Super Seniors Pt. 4: Glenn Vawter voted top Super Senior by PI readers
Monday, Sept. 24
IF YOU GO
What: Speaker Tony Buettner with the Blue Zones Project provides science-based answers to living a longer and healthier life
When: Doors open at 5 p.m., panel discussion at 6, featured speaker at 7
Where: Morgridge Commons/Colorado Mountain College (above the Glenwood Springs Library)
Tickets: $25 (includes food and beverages) online here, or at the door.
Editor’s note: The Glenwood Springs Post Independent concludes its four-week-long series of Sunday profiles on the “Super Seniors” of Garfield County aged 80 and older who were nominated online by readers earlier this summer as part of our Longevity Project.
Glenn Vawter – Colorado bred, world traveled
Glenn Vawter was voted as the Glenwood Springs Post Independent’s top “Super Senior” in online voting by our readers this past summer.
A Colorado native who was born in Denver, and raised in McCoy, Colorado through eighth grade, his family moved to Glenwood Springs so he could attend high school.
After graduation, he attended and graduated from Colorado School of Mines, receiving his degree in petroleum engineering. While at Mines, he was in the Army Reserves. He received his MBA from Harvard Business School in 1978.
Glenn loves to travel. He has over a million miles on United Airlines. He has been to Europe, New Zealand, Australia, India, Nepal, Egypt, Israel, and China (in the 1970s) to name a few.
Some of Glenn’s hobbies are fishing, hiking, snowshoeing, rock hounding, traveling, photography, and four-wheeling in the back country.
Glenn volunteers for Rotary, the Elks Lodge, the Glenwood Springs Historical Society, and his church. Giving Halloween tours in the old cemetery is one his favorite volunteer jobs.
Glenn has lived all over the country, but Colorado is his pride and joy, writes his nominator. “He is an ambassador for all of Colorado, offering assistance and information to visitors and friends alike. Glenn is a true asset to our community.”
Ruth Barber – Skydiving octogenarian
How many seniors go sky diving for their 81st birthday? That’s how Ruth Barber celebrated this summer in Moab.
Ruth stays active by walking her little dog, Gilbert, a couple of miles every day, and she still mows her big lawn at her West Glenwood home. Keeping fit no doubt helped her beat cancer a few years ago, and having good genes from her pioneer family helps, too.
Ruth volunteers for LIFT-UP, Chat & Chew, and the Lions Club, and is active with the Walk & Talk cancer survivor group at Valley View.
Ruth and her late husband, Roy, traveled the world, and Ruth still enjoys seeing new places. In the past couple of years, she’s driven to South Dakota and New Mexico, and she’s flown to Hawaii and Florida. Here in Glenwood Springs, she went paragliding in 2016 and rode a Segway through town for her 80th birthday last year.
“Ruth is active, fit, helpful, funny and a good friend to many. She’s a high-flying perfect example of a Super Senior!,” writes her nominator.
Judy Fester – Aging with style
Judy Fester, also known as “Nana the Great,” is a face widely recognized around Glenwood Springs.
She is a frequent flyer on the Traveler to various Chat & Chews, Valley View Knitters Club, and the Elks.
Judy is also a delegate for the senior coalition, traveling to monthly meetings all over the Western Slope. Most people will recognize her from the local live music events.
“She is always up there dancing with her oxygen and walker, having a blast,” says her nominator. “I believe she is a poster child for aging well … with style.”
Ed Grange – Fit to serve others
Ed Grange turned 90 on April 12, 2018, and celebrated by skiing with family in Aspen (happy to finally receive his much anticipated “free lunch”).
Ed grew up on a ranch in Basalt and married Lorraine, a local gal from Aspen. They raised five children in Glenwood Springs, and he has eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren with another due in December.
“I believe that dad’s good health and longevity can be attributed to several things,” writes one of his children, who nominated him as a “Super Senior.”
“He has a strong faith and walks every morning to attend his church, St. Stephen’s. He volunteers regularly at church events and is a member of Knight’s of Columbus.”
Ed worked for many years as General Manager of Holy Cross Energy and only retired fully just a few years ago.
“He still misses it. He lives independently in his home, mows his own lawn, grows raspberries, makes jam for family and friends, and volunteers at the Glenwood Frontier Museum,” the nominator continues.
Ed also enjoys walking, skiing, and keeping his family cabins in Fulford in good repair for everyone to use.
“At the heart of Ed’s good health is an attitude of service toward others … he is always available to help a neighbor in need and consistently puts others above himself.”
Ed wears a Fit Bit to make sure he meets his daily “steps” goal and often times stops at City Market to put together a healthy salad for lunch, attempting to include a variety of colors for the best nutrition.
Ed has also worked diligently to keep up with technology and utilizes his computer (he’s even on Facebook) and tablet every day.
“So, his secret to good health is multifaceted … faith, service to others, attention to healthy eating, daily physical activity and maybe more than anything, staying connected to and involved with family and friends. He is my mentor and my hero.”
Viola Huber – A ‘wandering’ inspiration
At 83 years of age, Viola Huber definitely falls into the category of an active senior, according to her nominator.
Two days a week, Viola volunteers at Valley View Hospital and on Wednesdays she hikes all around the Roaring Fork Valley with the wonderful Wednesday Wanderers.
When she isn’t out and about hiking, volunteering at VVH, or walking with friends and/or family, she is working diligently at her sewing machine.
Viola is a master seamstress and creates beautiful quilts, children’s books, clothing, wall hangings and more. Another hobby that she keeps busy with is counted cross stitch; making hand-stitched Christmas cards to give out to friends and family every year.
Viola is an avid reader and works on crossword puzzles daily. Viola is also an amazing mother and grandmother and is an inspiration.
Arlene Law – Artistry is her passion
Arlene Law of Glenwood Springs is the “biggest Bronco fan!,” proclaims her nominator for Super Senior.
In addition to that, Arlene has been a longtime artist in the community, having shown her own paintings and provided venues for others to show and sell their artwork over the years.
Arlene was a charter member of the Glenwood Springs Art Guild and a Master Signature member of the Western Colorado Watercolor Society (WCWS). According to an April 2016 story in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent, Law’s art has enjoyed wide acclaim on both the local and national level.
She started out like most artists, drawing for her own enjoyment.
“I’ve drawn pictures since I was a little girl,” she said in that 2016 article. “My friend Joan always had paper at her house. So I would go to her house a couple times a week and just sit and draw, often (getting inspiration from) out of comic books.”
Law was one of the founders of the former Fall Arts Festival, a juried annual art show that ran for more than 50 years up until a few years ago.
Today, Law is one of the driving forces behind local art co-ops like the Cooper Corner Art Gallery in Glenwood Springs.
Lt. Col. Dick Merritt – Helping his fellow vets
Lt. Col. Dick Merritt is currently the safety officer at the Roaring Fork Club in Basalt, rides his bike daily, plays golf with his wife, and is very active in the community.
In 1966, Merritt began serving in the Vietnam War as a member of the Marine Corps. He is now in his early 80s.
As reported in the Aspen Times in June 2016, Merritt has worked with others to develop the Huts for Vets program, which helps vets with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by taking them on backcountry trips.
Other volunteer efforts have included participation in the winter sports clinic for disabled veterans, work with the Aspen Institute and Colorado Mountain College to focus on veterans’ issues, completing the We Honor Veterans Volunteer Training program by Hospice of the Valley, and being instrumental in the Roaring Fork Veterans History Project that began in 2007 and memorializes the stories of local servicemen and women.
Merritt’s volunteer work has been recognized by numerous Roaring Fork Valley governments and organizations. He has spoken to several student groups about his military experience and veterans issues, and has been active with the Smiling Goat Ranch’s Go Autism walk in Carbondale, which helped generate awareness about autism and PTSD.
Bob Millette – Slopes and rivers call
Bob Millette is 85 years old and is very active.
You can find him several times each week at the athletic club and fly fishing on the Colorado or Roaring Fork rivers.
He also loves traveling, fishing and birdwatching in Mexico and Oregon. In the winter, you can find him on the slopes with the 100 Club or his family.
He went on safari to Tanzania two years ago, and the guides treated him with honor as “grandfather.” He continues to be active for important environmental and political causes.
“Bob is definitely an active super senior,” writes his nominator.
Jean Mullenax – Holding down the Thrift Shop
Jean Mullenax is 86 years old and runs the Rifle Thrift shop, located at 102 East Avenue in Rifle.
Jean shows compassion every day in her work; the profits from the Thrift Store all go towards creating scholarships for students. Her age doesn’t stop her from the hardships of her work, including heavy lifting, sorting through donations, and transporting unneeded items to the recycling plant and dump.
All of her extra time goes towards caring for her husband, who has had multiple back surgeries recently.
“In my opinion, her gracious heart is willing to do anything for anyone,” writes her nominator. “Whether at home or at work, Jean Mullenax puts 100 percent into her work. I highly recommend going and spending time with this loving woman.”
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