10 Stellar Seniors We Admire

10 Stellar Seniors We Admire

June 3, 2013

Happy Monday all! To fight off the Monday Blues, here’s a fun snippet of our favorite seniors!

1.) Nola Ochs

Nola Ochs

Photo Courtesy: americanprofile.com

In 2007, 95-year-old Nola Ochs gained fame for breaking the Guinness World Records’ as the world’s oldest college graduate. She earned a degree in General Studies with emphasis in History from Fort Hays State University (FHSU) in Hays, Kansas. She graduated alongside her 21-year-old granddaughter.

According to Fort Hayes State University website, she has since completed a Master’s Degree in Liberal Arts at age 98. Nola keeps a refreshingly positive stance on aging. “I don’t dwell on my age,” she says, “It might limit what I can do. As long as I have my mind and health, it’s just a number” (Associated Press, 2007, Paragraph 9).

2.) Dame Maggie Smith

Dame Maggie Smith

Photo Courtesy: www.pbs.org

Dame Maggie Smith is number two on our list. 78-year-old Smith is a highly acclaimed British actress with a prestigious career spanning 6 decades. Smith is perhaps best known for her role as the witty, sharp-tongued Dowager Countess of Grantham in Downton Abbey. In 2001, she captured the hearts of young viewers by portraying the no-nonsense Professor McGonagall in the Harry Potter movie series. According to Biography.com (2013), Smith continued her work as Professor McGonagall throughout all 8 films, despite battling breast cancer in 2008.

In 1990, Smith was appointed Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (“Maggie Smith Biography,” 2013). We can’t wait to hear more Countess-isms like “I’m a woman, Mary. I can be as contrary as I choose” (Downton Abbey, “Episode #2.4”).

3.) Marie Kelleher

At age 99, Marie Kelleher broke national records as the oldest American woman to compete in a United States Masters Swimming (USMS) meet (Holland, 2012). According to the Virginia Masters website, Kelleher broke USMS records the 50 free (1:44.10) and 100 free (3:40.00). Kelleher brushed off her success with non-chalance, as she had more pressing matters to worry about. “I have a birthday in December, and I have to get my driver’s license renewed. I wonder what they’ll say to me,” she said (Holland, 2012, Paragraph 8).

4.) Iris Apfel

91-year-old Iris Apfel is an interior designer, jewelry designer, and American style icon. Apfel is well-renowned for her eclectic, fearless sense of style. In 2005, Apfel’s extensive wardrobe and accessories were featured in an exhibit in the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art (Cleary, 2012). Since then, she has designed a successful line of jewelry for QVC, has collaborated with MAC Cosmetics on a makeup line, and even modeled for a Coach ad campaign (Cleary, 2012).

According to Telegraph UK, many young women today regard her as a role model and fashion inspiration. Apfel says, “Women of all stripes and sizes and ages tell me I’m a great liberating force in their lives and I give them courage…I’ve got a whole fanclub of young women, which I think is so funny” (Hodson, 2007, Paragraph 10).

5.) Ernestine Shepherd

In March of 2010, 75-year-old Ernestine Shepherd was officially named the Guiness World Records Oldest Performing Body Builder. According to her website, Shepherd claims to feel better now than she did at age 40. She’s also a certified trainer at her gym. Shepherd says that she “live(s) to inspire senior women to reach their physical potential” (“Meet Ernestine,” 2010, Paragraph 4).

6.) Edythe Kirchmaier

Edythe Kirchmaier is Facebook’s oldest user. According to New York Daily News, it took 105-year-old Kirchmaier three weeks to activate her Facebook account, as the site did not recognize the year of her birth to be valid. For the last 40 years, Kirchmaier has volunteered for Direct Relief, which is a non-profit organization that provides aid for worldwide poverty(Direct Relief, 2013). She set up her Facebook as a fundraiser for the organization (Direct Relief, 2013). Kirchmaier says that the secret to her vitality is happiness, “I’m a positive thinker…I’ve always been that way”  (Cavaliere, 2013, Paragraph 17).

7.) Judge Wesley E. Brown

At 103, Judge Wesley E. Brown was recognized as the oldest federal judge in the United States. He graduated from Kansas City School of Law in 1933 (Sulzberger, 2012). Eventually, President John F. Kennedy elected him to the district court in 1962 (Sulzberger, 2012). The New York Times featured him on Page 1 in 2010 for the longevity of his career. His colleague described him as a man who loved his job and said, “it was his reason for living” (Sulzberger, 2012, Paragraph 9). According to the New York Times, Brown continued to work from bed until the day he died at 104.

8.) Hershell McGriff

Hershell McGriff is NASCAR’s oldest driver. He was 81 when he earned that title. According to his website, McGriff is the “oldest, and most winning,” competitor of NASCAR Camping World Series West as he’s had 31 victories. He says he isn’t ready to retire just yet. “If I didn’t have anything to do,” he said, “I’d just get into trouble” (“McGriff Not Ready To Slow Down At 83,” 2011, Paragraph 2).

9.) Sean Connery

Photo Courtesy: Jasmina12345, Oh No They Didn’t Livejournal

Sean Connery is an internationally-famous Scottish actor. He is best known for his role as Secret Agent 007 in the James Bond movie series. He played Bond from years 1962-1971. Many fans say that his acting and appearance have both improved with age. According to his website, Connery was voted People Magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” in 1989 at age 60.

10.) Carmen Dell’Orefice

According to Daily Mail UK, Carmen Dell’Orefice is the world’s oldest working model. She is 81 years old. Her modeling career started at age 15, when she was featured on the cover of Vogue Magazine in 1946 (Daily Mail Reporter, 2011). She has not stopped working since and is still in high demand (Daily Mail Reporter, 2011).


Who are you favorite seniors? We’d love to hear about yours on our Facebook!


 Works Cited





Marie Kelleher Breaks Barrier











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