Words of (and to) the wise men

Judy Pease

“To me, I find three things to be most important in retirement: keeping my mind active through education, my body through activity and exercise, and trying to make some contribution.

Prior to my retirement, I learned about LIFE (Learning Is ForEver), which is a lifelong learning program of the RCTC. I continue to take classes and am in my 12th year on the LIFE Advisory Board.

Day classes are available, for a small fee, to everyone. There is a large catalog of courses, with topics ranging from health and history to current affairs and more, most lasting around 2 hours.

Since 2011, I have been part of a diverse and refreshing women’s group, The Study Club. The Club was organized in the late 1800s here in Rochester and has been around since then. Each year we select a topic, each member researches that topic and then presents an article to the group during the year. I know of another group like this in Rochester. I find it a wonderful opportunity to learn new things through research and presentations from other group members.

During my retirement years, I volunteered at the Mayo Clinic weekly. I love the opportunity to meet and give a little help to the patients I meet at my post.

Over the past few years, I have been a member of 125 Live. This is a wonderful facility with a full fitness center, exercise classes, and plenty of socializing opportunities. My favorite form of exercise is swimming and they have a great pool there.

I like to travel. With my two children living abroad my main travel goal is to see them whenever I can handle it. Other than that, I now favor package tours where most of the planning is done for me. My favorite over the years has been Road Scholar. They are planning trips of all kinds around the world, something for everyone.

Much of my artistic enjoyment here in Rochester comes from concerts by the Choral Arts Ensemble and concerts by the Rochester Symphony Orchestra.

About Judy (in her own words): My first “real” job after graduating from college was as a social worker at the alcoholic treatment center at Mendota State Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin. After years of being a stay-at-home mom during my children’s youth, I managed the Wisconsin Union Theater box office on the UW Madison campus for about 12 years. It sparked my interest in the arts. This interest continues today and is an integral part of my retirement life. I moved to Rochester in 1998 and was fortunate enough to be employed part time in the office of the Choral Arts Ensemble, another great job in the arts. I retired completely in 2006.

Paula Haines on Friday September 3, 2021 in Rochester.  Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin

Paula Haines on Friday September 3, 2021 in Rochester. Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin

“I would recommend using your talents to help others”

Paula Haines

“I have to say moving to a new community (I moved here in October 2020) and starting a new friend base is a work in progress. I have been greeted with open arms with all of my new projects, and can’t wait to discover more that Rochester has to offer!

I have found a wonderful way to connect with my new community through the LIFE program in Rochester RCTC. This opportunity saved me during COVID.

I enjoyed and would recommend the Rochester community education trips called Effortless Excursions. Their motto is “Get on the bus and let us take care of you!” And, my boy, do they ever do it! The variety of travel selections is phenomenal and very affordable. I have attended a number of musical programs and look forward to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and other trips to come. You can’t go wrong with the service and the selection they offer. Travel is also a great opportunity to meet new people while enjoying new experiences. Effortless excursions are a win / win for me. Hope to see you on a trip!

I also started volunteering at the Mayo Clinic Blood Bank. The Mayo Clinic Volunteer Program was very welcoming and helped me identify areas in which I would have liked to work at the clinic. I would recommend using your talents to help others in this energetic setting. It helps me meet new people and give back to my new community.

About Paula (in her own words): I have been a recently retired teacher for 39 years! I moved to Rochester to be near my family in October 2020. Moving during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic was a challenge to say the least. As a 62-year-old, I had gone from a busy life and profession in another city to mostly enforced isolation in a new community. I can’t wait to interact with other seniors and at the same time learn new things!

Paul Koeller on Tuesday, September 7, 2021, outside his home in Rochester.  Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

Paul Koeller on Tuesday, September 7, 2021, outside his home in Rochester. Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

“Find your passion”

Paul Koeller

“Here are some lessons I have learned in life.

Appreciate and cherish your family and friends. My wife Karen, my daughter Mara, her husband Landon and my grandchildren Julian and Madeline are the loves of my life. My extended family and friends also add joy and fulfillment to my life.

Be a lifelong learner. My wife Karen has worked for Rochester Community Education for over 30 years and their motto was “Lifelong Learning for All”. I am currently using an app named Yousician to learn how to play guitar, ukulele, and piano. I have been using the Duolingo app every day for over four years without missing out on teaching me Spanish and Hawaiian.

Keep your mind engaged. Every morning I start my day doing Duolingo, Lumosity brain games, and The New York Times Spelling Bee. I am also an avid reader, enjoying the ease of downloading books anytime, anywhere from the Rochester Public Library.

Stay physically active. For many years, I exercised at the Rochester Family Y before moving to the Dan Abraham Healthy Living Center in Mayo (the DAHLC). Last January my wife and I switched to 125 LIVE for some exercise. We particularly like their hot water pool. Plus, we love to walk the many trails in Rochester or hike the beautiful Minnesota State Parks in Southeast Minnesota.

Find your passion and live it while you can. My wife and I love to travel the world. One of my goals is to visit a country for every year of my life. We are currently ahead of schedule, having visited 72 countries. Most of them went on cruises. We like to discover other countries and cultures. Some of our favorite places are places a lot of people have wondered why we even go. For example: Egypt shortly after the Arab Spring, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Singapore. However, do it while you can because whether it is a health issue or a global pandemic, you may not be able to do it in the future.

Music is another passion for me. I have over 6,000 songs on my iPhone, have attended hundreds of live concerts, and teach community education classes on the music and history of various classical rock artists. Since the onset of COVID, I have posted a daily link to various ‘song of the day’ YouTube videos as well as short facts about the song or artist, introducing my friends to new artists and songs.

History is another passion for me. I enjoy doing research and giving presentations on local history. In 2004, I co-wrote and published the book “Brewed With Style — The Story of The House Of Heileman”. This is the story of the Heileman Brewery in La Crosse, Wisconsin, where my father worked for 43 years.

Volunteering is another passion for me. I have volunteered at the Mayo Clinic for 13 years. Every Monday morning from 6.30am to 8.30am, you will find me in the atrium of the Mayo Gonda Building near the grand piano. About once a minute, I help a lost patient find their appointment, answer their questions, or help a wheelchair get on the elevator. I also served for a year (as did my wife) as president of the Mayo Volunteers. It’s very enriching, but in addition it has considerably expanded our social network. We get together frequently with other Mayo volunteers to socialize.

Gardening is another passion. We have a backyard filled with hundreds of hostas, around 50 varieties of lilies and daylilies, and many other flowers and vegetables. We are part of the Rochester Hosta Society and have found this to be a great source of gardening information and also another way to expand our social network.

Manage your finances well. I try to live by a saying that my stepfather Marion Runerson taught me. He always said “every day you have to save a little money in case you live to be an old man and every day you have to spend money in case you don’t live to be an old man”.

Save your history. I have been writing in a journal more or less every day since March 1993. For over 20 years I have been using a “Ten Year Journal” (I am currently on my third). It’s fun to go back and see how much and how much some things in my life have changed. I hope that someday this will be my lasting legacy to my daughter and grandchildren. “

About Paul (in his own words): Retired IBM software engineer. Retired in 2009 after 32 years at IBM Rochester. Husband to Karen. Father of Mara. Grandfather of Julian and Madeline. Active Mayo Clinic volunteer and past president of Mayo Volunteers. Lifelong learning. Physically active. World traveler. Music lover. Lovers of history. Author. Gardener.

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