Previous Recipients: 2014 | 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022

The Gold Standard Award for Optimal Aging celebrates and honors adults aged 85 and older who embody the Trager Institute’s vision for a world where all older adults lead engaged and flourishing lives. These individuals are recognized by their community as outstanding models of optimal aging in the following areas: physical, social, spiritual, and creative. Winners are separated into individual and couples categories.

Virginia Bell | Age: 100

Virginia Bell, MSW exemplifies what aging well looks like. She has a servant’s heart, and at 100 she continues to be a contributor to the field of dementia care. She has spent a lifetime being a friend to humanity—especially people with dementia. A co-founder of the Best Friends Adult Day Center in Lexington, KY, as well as the Best Friends™ Approach, she is internationally known for her work in the field. She is co-author of six influential books on dementia care. During the pandemic she continued to teach Best Friends Master Trainer classes virtually, participated in the Dementia Friendly Lexington efforts, and co-authored an additional Best Friends Approach book. When given compliments for her work, her response is never to take credit herself but to credit others whom she empowered along the way.

Ann Carter | Age: 89

"Having goals are good for you at any age. Never use age as an excuse to not at least try different challenges. One should recall things you loved at an early age and devote time to doing it again. It doesn't matter your talent, the difficulties that come, it is how you decide to deal with it," says Ann Carter, born in Minnesota in 1933. When she was ten her family moved to Iowa where she discovered basketball. She was the only teenager on the women's team; good enough that the town offered to send her to Canada to become a pro player. She declined and met Richard. He completed college and they moved to Connecticut. They moved six times before settling in Kentucky in 1975, becoming a good golfer and bowler all the while raising four talented children. She recognized a need for volunteer tutors and successfully organized and implemented a program in a local elementary. At 52 Ann had a bicycle accident resulting in a serious brain surgery. She was hospitalized for several month and had to relearn many things. She slowly progressed and began a new life in painting. She started our Church Newsletter, then worked for the American Horseman Magazine and began to freelance. At 62, her husband died. Then she successfully fought and won against breast cancer. At age 84 she sold her first barn painting which began her goal of painting a barn from each state before she turned 90. At age 87 she completed this goal and then published a book of these paintings. Ann has followed her own mantra as a wise, gifted woman.

Julia Coulter | Age: 86

Julia Coulter is one of those special determined people who likes to be active and involved and always helping out. She has been involved in some role or task at Metro Parks Senior Centers for nearly 40 years helping in a wide range of ways. She recently joined the Louisville Metro Government Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) as twice a week volunteer at Watson Powell Senior Center. She helps in so many ways but one of her favorite projects is to make "Skinny Books" for Veterans. She helps make and design small booklets that have patriotic, seasonal and holiday themes and then are given to variety of Veterans with Robley Rex VA Medical Center, Newburg VA Clinic and Shively VA Clinic. She has done a variety of other special projects too. But you can count on Julia Coulter to be involved and helping out.

Abbie Creed | AGE: 91

Abbie Creed, 91, is small of stature, but a giant in service to others. She spent twenty years teaching elementary school and fourteen years as Coordinator of Religious Education at St. Raphael Church and School. She retired in 2003 after a bout with colon cancer. She began volunteering with school masses, co-chairing the bereavement committee, serving as sacristan, helping in the parish office, lectoring and serving as Eucharistic minister, working at the annual parish picnic, and twelve years coordinating parish funerals. In every task, she modeled compassion, creativity, dependability, and foresight. Throughout the years, Abbie’s personal touch had a way of inviting folks to be involved. After caring for her disabled husband, Dan, for twenty-five years, she volunteered as a Hosparus speaker, helping medical students understand the importance of compassion and listening when sharing difficult news with patients and families. She is still on the bereavement committee and writes cards to shut ins. She does have life outside her church! There are her six adult children, seventeen grandchildren, and eighteen great grandchildren who are never far from her thoughts and prayers. She is writing her family history, one delightful story at a time. She still enjoys getting together with her bunco group and connecting with her Facebook friends, many of whom are former students. It is evident that Abbie’s life is powered by her deep faith in God and desire to share God’s love with others. Abbie summarized her joyful spirit thus, “My fun-filled life includes faith, family, and friends.”

Denny Crum | AGE: 85

Denny Crum retired from coaching at the University of Louisville after 30 years as the head coach, winning 2 national championships and earning his induction into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. But his departure from coaching did not mean retirement from Uo L. He continued to work as an Ambassador for the President's Office and with Alumni for another 16 years, until his retirement in 2017. In addition, he embarked on a new "career," co-hosting a call in radio show, The Joe B. and Denny Show, with retired UK Coach Joe B. Hall. That show continued for more than 10 years. His retirement from coaching did allow him to pursue one of his greatest loves, fly-fishing, with multiple weeks each summer at his home on Henry's Lake in Idaho, not far from Yellowstone National Park. Additionally, he continued to maintain involvement in many non-profit organizations, including The Denny Crum Scholarship Foundation, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and Meghan's Mountain, among others. He has offered countless hours to help these organizations grow and flourish. While he has slowed up a bit in the last few years, he will still offer his time to meet fans and supporters of UofL and other causes, and help in any other way he can. It is an honor to be considered for the Trager Institute's Gold Standard Award.

Sister Julia Davis | AGE: 85

Sister Julia Davis is a small bundle of energy and life at age 85. For the past 14 years, she has volunteered twice a week at Norton Hospital Aubudon as a Wayfinder. She describes this as someone who greets visitors to the hospital and helps them find their way to where they want to go. She has said that her role is to be a joyful, positive presence for relatives and other visitors who may be entering the hospital with much on their minds and hearts. She has outfits that she wears that are seasonal , and always noticeable, hoping to add to her desire to distract the visitors for a short time. She was honored by Norton Hospital for her volunteer work. She has also received the WLKY Bell Award, well-known in Louisville as honoring outstanding volunteers. In her “spare time” you can find her everywhere. She never misses an opportunity to gather with her Ursuline Sisters or to attend every special event offered in the Archdiocese. She remembers and attends the graduations, weddings, funerals and other special events of the families she served previously to her retirement from parish ministry. As an alum of Sacred Heart Academy herself, she attends all the concerts, ball games, graduations, anything which brings her in contact with the young women of today’s classes. One of the faculty members there has even named his daughter after her. She has chaperoned a group of SHA girls to a leadership conference in New Rochelle, NY. She plays her guitar and sings with the children in Sacred Heart pre-school. She is a die-hard fan of UofL basketball and never misses a game, in person or broadcast. During basketball season, she constantly wears the colors of UofL and, having discovered that she and Denny Crum share the same birthday, she keeps in contact with him. She is a fun person, an alive person, with energy that flows from her inner being. If you want to get an idea of who Sister Julia Davis is and how active she is, go to her Facebook page. You will be amazed!

Rita Durbin | AGE: 91

Rita Durbin was born near Lynchburg and lived there for 17 years until she got married in Louisville. She has remained here ever since. She worked for Jefferson County Public Schools for thirty years in the Special Education area. She has so many memories and moments of working with children who need extra care and help. She noted she has been a widow twice. Her first husband died in 1980, and she remarried 10 years later. Her second husband died in 2002, and she has remained a widow since then. To date, she has 7 children and 30 grandchildren. She enjoys dancing and gardening. She is also an active church member at St. John Paul II Parish and a part of the Widows or Widowers (WOW) group.

Reverend Jerry Eifler AGE: 86

Rev. Jerry Eifler is a person gifted in many diverse areas. As a Catholic priest he has served people of parishes in the Archdiocese of Louisville since his ordination on May 27, 1961. He has also served the city of Louisville in a number of ecumenical activities—as board member of the Louisville Public Library, Red Cross, Salvation Army, Neighborhood Association of Germantown, and developer of the Clifton Center in that area. As part of his studies at UofL's department of Community Development he recorded the oral history of parishioners of St. Therese Church. He is a published writer of three books of homilies—Linger and Be Available, Unpacking for The Journey, and Embracing The Source. He is also an accomplished artist in oils and watercolor. After a show and auction, the proceeds of the sale of his paintings were donated to charity. A book of his paintings, A Retrospective, is a delight to view. On the final page of the book he says, "Over the years, I have discovered that life is not static...Indeed, it is a continual process of becoming." He lives this openness to life with great energy and vitality. For example, forty years ago he began taking groups of people to Europe and continues to lead these journeys and has no plans to stop!

Marge Fore | AGE: 93

Marge Fore is an example of how to live one's life to the fullest, defying her age of 93! Active in church, she and her late husband (who passed during COVID) always participated in seniors Sunday bible study group. She still drives and is keen of wit and mind (plays bridge twice a month and subs in another group when called upon). Marge has a great sense of humor. She is young at heart, is a Facebook follower and loves forwarding the “Far Side” comic strip to friends and family. Independent and active physically as she still trims her bushes around her house with an electric trimmer. When asked by neighbors if she needs any help, her answer generally is “when I get tired I go in the house and rest a bit, and then come out to finish the job”. Only when the job is too big does she ask for help. Out of town family regularly visits and she insists on playing hostess....except the time when her family came this spring and insisted she sit back and enjoy visiting with the family. She is a great example of how to live; staying active physically and of mind, while keeping a great perspective as she ages gracefully.

Betty French | AGE: 85

Betty French was born in North Carolina in 1937, moved to Florida for a while and eventually to Kentucky. She was previously a schoolteacher and a childcare worker. Her family has a heavy military background beginning with her dad doing service in 1929, along with a son later on, and today there are four granddaughters (two of whom are active duty and two others who are in the reserve). All of them have been in the Army except one granddaughter who is in the Airforce. Betty French has been a widow for thirty years but remains very active in many ways. Betty French sings in the Resurrection Choir for funerals at her church, St. John Paul II Parish, and has spent nearly 10 years on the Parish Council. She is also the co-leader of Widows or Widowers (WOW). One of Betty French’s favorite things to do is to travel, and her fondest memories are her times in Bahamas, Germany, and Canada.

Sarah Gabler  | AGE: 96

At 95, Sarah, sister to Connie Miceli (see below), is still the life of a party. She has never met a stranger and never hesitates to help others and share her wisdom. She expresses herself using her hands and was recently interviewed by Billie Jean King about her life-long passion—her artwork. Her artwork was recently on prominent display at the Hampton Fine Arts Fair on Long Island. She continues to travel frequently and makes her family and friends a priority in her daily living. Like her sister, Connie, she appreciates her Italian roots and believes that is why she has been able to live a long and prosperous life. She has a wonderful relationship with her children, grandchildren, and three—soon to be four—great-grandchildren. She loves spending time with them. Her kindness and empathy for others goes unmatched. This zest for life was tested during the pandemic, yet she persevered and continues to strive in an active, healthy, and productive life.

Mary Grayson | AGE: 95

Mary has faced her fair share of difficulties. Yet, at the age of 95, and the oldest resident living in Shelby Farms Senior Living, she is probably the most positive woman there. She has such a smile and joy for life every day. After the passing of her husband in 2000, she knew that was not the end of things for her and her happiness. She took the opportunity to do things she had always wanted to do. She took up the art of qigong. This is the philosophy of using exercises to optimize energy within the body, mind, and spirit. She went to Tom Brown Jr.'s Tracker School where she learned how to survive in the wilderness, what plants were safe and edible, and building shelters to survive for extended periods of time in the wilderness. She did all this in her 70s! She says that "we're born with this power but we lost it. The Native Americans could've taught us if we would've listened. You don't know how powerful your mind is and how powerful we are." And she has spent years studying her power. She continued to attend the survival school for several years and sharpened her wilderness skills. According to her the secret to life is to "live positively and keep active." Now enjoying her life at Shelby Farms Senior Living, she occasionally teaches community yoga and other educational classes to help others learn their power. Zest for life and Mary Grayson go hand in hand.

Jess and Rilda Hendrix | AGE: 89 & 86

Jess and Rilda Hendrix are a loving couple married for over sixty years. With three daughters, four grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren, they epitomize living life to its fullest. Spending time with their families, traveling the United States, and enriching the lives of their friends and communities, the Hendrixes are a couple whose love and commitment never stop being active; they are a testament for one of the best ways to age. Whether it's attending sporting events like the Super Bowl or NASCAR, working on home improvements (Jess is a retired electrician and owner of a construction company), helping with their kids’ lives, or making new friends, you can always tell when Jess and Rilda are around. In fact, it’s amazing to see who their new friends are from their always neighborly attitude. These new friends have ranged from every walk of life, including a Supreme Court Justice (from an extended flight), the owner of an NFL team, and the clerk at a local seaside donut shop. Wherever they go, it’s hard for them not to find a friend, old or new.

Patricia Holtzapple | AGE: 90

Mrs. Patricia Holtzapple, 90 years old, is a woman of deep wisdom combined with a joyous sense of humor. When one is with Pat—no matter one's age—there is a timelessness to the relationship. That's because Pat stays current—current with what is going on in the world at large, current with events in the lives of her friends and family. Even when things look dire, especially politically, she stays optimistic and shrugs off negativity with well-stated humor. She is lively and stays active and fit—hiking in the northwest wilderness as well as her neighborhood, overlooking Puget Sound. When asked to respond to the challenge "As I age I dare to...", she responded, "I want to continue to stay connected and to do all the things I've always done. I experience joy in being with friends and family and just getting up in the morning and getting outside." When asked about a high point in her life she referred to a trip she took with her teenaged grandson when she was 81 to see LeBron James play basketball in Indianapolis. They had a wonderful time together—just grandmother and grandson. She said, "One of the best experiences is that this high school kid would want to take me!" In her quiet and loving way, Pat exudes a love of life and the people in it. 

Roma Houchin | AGE: 86

Roma Houchin has been a Louisville Metro Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) volunteer, especially with University of Louisville Health Mary & Elizabeth Hospital, for 12 ½ years. She enjoys being a greeter when patients, visitors and others come to the hospital and helping to direct them on where they need to go and making them feel comfortable. At times she volunteers in the hospital gift shop too. When she is not volunteering, she enjoys knitting and doing crochet. Roma Houchin is currently 86 years of age and shows no signs of slowing down.

Delbert Keith | AGE: 89

Zest for life is a perfect representation for Delbert Keith. Mr. Keith is one of those people that brings joy and brightness to all he meets the moment he steps into your life. He loves to tell stories from his life and has the most wholesome sense of humor. Each day he makes a point to make someone smile, whether with an inside joke, a new joke, or just a friendly voice of encouragement. To say his laugh is contagious is an understatement. His laugh is one of those sounds that makes a bad day disappear instantly. When you share a laugh with Delbert the whole world stops for a moment and you can’t recall anything but the feeling of your soul beaming. He is kind and soft to everyone; no matter who they may be, everyone is worth compassion and a tender handshake. He prides himself on being a nice guy and a loving husband. He shares stories of his wife Carolyn with delight and awe. He is her biggest cheerleader and takes every chance he can to revel in her beauty, career success and their marriage. When you meet Mr. Delbert Keith you don’t realize how much your life will change and how lucky you will be having experienced his friendship.

Charles Kenneth Kinberger | AGE: 94

At the age of 94, Charles Kenneth (Ken) Kinberger has never met a stranger and always sees the best in people. He is the ultimate optimist, with a cheerful, positive attitude. His sense of humor always puts a smile on others' faces. As a veteran of the Korean War, Ken served in the 503rd U.S. Military Police Battalion stationed at Fort Bragg. When he returned from service, he married Margaret Gloor and was a dedicated husband for 69 years. Ken began a career in architectural drafting and continues to draw house plans by hand. He built his own home in 1953, where he still lives. Ken makes beautiful hand-wrapped gift boxes for others in his spare time. Every Christmas he bakes and delivers 60 dozen of his famous anise tea cookies to neighbors, family, and friends. Ken is a sharp dresser and never has a hair out of place. He is a member of CrossRoads Church of St. Matthews where he arrives early before the service to make coffee for the members. Although he recently hired someone to cut his grass, he continues to do all other yard work and maintenance. He loves to bowl and was in a bowling league until Covid. To stay physically active, he does daily balance, flexibility, and core strength exercises. He continues to attend the annual Male HS 50+ Club alumni luncheons. Ken is the best Poppy and loves to spend time with his daughter, three grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

Marjorie "Margie" Manning | AGE: 93

Margie is the personification of one who has combined hard work, deep faith and fun to reach age 93 with enthusiasm and grace. She was born and raised on a farm. While her four brothers were overseas during WWII, she and her sisters took over their farm chores in addition to their own work. She married young, raised two great kids and was widowed in 1986 at age 57 while in the process of buying a new home. She moved into the house alone and has lived independently since then. After 23 years of service at UofL, she retired in 1992 but didn’t stop. As she says, she was never one to "sit down and do nothing." She continued to work by volunteering for many years for Harbor House, SS Mary and Elizabeth Hospital, Meals on Wheels and KY Center for the Arts. For thirteen years, she arranged bus tours for her church groups, traveling all over the United States. She is a woman of many talents and hobbies including cooking, sewing, quilting, gardening and fishing. She enjoys playing cards every week with her church club and is active in other groups in her church. Although she has experienced some health issues (including having a pacemaker for more than 30 years), she is unstoppable, always ready to play, to give, to laugh and to spend time with her family. I am constantly inspired by her positivity, her love of others, her generosity, her spirituality and her wonderful sense of humor.

Maria Marquez | AGE: 86

Maria serves Mercy Medical Clinic in Shelbyville as a translator for the Hispanic dominated clientele. When needed she will jump in to help with other tasks around the clinic. Despite her 86 years of age she often walks 6 blocks to the clinic, is constantly full of energy and stands during the medical appointments due to the small exam rooms. She also doesn't allow her medical problems to interfere with her volunteer duties. She is very concerned about the needs of the patients and often stays with them for comfort in the absence of other staff when needed. Maria doesn't hesitate to translate difficult, sensitive, and personal medical issues. She is a sweet, kind, empathetic person who is loved by the staff and patients. Mercy Medical Clinic is open an average of 24 hours per week and she is often there for most of those hours.

Bertha Mason | AGE: 97

"One monkey don't stop no show. It might slow it down, but it sure don't stop it!" This simple anecdote is a comical metaphor of perseverance in the face of life’s obstacles; and with a little humor and a lot of grit, Bertha Mason is the vanguard for successful aging in place. Born in Taylorsville, KY to a teenage mother in 1925, Bae (as she is lovingly called) is the eldest of nine siblings. She was the one who made sure her brothers and sisters woke up for school without the assistance of an alarm clock, and ensured they had food to eat—even if it meant going to extreme lengths to acquire that food, even if it meant going hungry many days herself. Determined to graduate high school, Ms. Mason trekked miles on end with holes in her shoes—through rain, the bitterness of the snow and winter and the sweltering heat of summer, past white students cursing and spitting on her—because in spite of the toughest of difficulties she knew the show had to go on! A devoted mother of three, only one of whom survives today, Ms. Mason has witnessed the worst of Jim Crow, World War 2, a man walk on the moon, the birth of the information age and a new millennium, and has endured through so much more untold. If you ask her what the secret to a long life is, Ms.Mason will say to you, “If you can’t be good, be careful!”

Connie Miceli | AGE: 93

At age 93, Connie is an adventurous, active, and inquisitive soul. She obtained her Doctorate of Social Work at 66 and continues to be a strong participant in the decisions at her assisted living facility, The Amsterdam, where she sits on one the governing boards. Living independently, she also serves as an advocate for others in the geriatric population. For more than two decades, she was the Director of Senior Services for the City of Glen Cove, NY. The daughter of Sicilian immigrants, she is proud of her Mediterranean heritage, her faith, and thankful for longevity of her life. She continues to travel and has attended weddings in Canada, California,and Kentucky over the past year. She makes it a priority to be active throughout the day physically, mentally, and socially. She enjoys new experiences and spending time with her family. She can always be found on the dance floor at events with a contagious smile on her face and encouraging others to enjoy their time. She understands the importance of hard work which she has instilled in her children and grandchildren.

John Moore | AGE: 89

John C. Moore has been a volunteer with Louisville Metro Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) for 15 years helping at two different locations. He first volunteered with RSVP at the Senior Care Experts (SCE), where he helped deliver meals to homebound seniors and others in need. His caring face and commitment to this went on for over a decade. He currently volunteers at Baptist Health Hospital. He serves two roles, as Receptionist Greeter and Emergency Room Greeter, which he does usually most Mondays and Thursdays at Baptist Health in Louisville. While John is a quiet-mannered individual, he has a deep heart and caring spirit that makes him such a vital individual in our community.

Elaine Morgan | AGE: 85

Elaine Morgan is the head volunteer gift story manager at Norton Hospital-Audubon. She has been doing this for several years and manages over 15 senior volunteers. The gift shop at this hospital has a special association with a group called the TWIGS. TWIGS (Together with Important Goals Shared) is a nucleus of volunteer groups dedicated to supporting Children's Hospital through various fundraising and friend-raising events. Elaine is so compassionate about this cause and has been a true leader in raising money and funds to help those (especially children) with medical bills and other health concerns. In addition to her volunteerism at Norton Hospital-Audubon, she is also a volunteer member with the Louisville Metro Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP). 

Arla Nesbit | AGE: 87

Ms. Arla Nesbit has been a Louisville Metro Retired Senior Volunteer Program-SilverNotes performer/singer for nearly 10 years. In addition to performing at nursing homes, retirement homes, schools, childcare centers and more, she also volunteers at St. Matthews Area Ministries and with her church and various schools. She also enjoys knitting, especially needle work. She was a nurse in her working career. 

Norma Niehaus | AGE: 91

Norma “Zest” Niehaus is one in a million. When you meet Norma you instantly know you have met someone very special. She has a way of speaking to others that gives a feeling of encouragement, confidence and pride. Norma takes every opportunity she can to pat someone on the back or give an "atta boy" whether to residents, employees or visitors. Her love for plants, bourbon and the University of Kentucky Wildcats is electrifying. You can often catch her with her blue and white pom poms cheering her team on or tending to her garden and teaching others about horticulture. If you stay around her garden long enough, she will share with you why she refuses to work with annuals. She is sharp, funny and fiercely independent. No matter what the task, Norma is the person you want in your corner. Also if you are ever having a bad day, ask her to tell you one of her delightful stories of something she has experienced in her life. You won’t regret it and will never forget her excitement and enthusiasm for all of her life’s adventures. 

Eleanor Price | AGE: 102

Eleanor Price celebrated her 102nd birthday on July 12, 2022. She was surrounded by friends and others at one of her favorite places to visit, the Louisville Metro Senior Nutrition Metro East site. She was born and grew up in Louisville, Alabama on a farm. While she never had a job, she took care of her two daughters and did other activities. She was one of eight children in her family and is the only living member left and has actually outlived one of her daughters and a granddaughter. No matter the situation, she always has a smile on her face and makes life worth living. She lives with her 72-year-old daughter, Gloria Spurlock, in the Middletown area of Louisville.

Sheldon Rifkin | AGE: 87

Sheldon Rifkin is 87 years of age and has been a volunteer with the Louisville Metro Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) and with the Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport as an “Airport Ambassador” for 16 years. He enjoys welcoming tourists and visitors to Louisville and simply making the natives feel special coming back home. Other things he likes to do include sales, computers, graphic design and photography. He previously worked at the Sprint phone company before he retired and is also Actors Theater volunteer too.

William Schmitt | AGE: 90

William Schmitt is the gold standard not just for aging but everything in life. He is caring and compassionate and gives unlimited love to his family and friends. He has overcome many setbacks in health, and doctors are amazed that he is still alive and kicking. I think that is because he wants to see his family grow and thrive. He is so deserving of this award.

David Stewart | AGE: 86

David Stewart has been the Musical Director of SilverNotes for over 10 years and a community volunteer with Louisville Metro Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) for over 15 years. He leads a group of nearly 20 seniors (ages 55 to 100) in doing musical rehearsals and concerts in the community for nursing homes, retirement homes, school groups, childcare centers, and so much more. David has such a caring heart and deep commitment in doing outreach to others of all generations. As a committed musical director of SilverNotes and RSVP volunteer, he shows his zest and engagement in life in so many ways.

Betty Stotz | AGE: 88

Betty embodies the Gold Standard of Optimal Aging in everything she does. She runs the Rose Anna Hughes Home Library with dedication and precision, opening the vast landscape of literature to all of our residents. She ensures that everyone at RAH has an opportunity to enjoy reading by providing books on tape and a multitude of titles in large print. Additionally, she is very active in our community, leading bible study each week and assisting with with Sunday services. Betty is a leader in our community and a huge part of why our residents live fuller, more active lives. She handles the various challenges and losses one encounters as they age with wisdom, equanimity, and grace. She is an inspiration to everyone at Rose Anna Hughes Home because she makes an intentional effort to be positive and enjoy life each day instead of focusing on the more difficult aspects of aging. We all should want to be like Betty when we grow up!

Robin Whitehouse | AGE: 87

Robin Whitehouse is 87 year old who goes weekly to two Louisville Metro Senior Nutrition Centers at Beechmont and Wilderness Road (Okolona). For the last 5 years, she has helped lead a tai chi class with other seniors. She grew up in Mt. Sterling, Kentucky and went to Morehead University and upon graduation was a schoolteacher for 40 years with Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS). She is a true social bug and loves coming to the senior centers weekly, leading tai chi and having fun with her friends.

Willa Fae Williams AGE: 86

Willa Fae Williams is a native Louisvillian who has served others in multiple ways for more than 75 years. “Gold Standard” service has been her way of life though she may be just now be aging into recognition of her long years of service. As an accomplished musician, Willa Fae began providing music leadership in local churches when she was 7 years old—long before she became an accomplished concert organist. She taught Math, Physics and Computer Science in Jefferson County Public Schools for 30 years. She immediately began a career in ministry with the Presbyterian Church USA that has now spanned 25 years. Rev. Williams currently serves as Volunteer Chaplain at Presbyterian Homes and Services of Kentucky, despite continuing her full-time work as pastor of Portland Avenue Presbyterian Church. Her work as a chaplain is particularly unique in that she ministers to her contemporaries, as well as her elders from a base of common life experience. As a committed donor, chaplain and friend to Presbyterian Homes and Services of Kentucky, it is an honor to have a chance to recognize Rev. Williams for her commitment to service of others as she continues to use her gifts as a musician, an educator and a minister to the community at Presbyterian Homes and Services. As has been characteristic of her entire life, Willa Fae doesn’t speak of retirement (and I dare you to mention it to her), rather she simply asks, “What next?”

Jocille Wright | AGE: 92

Jocille Wright is a retired, but active, ninety-two year old in Louisville, Kentucky. She lives in her longtime home by herself and enjoys spending time with her children and grandchildren. Since she turned eighty-five, she often drove herself for shopping and to visits with her family. She enjoys going to church, working in her yard—particularly her flower garden—, reading, and sewing. Although she is still recuperating from an automobile accident, she remains committed to recovering and returning to a fully engaged lifestyle. Nothing will keep her down.

Bette Zeller | AGE: 95

Bette Zeller is a 95 year old woman who has been volunteering with Louisville Metro Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) and St. Joseph Children’s Home Sewing Society for nearly 28 years. She loves to make blankets and quilts for foster and adopted children at St. Joe's and looks forward to coming most Mondays and Wednesday to join nearly 50 other women who sew together each week. In addition to quilting, she loves playing bridge, traveling and growing flowers. Her prior work career included being a business secretary and volunteering at a nursing home.

Previous Recipients: 2014  2016  2017  2018  2019  2020  2021