Previous Recipients

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.

Previous Recipients: 2014   2016  2017  2018  2019  2020  2021

Recipients: 2018

Mary Atherton, 100 | Category: Years of Wisdom

A retired school teacher. Ms. Atherton is very caring, loving, funny, creative, artist, and mentor to many. She continues to be independent. She participates in all programs at Diversicare of Providence to its fullest. She often writes poems and stories for their skits and resident plays; she acts in them as well. Even though Ms. Atherton is a retired school teacher she continues to mentor the Jeffersonville High School Norton’s CNA Student Program. She develops lasting relationships with young ladies and often they come back just to visit her and seek her advise. Ms. Atherton continues to be champion for change at Providence and the voice for those residents that can’t speak. She is the Resident Council President and Town Hall Mediator. Diversicare of Providence is a better place because of her.


Elizabeth “Buzz” Bealmear, 91 | Category: Intergenerational

Ms. Bealmear, as she is known by her friends, is a sweet lady who takes full responsibility for her health and strives to live a healthy life. She exercises regularly, participates in community activities, and attends classes at Bellarmine University. She is involved in her church and lives her faith. She shares her money with charitable causes and loves all things related to Derby and horses. She enjoys building, nurturing, and maintaining relationships with people of all ages and walks of life. According to her friends, when you are with Ms. Bealmear you don’t feel any age difference. While planning her 80th birthday, the planners had to limit the invitations to 100 people. How many 80-year-olds have active friendships with 100+ people of all ages? People are the most important part of Ms. Bealmear’s life and she cherishes giving and receiving friendship. She is truly an example of optimal aging.


Les Brooks, 86 | Category: Never Too Late

Mr. Brooks is an extraordinary man, and one of the most sociable, positive, funny and friendly people that I have ever known. He has a smile for everyone and enjoys sharing his stories, as well as celebrating in the success of others. He excels at helping people solve problems and offering support to his classmates in HMR classes. Mr. Brooks has his Master’s degree in social work and has used, and continues to use, his knowledge, creativity, and compassion to help families and individuals. He is a dynamic problem solver and helps me and others at the gym feel more confident in their decisions, relationships and life challenges. Mr. Brooks has taught me that you are never too old to accomplish any goal that you set for yourself. He brings joy and laughter with him wherever he goes, and I am a better Educator and Personal Training for knowing and working with Mr. Brooks.


Fr. Simon Herbers, 97 | Category: Compassion

Fr. Herbers is a “golden” example of how to optimally respond to changes and diminishment posed by aging! One year ago, as a member of the Passionist religious order, he was transferred from Houston, TX, where he had been for over 30 years, to the Passionist Senior Care facility in Louisville, KY. Instead of letting his ministry and active life fade with age and a new home, Simon responded with flexibility, energy, and grace. He jumped into ministry in Louisville, continuing his publication for seniors, “Think Life”. He sought out a writer to document his prison ministry. He started visiting seniors at Nazareth Home and continued his openness to new experiences and began participating in the Compassionate Louisville Elder Counsel. His active approach to life and ministry is inclusive, humble, and grounded by love. Simon’s ability to be “love” for others while aging is seen in his ministry.


Beatrice Huff, 89 | Category: Kentucky

Ms. Huff is a go-getter. At the age of 50, she attended Spalding University to complete her undergrad degree. She became the first African American Family Nurse Practitioner in Kentucky when she graduated from Eastern Kentucky University. She worked for the first HMO in Kentucky and was the first Nurse Practitioner to do so. She enjoys volunteering and is an Active Atria Ambassador. Ms. Huff loves the arts; she enjoys theatre, concerts, and festivals. She is an artist in the kitchen and her home was known as B’s Bed and Breakfast. Ms. Huff is known for her gumbo, sangria, paella, and mint juleps. She recently visited Angel’s Envy Distillery. She said you cannot live in Kentucky and never visit a distillery. Although she doesn’t like bourbon, she had to mark that off her to-do list. Ms. Huff never lets age stand in her way and knows it is just a number.


Margot Kling, 92 | Category: Social Justice 

Shortly after Hitler’s rise, Ms. Kling’s father decided it was time to leave Germany and join relatives in Louisville. They crossed the ocean on the Queen Mary, and at age 10, she enrolled in Engelhard Elementary School, barely able to speak English. With incredible resilience, she grew into a wise and strong woman who fiercely protected her family. She has been fearless in her advocacy to do the right thing and to be faithful to her Jewish traditions. At 92, she still is a force to be reckoned with and always willing to voice her opinions. She has never let challenges or constraints keep her from being a visible part of the community. Through community engagement and a range of interests, Ms. Kling has drawn on her creative abilities to provide leadership in her congregation and social activities. She has lived a “life of service,“ to her family, faith, and community.


Margaret Martel, 106 | Category: Years of Wisdom

Ms. Martel is 106 years old and a retired RN. Her husband’s father was the first resident ever of Diversicare of Providence. She lives at Diversicare of Providence and her family is very supportive and visit her daily. Ms. Martel continues to attend Mass and receive communion. She loves being around her children and family. In addition, Ms. Martel often plays piano upon request. She and her family attend all of the family dinner nights and Ms. Martel is often picked to participate in those programs by playing piano. She loves Big Band music and Happy Hour. She will often say it’s not a party without a beer and some salt



Emma Patria Pedroso Iglesias, 85 | Category: New Beginnings 

Since Ms. Pedroso Iglesias arrived to the United States in 2009, she has been actively participating in ESL classes and the Elders Program. Every morning she starts her day stretching and doing yoga and aerobics. Ms. Pedroso Iglesias is a very energetic, enthusiastic, and friendly individual. She loves going on field trips to museums, exhibitions, the zoo, etc. Ms. Pedroso Iglesias also always enjoys arts activities and actually has a painting on permanent display. She is a religious person and actively practices her faith. She loved cooking and reuniting with her daughter here in the states. Despite being almost ten years since her arrival, she keeps the same spirit, practicing a lot of aerobics, attending group activities.


Dorothy Roehrig, 100 | Category: Years of Wisdom

Ms. Roehrig was born in Louisville and married to Joe Roehrig for 55 years. Together they raised and educated two children. Since her husband was a plumbing contractor, Ms. Roehrig was deeply involved in the women’s auxiliary of the state and national organizations, serving as state president, national secretary, and national director. For years she wrote a column for the organization’s national magazine. She was a volunteer at Nazareth Home for 25 years and twice president of the Auxiliary, chairing committees and guiding the major fundraising event several times. Ms. Roehrig took up bowling in her 40s, captained a ladies’ team, and participated in a senior mixed league into her 80s. Her passions have included music and literature. She remains an avid reader and enjoys playing cards. Above all, Ms. Roehrig is known for her kindness and compassion, and also her quick wit.


William T. Shumake, 92 | Category: Leadership

Rev. Shumake is on a mission for our Creator. He is the longest-serving pastor at a single church in Louisville, serving the Community Missionary Baptist Church for 59 consecutive years. He has advocated for the needy by helping provide shelter for the homeless and meals for the hungry. Because of these acts of kindness, a lifeline has been provided for many souls. Though Rev. Shumake has had some physical challenges, these things have not deterred him from completing his task. He and his wife founded Shumake and Daughters Funeral Home in 1982 and is still meeting the need of the Newburg community. As a member of the Louisville Deacons Fellowship, Rev. Shumake has been a mentor for hundreds of churchmen and an encourager of many people in his 59 years of pastoring. Rev. Shumake is a gentle, kindhearted, spirit and there is nothing he wouldn’t do to help someone. 


Dr. Seymour “Sy” Slavin, 96 | Category: Educator 

After teaching more than 30 years as Emeritus Professor at the University of Louisville’s Kent School of Social Work, retirement did not slow down Dr. Slavin. Rather, he went on to create and serve as the first Director of the Kentucky Labor Institute. Today, at the age of 95, he remains an active lecturer and speaker to several groups. Two of his current topics include “Einstein’s Views on the Relationship of Science and Religion” and “The Role of the Administrative State in a Democracy.” He has been a leader in his own generation, a mentor to numerous other generations, and an ongoing inspiration to all who know him.


Elmer Lucille Allen, 86 | Category: Outstanding Individual

Ms. Allen is a feat to behold; she was a pioneering chemist at Brown-Foreman, a successful fiber artist, and a champion of equality and fairness on community concerns. She has broken countless racial and gender barriers. Her talent, hard work, and social commitments to equal opportunity are reflected in her fabric-based artworks. Ms. Allen is largely responsible for the art gallery at Wayside Christian Mission, now Hotel Louisville, which offers a more accessible exhibit space. Since 2005 she has served as its volunteer coordinator, handling scheduling and ensuring exhibitors come from all races, ethnicities, genders, neighborhoods, and walks of life. Ms. Allen frequents youth musical programs, candidate forums, literary readings, and educational lectures. At 86, she is still active, on the go, and helps care for her 98-year-old aunt. Ms. Allen lives her life with constant grace, compassion, generosity, and conviction, and inspires everyone she meets.


Thomas Cork, Sr., 92 | Category: Outstanding Individual

Mr. Cork actively travels for the Munford Point Marine events and still gives motivational lectures to young African American males on their place in the making and keeping of America as a marine and a man. He continues to remain an active motivator and active in volunteer work, government, and clubs. Mr. Cork saw a need to help the YMCA on Chestnut Street remain open and began a fundraising program over 40 years ago. By 2017, his program had raised over $400,000. Mr. Cork is an active member of West Chestnut Street Baptist Church, where he created a scholarship program that continues to fund students seeking college education. Mr. Cork has both been awarded and created many awards, including achieving the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his services. At 92 years of age, Mr. Cork has taken what life offered him, usually lemons, and has made the sweetest of lemonade for himself and others. 


Don & Patsy Hall, 87 & 87 | Category: Outstanding Couple

Mr. and Mrs. Hall both loved to bowl and by chance, they were both bowling one day when friends introduced them. They finished their games and sat down together. After two hours of talking, they realized no one was around, so Mr. Hall happily escorted Mrs. Hall home. The couple met on May 26th and married on August 26th and have been together and worked together 24/7 for 51 years. They are 87 years old and walk at least one mile a day. Hand in Foot and Double Pinochle are two of the couple’s favorite card games and they host card parties at least once a week. When Mr. and Mrs. Hall see a need, they find solutions - for example, they arranged a senior meals delivery service that helps residents take a day off from cooking. The couple volunteer on campus, helping with cooking classes, serving refreshments, visiting with residents and sharing their love, kindness, and time.


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