Tag Archives: 60PLUS

Two Couples, Two Eras, Two Galleries

June 17, 2019 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

George and Sarah Joslyn arrived in Omaha in 1880. Bob and Roberta Rogers arrived to the city in the late 1950s. Although the two couples were from different eras and never met, they both embraced their adopted city, were successful entrepreneurs, and supported the arts—especially the visual arts—but didn’t create art themselves. Most importantly, they both created lasting legacies: the Joslyns through Joslyn Art Museum and Joslyn Castle; and the Rogerses through Gallery 72, now transitioning to a namesake nonprofit gallery called Roberta & Bob Rogers Gallery (RBR G). 

Omaha wasn’t even 30 years old when Vermont natives George and Sarah Joslyn relocated so George could open a branch office for a printing company that had hired him the year before. Within 16 years, he owned the company he renamed Western Newspaper Union and subsequently built a fortune selling preprinted newspaper pages to publishers, who added their own local content. 

The Joslyns became some of Omaha’s earliest art patrons, says Kelli Bello, Joslyn Castle Trust’s manager of communications and development.

“While they loved Omaha deeply, they saw a lot of needs, and one of the greatest needs was a house for creative pursuits for all people to enjoy art,” she says. “Obviously, their most important notable gift was the Joslyn Memorial [now the Joslyn Art Museum].”

Well before the museum opened in 1931, the couple fostered the art community in their home built in 1903 near 39th and Davenport streets.

Much of the diverse art the Joslyns collected later seeded the art museum Sarah created as a memorial to George, who died in 1916. Some of it was unconventional at the time for a couple of their stature, Bello says, representing no particular style or era and including everything from traditional landscape painting to depictions of commoners in everyday life to the relatively new medium of photography. Not only did the Joslyn home serve as an unofficial gallery of sorts, Sarah often worked behind the scenes for several visual and performing arts organizations.

“The Joslyns were also big proponents of Omaha’s early theater scene as far back as the 1890s.

They turned what was a cow pasture across the street from the castle into what was the first community playhouse, donating land and seed money to develop a physical structure for the pursuit of theatrical arts,” Bello says.

Sarah was active in the arts through her final years, and the home was bequeathed to the Society for Liberal Arts to serve the community after her 1940 death. Bello says. “Sarah Joslyn felt that art supported the spiritual needs of the community just as much as any church.”

Roberta and Bob Rogers—who were from Gulfport, Mississippi, and Ottumwa, Iowa, respectively—arrived in Omaha in the late 1950s when Bob was offered a job managing a local factory. “And we just ended up staying here,” their son, John, says.

Like the Joslyns, the Rogerses were successful entrepreneurs, although their business was a Mister Donut franchise they sold in 1971. As they were building their business in the 1960s, they also began amassing a collection of art through their travels and eventually started selling some of it out of their home.

“They both had a strong interest in contemporary art, from the mid-century forward,” John says. “You’d probably get some arguments from a few people, but my parents were the ones who really set the tone for contemporary art in Omaha. They said, ‘we’re going to have a full spectrum of contemporary art styles.’”

In 1972, they opened Gallery 72 on 72nd Street just south of Dodge Street. Through the years, Gallery 72 exhibited and represented established and emerging artists with a mission to build a supportive and cohesive arts community, John says. Their diverse collection included works from notables like Henri Matisse and Salvador Dali, but the Rogerses also opened their space for artist community gatherings, public events, and performances. Bob and Roberta were honored with the Governor’s Arts Award in 1990.

Gallery 72 moved to 27th and Leavenworth in the mid-’70s. John, a retired high school physics teacher (brother Bob Jr. became a photographer), began assisting his parents with “backroom” tasks in the mid-’90s and took on a larger role after his mother’s death in 2001. The year after his father’s 2012 death, John moved Gallery 72 to its current location at 18th and Vinton streets, where he is now transitioning the commercial gallery to the nonprofit RBR G and carrying on his parents’ legacy.

“Every year since 1972 there has been a show under the auspices of Gallery 72,” John says.  “Part of my motivation for doing this is that I think visual artists need facilities to show their work, and to support the artists they need gallery space and representation so patrons can find their work…There is a dearth of good galleries in Omaha and there’s gobs of pop-up galleries that do interesting things and they’re good to have around. But Omaha could use another three or four commercial galleries if Omaha would financially support those galleries.”

Like the Joslyns before them, neither Bob nor Roberta were artists themselves. “Their art was their gallery,” John says, adding that none of the four [George, Sarah, Bob, and Roberta] were motivated by the desire to promote their own work, but to simply support and grow the arts in Omaha.

And their vision went beyond just a gallery or just a museum.

“If you’re a big-minded city, you have to have these things,” John says. “Big cities have active visual arts and performing arts, and lots of interesting things in the community.”


This article first appeared in the July/August 2019 edition of 60PLUS in Omaha MagazineTo receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

John Rogers and artist Denise Brady

John Rogers and artist Denise Brady

Seniors Gone Wild

Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Lynn and Thom Sinnette, both in their 60s, received tattoos from Nuclear Ink tattoo artist Jesse Neese around five years ago.

“I didn’t go in looking to have half of my chest done, but then I went in and spoke with Jesse,” Lynn says.

For years Lynn disliked a poorly done tattoo on her chest. Neese offered a cover-up solution. He worked with her to craft a tattoo that was visually appealing but also effectively concealed the old tattoo.

“You can have an awesome idea, but not have the art experience to flesh it out,” Neese says.

Neese uses his tattoo experience and art degrees to work with clients. He believes the best designs are made when he and the client collaborate on a final product.

Neese and client Michael Rolf have a friendly relationship. They talk consistently during the hours it takes Neese to work on Rolf’s tattoo.

The tattoo stretches across his chest and onto both his arms. It features Alaskan wildlife and scenic imagery in honor of the trip he and his wife planned on taking.

The tattoo serves as a memorial for 55-year-old Rolf. His wife passed away three years ago, and they always wanted to take a trip to visit Alaska together. Rolf and his son went on the trip in her memory.

“I’m very pro-tattoo now that I’m older,” Rolf says. “I can make more responsible decisions, and I know what I want.”

Neese has built up a strong reputation as an Omaha tattoo artist. Some clients find him from out of state or keep returning to him after they move away. While Neese has customers from all demographics and backgrounds, he has a notable number of loyal, older clients. And they have some concerns.

“I get asked by seniors frequently if their skin is difficult to work on,” Neese says. “Really it depends on the area of the body. The only time it ever is difficult is when there has been a lot of sun exposure.”

The tattoo industry has been held to higher standards since the the time when today’s seniors were getting tattoos in their teens and 20s. It’s one of the reasons some clients are surprised by his workplace sanitation.

ink bottles at Nuclear Ink

Rolf recalls a time when he was younger where he hosted “tattoo parties.” During such parties, a tattoo artist would come over and give quick, small tattoos to people.

“If I think of it now, it’s horrifying,” Rolf says. “Because, like, he would tattoo me, dip the needle in alcohol, and start on the next guy.”

That practice is a stark contrast from current sanitation standards. Neese teaches a seminar for fellow tattoo artists on how to prevent the transmission of disease in a tattoo parlor.

“It’s made me a bit particular about things,” Neese says.

Joseph “Smitty” Smith of Big Brain Productions says the senior group is their largest growing demographic each year. He attributes that to several factors, such as no longer having to worry if it will affect their career or standing with their neighbors. But he thinks there are often deeper motivations.

“Once you’ve collected some experience in life, you kind of want to celebrate that, and things that motivate people to get tattoos are, like, the birth of a loved one…Or maybe at that age they’ve survived a health problem, like breast cancer.”

Those with a few more years are likely to have a few more surgical procedures. More invasive operations can leave scars people carry for the rest of their lives.

Smith says tattooing over scars is “100 percent safe,” as long as the artist knows what they’re doing.

“It’s just different from the rest of the skin on your body and that poses a challenge, because you’re going from regular skin—so your machine is running at a speed of a depth that would be suitable for regular skin—and then you hit that scar tissue and it would be too deep,” he says. “So if you go over it too fast or too hard, you can damage it pretty easily. It takes a little bit of experience to be able to control that with your hand and with your eyes—with the feel—instead of just setting up your machines to run on that.”

Neese says that many people don’t realize that their insurance provider can sometimes pay for tattoos that cover up surgical scars. Whether clients are tattooing a scar to match their skin tone or covering it with colorful art, the tattoo can be claimed as a necessary part of the healing process.

Doctors can help their patients secure an insurance payout for a cover-up tattoo if it could improve their patient’s mental health.

“It can really help someone reclaim a lot that has been lost through a surgical process,” Neese says.

As it turns out, seniors face the same hurdles as other age groups when approaching a tattoo parlor. Foremost, though, medications have to be compatible with the tattooing procedure. Blood thinners usually need to be skipped in the preceding days. Smith says diabetes can also affect healing, specifically on extremities, such as the ankle or foot.

Neese recommends all his clients speak with their doctors beforehand if they take any medication that might cause extra bleeding or hinder healing.

Making tattoos last into the golden years can be difficult—especially for those who enjoy spending their days under the sun.

Lynn always makes sure to protect her tattoos with sunscreen when catching some rays. She says that she has not noticed any of the colors fading since she initially got the work done years ago.

As for those who might be on the fence, the Sinnettes have this advice for anyone contemplating a tattoo:

“If you’re a senior and you want a tattoo, just go for it,” Rolf says. “It’s your body. Don’t let anyone tell you shouldn’t have tattoos. I love my ink.”

“You live once, what the heck,” Lynn says. “Just get a good one.”


This article was printed in the July/August 2019 edition of Omaha Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

600 Dives and Counting

February 14, 2019 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Native North Dakotan Shirley Ortman was 19 before she learned to swim.

“I’m a pretty good swimmer, but I don’t enjoy it,” she says. “And I do not like to lie on the beach; I’m bored silly.”

Ortman isn’t happy next to the water or splashing around in it because the sweet spot for her is several meters beneath the surface, “where you see the most.” She’s a scuba diver with master diver certification and approximately 600 dives under her (weighted) belt since she took up the activity in 1995.

“I’ve been to a lot of places but my all-time favorite is the Galapagos,” she says. “It’s for advanced diving; it’s heavy currents and you have to drop down quickly and hang on to a rock to watch stuff go by.”

She’s seen an incredible variety of flora and fauna, including countless species of fish and hammerhead sharks, but she especially enjoys seeing sea turtles in their element. “I get goosebumps thinking about it,” she says.

Ortman was in her 40s when she tried scuba for the first time. At 68, she is still an active diver.

Shirley Ortman in full scuba gear

Shirley Ortman

“I’ve dove with people up to their mid-80s,” says Dean Hollis, who founded DiVentures, an aquatics and scuba center in Omaha (now with six locations in five states). “We offer a lot of aquatic activities suitable for older adults.”

Water exercise classes and lap swimming are low-impact with minimal pressure on the joints, Hollis says, and the DiVentures pool is a warm 88 degrees. The center also offers snorkeling and scuba instruction, and trial classes for the hesitant or curious.

“You can get in the pool and breathe underwater, and just see what it’s like to experience scuba,” he says.

“You can get your toe wet, so to speak,” Ortman adds.

Although scuba diving isn’t a practical regular fitness regimen, especially in the Midwest, it’s a great way to stay active and engaged at any age, Ortman says.

“The nice thing about diving is that it’s all about relaxing,” she says. “There’s not a lot of stress put on the body.”

And there’s always more to learn. Ortman recently took a stress-and-rescue course to sharpen up.

“You really need to hone your skills so you don’t get sloppy,” Ortman explains. “Now I feel that I have better ability to take care of myself. Or, if I see somebody else in distress, I could identify that and assist.”

The quarry in Iowa where stress-and-rescue instruction took place was one of the few times she has dived inland—outside of the 14-foot pool at DiVentures.

“The water at the quarry was murky and cold, but I’m a little bit of a snob,” she says. Most of her dives have taken place in warmer ocean waters, like Hawaii, Tahiti, or the Bahamas.

Ortman has booked group scuba excursions through DiVentures and companies like LiveAboard, where she can share stories with other scuba divers and enjoy the diving subculture.

Landlubbers often ask how deep she’s gone (close to 130 feet, about the size of a 12-story building and the maximum depth for recreational diving), she says, but other divers understand that it’s more about what you see.

“These are immersive trips,” Ortman says. “Everyone is always excited to talk about their experiences, and the trips are always fun.”


Visit diventures.com for more information.

This article first appeared in the March/April 2019 edition of 60PLUS in Omaha MagazineTo receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Finding Hope in the New Year

January 3, 2019 by

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Thursday, Jan. 3: Start your new year on the right foot at the Omaha Magazine Launch Party for our January/February “Health” edition. The party is free, but please RSVP here. Free appetizers and adult beverages are compliments of Sol’s Jewelry and Loan. The new issue’s big story looks at organ donation and its effects on both the recipient and the donor/donor’s family. Houston Alexander of the Houston Alexander Foundation (who donated a kidney to his daughter) and Dr. Alan Langnas, the director of the Center of Transplantation at will share some words on organ donation. Continuing the health theme, there will be a performance by flautists with The Nebraska Medical Orchestra (a collaboration between UNMC and UNO School of Music). There will also be special opportunity to meet community influencers featured within 60Plus in Omaha Magazine’s “Prime Time” story, highlighting the fashion and wisdom of local seniors. To RSVP, please click here.

Friday, Jan. 4: The Transcendence Opening Reception kicks off the first exhibition of 2019 for The Little Gallery Benson. An invitation to delve into unsung stories more commonly shared behind closed doors, these works provide a glimpse through the cracks at these private stories. The exhibition was curated by Marie-Elena Schembri and will feature several of her pieces. Mark Andrew, Brandi Bentley, Mary Daley, Mary Ensz, Bekah Jerde, John David Munoz, and Nadia Shinkunas will also be exhibiting pieces. To learn more, please go here. Read about one of the artists showing by clicking here.

Saturday, Jan. 5: The new year doesn’t have to mean a new you—but it can mean an improved you. Help make those resolutions a reality by attending Setting Your Intentions 2019: A Vision Board Experience at the AIM Institute. Materials for your vision board will be provided, but feel free to bring any personal items or specific images you would like to use with you. Light refreshments and drinks are included in the cost. To purchase tickets, head here.

Saturday, Jan. 5: Afraid you missed out on all the New Year’s Eve fun this last weekend because you just couldn’t justify leaving the house in that cold? You’re in luck. You can still catch some NYE glitz this weekend by attending the rescheduled Downtown Omaha fireworks show at Gene Leahy Mall. The wind was just too much last week, but this week promises to bring better weather. Find out more here.

Sunday, Jan. 6: Did you know there’s a snow sculpting competition coming up in February? Well, you do now! And if you would like to participate, get over to the Snow Sculpture Workshops at Main Street Studios and Gallery in Elkhorn. They are offering these free workshops every Sunday in January. Learn more about the workshops here and more about the First Annual Nebraska Snow Sculpting Competition here.

Roger W. Sayers

December 27, 2018 by

Editor’s note: 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. Click here for the full list of featured models. 


Roger W. Sayers, 76

I consider myself a true product of the Omaha community. I attended Howard Kennedy and Lothrop elementary schools, and Central High School. I received my bachelor’s degree from Omaha University and an MBA from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. I spent many years as a volunteer or board member at numerous Omaha community and civic organizations. My entire working life has been in Omaha. I retired from Union Pacific Railroad after 26 years.

It goes without saying that I am very proud of my accomplishments in the field of athletics, especially being proclaimed the 33rd-greatest athlete in Nebraska history by the Omaha World-Herald, and as the most decorated amateur athlete of my generation. These accomplishments have culminated in being the recipient of eight hall of fame awards for track, football, and overall athletics.

My current focus and pride is my family. My two daughters, three sons, and 12 grandchildren are making a difference and contributing to society. My wife and I thoroughly enjoy their presence.

I frequently get asked about aging and living life. I believe it is very important that you stay active mentally and physically. If possible, volunteer your time and talents. One thing is for certain, you must be able to handle the stress that life will bring. The root of my comfort is the strength and joy that comes from my spirituality and faith.

I have been married to Annette Scott for 33 years. We are compatible on so many levels. We just enjoy being with each other. We love to travel, especially taking cruises and family vacations. Annette is truly my best friend.

Because of my athletic career, and as the older brother of Chicago Bears Hall of Fame great Gale Sayers, sports have always been a source of interest. I am an avid golfer and I am in my element when spending time on the golf course with my companions.


This article first appeared in the January/February 2019 edition of 60PLUS in Omaha MagazineTo receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Roger W. Sayers

Myriel Böes

Photography by Heather and Jameson Hooton

Editor’s note: 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. Click here for the full list of featured models. 


Myriel “My” Böes

My bio in “Who’s Who” of Interior Designers reads: “Both an artist and an interior designer, My brings variety and drama to her design projects. Beginning her education with a B.A. in fine art and continuing with extensive study in art, art history, architecture, design, ancient history, and feng shui, she combines all with a common thread—creativity. She owns her own firms: My Designs, Art Böes/Boes Art, Celestial Properties & Management, and Parallel Properties. As designer of residential, commercial, and art projects around the country, she has traveled extensively, been published, quoted, and lectured on design and art.”

Being the youngest of five girls and raised by renaissance parents, I was never told that I couldn’t do something because I was a girl—the comparison just wasn’t there. This has served me well all my life.

I graduated from college right before my 21st birthday. After college, I worked for Bozell & Jacobs advertising in the art department (where I was also asked to model for print and TV commercials), Smith Kaplan as copywriter/media buyer, and Renstrom Advertising as creative director. I then went on to freelance work, and have been self-employed since. The evolving Old Market drew me to open an art, antiques, and gift shop called “The Small Pink Orange” (1968-1973).

Over the years, I have overlapped my businesses. Someone asking me to design their home became the start of My Design. An artist telling me I was selling more art than any museum or gallery and asking if I would represent them became the start of Art Böes/Boes Art. In 1990, I started buying rental property in Dundee, which has helped to support my creative habit. My current passion is developing 46 acres in the Loess Hills into a sustainable creative camp/art residency, sculpture gardens, and a camp to help build self-esteem in young girls. If you combine art and nature, that happens. I plan to spend time there and get back to painting, writing, and increased traveling. I have traveled extensively (45 countries to date) and find that expanding my knowledge of other people and cultures continues my desire to be open and aware.

As with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, it is important to me to be well on my way to self-actualization. In other words, to be happy and fulfilled. I’m a healthy, happy person who loves to learn, grow, and give back some of the great talents and assets that I have been lucky to possess.

My family of two children and five grandchildren brings me happiness, as does nature and intellectual curiosity. I am a voracious reader.

As for aging gracefully, I am fortunate to have good genes, but I encourage anyone to stay active and passionate, and to see the humor in all things. To quote a sign in my office, “Work like you don’t need the money, love like you’ve never been hurt, dance like nobody’s watching, and live like heaven is on earth.”


This article first appeared in the January/February 2019 edition of 60PLUS in Omaha MagazineTo receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Marian Andersen

Photography by Heather and Jameson Hooton

Editor’s note: 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. Click here for the full list of featured models. 


Marian Andersen, 90

I grew up in Lincoln, and met and married Harold “Andy” Andersen there. We moved to Omaha in 1958, and I enjoyed a career as a homemaker and community volunteer.

I raised two children. My son David lives in Omaha with his wife, Leslie, and their three children; my daughter Nancy lives in Denver with her three sons.

I served on many local and national boards, including the Red Cross and PBS. Harold and I co-chaired the first Shakespeare on the Green Festival, and we served as chairs of that event for 20 years. We were also the first chairmen of the Tocqueville Society of the United Way and the University of Nebraska Campaign for Excellence.

I derive great pleasure being with family and friends, and I love sports.

I’ve been to every Major League stadium for baseball in the U.S. and have been attending Nebraska football games for 87 years. I was 3 years old when I went to my first game. I like to travel—I’ve been to all 50 states and 60 countries.

Two of my favorite pieces of advice are: “A professional plans her vacations around her work; a volunteer plans her work around her vacations,” and  “carpe diem; seize the day!”


This article first appeared in the January/February 2019 edition of 60PLUS in Omaha MagazineTo receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Marian Andersen standing on step in garden

Cyndee Heedum

Photography by Heather and Jameson Hooton

Editor’s note: 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. Click here for the full list of featured models. 


Cyndee Heedum, 66

I grew up in Scotia, Nebraska, a town of 350 people. I attended the University of Nebraska and attained a degree in interior design; however, I had fallen in love with retail working in a family business growing up. That took me on my first retail management journey at Kmart. After working there for 10 years, I decided to use my degree and worked for several years in the commercial design industry. I then went back to retail and have worked for 19 years in the corporate office of J.C. Penney. I am a single professional who loves my job.

I am proud of the friends who have helped me along the way, and my brother, who is my best friend. I am a positive person and enjoy what every day offers. I have been successful in my career and would not change a thing. My favorite accomplishment was traveling to Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany and working on all their military dorms. Germany had great wine.

I enjoy being involved with the arts in Omaha, visiting wineries, and watching Husker football.  

My advice to others is to have a couple glasses of white wine every evening and toast to your friends. You need to keep moving, think young, and remove your makeup every night. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, show up, and never give up.


This article first appeared in the January/February 2019 edition of 60PLUS in Omaha Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Camille Metoyer Moten

Photography by Heather and Jameson Hooton

Editor’s note: 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. Click here for the full list of featured models. 


Camille Metoyer Moten, 64

“A life well lived” is the phrase I hope will fall from the lips of anyone describing me long after I’m gone.

My parents instilled in me a love of people and sensitivity to what is important in this life. That, along with the strength that comes from my relationship with Jesus Christ, has allowed me to be grateful for all of my triumphs and challenges. Our home was filled with music, love, and activism; my parents were involved in fighting for civil rights. This gave us the opportunity to learn that fighting for what is right is important, and it often means educating others.

I have learned to balance marriage, children, and a singing career, and have made giving back a priority in my life. My husband and I worked at Boys Town for 16 years as family teachers, giving love and structure to over 100 children. My career outside of singing included coordinating programs at the YWCA [now known in Omaha as the Women’s Center for Advancement], management at CommScope, and writing grants at Youth Care and Beyond. I have performed at the Omaha Community Playhouse, served on several boards at the YWCA, am the board president of Arts for All, and am president-elect of the downtown Rotary Club.

In 2013, I discovered I had breast cancer, but with my faith and the support of family and friends, I sailed through that episode of my life without a hitch.

I am most proud of my two grown children, my grandson, and of being married for 42 years. I am so blessed.

Happiness is such a fleeting emotion; I focus on the underlying joy within my soul that comes from my relationship with Christ. I am happy when I am singing, and hopefully I impart happiness to my audiences.

My advice for living life is exactly that—live life. I continue to live, set new goals, and focus on doing good in the world.

I have released my third CD; all were recorded from age 54 to 64. If someone told me I was too old to do that, I didn’t hear them. It’s too late to go back now.


This article first appeared in the January/February 2019 edition of 60PLUS in Omaha MagazineTo receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

 

Charlie Rossi

Photography by Heather and Jameson Hooton

Editor’s note: 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. Click here for the full list of featured models. 


Charlie Rossi, 74

Growing up in St. Louis during the 1950s and early 1960s, I lived in a neighborhood with friends whose major interests were sports and clothes. The area was barely middle-class, yet my friends and I aspired to own clothes with upscale labels, such as shirts from Gant and Hathaway, sweaters from Pringle of Scotland, and Weejuns (penny loafers) from G.H. Bass & Co. Little did I know my affinity for designer-name clothes would have such a profound impact on my life. 

My first significant retail position was on the sales staff of the St. Louis Neiman Marcus store, which opened in 1974. Some salient advice I received while working there was, “If you own a store, it should have a focus and not try to be all things to all people.” This philosophy has guided me during my entire career. 

I have always been a big fan of the old movie stars of the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s, such as Gary Cooper, Fred Astaire, and Clark Gable. They each had a personal yet timeless style. When Ralph Lauren reinterpreted this manner of dress for the modern man, I was inspired to adopt a classic aesthetic for my store. 

Marriage brought me to Omaha in 1977. I resumed my retail career here at Ben Simons at Westroads after seeking out stores that carried Polo by Ralph Lauren and discovering this was the only local store carrying the brand at that time. Not long after starting there, I was introduced to the gentleman who represented Polo Clothing Co. in this area. He suggested to the men’s clothing buyer that he take me to New York to assist in the selection of Polo merchandise for Ben Simons. I left Ben Simons in March 1978 to help open Suttons in Regency Fashion Court, placing primary emphasis on the Polo label. My association there lasted 12 ½ years. 

My dream of owning my own store came to fruition when I opened Rossi Clothiers in July 1991. I have no intention of retiring. As my son once said to a friend, “My pop has never had a job in his life, because he goes to his hobby every day.” I have been fortunate to have good health, which I mostly attribute to genetics, but doing something you have a passion for sure helps. Family and friends also give meaning to your life. I have close friends I have known for over 50 years. My customers are not just my customers, they are also my friends. After all, I have known some of them for close to 40 years. Finally, I am so proud of my three children and selfishly hope to live a long time so I can spend it with my five phenomenal grandchildren.


This article first appeared in the January/February 2019 edition of 60PLUS in Omaha MagazineTo receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.