24 individuals

Fred Findlen

Frederick Joseph Findlen used to brag about his third son of eight children, Frederick Paul. Doing construction work around Harvard University, Fredrick Joseph told anyone who’d listen about how smart his namesake was, how he was the one kid who’d one day not only be the first in the family to go to college, but would be going to none other than Harvard. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be.

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Bob Greenberger

Bob Greenberger was a paper man, just not the kind he’d always dreamt of being. So, well into his 30’s with three young boys and over his mother’s objections, he sold the family paper business and went to Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

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Linda Mason

Linda and John have been married for 49 years and will be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary in June of 2018. They met through a matchmaking service called Michigan Scientific Introduction Service and their first date was on Nov. 13, 1967, when they met for coffee on the University of Michigan campus. Linda was working at Parke-Davis, a pharmaceutical company, and John was a grad student. They felt an immediate connection that has lasted half a century and counting.

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Mary Ellen Sweeney

Mary Ellen Sweeney was one of eight children, and one of a kind. In her early school years, Mary Ellen joined the basketball team that arguably became the bad girls of the local Catholic school league for their unconventional playing style: “We were one of the first teams to do jump shots," Mary Ellen says. "We were doing a very innovative thing that no one else was trying -- they were just sitting down!”

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Linda Eckhardt

Linda Eckhardt’s life has been dedicated to medicine and domestic stability at home with her family.

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Graham Newton-Small

 Graham Newton-Small would be the first to tell you he was the black sheep of his family. While his siblings all went off to be lawyers and an economist—the dutiful children of a banker—Graham’s only burning ambition in life was to travel. And so, at the age of 18, with a suitcase, a letter of recommendation to Lloyds Insurance and a hangover from his boisterous goodbye party, Graham boarded the Queen Mary bound from Sydney, Australia, for London in 1957.

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Perry Clark Huston

Out on a hike with his grandsons one day, Perry Huston got a bit ahead and started dropping coins along the trail. The chirps of delight as Dylan and Evan found the coins brought back fond memories for his daughter, Holly Krueger. When she was growing up, Perry was the dad who always sought out adventure and strived to bring joy into his kids’ lives. Now, he was doing the same for his grandkids.

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Dee Oldham

Dee Oldham may not be very tall, but her small stature belies a fierce energy. Perhaps it’s because her childhood mobility was limited by rheumatic fever. Or it might have been the challenge of caring for a disabled child early in her marriage, or maybe keeping up with four rambunctious sons as her husband’s job took the family from one new home to the next.

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Dale Wassink

From a young age, Dale Wassink has been known by many names. She was nicknamed Nene (pronounced neh-neh) as a child-a Filipino term of endearment for a little girl. The second of five children, she was sickly and suffered asthma. Growing up in the Philippines, the illness kept her from playing outdoors as much as her siblings. She had to avoid the heat, dust and overexertion. But it also means she got what she wanted. "I was always the first one to read the comic books. They didn't want to upset me, because I might have an attack. 'I want the comic book first,' she'd say. I'd get it first." She laughs, "So, I'm kind of a little spoiled. Whatever I said goes. But I wasn't bad." Her ability to negotiate would pay off as an adult.

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Eloise Lynch

While campaigning for a seat in the Kansas House of Representatives in her early 60s, Eloise Lynch knocked on the door of a man who owned a salvage yard in her hometown of Salina, Kansas. “Are you Owen Hodgson’s daughter?” he asked. She nodded and he told her of how her father, a high school principal, always watched out for the poor kids from north of the tracks, including securing suits for any of them who wanted to go to the prom but couldn’t afford to buy their own.

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John Harold Lefeber

John Harold Lefeber‘s life has been defined by two great loves: his devotion to a family he sometimes had to leave for long months at sea, and his passion for the Green Bay Packers. He can talk animatedly for hours about the Packers, or about politics (he’s outspokenly conservative) or history (World War II, especially naval), but he keeps his deepest feelings under wraps. Only his closest friends know that his mother’s early death forced him to give up his first ambition, which was to be a priest.

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Jackie Boss

Fortitude, faith and family. That is Jackie Boss.

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Sandy Lakin

Whenever the mood struck her, Sandy Lakin would turn on music and transform her suburban Richmond living room into a private disco. Whether she was alone or had only her two young children as partners, the sheer joy of moving to the rhythm always made Sandy smile.

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Carol Voss Blazek

A few years back, a waitress approached John Blazek while he was sitting in a diner near his parents' home in Hilton Head, South Carolina. “You have the most wonderful mom,” she told him. She explained that she was living in the United States without documents and had not been able to get medical care for her pregnancy. She had confided in Carol Voss Blazek and one day looked up to see Carol walking into the diner with a bassinet full of things needed to care for a newborn baby. Carol then proceeded to give the waitress a rundown of the “ins and outs” of motherhood.

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Joseph DeLiso

A fan of baroque music and the blues, Albert Camus and Monty Python, Joseph has lived uncompromisingly on his own terms.

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Diana Smith Brown

Diana Brown was born into an affluent family in Enumclaw, WA with Norwegian and Swedish roots in 1947. Rufus Smith, Diana’s father, was one of Enumclaw’s esteemed bankers, while her mother, Helen Smith, had ambitions of her own before getting married. Rufus was the only surviving son of JJ Smith and Selma Hanson. Selma was the daughter of Carl and Anna Hanson who owned and ran the White River Lumber Company, which was a predecessor to the Weyerhaeuser Company.

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Roberta Joy Naiman

Roberta Naiman’s middle name is Joy, and that’s what she brought, and continues to bring, to her family and friends. Throughout life, she found her own joy in varied interests, but she especially loved to jitterbug.

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Liz Ross

Pregnant with their first child, many women several decades ago would have dropped out of running sports. Too uncomfortable, too dangerous -- maybe even too un-ladylike, they would have said. Elizabeth “Liz” Ross didn’t buy it. With her oldest daughter Heather on the way, Liz couldn’t imagine giving up her citywide baseball league in the Detroit area. She was the pitcher, and her team needed her, and besides, she had a responsibility to herself to finish the season. Liz pitched right up to delivery day.

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Jim Lawrence

When Jim Lawrence went on vacation, the other Franz Bread truck drivers were always reluctant to take his route. For 23 years, Jim, a notoriously hard worker, rose at one o’clock in the morning for his two AM start. He would drive through Beaver Creek and Oregon City, delivering bread to schools and stores, as well as checking their stock. When Jim finished 10 hours later, at four PM, he would head straight to his son’s football games, pockets full of red and black licorice and mints. Grandpa Jim, everybody knows, never comes empty-handed.

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Steven Overweg

“You challenge and inspire; your hope is our desire.”

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Geneva H. Michael

When Geneva Herndon married Delore “Mike” Michael in Sioux Falls, SD, she dictated the wedding much like she lived her life: simple, utilitarian and surrounded by those they loved. The church was Protestant, the dress was as elegant as war rationing allowed and the only attendees were close family and friends and Mike’s Army Air Corps buddies, who also served as a guard of honor. Geneva saved the dress for years and she still has the beautiful rhinestone brooch she wore with it. The terms of the wedding became something of renown in their family: her granddaughter printed Geneva’s letter laying out the plans on canvas and to this day it sits framed on her apartment wall.

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Sherry Chait

Anyone who meets Sherry Chait comes away with something. To the man who did her floors she gave Beanie Babies and books for his four children. And the young man she met in China 40 years ago got a college education from the woman he still calls his American mom. They met as he did Tai Chi by her hotel near the Yangtze River at a time when Chinese officials frowned on citizens mixing with foreigners. But Sherry felt connected to the boy and nothing would stop her from reaching out to him.

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Mary Radnofsky

At age 58, Dr. Mary Radnofsky jumped out of a plane for the first time to get the experience of flying through space. She is also a scuba-diver, and loves the weightlessness and beauty of life down deep in the ocean. So much so that she often went diving while living in Hawaii.

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Nancy Merkt

Madison, Wis., may not evoke the same “make it there, make it anywhere” aura that Frank Sinatra sang about. But it was where Nancy Merkt was determined to make her mark in the world as an 18-year old, newly minted high school graduate — even if she was venturing only about 15 miles from her parents’ 160-acre dairy farm in Cross Plains.

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