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Feature Stories

Retire? These readers aren't ready yet

Working in their 80s

A recent "LifeTimes" featured Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas employee Creola Phelps, who retired earlier this year at 88. We asked other readers still working in their eighties to share their inspiring stories. Among those who did are Ray Klaus, 83, of Park Ridge, Ill.; John T. Denney, 86, of Elk Grove Village, Ill.; and Herbert L. Weinfield, 86, of Northbrook, Ill.

Ray Klaus: Still flying high
A longtime flight instructor who still takes to the sky, Ray Klaus learned to pilot at Wilson Airport in Schiller Park, Ill,, in the mid-1940s. He's never stopped.

"Flying has enriched my life and has proven to be a never-ending learning experience," writes Klaus, who says he recently received the FAA Master Pilot Award. It honors those with 50 or more years of accident-free, violation-free flying.

"There is always something new to learn or do," he adds. "It is unfortunate that today's youth seems limited to computer games and TV, instead of experiencing real flight. As Leonardo da Vinci said, 'When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the Earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.'"

John T. Denney: Colorful second career 
John Denney reports he retired from the Elk Grove Village Fire Department in 1991. He soon returned to his longtime avocation, painting and drawing, and began a successful second career as an artist and teacher.

"Selling my art over many years led to teaching watercolor and drawing," he writes.

"I have mentored for many years at Harper College in Palatine, Ill.," he adds, "and now teach at the Arlington Heights (Ill.) Senior Center."

Herbert L. Weinfield: Still practicing dentistry

Dr. Herbert Weinfield writes: "Retiring in 2006 at age 80 after 58 years of practicing dentistry (with our daughter Lois since 1988), I thought pursuing my other passion of collecting old mechanical slot machines, travel, home, and family would be enough.  Wrong!

"Looking for something interesting to do, for the last five years or so I've been employed by dental groups that go to Chicagoland schools and day care centers. Using portable equipment, our teams do screenings, education programs, cleanings, use sealants, and do fluoride treatments. This is very professionally and personally satisfying. We are trying to prevent dental problems before they happen, instead of treating them after they occur."

Dr. Weinfield says he works about five hours daily, anywhere from one to five days each week, during the school year. He says his extended career takes him to many Chicago suburbs, as well as countless city locations. Along the way, this exposes him to many new and interesting people and neighborhoods. "I'm having fun."

And wherever the doctor goes, he is always on the lookout for old slot machines to add to his collection!