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Archive for Thursday, December 9, 2010

Fitness instructor Wilma Elder, 81, retires after nearly three decades with Lawrence Parks & Rec

But it doesn’t mean she’s slowing down

Wilma Elder, 81, a long-time fitness instructor with the Lawrence Parks and Recreation department is retiring. After she retires she still plans to take a fitness class, but her fitness students will miss her personal selection of music which features a lot of old big band tunes.

December 9, 2010

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Big band and classic Christmas music echoes through the gym at Holcom Park Recreation Center. About 15 seniors are ball-changing and grapevining along to the Glenn Miller Orchestra and “Frosty the Snowman.”

Past Event
Retirement party for Wilma Elder

  • When: Friday, December 10, 2010, 11:15 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Where: Holcom Park Recreation Center, 2700 W. 27th St., Lawrence
  • Cost: Free
  • More on this event....
Wilma Elder, 81, leads an exercise class Wednesday at the Holcom Recreation Center. After almost 29 years as a fitness instructor with Lawrence Parks and Recreation, Wilma Elders, 81, is retiring. Her students enjoy her selection of music which includes a lot of big band records and, during this time of year, older Christmas music.

Wilma Elder, 81, leads an exercise class Wednesday at the Holcom Recreation Center. After almost 29 years as a fitness instructor with Lawrence Parks and Recreation, Wilma Elders, 81, is retiring. Her students enjoy her selection of music which includes a lot of big band records and, during this time of year, older Christmas music.

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It’s not the typical music for an exercise class, but it’s what 81-year-old Wilma Elder chooses when she’s teaching her dance fitness class through Lawrence Parks and Recreation.

“For most of us, we really like the old music,” said Vicki Ross, who has been attending Elder’s class for 11 years.

Elder is retiring Friday after almost 29 years teaching for Parks and Rec, and her career will be celebrated with a reception at the Holcom Park center. Through her years with the city, she’s worked as a clerk in the office and taught both strength training and fit-for-life classes, which are low-impact aerobics.

Many of the people who attend Elder’s classes are in their 70s and older, said Jo Ellis, recreation program supervisor.

“It’s real nice to have something for their generation,” she said.

Elder has gained a following of people who attend her classes, such as Jan Braman, who’s been coming for 10 years.

“Some of the people have been coming here for years,” she said. “It gets us up and going.”

Ellis said that Elder’s classes are full of people who return each week, sometimes multiple times, to dance to old-time music and see their friends.

“She has a huge following,” she said. “People love her. It’s like a family. She creates a really nice relationship with all of her participants.”

Elder didn’t start teaching the classes until her six children were grown and she moved back to Lawrence from Phoenix. Then she started getting into teaching, and for a while had her own place to teach as well as picking up classes at Brandon Woods. She also taught two classes per day with Parks and Recreation, but recently scaled it back to just one.

She enjoys helping keep seniors healthy, no matter their age.

“It’s so much better for you to be able to move around and be able to do whatever you want to do in life,” she said.

Despite Friday being her last teaching day, she plans to keep attending classes to stay active.

“It’s not like I’m going to quit doing it,” she said, “because I enjoy it.”

Comments

hail2oldku 4 years ago

"Fitness instructior Wilma Elder, 81, retires after nearly three decades with Lawrence Parks & Rec"

What's an i-n-s-t-r-u-c-t-i-o-r?

Congrats Wilma. May you have many more happy and active years as a participant.

Cynthia Schott 4 years ago

Wilma is awesome! I had classes with her!

Enjoy your retirement, Wilma!

Cindy

Pitt_Mackeson 4 years ago

Does anyone else find it amusing that her name is Elder and she's 81?!!!! Not to be a jerk or anything, just found it amusing. hahahaha God help me.

TheStonesSuck 4 years ago

Wilma!!!!!1 NNNNNOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!1!!!1111

when someone REALLY old retires from a job they've held for super long time... they always drop dead in like a week and a half!!!!

You are making a huge mistake!!!111!!1

pace 4 years ago

She has been a gift to the community. What a great service. I wish her joy in her retirement.

pace 4 years ago

On another note I have noticed when an old person retires sometimes some mouthy know it all punk steps in dog poop the next week. Then one of the many old ladies who outlive most guys get to say, sonny, you should watch your step.

cammieb 4 years ago

I used to teach with Wilma many years ago. She's was a great mentor, a great teacher, and a wonderful person! Her kindness, positive attitude, and perseverance with life is an inspiration to all who know her. Congrats Wilma!

tyson travis 4 years ago

My Mom, Trudy, was one of Wilma's early students and went to her classes religiously until she had to drop out recently due to advancing age. I'm sure Wilma's classes kept her healthy and active for many years. Wilma would even give my Mom rides to/from the classes after she quit driving and Sr. Wheels wasn't available, which shows her dedication to the classes and her students. I've spoken with her many times, what a great lady! Thanks, Wilma, for all those years of service. Ty Travis, Pine Bluff AR

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