Bruce Frankel

Author of the new book "What Should I Do with the Rest of My Life? True Stories of Finding Success, Passion, and New Meaning in the Second Half of Life."

Still Working: Morris Wilkinson, Sally Gordon, And Increasing Numbers Of Elderly

September 7, 2010


“The preparation before work each morning starts in a methodical fashion. By 6 a.m., Morris Wilkinson, a 91-year-old letter carrier, irons his postal worker uniform—a crisp, collared shirt and gray slacks—a habit he formed while in the Marines during World War II.

He enjoys a hearty breakfast of eggs or pancakes with his wife. He shines his black shoes. And he’s off to work,” arriving at a Birmingham, Alabama post office by 7 a.m. as he has for six decades.

“I’d rather work than be idle,” he said one morning before heading off on his route to deliver mail to 550 families in his white mail truck.

So began CNN’s story today taking note of the fact that across the nation, more men and women—even in their 90s and 100s—are choosing to forgo retirement and staying at their jobs longer and seeking new employment later in life. The reasons, of course, are not always voluntary.

“It’s a combination of economics and just seeing they bring a lot of value to the workplace in terms of skills and ability,” says Deborah Russell, director of workforce issues with AARP, told the network.

By 2012, nearly one-fifth of the U.S. work force will be older than 55, the AARP reported. As they prepare to retire, baby boomers likely will continue to work well beyond the traditional retirement age of 65, Russell said.

While a daily job can provide older individuals with a schedule, alleviate boredom and sometimes improve their physical health, many older people also are continuing to work to supplement their retirement savings or help provide extra money for their families.


For some, like Sally Gordon, 101, of Lincoln, Nebraska, it’s a preference. Gordon, assistant sergeant at arms for the Nebraska Legislature, was recognized in August by Experience Works as America’s Outstanding Oldest Worker for 2010. She says she likes the extra income. Besides she’s had a steady job since the 1920s and as long as the state wants to pay her to continue to work, she’ll be happy to oblige.

“I used to be a model, and now I’m a Model T,” Gordon jokes. “I hope there’s a lot of mileage left.”

See the entire CNN story @

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