Tag Archives: 60Plus In Omaha

Joan Standifer

December 22, 2017 by
Photography by Heather and Jameson Hooton

These autobiographical pieces and corresponding photos are part of a special edition of 60PLUS featuring local residents who prove that fashion has no age limits.

Joan Standifer, 75

I’m a fabulous, 75-year-young woman with an attitude that embraces the joy of living.

I’m an Omaha native who raised two now-adult children: Michael, who lives in Omaha, and Monica Baker, who lives in Atlanta, Georgia. My legacy continues with granddaughter, Micka, and 8-month-old great-granddaughter, Zaina. I am married to the marvelous love of my life, Stanley Standifer, and enjoy a blended family with his four children and seven grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter.

My college education culminated with a master’s degree from the University of Nebraska-Omaha in education administration. Over a 30-year span, I held several positions with Omaha Public Schools, retiring as an elementary principal.

Many years of my life were spent as an advocate of social equality and quality education. I consider myself a cultural navigator, dedicated to lifelong learning and discovery of the world and its people. This philosophy has been reinforced by my travels to 75 percent of the world, and in serving on civic, social, and education boards. As a UNO-sponsored Fulbright Scholarship recipient, I traveled to Pakistan, met world leaders, and shared these experiences in presentations. Many honors and awards have been extended to me as a result of sharing my experiences.

Happiness is knowing that my life has been a beacon for my former students and members of my family. It’s rewarding to know that a former fifth-grade student of mine, to this day, regards me as the “greatest teacher ever.” I relish the fact that at this age, I continue to make a difference in the lives of those around me.

Let your light shine so that others can walk in your path toward success in life. Let others discover their value and be willing to share of themselves for the greater good. Be honest and unpretentious in your relationships. Aging becomes less of a factor when you live by faith and have respect for mankind.

This article was printed in the January/February 2018 edition of Omaha Magazine.

Tony Abbott, Ron Palagi, and Frank Skrupa

Photography by Heather and Jameson Hooton

These autobiographical pieces and corresponding photos are part of a special edition of 60PLUS featuring local residents who prove that fashion has no age limits.

Tony Abbott, 75

I was born during World War II. My father was away in the Army, and my mother went to live with her parents in Hordville, Nebraska. So, in the beginning, I was a country boy. We later moved back to South Omaha where I began grade school. In the early ’50s, we moved to a house in the Blackstone area. I finished high school at Omaha Central and began studies at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

I found work at an aquarium store called the Fin Shop on South 14th Street. While there, I met Michael Harrison. We would work together for 30 years. He passed away in 1992.

In 1969, we began work at the French Café in the Old Market. Slowly the Old Market began to grow, and so did the French Café. I’m very proud and happy to have survived 42 years in the restaurant business. During that time, the name French Café was recognized in Omaha by residents and praised by the press locally, nationally, and internationally. I was also named “Maître-Conseil en Gastronomie Française” by the French government and presented with a medal.

I married late in life and was delighted to receive two beautiful girls. Sadly, I lost one of them to cardiac arrest due to asthma.

Happiness is having wonderful friends like Ron Palagi and Frank Skrupa (among others).

I was told many years ago, “You are born to die, so make the most of the life you are given and enjoy.”

Ronald Palagi, forever young

As a young boy, it was my dream to be an attorney who helped others. Yes, I’m living my dream.

I find happiness in cooking for and with loved ones and friends, and in great music and art.

I was blessed with loving parents, wonderful independent daughters, creative friends, and loves in many countries.

Laugh, cry, give thanks, and keep moving every day. Life is a mystery. Each day is an adventure.

Frank Skrupa, 85

I was born, raised, and entirely educated in Omaha. I married the right woman, who was delightful, humorous, and hard working. I worked with Rosemary for 40 years in business, and I’m proud Credit Advisors is still around after 60 years.

I have only lived in two houses in my life: my parents’ home, and the one I moved into when I married and raised a family. I still live there now.

I am proud of the friends who helped me along the way, and my three children, Frank, Sam, and Carlo. As Rosemary, an attorney herself, would say, “Two are attorneys, and one is a success.”

What makes me happiest? BS-ing with friends over good wine and food, my children, and (in a pinch) reasonable relatives.

Humor is the secret to a good life. Also, cut back to just one bottle of wine a day. Exercise is for dogs and horses. I tried golf once but gave it up when I realized the better you get, the less you get to hit the ball.

This article was printed in the January/February 2018 edition of Omaha Magazine.

Prime Time

Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Here is proof that 60 years old is the new 40, and 80 is the new 60.

In this edition of 60PLUS, you will see the portraits of 15 stylish and beautiful individuals. Some of their personal fashion sensibilities could be described as flamboyant. Other styles are more classic. But none of the looks featured here could be characterized as “old.”

All of these models are older than age 60. All of the pictured individuals live active lifestyles. Each makes a significant contribution to our local society.

Along with their portraits, each has shared a bit about their lives: who they are, what they enjoy, what makes them happy, and any advice they might have. Their personal anecdotes are interesting, and the advice can be quite humorous at times.

It has been so much fun working with these vibrant people, renewing friendships, and getting acquainted with new friends. Keeping with the spirit of this special edition of 60PLUS, I want to share a bit about myself, too.

I married young. My husband, Raymond, and I raised four wonderful sons, whom I’m very proud of. We have nine grandchildren that I enjoy as young adults.

I owned a real estate company for 30 years and was active in the real estate community. I am a past president of the Omaha Area Board of Realtors. I’m proud to have been the first woman broker member of the Nebraska Real Estate Commission.

After a very brief retirement, I started working for Omaha Magazine. I thoroughly enjoy it, and I still work full time, five days a week.

I love to entertain and have had a lot of themed parties, such as a Shakespeare party; Japanese party with members of the Japanese American Club entertaining us; German party with zither and accordion players; and a ’50s party with Elvis and Marilyn Monroe. Guests always dressed for the occasion. One of my holiday parties featured fortunetellers.

I have known many of my friends for years, and I have enjoyed sharing wine with them. I have also been fortunate to travel the world (I’ve been to more than 30 countries).

My family and friends bring me happiness. Conversation, humor, and music bring me pleasure. I love music—it brings memories of the past and, yes, dreams for the future.

My style of dress might be considered classic and sometimes a little dramatic. I enjoy dressing up. It is a compliment to the people you are with and conveys respect for those around you.

I hope you enjoy the following style portraits and words of wisdom from good-looking Omaha society influencers who are thriving in their “prime time.”

Influencers included here:

This article was printed in the January/February 2018 issue of Omaha Magazine.

Roger duRand

December 21, 2017 by
Photography by Heather and Jameson Hooton

These autobiographical pieces and corresponding photos are part of a special edition of 60PLUS featuring local residents who prove that fashion has no age limits.

Roger duRand, 74

I’m a designer, husband, father, and grandfather (and former “fashion guru,” according to the World-Herald).

Although I was born in Colorado, I grew up in Omaha. After I finished school, I traveled extensively in the U.S., performing a variety of jobs from folk singer and fry cook to portrait artist, art teacher, sign-painter, and illustrator, all the while passing through Omaha occasionally to work with my father as an architectural designer (as I had done from the age of 13).

I eventually gravitated back to Omaha, and became a partner in 1967 in a Midtown counter-cultural shop called The Farthest Outpost. When I learned of the former produce market downtown and toured the beautiful old buildings, I knew I wanted to be there. The Farthest Outpost became one of the first new businesses that opened in the Old Market in 1968. We sold the business in 1969 and opened duRand & Wright, a design-oriented shop, which I closed a year later to concentrate on my own design practice. I designed many shops, apartments, condos, logos, and advertising campaigns, and provided aesthetic counsel to nascent businesses in the growing Old Market.

Over the years, I have designed for clients across the country and in England, but the Old Market holds a special place in my affections.

In 1971, I participated in the planning commission that created the “return to the river” Central Park Mall, and the anticipated Marina City that was tragically co-opted by ConAgra. I fought to save Jobbers Canyon from
needless demolition.

In the ’80s, I served on Omaha’s Zoning Board of Appeals, and later on the Landmarks Historic Preservation Commission.

My work consists of a variety of disciplines: primary architecture, interior architecture, furniture design, lighting design, graphic design, and corporate identity.

Back in the day, I used to cut hair for rock bands. The Farthest Outpost booked San Francisco bands into the Music Box and other local venues. I even made clothes and leather goods.

My wife, Jody, and I were married 24 years ago in the Garden of the Zodiac and hosted our reception at La Buvette, closing 11th Street south of Howard Street for the party.

Life is good. I will never retire. Family, work, recreation, and travel energize me.

My advice on aging is: don’t. Stay involved in society. Stay fit and healthy. Use your special abilities. Show your love and friendship.

There’s no reason that a person of advancing years can’t look great. Style trumps fashion. Style is art; fashion is commerce. Have the confidence to express your unique personal creativity in dress. I have acquired a great wardrobe over many years, and routinely wear items that are 40 years old. Buy the best quality and maintain conscientiously. Style is never out of style.

This article first appeared in the January/February 2018 edition of 60PLUS.

60Plus Opener

June 21, 2017 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Who doesn’t love reading about food?

When I had a real estate company, we printed an annual cookbook with recipes from clients and salespeople. I still enjoy cooking some of the recipes.

I have to share a family favorite—it’s for turkey casserole. When my children were young, I served my family chili and oyster stew on Christmas Eve until one of my sons became ill after eating the chili.

The next year, I decided to change the menu and saw this recipe in Better Homes & Gardens. It became a popular Christmas Eve tradition at our house, as well as a favorite dish all year long.

I served the casserole alongside barbecued meatballs, green salad, croissants, and lots of Christmas goodies. My sons called to request the recipe when they left home, and we all still make and serve the dish often.

Turkey casserole

• 2 cups shredded turkey breast (I like to use canned turkey, which is more moist.)

• 2 cups diced celery

• 3/4-1 cup English walnut pieces

• 3/4 cup pimento-stuffed olives, sliced (slice whole olives—don’t buy pieces)

• 3/4 cup real mayonnaise

• 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

• 1 teaspoon salt

Mix together and spread in a greased 9-by-13 casserole dish.

Top with a mixture of 2 cups crushed potato chips and 1 cup of grated sharp cheddar cheese.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. You want the dish to be hot but the celery to stay crisp.

(You can use chicken breast if you cannot find turkey breast.)

There are many other interesting recipes in this issue—try some.I do not cook much any more, but I might try making some of these.



Gwen Lemke is the contributing editor for 60Plus In Omaha

This article was printed in the July/August 2017 Edition of 60Plus.