Honoring those who exemplify graceful aging.
The University of Kentucky Sanders-Brown Center on Aging recognized eight Kentuckians aged 80 and up (including one married couple) and three centenarians who exemplify graceful aging by remaining engaged in active lifestyles. On Saturday Nov 22, 2014 a luncheon celebrating the “Senior Stars” and Centenarians” awardees was held in the Regency Ballroom at the Hyatt Lexington. The awardees were selected from a pool of 32 nominees based on their current level of engagement in society; significant, lasting contributions in professional and/or community life, and service as a volunteer and role model for future generations.
The Senior Star awards are named in honor of the Center’s founding Director, William R. Markesbery, MD. Dr. Markesbery, who passed away in early 2010, founded the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging more than 30 years ago, and was recognized as an international leader in research to advance the understanding of Alzheimer's disease. Carrying forward his name with this award is one small way to recognize Dr. Markesbery and his many contributions to the Center on Aging and, more importantly, his contributions to uncovering the secrets of devastating brain diseases. In addition to all his scientific accomplishments, Dr. Markesbery was best known as a caring, compassionate clinician, a brilliant researcher and a tremendous leader.
2014 Senior Star Awardees:
Elexene M. Cox, 93, Nicholasville. The Nicholasville High School graduate has worked with the Jessamine Chamber of Commerce, Nicholasville Baptist Church and Rosemont Baptist Church. Most notably, she has written and directed many outdoor productions, including a Paul Sawyer play. She is also the author of three books about the history of Nicholasville.
Carl Smith, 82, Frankfort. Dr. Carl Smith is known as the "Energizer Bunny" of chorale music. As the choral director at Kentucky State University and the director of the chancel choir at First Christian Church, Dr. Smith takes the simplest of songs and making it the most beautiful piece of music you have ever heard.
Mary Jo Holland, 81, Lexington. An inspiration to all as she continues to dance and serve in many capacities, despite having had a stroke, two knees replaced, arthritis and some symptoms of Parkinson’s, Holland has brought joy to thousands of people through community service. She is a founding member of “The Energizers” dance group. Her community contributions range from working at the Opera House to missions in Guatemala to being a volunteer in an Alzheimer’s research program at Sanders Brown.
Willard, 86, and Lucy Kinzer, 85, Prestonsburg. Willard Kinzer began racing cars at age 47, winning a professional title at age 50 and beginning drag racing at the tender age of 79. Owners of Kinzer Drilling Company and Kinzer Cycle Shops, the Kinzers have used Willard's love of racing and hot rodding to help the town raise funds for financing the school through car shows and other events. Willard is on the board of directors of the Mountain Arts Center in Prestonsburg.
Bettye Arvin, 84, Lexington. For many years Arvin has worked as a registered nurse in hospitals and physicians offices. For the last 23 years, she has volunteered more than 3,500 hours to the Pastoral Care Department at UK Hospital. Before a move to Lexington, she drove 2 hours each way to serve patients and families at UK Chandler Hospital. She now works one day a week caring for patients on the fifth floor.
Jessie Weaver, 87, Lexington. Weaver is the friendly, helpful Kentucky voice on the phone at the front desk at the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging. At a young age of 87, her positive attitude and desire to help others are evident in her interactions with faculty, staff and visitors at the Center.
Kathryn Stephens, 80, Lexington. Stephens' career has spanned more than 50 years, from nursing home co-owner to the first black female nursing home administrator in Kentucky, funeral home director, licensed embalmer, and writer. Her many roles in the community have been featured in local news articles, most recently as the organist and pianist for Pilgrim Baptist Church. She has touched the lives of many hundreds of churchgoers with her passions for music and prayer.
This award gives each of us an opportunity to extend a special thank you to those seniors all across Kentucky for their many contributions to the betterment of our communities.
For more information contact the Center on Aging Foundation Office at 859-323-5374 or email firstname.lastname@example.org