KP seniors stay active with work, fun, service


Colleen Slater, KP News

The senior population on the Key Peninsula, whether they call themselves seniors, mature citizens, old-timers, or ignore such titles, are numerous and busy. It’s a wonder many have time for just fun because of all the volunteer work they engage in.

When Hugh McMillan is asked, “Why do you work so hard for nothing?” he answers, “Because I live here. If something good happens to my community, something good has happened to me. If something bad happens, something bad happens to me and I do not accept the latter without a fight.”

John Glennon, pictured here in his Irish attire celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, didn’t slow down in retirement—he is well known around the area no only as “Santa” but also as volunteer for KP Community Services and various projects. Photo by Danna Webster

John Glennon, Santa for many years, does construction and other jobs at KP Community Services. He says with a grin he has nothing else to do, but notes they have a great need, no funds to hire help, and not enough workers to do the jobs.

Mary Krumbein volunteers because she feels community is very important. “In my other life,” she says, “I worked for a Quaker college that sent students worldwide and a sense of community was basic to the educational philosophy.”

Jarvis Krumbein helps out with some of his wife’s projects. “I also keep busy with household things such as cooking, laundry and the heavy lifting in the garden,” he says.  He collects interesting cameras (about 300 at this point, both still and movie), dabbles with astronomy and telescope making.

Jim Davis recalls folks telling him prior to his retirement he’d be so busy he wouldn’t know how he had time to work. “While working, I only had so much time to devote to projects and knew I couldn’t start too many of them at one time,” he says. “Now, I can start as many as I like, and often have many ‘irons in the fire’ at any given time.” He and his stepson milled several thousand board feet of lumber from timber harvested on their property, and plan to build a sailboat or two from it. “I sleep very soundly these days!” says Davis.

Davis and wife, Dotty, haven’t had a television for over two years, and feel free from much of today’s negative energy as a result. They enjoy watching British drama on DVDs from the library. They volunteer at Key Peninsula Lutheran Church. “Our participation gives us a sense of balance, fulfillment and gratitude,” says Davis. “In short, our retirement is a joy!”

Octogenarian Roland Porter continues to work on the maintenance crew at Camp Soundview several days each week, as well as being a visitation and occasional preaching pastor at Historic Vaughn Bay Church.

Virgil Iverson conducts weekly Bible studies, sings in the choir, and helps bring in resource speakers for the men’s group of the Longbranch Church. Beyond the Key Peninsula, he conducted revivals/spiritual retreats at the Washington Corrections Center. He says, “Incarcerated people need to know there is a large community outside the walls who care.” As each of their nine grandchildren reached the age of nine, the Iversons took them to Disneyland, for a bonding experience and precious memories.

Judy Mills teaches parents to massage their babies. She and her husband, Don, continue to challenge themselves to learn something new. Their family is the most important part of their lives, and Judy says they do a variety of things “to keep our brains from losing the convolutions and getting smooth, to keep us healthy in body and spirit, to give back to our community, to make sure the upcoming generations know what their history is about,” as well as “to keep us out of mischief, find joy in the simple things of life, and have a purpose for getting up to each new day.”

David and Sina Clauson, musicians and former teachers, teach and play in the Pacific Northwest New Horizons Band in Tacoma, a musical experience for “older adults” with or without previous training. They also play in several other groups.

Kathryn Arnold claims there aren’t enough hours in the day to do all she enjoys doing.

Almost anything to do with writing (she’s working on a novel), plus reading, walking, watching old movies, playing poker with friends, touring art galleries, and doing things with her husband, Jim. She knows housework must be done, but says, “If you have a white glove, stay out of my house! Too many other things to do.”

Many retired folks love to travel, whether it’s to visit family, take cruises, foreign tours, or enjoy the outdoors, such as hiking, camping, and backpacking. Sailing is popular around the peninsula, as are gardening and golf.

Whether consciously contributing to the community, or just enjoying the things they do, seniors on the Key Peninsula give and get a lot out of life.