig respectively, and creating award-winning promotional campaigns. Along the way, he never forgot his roots, generously donating his time and resources to help health, educational and cultural causes, both locally and nationally. A self-described optimist, Kent shows no signs of slowing down at age 80, a testimony to the lifestyle he promoted for so many years.
Sally Lefler, 79, has held major roles in national nonprofit organizations in New York and Washington, and consulted with countless others. She has spent thousands of hours planning and executing successful fundraising projects, such as the New York Women in Communications Foundation (which she established), Junior League’s “Little Wishes” campaign, the Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition, and the YWCA’s Circle of Women Gala. In short, this is a talented woman who is much in demand for her knowledge, experience and willingness to help make life better for those less fortunate. Always busy and ambitious for organizations’ success, she says she wouldn’t have it any other way, noting that it is the opportunity to help others that keeps her young and on the go.
Dr. Margaret Liggett
A typical day for Dr. Margaret “Peggy” Liggett may include closing on the sale of a client’s home, arranging an estate sale for another client looking to downsize, or organizing a drama competition for the local National Society of Arts and Letter chapter. In her “downtime,” you’ll find her playing a tune on her piano or spending an enjoyable afternoon riding her horse over the hills of St. Charles. The former music professor and college dean rarely seems to slow down. “I’m a good juggler,” she admits. “Work is my motivator. What would I do if I didn’t work?”
Sandra Murdock is passionate about improving the quality of life of students and preparing them for careers in science and health care. To that end, the former science educator, age 77, has turned her retirement years into a whirlwind of volunteer activities, all focused on providing enrichment experiences for underprivileged youth. She founded the Each One, Teach One Science Project to promote science learning in middle schools, and the World Aquarium Aquatic Marine Science Institute, which exposes high school students to marine biology and ocean sciences. She also founded the only St. Louis NAACP Youth Council Scholarship Program, and spends time each month volunteering at several other youth programs.
Horatio “Ray” Potter had a long and successful career as a mechanical engineer. But it seems he found his true calling 20 years ago, when he began tutoring elementary school students through the OASIS Intergenerational Tutoring Program. At age 81, Ray meets with up to 12 children each year at eight area schools, spending an hour a week helping them read, do math, and gain confidence and self-respect. Somehow he also finds time to volunteer at the Litzsinger Road Ecology Center, with the St. Louis Caroling Association, and with local and state political candidates. He even attends most of the Ladue City Council and zoning meetings, serving as a self-proclaimed watchdog over the use of his and his neighbor’s tax dollars.
Rev. Jane Rand
After 30 years of raising her family, Rev. Jane Rand says she was called by God to serve others. Thirty-four years later, she’s still at it, having carved a career as an ordained Presbyterian minister, a health care chaplain, a pastor, counselor and friend. After receiving her M. Div. degree from Eden Theological Seminary in 1980, Rev. Rand served as Chaplain in the Bethesda Health System for most of the 1980s. She continued her pastoral work at three area Presbyterian churches before retiring to devote her energies to Care & Counseling, Eden Seminary and several other nonprofit boards. Today, she serves The Willows community at memorials and tributes, and is always available to counsel others in their times of need.
Dr. Raymond Slavin
Dr. Raymond Slavin has taught more than 7,000 medical students at Saint Louis University over a 50-year career where he is now Professor Emeritus of Internal Medicine. His lectures on asthma and allergies continue to be popular among students, who appreciate his knowledge, experience and commitment. As if teaching at age 85 wasn’t enough, he founded and continues to lead the SLU North City HRC Asthma clinic, where he volunteers several times each month. He also sings in his temple choir, exercises regularly, helps out at the Jewish Food Pantry, and actively supports many of the region’s cultural institutions.
Daniel and Violet Steinmeyer
With all Dan Steinmeyer has accomplished — Distinguished Science Fellow at Monsanto, recipient of five U.S. patents since retirement, published author and contributor to scientific publications — one of his proudest achievements may be the small tomato farm he lovingly tends in his Chesterfield back yard. His wife, Vi — herself an accomplished writer, author and tireless volunteer for organizations ranging from the Saint Louis Symphony to a host of other arts and cultural organizations — shares his passions. Together, this fun-loving couple forms an amazing and effective team working to stay active and better their community and the world.
Ken Wilde owes his life to a sponsor in England that helped him escape Nazi Germany in the 1930s. He’s never forgotten that kindness, and now, at age 92, he’s still paying it forward. Ken has volunteered for the past 25 years with Meals on Wheels. Each Friday morning, he gets in his car and brings homebound seniors in Mid-County nourishment for both the body and soul. He also tutors other adults each week through the Literacy Council, helping them learn to read. As the leader of the University City Great Books study group since 1960, he engages in a lively discussion twice each month. A true gentleman, Ken is a model for all of us.
Growing up in rural Mississippi, Dorothy Willis watched as her aunt sent part of what little food they had to help neighbors who were in worse straits. That lesson has stayed with her for all of her 81 years. Believing deeply in her responsibility to take care of others, Dorothy actively works through her church and other agencies to help alcoholics and drug addicts, visit the sick, and help children in need, both at home and in countries around the world. For her many efforts, Dorothy has received numerous federal state and local commendations. “I would give my last dime to help somebody,” she says. That, we say, is truly remarkable.
Jim Weidman is an artist, just not in the sense that he performs on stage or has his creations hanging on a wall. Rather, Jim’s artistry is in helping organizations achieve amazing success. As Development Director for the St. Louis and Columbus (OH) Art Museums, he has raised millions. As President of the Arts and Education Council, he led efforts to create the Centene Center for the Arts and Education. Jazz St. Louis, Eden Theological Seminary, the Missouri Humanities Council and St. Andrew’s have each benefitted from his leadership and fundraising expertise. It’s hard to believe he has time for the nationally renowned garden of hostas he and his wife tend every day. It’s a work of art in itself.