Dr. Don Newbury

Keeping mind, soul and body together is a worthy lifetime goal.

   A challenge in advancing years is to ignore age, when possible. (Love that welcome sign in Florida: “where mid-life begins at 70.”)

    To frame the moment, a few nights ago I was immersed in TV political analysis. A “talking head” described Martha Coakley’s futile senatorial campaign: “I wouldn’t call it a Hindenburg campaign or a Titanic campaign. It was more of a Hindenburg-crashing-into-the-Titanic campaign.” Since the next light moment on the station might have been hours away, I decided to channel surf…

   Next was a smiling Bob Barker. This 87-year-old host of The Price is Right set an American TV daytime game show record with his 35-year run.

   A TV personality for more than 50 years, Barker “changed gears” in 2007 when he left the show in favor of writing and other pursuits.

   An animal rights champion, Barker was on TV to promote his autobiography, Priceless Memories.  “My body is still a deadly weapon,” he joked. “In fact, it is killing me.”

I pondered the importance of persevering…

   Recalled were other notables choosing to wear out instead of rust out. Beloved Art Linkletter, now 97, continues to amuse and amaze. (Married to Lois for a Hollywood record of 75 years, he has chosen “high roads” despite much personal heartbreak. The Linkletters have lost three of their five children to death, two of them violently.)

   And what about Mickey Rooney?  In show business since age four, he turns 90 this fall and continues movie, stage and commercial appearances.

   His marriage record varies greatly from Linkletter’s, however; Mickey’s been “hitched” eight times…

   Two longtime friends, Dr. Robert Smith and businessman Al Lock, came to mind.

   Dr. Smith, 85, was in pastoral ministry for 35 years before a 26-year stint teaching Bible at the collegiate level.

   “He’s flunked retirement three times,” laughed Ethelyn, his wife of 62 years.

   She is now a “team-teacher” with her hubby who is “holding his own” with macular degeneration. Ethelyn, “designated driver” for several years, has been more than a “right hand” along the way. She’s a lifelong pianist, and in the years of Robert’s failing eyesight has held up sermon and class cue cards, plus assisted with reading and grading…

   He’s been teaching an Old Testament class in retirement for several years, and this was the plan for the current spring semester at Howard Payne University.

   However, his current teaching assignment has doubled. A class load of students signed up for “The Smiths and New Testament,” even though it wasn’t on the printed schedule. What to do?  The Smiths are pulling a “double shift.” (My wife and our three daughters were in Dr. Smith’s classes, and all of them gave him an “A+.”)

   For the past several years, the Smiths have “team-taught” a Sunday school class where 50 or so adults show up each week…

   A Fort Worth entrepreneur, Lock, 82, continues to work full time at his office furniture business. He and Druena, his wife of 56 years, also have farming and ranching interests.

   The Lock family has loved skiing for some 40 years. The couple still makes multiple ski trips annually. Next month they’ll be in Park City, UT for their 27th consecutive year. For many years, Al was a familiar figure on the black diamond runs.  (Druena put away her ski gear five years ago and now favors shopping. 

   A while back, Lock underwent a thorough physical examination, laughing that he “had every test except water-boarding.”…

   Such long, vibrant lives bring to mind the inimitable Dr. May Owen, who practiced pathology for some 70 years and was the first woman president of the Texas Medical Association in 1960.

   She never took time to learn to drive a car, never married and lived some 60 years as a permanent guest in Fort Worth hotels. In later years, she lodged in the “honeymoon suite” of a neighborhood hotel, often joking that she “finally had two rooms.” She practiced medicine throughout life, and was working in the lab on the day before her death at age 96 in 1988.

   Though Dr. Owen never sought fame, it found its way to her. She inspired thousands of people, showing them how to serve and how to live…

 Dr. Newbury is a speaker and author in the Metroplex. Send comments to newbury@speakerdoc.com or call 817-447-3872.