Lifelong Learning Institute in Chesterfield
Fraya Abrahamsen has studied ballet since the age of 6. She studied in Chicago and in NY with Ivstan Rabovsky and then danced with NY Dance Theatre under the direction of Frank Ohman. She has also danced in various ballets including the Nutcracker snow scene, Swan Lake, Peter and the Wolf. Fraya was even chosen for the leading role in The Little Match Girl. She realized after helping out teaching ballet at her niece's ballet school that she has a strong passion to teach ballet!
Ryan Ahlgrim is pastor of First Mennonite Church of Richmond. He holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. He is the author of two books, has taught several college and seminary courses, and presented a wide variety of seminars.
Lydia Aiken-Wilson is a retired teacher of French who taught for more than thirty years in areas such as Senegal, West Africa and Osaka, Japan.
Alynn Alexander attended Indiana University where she graduated with high distinction, joining Phi Beta Kappa. She completed her medical training at Jefferson Medical College and her internship and residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. Dr. Alexander worked in private practice for more than ten years in New Jersey before joining Richmond Women’s Specialists. She is Board Certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, has a special interest in chronic vaginal infections, and has published original research in this field.
Kenneth Alford is an LLI member, frequent historical consultant for television productions, and a contributor to news articles involving looted Nazi Treasures. He is the author of The Spoils of World War II, Great Treasure Stories of World War II, Allied Looting in World War II, Hermann Goering and the Nazi Art Collection, Sacking Aladdin's Cave, American Crimes and the Liberation of Paris, Monetary Men and co-authored, Nazi Millionaires.
Donald Amos is a musician who loves sharing musical hours with his LLI friends. He has been a member of LLI since 2015.
Doris Armstrong has been a member of LLI since 2006. She enjoys playing games and spending time with her LLI friends.
Cindy Arnold is a librarian at the Chesterfield County Public Library Midlothian branch. She has a Masters in Library Science from Louisiana State University, has worked as a librarian since 2001 both in public and school libraries. Cindy enjoys assisting people as they pursue their learning goals. She has lived in Midlothian since 2003 and likes exploring all that Virginia has to offer.
Brian Austin PhD, is a retired professor of psychology who, earlier in his career, practiced as a clinical psychologist. His passion for studio art blossomed upon becoming a member of LLI. He has studied watercolor painting with Marti Franks, Terry Shepherd, Ellie Cox, and Chris Wynn. In whatever medium, the joy of painting is contagious, and Brian looks forward to sharing his passion for creative expression with others in the classroom.
Rich Babbitt has gained business experience as a leader in sales, retail, restaurant, and entrepreneurial ventures over a span of nearly 40 years, which all began with his early jobs of Paper Routes and Lawn Mowing! Throughout his career, Rich has been recognized multiple times for exceptional management and sales performance. He is a businessman, husband, and father who lives in Midlothian. He is employed by SunTrust Merchant Services and also serves on the Board of Directors for Noble Warriors, a Christian Men's Ministry based in Virginia.
Guinn Baker is the Education and Outreach Coordinator for Richmond Ballet, The State Ballet of Richmond. She enjoys coordinating trips for LLI to visit the Ballet's facilities for a behind the scenes look at sneak previews at their dress rehearsals.
Charles Barron is a retired US Army Officer, holds a BS in Business Administration from Jacksonville State University and an MS in Logistics Management from Florida Institution of Technology. He also holds a certificate for teaching English as a second language. Charles has 10 years of experience working with and training members of the Saudi Arabian military in logistics and cultural awareness. As a United States military contractor, working in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia, he taught American workers and third country nationals (TCNs) Cultural Awareness, simple Arabic script (Arabic letters, Arabic phonetics recognizing/reading English words written in Arabic Script) and most useful basic spoken Arabic words and phrases.
Karen Bell M.S., currently works at the VCU Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology. She is currently a member of the Chesterfield Council on Aging and also serves on the Virginia Alzheimer's Commission Data and Research work group.
Millie Bishop is the Revenue Recovery Manager with Chesterfield Fire and EMS. She is responsible for coordinating all the billing and payment activity for the ambulance transports. Millie has been with the Fire department since July 2011 and worked with the Chesterfield Treasurer's Office for 7 years prior as ACH payment and Credit Card Coordinator. Millie has an Accounting degree and is a Medical Assistant. Millie also is certified as NAAC and NACO with ambulance billing and is a Notary Public.
Tally Botzer is the American Civil War Museum’s Interpretation and Programs Specialist, with a focus on youth and family audiences. Growing up in Manassas, attending college in Fredericksburg, and moving to Richmond, Tally has always been immersed in the landscape of the Civil War, which has led to years of self-directed study of U.S. history. After graduating from the University of Mary Washington, Tally worked as a copy editor for a nonprofit scientific publisher before returning to UMW for her M.Ed. in Education. After a few years teaching in and around Richmond, she got a summer job as an historical interpreter at the ACWM and found that museum education was more suited to her passions and skills. She now leads field trips at the Museum and White House of the Confederacy campus and is working to design the field trip experience for the new flagship ACWM Museum.
Debbie Bowie is a Certified Professional Organizer®, Certified Organizer Coach®, feng shui practitioner, professional speaker and author of Rock, Scissors, Paper: Understanding How Environment Affects Your Performance on a Daily Basis. She runs Debbie Bowie Organizing & Coaching and has been in business since 1998. Her mission is to help people to clear mental, physical and emotional clutter so they can be more productive.
Nancy Boyer has over 9 years’ experience in the health care industry as well as many years of providing care for family members. She spent over 20 years with the local American Red Cross, presenting programs, working with several chapters as well as traveling across the country working in major disasters. Nancy’s volunteer time is spent with SMP, Area Agency on Aging, AARP, TRIAD, and Richmond Senior Network to name a few. An avid leader in her church and community, she coordinates an annual women’s conference. Nancy’s husband is a minister and they have 3 sons and 2 grandchildren.
Mary Bradstock has been an LLI member since 2009. She has been facilitating the line dance practices as well as assisting with the line dance classes.
Larry Braja began his working life as a management analyst for the federal government, had a middle career as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and completed his working life as an emergency manager for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. He is certified in the personality typing system--the Enneagram Spectrum--by Jerome Wagner. Larry has been an officer and active participant in a local Enneagram group for over twenty years.
Tracey Brooks was honorably discharged from the United States Marine Corps Reserves. She has various Aerobics and Fitness Association of America Group Exercise & Personal Trainer Certifications, including Kickboxing (IFTA), Zumba and Yoga. Tracey has been teaching and training since 2002. She is energetic and knowledgeable! She also has the ability to motivate and inspire clients regardless of physical fitness level and encourages habits that are life changing.
Ginny Brown has a Home Economics Education degree from Drexel University and taught in the public school systems of Virginia and Pennsylvania for thirty years. Her expertise is foods and the culinary arts. Ginny now has her own business, The Urban Pantry, with which she caters small events and has a vender stall at Saint Stephen's Episcopal Church's Farmer's Market specializing in bakery items. She loves all forms of the culinary arts especially baking and enjoys opening the world of food and the joy of cooking to all those willing to dare to be their own chef.
Sherella Brown is a certified Jazzercise fitness instructor who specializes in working with active adults who combine dance with exercise.
Sheila Burris is a certified yoga instructor who has studied yoga since 1999. She began teaching with us in the spring of 2008.
Bill Busch still finds new dance moves to share with LLI members even after 30 collective years of social dancing and 8 years of sharing his accumulated dance knowledge. He welcomes new and old students into the dance room to learn the current offering or to refresh their dance experience.
Ed Butterworth is a former mathematics teacher and insurance brokerage actuary who enjoys playing bridge and other challenging games of logic.
David Buxton MD, earned his bachelor’s degree from Emory University in Atlanta, Ga., and his medical degree from Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine in Richmond, VA. He completed his Adult Psychiatric Residency at Brown University Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior. He stayed on as faculty in their psychiatric emergency room while completing a Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship at Harvard University-Massachusetts General/McLean Hospitals. Dr. Buxton then completed a palliative care fellowship at Harvard University-Massachusetts General/Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Hospitals. He has lectured locally, nationally and internationally on the topic of integrating psychiatry and palliative care. He is the Palliative Care Medical Director at CJW Medical Center, Clinical Assistant Faculty at VCU in Psychiatry, CEO of The Center for Palliative Psychiatry and Chief Medical Officer of Behavior Health for My Ideal Doctor.
James Calpin is a Board Certified Industrial Hygienist and served as Laboratory Director of Analytics Corporation – an accredited environmental testing laboratory in Ashland, Virginia. He holds BS and MS degrees in Chemistry and has worked in environmental testing services for over thirty years.
Margaret Carlini holds MA and BA degrees in Anthropology/Archaeology from the University of New Mexico and from Pennsylvania State University. Her Doctoral work in Museum Studies is through the University of New Mexico. Over more than 40 years in museum work, she has served as education director with Henricus Historical Park (Richmond, VA), the Virginia Air & Space Center (Hampton, VA) and the MacArthur Memorial (Norfolk, VA). She has also held education and museum management positions with the Children’s Museum of Richmond, the Andrew’s Art Gallery (College of William & Mary), Museum of International Folk Art (Santa Fe, NM) and the Los Alamos County Historical Museum (Los Alamos, NM).
Peggy Chicklo is the sister of a member, Diana Donahue. She has been dancing for years and loves tap.
Anne Clendenin is a member of LLI who enjoys dancing and has been playing Spades for years. She wants to continue sharing her love for Spades with other members at LLI!
Norma Crutchfield has been a member of LLI since 2008 and loves playing games, especially with her friends at LLI. Norma also enjoys doing puzzles and volunteering for LLI!
Wade Curry Ph. D, for 27 years, taught English and theater courses and served as Dean of Arts and Sciences at the College of New Jersey. For 10 years, he was the Director of Advanced Placement at the College Board. He has been a member of LLI since 2009.
James Davidson is a Vice President of Investments for Davenport & Company and Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner with more than 16 years of industry experience. He currently serves as an Ex-Officio member on the LLI Board of Directors and manages the LLI Endowment Fund.
Helen Davis danced periodically from 1995 to 2005 with the Sonrise Dance Company, a Christian dance group affiliated with the Calvary Chapel church in California. They traveled to performance venues in California, the Philippines, and Hawaii. Since coming to Virginia in 2013, she has studied with the Richmond Ballet and continues to attend classes. Helen currently works with the children’s ministry at her church in Midlothian where she has written, produced and choreographed children’s dance and theatrical performances. She says that although she is not a professional dancer, she believes she has a lot to offer her fellow LLI members who are interested in improving their physical and mental well-being through exercise and dance.
Diana Donahue a member of LLI, is the sister of Peggy Chicklo and has been dancing for years. She loves tap dancing.
Diane Drummond has been an LLI member since 2009. She began making headbands, hair bows and jewelry for her beautiful granddaughter and has continued adding to her repertoire of craft skills, which she happily shares with her fellow LLI members in a variety of classes.
Pauline Dufficy has been dancing for over 8 years.
Tom Dunkum has been an LLI member since 2010 and enjoys helping with the weekly Bible Discussion. Tom is a retired United Methodist Minister (41 years) and is active at St. Marks United Methodist Church on Lucks Lane. He is also active in several mission projects including Meals on Wheels, Missions of Mercy (free dental mission statewide), Chaplain (volunteer) at Johnston Willis Hospital.
Gary Ellenberger is a member of the Lifelong Learning Institute, and he is a past member of the LLI Board of Directors. Mr. Ellenberger is retired from Dominion Virginia Power as Director of Material Support. He has also worked as Director of Operations (General Manager) for Ingram Book Company. He has experience in Materials Management, Operations, Accounting and several other financial areas including tax preparation.
Laura Evans has been practicing colored pencils art for the last 5 years. She has taken classes online to perfect her skill and love of the medium. She has 5 cats, 2 dogs and 2 bunnies that are subject to being put in her artwork at will. Laura is married with 2 grown children. Her youngest daughter also follows in her mother's footsteps. Laura's mother was a professional artist and LLI member before she was afflicted with Alzheimer's.
Megan Ferenczy attended the University at Buffalo and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in History and is now the Director of Education at the Virginia Holocaust Museum. She has taken coursework in Museum Studies and is also certified to teach middle and high school History in New York and Virginia. Megan has diverse experiences in education, museums, outreach and public programming. In 2008, Megan interned as a National Planning Assistant at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, which solidified her interest in Holocaust history education. In 2011 Megan accepted a teaching job with Richmond Public Schools and for two years she taught 6th grade United States History at a specialty school. When teaching the history of the Holocaust in the classroom she made it a priority to remember and honor the victims and continues that practice with the development of educational curriculum and programming at the Virginia Holocaust Museum.
Robert Ferguson has been an active member of LLI since 2008. He has a Ph.D. in Chemistry. He was involved in technical research, management, and consulting for 38 years at Phillip Morris/Altria. He has varied interests including history, economics, and literature. He recently became interested in readers theater and performed in a Bifocals production.
Alan Fisher is a 1982 graduate of Old Dominion University, and has a lifelong fascination for history, in particular, Military History where a change in tactics or equipment turned the tide of conflict.
Marti Franks loves Watercolors! She has been painting for over 18 years, starting out with Ellie Cox and continuing with Sarah Hoyle, Chris Wynn, and Susan Stuller. She has participated in many workshops with nationally known artists, including John Salamien, Mary Whyte, Ted Andrews, Alvaro Cassinett, Tony Van Hassett, Frank Webb, and Jean Spicer. Marti is a past president of the Bon Air Artists Association and has served as a co-chair of its events, Art Affair and Artful Healing. She exhibits at Crossroads Art Center and is a co-op owner of Uptown Gallery.
Marc Friedlander is a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) helping families navigate the difficult assisted living and memory care arenas. He has had personal experiences with both sides of his family and could have used an advocate during the difficult decision-making process. Marc is a member of the Health Community Resource Network, RVA Better Aging Forum, and the Richmond Senior Network. He has an undergraduate degree in Psychology from The George Washington University and an MBA from Montclair State University. Marc enjoys living in the beautiful Richmond area with his wife and two kids. In his spare time, he coaches his daughter's YMCA soccer team.
Edward Garrett is a retired United Methodist minister of the VA Conference of the United Methodist Church. He has served churches in VA for 42 years, leading Bible studies and teaching educational classes for various denominations. He holds a B.A. degree from the University of Richmond, a B.D. from Duke University, an M.A. degree in education from Union Theological Seminary and a doctorate from St. Mary’s University in Baltimore. He is the author of two books and various curriculum materials and articles.
Bill Good participated in Civil War reenactments for 10 years as an infantryman and ambulance corp. He has a wealth of knowledge about the Civil War. He has been a member of LLI since 2007 and enjoys history, genealogy and woodcarving.
Sherry Graves was led by a lifelong interest in history to the reenacting hobby in 1999 when she followed her daughter Elizabeth Watkins-Morris into membership with the 12th VA Infantry. Sherry has served as Civilian Coordinator of Company B for more than 12 years. Aside from "unit" activities, she and Liz have concentrated research efforts and prepared programs which focus on the civilian population and material culture 1850-1865. Programs and volunteer activities are offered in multiple venues including Sailor's Creek Battlefield State Park; Petersburg National Battlefield; as well as various county and civic organizations.
Mark Grubbs has a B.S. in Aerospace and Ocean Engineering from Virginia Tech, and an M.A. in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary. He has worked as an engineer, a pilot, in vocational ministry, a professor abroad, and has worked with computers of many kinds through all of these occupations (for at least 20 years). Mark is originally from and grew up in Richmond, VA. Since college, he has lived in Philadelphia, PA, Murfreesboro, TN, Grand Rapids, MI, Los Angeles, CA, and then spent 15 years in Seoul, South Korea teaching in Korean universities as a professor of English as a Foreign Language (EFL). Mark returned to Richmond in September 2015 and is eager to teach and help students at LLI.
Nathan Guerette serves as Director and CEO of The Female Pelvic Medicine Institute of Virginia and is Co-Founder and CEO of Pelvic Health Systems (PHS). He is a board certified Urogynecologist specializing in minimally invasive surgical options for pelvic reconstruction including advanced vaginal and robotic surgery as well as new non-surgical options and diagnostics. He also has an appointment as Associate Clinical Professor at the Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University in the division of Urogynecology and serves as Director of Robotic Surgery at Johnston Willis Medical Center.
Carol Halbert is a former Chesterfield County Theatre teacher who in her retirement discovered the power of essential oils. As an educator, she is eager to share her knowledge for the uses of these powerful oils.
Greg Hall holds a B.A. from Emory University and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Georgia with concentrations in American Literature, Shakespeare, and Film. He has taught courses in The American Novel into Film, Shakespeare into Film, Detective Fiction and Film Noir, Drama and Comedy into Film, and Film as Literature---to name a few. He has served on the faculties of North Carolina Wesleyan, Erskine, Clemson, VCU, Virginia Union, VSU, and several other schools. After retiring from full time teaching at VSU, he continued teaching part time at Fort Lee for three years and currently teaches such courses as The Films of Frank Capra and Hitch in the Forties at The Shepherd Center in Chester. At 75 he still feels that he has a lot to say, and he enjoys saying it!
Carol Henderson received a major in teaching and a minor in art in college. Now retired, she enjoys painting as a past-time.
Pat Herman having initially learned how to knit from her mother, has been knitting all of her life. She volunteers her time and talents for a knitting healing ministry with her church. She also enjoys participating in knitting workshops and conferences.
Joshua Herzog is a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army backed by nearly two decades of experience in combat medical operations, Dr. Joshua Herzog is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in conditions of the spine and sports medicine. He graduated summa cum laude from Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, Calif. and received his medical degree from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, MD. He completed his internship and residency at Madigan Army Medical Center in Fort Lewis, WA, along with a spine fellowship at Harvard in Boston, MA. He holds faculty appointments at Baylor University, Texas Tech University, and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Services. Most recently, Dr. Joshua Herzog was Chairman of the Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation at William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso, Texas. He is a member of several professional associations, including the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, North American Spine Society, Army Flight Surgeons Association, and Special Operations Medicine Association. His research has been featured in numerous spine and orthopedic medical journals. Dr. Joshua Herzog has served three combat tours in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom and earned the Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, Flight Surgeon Badge and Pathfinder Badge. He plays soccer and is an active cyclist and runner, having completed 14 triathlons.
Mimi Holt is the Real Estate Marketing Associate with Virginia Credit Union. Mimi is pleased to lead financial education topics throughout the year for Lifelong Learning Institute. With more than 245,000 member-owners, Virginia Credit Union is the largest state-chartered credit union in Virginia. A regional leader in financial education for members and the public, Virginia Credit Union’s classes, workshops and seminars reached more than 14,000 individuals last year. Virginia Credit Union provides a variety of affordable banking services, loans, mortgages, and free financial education resources with a focus on helping people feel more confident about their finances. Real estate services are offered by Virginia CU Realty, LLC, an affiliate of Virginia Credit Union. Virginia CU Realty, LLC, is a separate and distinct legal entity from Virginia Credit Union, Inc.
Marie Ireland teaches basic and advanced paper craft techniques in the Midlothian area. She hosts monthly card and scrapbook workshops and special craft events using Stampin’ Up© products.
Peppy Jones was born and raised in Midlothian, Virginia and graduated from Midlothian High School. Peppy is a graduate of University of Richmond and worked in the construction industry for 40 years. Since 2011, he has been the Director of Mid-Lothian Mines and Railroads Foundation and is a member of the Chesterfield Historical Society of Virginia.
Catherine Jordan is a certified Zentangle instructor and teaches a variety of Zentangle, color, design, and embroidery classes locally, nationally, and internationally. She holds Master Craftsman certifications in the Counted Thread, Crewel, Color, and Design programs from the Embroiderer's Guild of America (EGA). She is currently the chair of the EGA Master Craftsman Design program and EGA Master Craftsman Coordinator. She is past president of the EGA Gentle Pursuits of Richmond chapter and The Virginia Guild of Needlewomen. She is a juried member of EGA’s artist’s group, Fiber Forum. Catherine is a five time recipient of Woodlawn’s Frank Lloyd Wright award for best original design and was awarded Best-in-Show in 2008 for an original fabric painted design. Her work can be seen at www.CatherinesDesigns.net.
Milburn Kauffman spent 35 years with the CIA dealing with communications, networking, and security. He holds ISCET certifications in Electronics/Radio/Computers and NRI certification in computers. Mel has been using computers since 1984.
Francine Kerber loves teaching about Nutrition! She is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RD/RDN), devoted wife, mother, inspirational speaker, entrepreneur and counselor. Her business is named “From Your RD, LLC”. Her company provides individual and group nutrition counseling and hands-on cooking classes. She is a Certified Diabetes Educator and Level 2 Weight Loss Trainer. She has been working as an RD for over 12 years and has been in the field of nutrition for over 15 years. Francine has a passion for sharing the knowledge of disease prevention through the power of food as medicine. She has studied functional nutrition and believes to regain health one must seek the source of what ails them. She is greatly inspired by her father’s victory over cancer, her strong family history of heart disease and diabetes and her strong desire to break the chain of familial chronic diseases.
Kristen Kern is a Registered Nurse with a BSN from James Madison University. She has worked in both the acute setting at MCV and HCA Hospitals as well as in the home setting for the last 20 years. She chose nursing because of her desire to help others, and she enjoys being able to educate others about the wonderful services available to support recovery and wellness after and during an illness.
Bette Kot MLIS, is a retired librarian from the California Genealogical Society and has many years of experience researching and teaching genealogy.
Charles Koutnik has a variety of experience in several subject areas. An award winning photographer, he taught a "History of Photography" course for LLI in Fall 2016. Beside Photography, Chuck studied Comparative Religion and American History at Cleveland State University. As a Library Director at three Virginia public libraries, he has belonged to several local historical societies and has spoken to diverse organizations ranging from Rotary to the Daughters of the American Revolution. Chuck wrote several columns for the Hopewell News entitled, "Famous Forgotten Americans." He has been an LLI member since 2016.
Trupti Girish Kulkarni has been meditating for over 20 years and has been a certified instructor since 2006 with Heartfulness Institute. She was born and brought up in India and earned an MS in Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Kansas. T worked in Pharmaceuticals as a project manager and is now retired to enjoy the real life now. She is blessed with a husband and two kids. She loves self-development, Meditation, traveling, cooking, reading, painting, drawing, as well as teaching math, meditation and cooking. T has been an LLI member since 2015.
Anna Kutcher NP, is a Richmond native who graduated from St Catherine's School. Her interest in health care began with acupuncture during a school year abroad program in Beijing, China. After graduating from Bard College in New York as an Asian Studies major, she attended the New England School of Acupuncture and received her first Master's degree. After working in her own practice for several years, Anna went on to nursing school at Virginia Commonwealth University. While in nurse practitioner school, she worked on the Thomas Palliative Care Unit at VCU Health for three years and became certified in hospice and palliative care nursing. Since receiving her Master's degree in nursing, Anna has transitioned to the role of nurse practitioner with CJW's Palliative Care Team. She is passionate about pain management, palliative care and holistic, patient-centered health care.
Daniel Kutcher is a local horticulturist, gardener and plant enthusiast. He received his formal training at the New York Botanical Gardens School of Professional Horticulture (Class of 2013).
Vincent Lacovara is a retired teacher and has been tying flies for over 45 years. He has taught fly tying for about ten years to wounded warriors and disabled vets in a program called Project Healing Waters. Vin has been an LLI member since 2013.
Sherri Laffoon is the Emergency Management Planner with Chesterfield Fire & EMS-Emergency Management Division, responsible for the public education and outreach program. She is also the Coordinator for Chesterfield’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program. Sherri has been with Emergency Management since October 2009 and worked in the Chesterfield Emergency Communications Center for three years prior, where she was involved in the hiring and CALEA Accreditation processes. She is a member of the Central Virginia Emergency Management Alliance and the Virginia Fire Chiefs Assoc. Administrative Professionals Section. Sherri has a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice Administration and has earned the Professional Emergency Manager (PEM) designation.
John Lemza is a 1976 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point. He served over 20 years in the Army with more than eight years abroad in Asia and Europe. His last assignment was at the Pentagon. He graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2005 with an MA in History and in December 2014 with a PhD in History from George Mason University. His research interests are post-1945 America, the Cold War, the history of immigration, modern intellectual history, consumerism, military history, and trans-national history. John also teaches history at Virginia Commonwealth University and John Tyler Community College. He taught at the Elderhostel Chautauqua at Natural Bridge, VA from 2009-2011. He has been a member of the LLI teaching faculty since 2005. His recently released book, "American Military Communities in West Germany: Life in the Cold War Badlands, 1945-1990," is now available. John is a member of the LLI and is currently serving as President on the Board of Directors. He is also an Eagle Scout.
Russ Lescault graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a BA in Political Science in 1981 and a Master's Degree in Public Administration in 1999. He had a 32+ year law enforcement career with the Chesterfield County Police Department. His law enforcement assignments included: Forensic Detective/Leader, Police Sergeant, Commander of the Violent Crimes Unit, Inspector for Internal Affairs, Captain of Special Operations and Executive Staff Officer for the Chief of Police. Additionally Russ was a Hostage Negotiator, a Search and Rescue Coordinator, an adjunct professor and a resident historian. Russ authored two books about the police department’s history after extensive research, including interviews of former department members and community leaders. Additionally, he has assisted the Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Office in re-discovering its long and illustrious heritage. Currently Russ is with the Chesterfield County Sheriff Department as a part-time sworn officer assisting with their Seniors In-Touch program with the Community Relations Office.
June Leslie is a lifelong Christian. She has been an LLI member since 2008 and has also taught Bible classes in Chesterfield and Missouri.
Juana Levi is a retired registered nurse who studied Art History at the University of Maryland. She is a mother of two daughters who are both teachers, and a grandmother of three with a fourth on the way. She and her husband have been LLI members since 2013.
Lewis Levi graduated from the University of Maryland College Park with a BS in Computer Science. He worked with computers for Signet, AT&T and IBM. He and his wife have been LLI members since 2013.
Suzanne Levitas is excited to further guide you on your LLI music journey into Western (European) Art Music. Suzanne has an extensive background in music performance as a vocal soloist, choral conductor, and ensemble and madrigal singer. She has performed opera, chamber music, oratory, choral music, and solo recitals as well as conducted orchestras and choral music, taught voice privately and a music instructor at the high school and university level. Suzanne has a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance from Willamette University, Salem, OR; a Master of Music in Musicology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, where her thesis and doctoral studies were on Ladino music in the Golden Age of Spain with noted musicologist, Miloš Velimirović. In addition to music, Suzanne received a Master of Library and Information Science from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, and a Master of Information Technology from Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA. She also worked over 30 years in Special Libraries and Information Technology where she did database management, business research and analysis, and writing in the science and financial industries.
Annebel Lewis is a Socio-Cultural Anthropologist whose primary research is in ritual, belief systems, and mythology. She is retired from California State University Fullerton and from Southern California Kaiser Permanente Medical Group. She appeared in Who's Who in American Women in 91-92 and has been published in various professional journals. Annebel has been a faculty member of LLI since 2007 and serves on the Board of Directors.
Joanna Lurie has a M.S. in Health Administration, a B.S. in Medical biology and is a certified Medical Technologist (MT) by the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) at a Masters Level (MASCP, MT (ASCP)). She is also certified in data base designs. She was the chemistry laboratory supervisor for 20 years in a major Long Island hospital. In addition, she worked as the Laboratory Information Systems Coordinator for six years, and she and her team developed, installed and taught the hospitals’ laboratory computer system for a seven-hospital system on Long Island, New York. She has been on the LLI faculty since 2006.
Linda Lyles is from London, England. She is a certified Microsoft Computer Trainer (MCT) and author of a sci-fi/fantasy novel entitled “Glordayia” .
Marilyn Mare is a retired Chesterfield County teacher who taught at J B Watkins Elementary School. She joined LLI in 2007 and is an active member who volunteers whenever needed. She also enjoys teaching Mah Jongg to fellow LLI students!
Melissa Marinello was born in Massachusetts and currently resides in Chesterfield County with her husband and children. Dr. Marinello has joined the Trauma and Acute Care General Surgery Service at Chippenham Hospital. She received her BA from College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. Dr. Marinello received her doctorate in medicine at Georgetown University School of Medicine in 2005. She completed her internship and residency in surgery at Virginia Commonwealth University, Medical College of Virginia from 2005 to 2010. While there, Dr. Marinello received the Intern of the Year Award in 2006. Also, Dr. Marinello received the prestigious Arnold P. Gold Award for Humanism and Excellence in Teaching in 2008. She was also honored with recognition from the Special Operations Combat Medic Program for her contributions to training their medics. Additionally, Melissa won the I. A. Bigger Award for outstanding resident. Melissa served as the Chief administrative resident in her final year of training. Melissa completed her surgical board examination with the American College of Surgeons in general surgery and is now board certified by the college. Additionally, Melissa is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. Melissa practices all aspects of general surgery with a special interest in laparoscopic surgery, Davinci procedures, colon surgery, hernia repair, gallbladder and acute care general surgical procedures. Melissa enjoys spending time with her family. With three active young children there are many outdoor adventures and activities. They enjoy exploring the many museums, musical events and attractions that Richmond has to offer.
Glenn Markus holds degrees in philosophy (epistemology) and in Greek and Roman studies, both from The Johns Hopkins University. He has been an instructor at LLI since its founding and is also an instructor at other education programs for seniors in Virginia.
Bud Martindale worked for the Federal Reserve System for 40 plus years. He worked 36 years at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, and he spent 5 years at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in Washington D.C. The majority of Bud's career at The Federal Reserve was in the areas of Accounting and Auditing. In his retirement, for the last 6 years, Bud facilitated numerous Junior Achievement programs at the high school level in the areas of Personal Finance, Economics and Ethics. Bud has a B.S. degree in Accounting and Finance from University of Baltimore and he has a M.A.S. degree in management from Johns Hopkins University. He has been an LLI member since 2015.
Robert Maxwell is a licensed speech and language pathologist currently serving the geriatric population as a Regional Clinical Director for Genesis Rehab Services. Robert has a degree in Biological Psychology, a Master's degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders and additional post graduate degrees. One of Robert's primary passions is education and advocacy related to cognitive health. He has presented on the state, regional and national level on topics related to dementia and intervention strategies.
Bryan McChesney is a minister, chaplain and educator. He received his associate’s degrees through the following terminal colleges: University of Richmond, Campbell, Wake Forest, University of South Carolina, Virginia Tech, Ruschlion.
Mark Mikuta is a principal with Estate Settlement Solutions, LLC. He has worked in internal audit, corporate finance and real estate management and development. Mark received his BS in accounting from the University of Richmond. He is a member of many professional organizations and is also a Certified Financial Planner.
Jordan Mock has been working at Pamplin Historical Park since March 2016. She was promoted to Membership and Volunteer Specialist in November 2016. It is her responsibility to process memberships, book tours, manage facility booking, and coordinate volunteers. She looks forward to welcoming LLI students to learn, explore and experience the Civil War history together!
Curtis Monk is President and Chief Executive Officer of Commonwealth Public Broadcasting, the parent company the Community Idea Stations. Previously, Monk served as the Chief Financial Officer of the corporation and Vice President for Finance and Treasurer. Before his tenure at Commonwealth Public Broadcasting, he served Crestar Bank for nearly 20 years, most recently as Executive Vice President for Retail Banking-Headquarters Region. He received his MBA from the Colgate Darden School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia, and earned his BS from the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia.
Wendy Morgan RYT 200. She began her exploration of yoga after her youngest of three children was born in 2005, and she was certified to teach in 2011. It is her great pleasure to share her love of yoga so that others may enjoy the physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits of a regular practice. Wendy believes that yoga is a wellspring of goodness, encouraging us to practice mindfulness and gratitude in every moment. It is a path that leads to confidence and contentment and allows us all to let our bright inner light shine! When she is not cheering from the sidelines on the soccer field, Wendy enjoys reading and making stained glass windows.
Sandra Morton is an educator and has worked as a teacher and school librarian in Chesterfield County, Richmond City, and Petersburg City Public Schools. She has enjoyed working with students from grades Pre-Kindergarten through high school where she helps young ones reach their academic goals. As an aspiring cosmetic chemist and artisan, she handcrafts bath and body products using natural and organic oils, butters and other ingredients. She has also combined her education background with an interest in bath and body care to offer classes where she teaches participants how to make their own unique bath and body products.
Dorothy Moses has been an LLI member since 2008. She’s an aspiring writer and has participated in several critique groups.
Mary Jane Murphy has a B.S. in Home Economics Education and a B.A. in Studio Art. She brings 25 years teaching experience to LLI and has been a member at Chesterfield LLI since 2010.
Fred Nelson is a retired Air Force major general who served as a fighter pilot for most of his 36 years of duty. He also served at the Pentagon, in NATO Headquarters and has lived in Europe, Asia, the Pacific region and the Middle East.
Lorraine Nichol is an ongoing addition to our wonderful Great Books team.
Karen Novitzki has been an LLI member since 2008. She has taught several craft classes and is always a great help when it comes to decorating for events and new seasons!
Lise Orth has been teaching group exercise classes for almost 35 years. She teaches strength/cardio classes, cycling and yoga. She enjoys working with all levels of students, and is especially thrilled to teach at LLI, where students are so motivated and happy. Lise feels the most important part of fitness is to have fun while you learn and get stronger…if it's not fun, why do it? With that thought in mind, Lise strives to make each class enjoyable as well as informative.
Timothy Pace received a Juris Doctorate degree from Creighton University in 1972, and was a senior adviser to the Board of Veterans Appeals from 1972 to 1990. Thereafter, Timothy served as Administrative Law Judge, after a presidential appointment, for the Social Security Administration from 1990 to 2014 handling primarily Medicare cases and Disability claims. In that capacity, he presided in various courtroom proceedings along the east coast at hearing sites in 8 states and in the District of Columbia. From time to time he was called upon to lecture to fellow judges and administrative personnel on the nuances of ever-changing laws governing the administration of Social Security benefits. Timothy lectured and taught classes on the use of the electronic file in the courtrooms, served as the Chief Judge in Pittsburgh and at the Richmond office from 2003-2014. He also briefly served as the Deputy Chief Administrative Judge in Falls Church, VA, in 2010. He has been a member of LLI since 2014.
Ian Patrick is a Financial Advisor and Senior Portfolio Advisor at Merrill Lynch in Richmond with over 20 years of experience in financial services. He holds a degree in economics from the University of Colorado at Boulder, a MBA from the University of North Carolina and has earned the designation of Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor. Ian has been quoted in several publications, including Entrepreneur and Research magazines and helps clients achieve their retirement income goals by assisting them with Social Security decisions and distribution options for their employer-sponsored retirement plans, constructing a customized income-generating investment portfolio.
Mary Lou Paulett has been active with LLI since 2008, has been quilting for over 20 years and teaching it at LLI since she joined. She is proficient in many needle arts, is familiar with many forms of quilting, and enjoys sharing her love of fabric, color, design, and knowledge with others. She has also bought and sold quite a bit on eBay over the last 20 years and looks forward to assisting others in doing the same. Her classes incorporate a very relaxed atmosphere of fun, knowledge, and friendship. Emphasis is on enjoyment, not perfection, which matches her preferred approach to life.
Paula Peaden practices in the areas of Trust and Estate Planning, Trusts and Estates Administration, Elder Law, Long Term Care & Disability Planning, Special Needs Trusts, and Guardianships. She was named the Best Elder Care Lawyer in Richmond in the 2014 edition of Best Lawyers in America®. Her knowledge and professionalism are evidenced by a number of other accolades, including her appointment to the 2014 Virginia Business Legal Elite, the 2013 Class of Leaders in the Law, Best Lawyers in America® for Trusts and Estate, Virginia Super Lawyers for Trusts and Estates and Elder Law and AV-rated Martindale Hubbell Preeminent Women Lawyers. She began her professional career as a registered nurse after receiving her Bachelor of Science degree from Mount St. Mary’s College. She received her legal education from George Mason University. She is a member of the Trust & Estate Section and a past chairperson of the Board of Governors of the Elder Law Section of the Virginia State Bar. She also is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and the Special Needs Alliance and Estate Planning Council of Richmond. Her published works include: Popular Types of Trusts and Considerations for Their Use, chapter written for Aspatore Law Books Inside the Minds series, “Best Practice For Structuring Trusts and Estates” (January 2015) and Specials Needs Trusts, Virginia Lawyers Weekly (May 2014).
Beverly Perdue is a nationally and internationally recognized watercolor artist who has won numerous awards for her work. She has been published in Artist Magazine, America Artist Magazine, and “Best of Watercolor Painting Texture” by Rockport publications.
Sandi Phillips has been teaching Group Exercise in the Richmond area for 20+ years. She is certified in Group Exercise, STEP, Slide, Weight Room Resistance, Pilates, 200 hour Yoga certification (on the way to 500), Barre, Personal Training, and more! She enjoys people and particularly helping people discover that they are capable of far more than they thought. Sandi is a lifelong resident of Richmond, except for four years in Charlottesville. She is looking forward to meeting many new friends at LLI.
Sandy Phillips has a degree in Music and Music Education. She continued her studies at UR, VCU, and Westminster Choir College. Her performance majors were piano and organ, with a minor in vocal production. She taught public and private school music in VA,CT, NY, NJ, and IL, and has also been a church organist and choral director. She has performed in Musicals, and other theatrical productions, and has been an instructor at LLI since 2013.
Barbara Powers has been teaching Sign Language for over 40 years. She studied for 3 years at the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youth and Adults in Sands Point, New York. She has taught both privately and corporately for many years. Barbara joined LLI in 2016 and invites her fellow LLI members to come and learn a type of communication that is beautiful, rewarding and practical.
Gary Powers was born June 5, 1965, in Burbank, California, and is the son of Francis Gary and Claudia “Sue” Powers. Gary holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Philosophy from California State University, Los Angeles, and a Master Degree in Public Administration / Certification in Non-profit Management from George Mason University (GMU), Fairfax, Virginia. Recently, he consulted for a Steven Spielberg Cold War thriller, Bridge of Spies about James Donovan who brokered the 1962 spy exchange between Rudolph Abel and U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers, Sr. Gary is the Founder and Chairman Emeritus of The Cold War Museum, a 501(c) (3) charity located at Vint Hill, VA 45 minutes west of Washington, DC, He founded the museum in 1996 to honor Cold War veterans, preserve Cold War history, and educate future generations about this time period. As Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee for the Cold War Theme Study he works with the National Park Service and leading Cold War experts to identify historic Cold War sites for commemorating, interpreting, and preservation. Because of his efforts to establish The Cold War Museum, the Junior Chamber of Commerce selected him as one of the “Ten Outstanding Young Americans” for 2002. Gary lectures internationally and appears regularly on the History, Discovery, and A&E Channels. He is married and has one son.
Carol Pritchard is a French teacher who taught beginning, intermediate, advanced and adult education classes for forty years. She taught in the school systems of Baltimore City and County, Maryland, Pittsford, New York, and Chesterfield County, Virginia. Locally, she taught at Monacan High School (until 1994) and James River High School (until 2008). She retired from CCPS in July 2008 and has been a member of LLI since 2009.
Rachel Ramirez has been the Executive Director at LLI in Chesterfield since March 2014. She previously worked for four years in IT and as a Financial Team Manager with a nonprofit in Mechanicsville, Caring Voice Coalition. Before that, she was an Assistant Branch Manager with First Market Bank in Richmond and a Store Manager at Starbucks Coffee Company. She has enjoyed attending and volunteering for her church, Clover Hill Assembly of God for over 10 years and is grateful for the opportunity she has to travel to Honduras each summer to work with Give Hope 2 Kids, a children's home in the mountains.
Harry Rast has been an LLI member since 2008 and currently serves on the Board of Directors as Treasurer. He enjoys writing and has a desire to encourage others in this discipline.
Waite Rawls currently serves as the Co-CEO of the American Civil War Museum. He received a B.A. at Virginia Military Institute and was awarded an M.B.A. and J. D. by the University of Virginia. Among the positions he held in the banking, investment, and money markets fields were: Managing Director, Chemical Bank, New York; Vice Chairman, Continental Bank, Chicago; Executive Vice President, The Chicago Corporation; and Chief Operating Officer of Ferrell Capital Management, Greenwich, Conn. He also led a start-up technology company and has been a visiting or adjunct professor at University of Virginia's Darden Graduate School of Business Administration and Illinois Institute of Technology.
Kimberly Rideout is currently a Fire and Life Safety Educator for Chesterfield Fire and EMS in Virginia. She has more than 19 years of experience in public safety, serving in career and volunteer roles. She volunteers her time with the Tidewater Critical Incident Stress Management Team in Hampton Roads, Virginia and has most recently become an authorized volunteer for Operation Lifesaver. Kimberly is a graduate of the Southside Regional Fire Academy, has attended the National Fire Academy, and holds multiple degrees from Radford University.
Caroline Roessler has a Master's in Nutrition and Dietetics from Kent State University and is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist. It is her passion to provide nutrition education and quality care to empower individuals to make positive lifestyle changes that work for them. Some special interests include nutrition for cancer and diabetes and working with children. Caroline is the in-store nutritionist for the Charter Colony Martin's in Midlothian. In her free time she enjoys being outdoors with her dog, and trying new recipes in the kitchen.
Sarah Rohrer MSW, earned her Bachelor's Degree in Corporate Communication from James Madison University. After several years of National Community Service with City Year and work with HIV/AIDS patients at the Max Robinson Center in Washington, DC, she entered graduate school at Columbia University in the City of New York. Sarah completed her Masters of Science in Social Work concentrating in Advanced Clinical Practice with a focus on mental health and a minor in International Social Welfare. She spent several years working in intensive care in hospitals in New York City and Richmond, VA, and moved into her role at CJW Medical Center's Palliative Care Social Worker earlier this year. Sarah is a Richmond native, is a loving wife to her husband, Jon, and lucky mother to her 19-month-old son, Jackson. Sarah has a passion for working in healthcare, specifically palliative and end-of-life care.
Les Schaffer is a long time LLI Instructor, storyteller, retired counselor and grand- and great-grandfather. A founding member of the Tell Tale Hearts Storytellers Theater Company and the Two Tellers Telling Tandem Storytelling Group, Les presents original and traditional stories in a variety of settings, including festivals, story concerts, schools, churches, classes, workshops and conferences. A popular speaker and workshop leader, Les has offered keynote speeches, workshops and storytelling demonstrations for many local, statewide and national organizations. His current passions involve coaching the “The Story Warriors”, a youth storytelling group based in Church Hill and preparing two new original full-length story/music pieces for theatrical presentation.
Bonnie Scimone serves as the Community Outreach and Marketing Specialist for SeniorNavigator. Bonnie has been with SeniorNavigator for over 10 years and has over 30 years of experience in sales, training, and relationship development. She graduated from Longwood University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics and received her Elementary Education Teaching Certificate from Virginia Commonwealth University. Bonnie has one son in Georgia and one daughter in Chesterfield, VA and 5 grandchildren. She resides in the tri-city area with her husband while also calling Yale, VA (Sussex County) home.
William Seay is a professor in the Economics department at VCU and the History department at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College. He was previously an affiliated professor of History and Geography at John Tyler Community College. He is also a visiting summer lecturer on call at Concordia and McGill Universities in Montreal as well as at Bishop's University in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada and for the School of Continuing Education at Oxford and Cambridge Universities in Great Britain. In November 2014, William was invested as a KM (Knight Member) in The Most Venerable Order of St. John of Jerusalem (the oldest British Crusader order that dates back to 1109 AD).
Chris Semtner is the Curator of the Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia, and is the author, co-author, or editor of eight books on Edgar Allan Poe. He has even appeared in the BBC 4 documentary Edgar Allan Poe: Love, Death, and Women and the Military Channel program History: Facts vs. Fiction. His most recent book is about the artwork of James Carling.
Alan Sikora has been playing racquet sports since he was a teenager. He discovered pickleball recently and has been playing regularly ever since. He has found that pickleball offers great camaraderie and as much competition as you desire. He also loves playing bridge with his friends at LLI and beyond!
Shep Smith is a native of Richmond. He holds a Bachelor's degree from RPI, now VCU, and a Master's degree from the University of Richmond. He taught American history at Thomas Dale High School in Chesterfield County for over 30 years.
Mary Anne Snavely is the Co-Founder and CEO of Pelvic Health Systems (PHS) and creator of Pelvic Floor Training (PFT), a comprehensive corrective rehabilitation program unique in the industry of pelvic floor rehabilitation and healing. Mary Anne’s mission is to spread awareness to women of all ages and educate them about the early complaints and warning signs of pelvic floor dysfunction.
Sara Sommers teaches the Alexander Technique, a method of self-care which helps to prevent and manage neck and back pain and relieve stress. Certified in Ergonomics, Mindfulness and Pastoral Care and Counseling, Sara is fascinated by the body's capacity to heal itself and maintain wellness.
Martha Steger has worked on both sides of the media, having been senior editor of Richmond Lifestyle Magazine before being public relations director for the Virginia Tourism Corporation for over 25 years. She's presently a freelance writer covering travel, business, and profiles for publications ranging from Fine Books & Collections Magazine to AAA magazines and Boomer, Richmond and Virginia Business magazines.
Kendalle Stock has been in the field of insurance in Chesterfield since 1985. A graduate of High Point University, Kendalle also earned her CLU designation in 1999. She has owned her own multi-line insurance agency, worked in the long-term care (LTC) insurance field, and in group benefits. In 2013, she decided to make Medicare her primary focus, realizing how so many people were overwhelmed and confused by this program. Her passion is to help educate her clients so they understand the options well enough to make informed decisions about this important part of retirement. More information can be found on her website: CommonwealthMedicareAdvisors.com
Lillie Stratton served as corporate secretary and assistant to the president of the Greater Richmond Partnership, Inc. for 25 years. She has been an LLI member since 2009 and is currently serving on the Board of Directors.
Damir Strmel is an investment analyst for a privately held wealth management company in Midlothian. He began tai chi play 13 years ago. He studied Yang-style tai chi for four years with Nate Mohler, D.O.M. Damir has also studied Yang sword form and Chen and Sun styles of tai chi. His journey through tai chi has brought him many interesting perspectives. Damir is also an avid golfer and enjoys the arts, hiking, and creating music.
Ben Strohm is a Librarian who has been with Chesterfield County Public Library since 2006, working in reference, program development, and helping to make the library’s MakerSpace a success with the community. He enjoys tinkering with machines, gardening, and making stuff out of other stuff.
Mark Swearengen is a veteran and retired civil servant with experience in military planning, field artillery, and public affairs. In the 1980s he was also a columnist for the European Edition of The Stars and Stripes. He has been an LLI member since 2015.
Victor Thompson earned a BA in English Literature from Middlebury College (1963), an MA in English Literature from Rutgers University (1966), and a PhD in English and American Literature from Rutgers University (1972). He has been published in the following books: Eudora Welty: A Reference Guide (1976); The Trumpets of Jericho: A Romantic Novel about Bands and Musicians in the American Civil War (2004); Safe at Home: Baseball and Other Forms of Life in a Small New Jersey Town (2007). Vic has also appeared in numerous articles and book reviews. He taught at the University of Cincinnati (1966-1970) and Thomas Nelson Community College (1970-present), where he is now a Professor Emeritus and Adjunct Professor. He is married with three children and four grandchildren and enjoys music (trumpet and singing), wood carving, swimming, dog walking, and more! Vic and his wife, Sharon, have been LLI members since 2013.
Bryan Truzzie is an Historic Sites Specialist for the Chesterfield County Parks and Recreation Department and a member of the Chesterfield Historical Society of Virginia.
Hilliary Turner is a tour guide at Shirley Plantation and adjunct history instructor at Rappahannock Community College.
Sara Unetic holds two Masters Degrees in English, one from The University of London in British Literature and one from The University of Arkansas in American Literature and Grammar.
Bryce VanStavern returns to us from the American Civil War Museum where he serves as the Supervisor of White House Operations. He has been a member of LLI faculty since 2009.
Kristine von Ruffer was born, raised, and educated in Germany and is, therefore, fluent in German. She utilized this skill as a teacher with the Berlitz School in New Jersey for many years. Kristine is tri-lingual, also being fluent in Italian after living in Milan, Italy for four years. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Marketing from Handels & Wirtschaftschule Kaemmerer, Germany. Prior to moving to Richmond, Virginia in 1993 with her husband, Kristine lived in New Jersey for over twenty years with their two daughters. She has extensive international corporate experience, as she was the office manager for an import/export business, Tex Inc., for over 10 years, and also held other office manager positions prior/post her tenure at Tex Inc. In her free time she enjoys tennis, golf, hiking and classical music. She also volunteers with Richmond Symphony Orchestra League.
Helene Wagner is an award winning screenwriter and playwright. She's had six screenplays optioned by production companies with one cast for CBS. She worked as a Writers Guild Literary Agent for a number of years and was the Founder of the Virginia Screenwriters’ Forum and recently retired as its Director after 25 years. One of Helene's thriller screenplays, Lady Justice, is currently under consideration with an L.A. Production Company. She is in the process of marketing her newest full-length stage play, The French Apartment, to publishers. As her writing schedule permits, she teaches screenwriting classes at the University of Richmond. Helene enjoys sharing great movies and PBS Mystery Series to view and to discuss with LLI students.
Alice Waller has worked with children and families for over forty years. With an undergraduate degree in Child Development and Family Relations and a Certificate in Thanatology from the Association of Death Education and Counseling, she has led workshops for parents and teachers on the local, state, regional, and national levels. Grief and its many facets has been a part of her life for most of her life. Alice looks forward to co-teaching another class at LLI with Les Schaffer.
Mervin Warner has been carving since the mid 1980's and started carving to learn to represent objects in three dimensions versus the two dimensions of drawing. He has been a member of the James River Wood Carvers since the mid 80's. Carving interests are, and have been, carving in the round and include faces, whales, dolphins and stylized birds.
Jim Warns is a HECM Specialist with Retirement Funding Solutions, Inc., one of the largest reverse mortgage direct lenders in the country. In that capacity he deals exclusively with the federally insured Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) loan program, and focuses on the proactive use of that program in retirement planning. Jim has been in the mortgage industry for more than 20 years, and owned his own mortgage brokerage company for 10 years before making the decision to focus on reverse mortgages in 2008. He gives CE presentations on reverse mortgages to Financial Advisors, Realtors and attorneys (CLE). He has also presented on the subject to various community organizations and teaches three recurring classes for consumers at LLI. He is a founding board member and Education Director of the RVA Better Aging Forum, a board member of the Central Virginia Financial Planning Association, past Vice-Chair and Chairperson of the Chesterfield Council on Aging and an active member of several other senior service-oriented organizations. Jim holds both undergraduate and graduate degrees in business from The College of William & Mary and lives in Richmond.
Sylvia Watford is the Senior Financial Education Specialist with Virginia Credit Union. Sylvia is pleased to lead financial education topics throughout the year for the Lifelong Learning Institute. With more than 245,000 member-owners, Virginia Credit Union is the largest state-chartered credit union in Virginia. A regional leader in financial education for members and the public, Virginia Credit Union’s classes, workshops and seminars reached more than 14,000 individuals each year. Virginia Credit Union provides a variety of affordable banking services, loans, mortgages, and free financial education resources with a focus on helping people feel more confident about their finances. Real estate services are offered by Virginia CU Realty, LLC, an affiliate of Virginia Credit Union. Virginia CU Realty, LLC, is a separate and distinct legal entity from Virginia Credit Union, Inc.
Elizabeth Watkins-Morris is the owner and operator of Halloway House. She set fabric aside in favor of charcoal and paint while studying for her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Longwood University. Degree obtained; work force entered; immediately bored. Liz’s father, a long-time history buff, began reenacting with the 12th Virginia Infantry, Co B and asked her to join him. Challenged with creating an impression, or persona, of someone living 150 years ago, Liz was hooked-- and at a loss. How does one accurately recreate the clothing of the Victorian era? Liz began to attend conferences and lectures, take classes on period clothing reproduction and look at original clothing. From there it was a natural leap to study the people of the 19th century: What physical and economic conditions did they face? Why did they make certain choices? How did this impact their clothing?
La Donna Wheatley was born and raised in Louisville, KY. She attended the University of Louisville, and has been married to her husband, David, for 38 years. They have three sons, and as of last fall, have three daughters but no grandchildren…yet. La Donna's husband works for DuPont, which is what brought them to the Richmond area. She believes LLI is a wonderful resource and a blessing to her and the whole Richmond community and has been an LLI member since 2012, although she took a 2 year break when they moved to Delaware. She's so happy to be back!
Peter White attended Clemson University and received his medical degree from the Medical University of South Carolina. He completed his residency at the Medical University of South Carolina and his fellowship in foot and ankle at Duke Medical Center. Dr. White is a member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society. His interests include sports, cooking, hunting and fishing.
Robert White MD, is board certified in neurology by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology as well as the American Board of Electrodiagnostic Medicine. He received his medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia where he also completed a residency in neurology. Dr. White completed a fellowship in clinical neurophysiology-EMG at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. In addition to general neurology, Dr. White's interests include electromyography and nerve conduction studies, single fiber EMG and diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the neuromuscular system.
Donna Whitfield is a current member of LLI. She is a former English teacher with Chesterfield County. She started beading over five years ago and specializes in bead weaving.
Maha Whitfield is a native of Cairo, Egypt, and a graduate of Cairo University, majoring in Egyptian History, Monuments and Art. She worked for ten years as an Egyptologist and professional guide, leading French, British and American groups to historical and cultural sites in Egypt. Since moving to Midlothian in 1989, she has been involved in the enrichment program with Chesterfield County Public Schools. Maha has lectured at Women's clubs as well as the Science Museum.
Nicole Williams has been practicing as an Occupational Therapist since graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2001 with her Master's in Occupational Therapy. Over the past 16 years, she has practiced in a variety of settings and has found her passion working with older adults in a rehab setting. In addition to working with older adults in a clinic setting, she has spent over 10 years working as a volunteer for Rebuilding Together Richmond, helping older adults remain in their home and age in place safely. Nicole has independently earned her Certification as an Aging in Place Specialist through the National Association of Homebuilders and is currently completing coursework to earn a Doctorate in Occupational Therapy. Nicole has focused her career on and remains dedicated to helping older adults remain safely and successfully in their homes and in their communities through feasible and affordable aging in place strategies.
Glenn Winters has been Virginia Opera's Community Outreach Music Director since 2003. He holds the Doctor of Music in piano performance from Northwestern University. As an operatic baritone, he has sung leading roles in this country and Italy. As a composer, his nine commissioned operas have all toured successfully. His book "The Opera Zoo: Singers, Composers and Other Primates" is available from Kendall Hunt Publishing. He lives in Newport News.
Nena Woods has a BA in French and Spanish from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and has taught all levels of Spanish since 1981. Her latest experience was teaching K-8th grade at the Sabot at Stony Point private school here in Richmond. She has traveled many times to Spain especially the Canary Islands where her mother's family lives.
Michael Wriston has been an adjunct member of the faculty (full professor) at the University of Richmond for over 25 years and is the founder and president of The Reinvention Factory and The Competitive Edge. An established, and published, expert on leadership development and the creation of 'high-performance' teams and 'cultures', Dr. Wriston has, most recently, developed broad - and practical - expertise on the development of talent, nurturing (personal) resiliency and enabling people to discover their 'gifts', their 'story' and their 'life's purpose' to ensure that they're able to fulfill their 'destiny'. A (native) Vermonter, and guardian of the 'environment', Dr. Wriston - a long-time soccer coach, is the proud father of four (remarkable) sons.
Howard Wynn is a retired recreational supervisor for the VA Department of Juvenile Justice. When this former paratrooper and Vietnam veteran isn't glued to an art project, he enjoys Phase 10, backgammon, corn hole, and any other sports-related activity. His mother's experience with Alzheimer's was a pivotal moment in his life that has inspired and encouraged him to share his creative talents.