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West County ‘Ageless Remarkable’ seniors honored at annual event

Eight West County seniors were among those honored at the recent Ageless Remarkable St. Louisans Gala held on Oct. 28. Sponsored by the St. Andrews Resources for Seniors System, the annual event celebrates the outstanding achievements of St. Louis area residents ages 75-plus who have dedicated their “golden years” to remaining active in the community and bettering the region by helping others. Area honorees included:

Rev. Dr. Jack Batten, 90, of Valley Park, is a World War II veteran and retired minister who continues to work as a substitute worship leader and preaches at various churches. He also volunteers at the emergency shelter Room at the Inn as a driver for the homeless, as an usher for the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and in the gift shop at Cape Albeon. He also finds time to be a Partner in Education.

Dr. Will Carpenter 85, and Hellen Carpenter, 81, of Chesterfield, have achieved much, both separately and together, during their 57 years of marriage. Will is internationally renowned for 25 years of work on a treaty to ban chemical weapons, which led to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013. He has served on numerous boards, and volunteers at the St. Louis Academy of Science, the St. Louis Science Center and the Chesterfield Development Advisory Council, as well as several universities. Hellen’s biography about her grandfather, Dr. James Naismith – who invented the game of basketball – and related presentations promote teamwork, skills and determination to audiences young and old.   Together, the couple has funded scholarships at the University of Missouri – St. Louis, Webster University, Purdue University, Mississippi State University, Springfield University in Massachusetts and Oklahoma State University.

Dr. Ira J. Kodner, 76, of Town & Country, is a retired colorectal surgeon and a recognized expert in the field of medical ethics. He continues to teach, consult, write and play a leadership role in educating surgical residents on the topics of medical ethics and end-of-life care. He currently serves as Emeritus Professor of Surgery at Washington University, and is a member of the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Foundation Board as well as several national boards. He also volunteers with the Jewish Community Relations Council, the OASIS Institute, Washington University Medical School and Lift for Life Academy.

Ernest Theodore “Ted” Kretschmar, 81, of Creve Coeur, is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Marine officer, church deacon and retired businessman.  He serves on the board of the Focus Marines Foundation, a volunteer-led nonprofit he helped to found that assists psychologically wounded service members with the transition back into civilian life. He also holds a board position with Teen Challenge of St. Louis and volunteers at the West County Assembly of God Church.

Dr. Earl Schultz, 86, of Creve Coeur, is a U.S. Army veteran and a retired neurologist and psychiatrist who continues to impact the lives of thousands. He now volunteers at a free clinic in St. Charles, helping to meet the health care needs of  uninsured residents. He also mentors medical students at Washington University and serves on the Cancer Research Review Board at Missouri Baptist Hospital.

Robert Snyder, 79, of West County, now serves as an advocate for residents of long-term care communities through the VOYCE Ombudsman Program. He visits communities weekly, identifying and resolving issues for residents. He also serves on the board of the Mid-East Area Agency on Aging and chairs the Silver Haired Legislature, a statewide advocacy group for seniors.

Bernice Thompson, 81, of Chesterfield, formerly served as director of a mental health agency, addiction counselor, church elder and professional instructor. She has remained active as an individual and family counselor for Agape Christian Counseling. She also serves as convener of the Congregational Crisis Committee for the Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy in St. Louis, and was named one of the “100 Most Inspiring St. Louisans” in 2009.

From left: Bernice Thompson, Dr. Will Carpenter and his wife Hellen Carpenter and Robert Snyder are four of the West County residents recently celebrated as Ageless Remarkable St. Louisans for 2017.


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