Passion keeps JERRY CLARK, 87, young in mind and body. Passion for promoting psychology, for exercise and especially for his three grandchildren - Austin, Sarah and Nate.
Clark, of Carpenteria, Calif., the oldest member of APA’s Council of Representatives, is a former military psychologist who still serves on the Board of Sansum Medical Research Institute in Santa Barbara.
Originally from Texas, Clark grew up on chicken-fried steak, “but I found out about salads 40 or 50 years ago, so I’ve been eating better ever since.” His stay-young hobbies include regular bridge games and cooking for his family and friends - in fact, for his birthday, he baked 20 cakes and gave them to the Sansum clinic staff.
The most exhilarating part of his week? Swims at the local pool. “Sometimes, I walk out of there and I say to the pool attendant, ‘That was great! I feel like I’m 70 again!’”
For SATORU IZUTSU, 71, every day is “fun-filled with interesting, active people,” and that’s been key to his successful aging.
Connecting with people is why this psychologist is wired to three voice mail systems, a cellular telephone and two e-mail systems. “I’m accessible throughout the world.”
His professional life includes consulting three-and-a-half days for the Queen Emma Foundation, which focuses on collaborative research activities between the University of Hawaii School of Medicine and the Queen’s Medical Center. For two days, he’s at the University of Hawaii School of Medicine serving as associate dean, chair of the Admissions Committee and liaison for International Medicine Programs.
“An important factor for me is that I genuinely believe that, hopefully, I am making a difference in other people’s lives,” he says.
He attributes his physical and mental fitness to regular aerobics, jogging, swimming and weight-training, tempered with a weekly tea ceremony to “practice the precepts of harmony, respect, purity and tranquility.”
MARY STARKE HARPER, 80, is a midnight gardener.
“Often I can’t go out in my yard ‘til evening because I’m so busy,” says the psychologist of Tuscaloosa, Ala. “It’s not uncommon for me to be pulling grass at 2 a.m.”
And keeping busy, she says, keeps her young. “I always have more to do that I can accomplish.”
As an expert in aging issues, Harper is a member of two national aging committees: the Advisory Council of the National Institute for Aging and the Surgeon General’s Task Force for Mental Health and Aging. She’s also chair of two aging conferences this year, one exploring aging research, another on older citizens in rural areas. And she’s active with the Mary Starke Harper Geriatric Psychiatric Center in Tuscaloosa, named in honor of her work in the area of mental health and aging.
Her advice to others?
“Stay current with your profession and your community, and you don’t have a chance to know you’re getting old.”
Serving as APA president might not hurt either…
It appears serving as APA president could also contribute to successful aging. Ten of the association’s 109 presidents have lived into their 90s. Ernest Hilgard, who became APA’s 58th president in 1949 is now APA’s longest living past president at age 95. He still goes to his office at Stanford University two mornings a week.
William Bryan (1860 - 1955), APA’s 12th president also lived to be 95, but died 20 days after his birthday.
Two other past presidents are in their 90s: Anne Anastasi, born in 1908, and Neal Miller, born in 1909. Meanwhile, there are another 31 living ex-APA presidents who are still eligible to break into the exclusive 90s club.
Among the oldest-ever psychologists was Lucy Day Boring, wife of E.G. Boring, one of the most influential psychologists of this century. Lucy Boring, who earned her doctorate at Cornell University in 1912, died at age 109 in 1994, one month shy of her 110th birthday.
JOHN D. HOGAN, PHD