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Ageless Remarkable St. Louisans - 2007

John R. Barsanti, Jr., Esq

“We all owe something back to our profession and our community; that’s why it’s important to stay involved. That involvement and giving something back are also good for our mental and physical health.”

Jack wants to help ensure that future generations respect the law, become involved with their communities, and don’t have to wear filtered masks just to walk outside.

Irvin Davis

“Throughout life, it’s important to take on challenges, particularly as we age. To accept a challenge is to have an incentive and that gives us the desire to continue on.”

Ask almost anyone in the communications industry about Irvin and the response will be that he is an enduring visionary.  He is an accomplished writer, producer, director, and a public relations expert who works with local and national celebrities.

Thomas Dew

“Be involved. Be a volunteer. You will always be in demand and experience tremendous satisfaction.”

Thomas is a long-time AARP member, serving on the board and as vice president of the St. Louis Hills Chapter. His focus is most often the AARP’s charitable activities, including collecting and distributing school supplies to needy children. 

Sister Mary Ann Eckhoff, SSND

“Find something for which you have passion and get involved. Maybe it’s something from your younger years that now you can do really well and make a difference in people’s lives.”

It is Sister Mary Ann’s philosophy that education is a life-long endeavor. The School Sister of Notre Dame is a not-so-retired educator who serves as project coordinator for Incarnate Word Foundation, helping to ensure the Foundation’s educational and children’s programs secure resources and fulfill their objectives.

Gene Engelhardt, Ph.D.

“Particularly as we grow older, it’s important to branch out, cultivate new interests and, most important, make a concerted effort to reach out to other people.”

Gene continues to teach, whether it’s in the classroom, within service organizations, or in the kitchen.

Don and Pat Essen

“At this point in life it’s good to be involved in those things that are important to and make a positive difference in the lives of other people.”

Don, a founding member of the West St. Louis County Chamber of Commerce, was honored for his more than 50 years in the organization. Pat is also known for her service longevity. She has been a member of the St. Louis Symphony Volunteer Association nearly 40 years, serving on the board and Discovery Committee.

Allen Furfine

“If you’re wise, you don’t retire from, you retire to something. It’s not so important what that something is, just as long as it keeps you involved.”

A former aerospace engineer, after retiring from McDonnell Douglas, Allen followed through on a life-long love of art and became a docent for the St. Louis Art Museum.


JoAnn Hejna

“Some seniors feel they have nothing of value to offer; they are so mistaken. Their expertise, their wealth of experience, the time to read to children or rock a baby – they are all so valuable and so needed.”

JoAnn is executive director and trustee of the Saigh Foundation and ensures the foundation’s millions of dollars in charitable funds go to appropriate causes, programs and organizations.

The Rev. Dr. Samuel Hylton, Jr.

“As we age, we often become more reflective and more spiritual and that is good. We should also continue to develop our interests, particularly when they involve other people.”

Rev. Hylton is perpetually involved in efforts benefiting older adults, children, disaster victims, and the less fortunate. Three senior apartment communities in St. Louis: Centennial Plaza, Hylton Point and Hylton Point II are available for low-income seniors as a result of Rev. Hylton’s leadership.

William Knowles, Ph.D.

“As a younger man, I was always more comfortable pushing molecules around than fraternizing with people. But as we age, it is so important to maintain social contact, to be with and enjoy other people.”

Dr. Knowles was awarded the 2001 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Throughout his life, he has also been a protector of the environment, an avid conservationist, and a recycler who’s been known to pluck thrown-away cans from the roadside.

Rev. Msgr. Salvatore Polizzi

“No matter what your age, always be open to the idea that the day can hold all sorts of wonderful surprises.”

Father Polizzi has served as an associate pastor and pastor since 1956, for the last 26 years at St. Roch. In addition to his priestly duties, Father Polizzi’s second great love is maintaining and growing the city’s neighborhoods.

Edwin Putney, Sr.

“If you want to stay healthy, exercise both your body and your mind. It doesn’t    have to be complicated or involved. Simply walking or riding a stationery bicycle and reading will do just fine.”

Ed has been riding for exercise – at least 20 miles a day – and competitively since his mid-fifties.

Vern Schneider

“Age is when we can expand our horizons, test and expand our skills, and then share it all with younger people who, hopefully, realize that experience is invaluable.”

Vern is a mountain hiker as well, who has hiked both the Rockies and the Alps. This outstanding senior athlete is an equally well-respected attorney and managing partner of Rassieur, Long, Yawitz and Schneider.

Francis R. Slay

I can't imagin quitting – no longer being involved. Because that’s the most important thing – staying involved in activities, with the community and especially – with our families.”

Francis has been a fixture in local public service, the food service industry and involved in politics for more than 40 years.

Kenneth Smith, Jr. M.D.

“My advice for all of us as we age: Be involved in some fulfilling activity – not necessarily work, but hopefully something that involves helping other people.”

Dr. Smith’s life in health care revolves around three passions: teaching, developing bionics, and caring for others.

Arthur Stauder

“Lending my 50 years of experience is extremely gratifying. I would recommend volunteering to all seniors.”

For most of his life, architect Ar has been a creator of buildings, of structures. Now he is helping to create better lives for hundreds of families. Art is the volunteer architect for St. Louis / St. Louis County Habitat for Humanity.

George Stephans

“In order to be happy, to be productive, you must have a reason to get up in the morning. The exact reason isn’t so important, just so you have one.”

George has been a devoted volunteer to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

George and Elisabeth (Ibby) Stern

“There is no reason to fear retirement. Just ignore the whole idea and go out there and do those things that make you happy and that help other people.”

George and Elisabeth Stern are a dynamic duo. She is a knowledgeable and devoted supporter of many things artistic and cultural. He is a committed and very effective fundraiser for service and community organizations.

Donald Suggs, D.D.S.

“Everyone ages a little differently; and certainly, genetics is a factor. But for the most part, we can choose either yes or no regarding whether we remain engaged, to remain involved as we age. The best choice is Yes.”

Donald spends most of his time as president and publisher of the St. Louis American, Missouri’s largest African-American newspaper.

Alice Tourville, R.N., M.S.W., LCSW

“Cultivate being a ‘people person,’ and keep learning, even if it is just a little something every day. That’s the way to stay young at heart.”

Alice may have a lot of university degree letters after her name and all those degrees are important, but she says it is years of experience in dealing with people and a genuine love for them that puts the heart in all she does.

Honorable Alphonso Voorhees

“What lessons have I learned? That honesty and integrity pay off and that everyone should be treated with respect.” 

The Honorable Voorhees looks after both the legal and the physical health of the St. Louis community.

Edith Wolff

“As seniors, we can contribute in many ways, all equally important. Whether it’s sharing our expertise, our funds, or volunteering, we have so much to share.”

Edith says it isn’t necessary to publicize all the beneficiaries of the Wolff Foundation. Her philanthropy, she says, happens because it’s simply the right thing to do.

Floyd (Ed) Wood

“I really find the idea of slowing down intolerable; I just can’t do it.”

Every week you can find Floyd at several skilled nursing communities, checking residents’ medication regimens and instructing staff regarding meds and how they’re given.

Katie Harper Wright, Ed.D.

“I can’t think of anything more rewarding than teaching. That applies to all kinds of education, including the experience and knowledge we can pass along as seniors.”

It is “for the love of children” that Dr. Katie Harper Wright has devoted her life to education. This educator, researcher and writer finds nothing more rewarding than seeing the light of understanding in young people’s eyes.