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!
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. She has been an LLI member since 2007 and is known as one of LLI’s resident poets.
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.
Edward Ansello is the Director of the Virginia Center on Aging and of the Virginia Geriatric Education Center. He has been studying how aging is portrayed in children's first literature for 40 years and has visited K-2 classrooms to read to children for as long. He is also one of the founders of LLI and currently serves on the Board of Directors.
Doris Armstrong has been a member of LLI since 2006. She enjoys playing games and spending time with her LLI friends.
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.
Kaitlyn Baumann is a second year Occupational Therapy student at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is from Stafford, Virginia, and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise from Virginia Tech. Kaitlyn is interested in working in inpatient rehabilitation for a few years before settling into a specialty. In her free time, Kaitlyn enjoys being physically active, experimenting in the kitchen, and traveling the world!
Dennis Beck-Berman is the rabbi of Congregation Brith Achim in Petersburg. He has taught at Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Pennsylvania, and the U.S. Military Academy. He is a retired military chaplain and has done chaplaincy in nursing homes, hospitals, and prisons. Rabbi Beck-Berman has served on the governing boards of numerous local, state and national charitable and professional organizations and institutions.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thom Casey is a nationally certified audiologist and is licensed in Virginia as an audiologist and hearing aid dispenser. He has been in central VA since 1984. Thom founded Advanced Hearing Specialists in 2000 and provides mobile services including hearing and hearing aid evaluations, ear wax removal, hearing aid fittings, as well as hearing aid repair services. Thom also makes custom earmolds for all applications including protection from water, loud music and all types of noise. He also provides hearing conservation services to businesses in the manufacturing industry. Thom enjoys speaking to groups about hearing and hearing loss and is an active member of the Hearing Loss Association of America - Greater Richmond chapter. For more info about HLAA-GR, please contact Linda Wallace at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, take a look at Thom's recently updated website at: www.AHShearing.com.
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!
Glenn Crider is a nationally recognized artist who has work featured in several museums around the world including the Smithsonian Institute. From this exposure and because he was the only manufacturer of nutcrackers in North America, the USPS commissioned four nutcrackers to be featured as Christmas Stamps in 2008. His Ginger Cottages line has experienced exponential growth and is quickly growing to become a nationally recognized product featured in thousands of accounts nationwide. Glenn will personally teach each of you how to become one of Santa's elves in creating your own Christmas Memory during his class!
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.
Jennifer DeRusha has been a member of LLI since 2015 and has 38 years of teaching experience including Chesterfield Adult Education, Allbrands, Collegiate Cougar after-school program for children, and the YMCA. She was past president, vice president, secretary and founding member of Hospitality Quilters Chapter, Richmond Quilters Guild. Jennifer is a member of and Membership Chairman of the Richmond Central VA Chapter of the American Sewing Guild. She has 50 years of sewing experience, including her own line of reversible clothing for children, has completed 100+ quilts and featured three quilt shows of her own work. Jennifer is also a juried watercolor artist and member of Bon Air Artist Association. She graduated from VCU in 1969.
Denise Dietz is a native of Richmond, Virginia. She received her undergraduate degree from Duke University and went on to receive her Doctor of Medicine degree from VCU School of Medicine. She completed her Internal Medicine Residency and Chief Residency at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts, followed by her fellowship in Cardiovascular Disease at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia. She also obtained a master’s degree in physiology from Georgetown University. Dr. Dietz is board certified in Cardiology and Internal Medicine. She has a special interest in women’s heart disease, preventive cardiology, valvular heart disease, geriatric cardiovascular care, and cardiac imaging (echocardiography, transesophageal echocardiography, stress echocardiography, and nuclear stress testing).
Catherine Dodson began working with Elderhostel programs, now Road Scholar, for the Virginia Center on Aging in the summer of 1989. She was completing her MS in Gerontology from VCU. Catherine has been involved with the Road Scholar ever since. She is the coordinator/group leader for the Richmond, Virginia, based programs.
Diana Donahue a member of LLI, is the sister of Peggy Chicklo and has been dancing for years. She loves tap dancing.
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.
Marika Emanuel is a second year occupational therapy student at Virginia Commonwealth University. She graduated from the College of William and Mary in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. She is looking forward to working as an Early Intervention Occupational Therapist in Fairbanks, Alaska, where she is moving upon graduation from VCU. In her free time, Marika enjoys doing crafts, trying out new coffee shops and breweries, and going on outdoor adventures.
Laura Evans has been practicing colored pencils art for over five years. She has taken classes online to perfect her skill and love of the medium. She has five cats, two dogs and two bunnies that are subject to being put in her artwork at will. Laura is married with two 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.
Kimberly Fauerbach is the Marketing Manager for Riverside PACE in Richmond which has a variety of staff members on their team with years of collective experience to offer courses in staying safe at home. Most people want to remain in their own homes as they age. Their courses will give tips and resources from the Therapy, Social Work, Clinical and Recreation Departments on safety topics such as; Fall Prevention, Medication Management and Socialization.
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.
Martin Fisher is a Cambridge University graduate, former British Navy officer and Boeing executive who came to Richmond to run his own aerospace and defense company focused on international and US defense sales. He has been a post-graduate lecturer in the UK and a lecturer to several US universities as well as delivering a zillion marketing briefings all over the world. He has had dealings with members of the royal family, especially Prince Charles, whom he knows from when Charles was one year behind him at Cambridge and the Navy.
Trish FitzPatrick is the Vice President of Corporate Outreach at UZURV LLC and manages UZURV business account marketing and sales. Trish has lived and worked internationally for most of her career, including in Singapore, Italy, and Russia. Prior to joining UZURV she was a founder and owner of Moscow Enterprises, Inc., an American Real Estate and Renovation company doing business in Russia exclusively. Before starting this business she served as a Senior Project Manager for ABB managing engineering projects in Taiwan, Russia, and North America. Ms. FitzPatrick is a graduate of Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and holds a Master's Degree in Education from the University of Pittsburgh.
Evamon Fleming is a Richmond native who retired from a career of teaching high school English students in Henrico County schools. She has been a long-time member of LLI and currently serves as a literature advisor on our curriculum committee. She is also a docent at the Virginia Historical Society.
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.
Sandra Fry has been a Master Gardener since 2005, a Richmond Tree Steward since 2010, a member of the Salisbury Garden Club since 2001 and a member of LLI since 2013. She has been an avid gardener all her adult life. Before retiring she was a professional trainer in the Information Technology Field.
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.
Maria Gilmore is the manager of the Volunteer Services office at CJW Medical Center’s Chippenham and Johnston Willis Hospitals. She loves her volunteers and helps make each day fun and productive!
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.
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!
Kelly Hancock serves as the American Civil War Museum’s Interpretation and Programs Manager, coordinating the research, development, and implementation of interpretive programs for public audiences; supporting the work of the Education Department by leading projects focused on the heritage traveler audience; and collaborating on offerings for the teacher audience. A native of New Mexico, Kelly received her B. A. in history along with her teaching certification from Eastern New Mexico University. She taught 7th grade social studies before moving to Richmond. Kelly began work at The Museum of the Confederacy in 1998 and served as Manager of Programs and Education from 2002 - 2013. With the creation of the American Civil War Museum, Kelly assumed her current position. Kelly enjoys spending time with her husband Robert, playing with her two cats, Cordelia and Ophelia, supporting the work of her church, and feeding her new found passion for the 1920s.
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.
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.
Wells Iles is a Chesterfield County math teacher. He has sponsored several after-school activities for students including juggling, magic, chess, and Rubik’s Cube.
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.
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.
Mel 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.
Matthew Kestenbaum MD, FAAHPM, is the Medical Director of Health Information and Training for Capital Caring and the Associate Medical Director of the Virginia POST Collaborative (VPC). Board certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine, he has 20 years of experience as a hospice clinician and administrator, serving as a hospital-based consultant, outpatient palliative care clinic physician, Hospice Team Physician, Hospice Medical Director, and Chief of Staff at various points in his career. Dr. Kestenbaum received his medical degree from the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in 1994 and completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, IL in 1997. He has been a member of the VPC since 2008 and has served on the Executive Committee since its inception in 2012. He was named Associate Medical Director of the VPC in 2012 and is also the POST Regional Coordinator for Northern Virginia.
Bette Kot MLIS, is a retired librarian from the California Genealogical Society and has many years of experience researching and teaching genealogy.
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. 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.
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.
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 four. 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.
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.
Kathryn Lewis is a Virginia native and has been in Richmond since 2002. She began working at Virginia House soon after as a part-time docent, while earning graduate degrees in art history at VCU.
Becky Lillywhite is the Manager of Fall Line Farms and Local Roots Food Co-op. After operating a restaurant for seven years, with gathered greens from local farms, a neighbor bread baker, and nearby producers providing pastured meats, her next passion was obviously local food distributed throughout her community. For the last eight years managing the Center for Rural Culture’s, Local Roots Food Co-op, bringing the rural customer from food deserts into the world of community based food and bringing the rural world into the urban food system in a way that they rely on one another has been one of Becky’s greatest joys. Their Producers have grown with them, some going on to bigger and better and some who have been with them since the inception. Retailers have known for quite some time that “brick and mortar has been replaced by click and order.” They have initiated this program, nurtured and watched it grow. Personally, Becky has not been a grocery store shopper for over six years. Eating seasonally, locally and knowing her food is the highest quality available is how she stays healthy and on a grassroots level, involved in her community.
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.
Christopher Manipola attended the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, for his Bachelor of Science degree, where he majored in Neuroscience, minored in Biochemistry, and graduated Magna Cum Laude. He went on to obtain his medical degree from Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Medicine. Dr. Manipula completed his residency at VCU Medical Center in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, where he most recently served as Chief Resident and worked as a Research Project Manager. During his time in residency, he was awarded both the Arnold P. Gold Foundation Humanism and Excellence Teaching Award and the “Top 3 Teacher” Award from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Manipula is an active medical mission volunteer, having served time in projects in both Africa and Central America. Dr. Manipula is board-eligible in Obstetrics and Gynecology, and is a member of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
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!
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.
Marianne Matocha holds a degree in Interior Architecture from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and has 14 years of professional experience in the corporate world and private sector. A few places she has worked include Belk Corporate Office and Lowe's Corporate Office, prior to starting her business, Access-Array, LLC. Marianne is a native of North Carolina and has had the opportunity to travel to many regions in the country due to her career and family life. She has also lived in Colorado and Northern Virginia prior to putting down roots in Richmond. Some dear senior friends and family members have navigated through times when they were not able to get their homes and spaces in order to manage their daily living to best suit their needs. The reasons ranged from age, disabilities, and smaller spaces than they previously had. This led Marianne on a journey of starting her own business, Access-Array, LLC. She enjoys helping the senior population by using her God-given gifts and helping seniors improve their spaces and daily living.
Rosemary McDowell has been a member of LLI since 2012. She admires people who have influenced our society thru art, books and music.
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.
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!
Debra Ogilvie is with Richmond Hearing Doctors, is a Virginia native, and grew up in Hampton. She received her Bachelor's degree from James Madison University, her Master's degree from The George Washington University in Washington, DC, and her Doctorate of Audiology degree from Salus University in Pennsylvania. Debra has been practicing Audiology since 1995, coming to Richmond in 1999. She spent 12 years working in a local private practice until deciding to become an owner herself. She has always appreciated both the technical and personal sides to Audiology – finding the best hearing solution for each individual person. Debra is a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology, a fellow of the Academy of Doctors of Audiology, and is a Board Member of the Virginia Board for Hearing Aid Specialists and Opticians. She and her husband enjoy spending time with their son, daughter, and extended family.
Hans Oppe Ph.D, is a graduate of the Technical University Aachen in Germany. He is a retired corporate officer who worked for companies in Germany and the USA.
Todd "Parney" Parnell serves as the Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for the Richmond Flying Squirrels, the Double-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. In that role, he oversees all aspects of the Flying Squirrels' day-to-day operations in Richmond. With his guidance, the franchise completed a 1.5 million dollar renovation of The Diamond, where they opened Eastern League play in 2010. During their inaugural season, the club quickly established itself as a leader in the community, while smashing corporate and ticket sales expectations. Parney also currently serves the Richmond Chapter of the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation Board of Trustees, as well as the Richmond Police Athletic League Board of Directors. Due to his flamboyant nature and wealth of experience in professional sports, Parney has also become one of the most popular speakers and guest lecturers in the region. 2015 will mark Parnell's 26th season in minor league baseball. Parney began his minor league baseball career during the 1990 season when he joined the Eastern League's Reading Phillies as the club's Director of Sales and Marketing. He was later promoted to Assistant General Manager, a position he held through the 1996 season. The 48-year old graduated from Messiah College in 1988 with a degree in physical education and a minor in business. He has two daughters, Lindsay and Samantha.
Patricia Parsons has been a member at LLI since 2009 and is a native of Cape Charles, Virginia. She has published several articles about the town in Pleasant Living Magazine. Sales of her recent book, Portrait of a Town, Cape Charles, 1940-1960, have been brisk, especially on the Eastern Shore and in Tidewater. For several years, she conducted French Classes at LLI. An art lover, she served on the board of the Richmond chapter of the National Society of Arts and Letters and conducted art tours for the Society and for LLI.
Ian Patrick earned a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Colorado at Boulder, an MBA from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina, is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM professional and has earned the designation of and Chartered Retirement Planning CounselorSM. Over the years, he has been quoted in several publications including "Entrepreneur" and "Research" magazines. Active in the Richmond community, Ian serves on the board of directors of Belltower Pictues and several committees of the James River Association, is a past President of the Rotary Club of Huguenot Trail, contemporary band member at Christ the King Lutheran Church, and a volunteer for many other charity organizations. He is the proud father of two teenage daughters and resides in Midlothian, Virginia. To relax, Ian enjoys music, independent films, soccer, skiing, golf, sporting clays, and getting out on the James River.
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 the University of Richmond, 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 Virginia, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Illinois 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.
Gary Porter is a retired USAF fighter pilot with a passion for enhancing America's understanding of our "supreme law of the land," i.e., the Constitution. Gary is Executive Director of Constitution Leadership Initiative, Inc., an organization devoted to providing seminars on the Constitution and related topics.
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.
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 is a graduate of Kings College in Charlotte, North Carolina, with a degree in accounting. He retired after 45 Years in sales for a national manufacturer and distributor in the building materials industry. He joined LLI in 2008 and serves on the Board of Directors as Treasurer. Harry began writing in 2009 and has been published numerous times in Nostalgia, Good Old Days and Reminisce magazines. He enjoys writing and has a desire to encourage others in this discipline.
Waite Rawls currently serves as the President of the American Civil War Museum Foundation. 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.
Leah Reed is a second year occupational therapy student at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is from Austin, Texas, and graduated from Drury University in Springfield, Missouri, with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. She was a collegiate athlete there for four years as a swimmer and competed in NCAAs every year. Leah is excited to incorporate everything she learned from swimming and grad school and begin a life as a practicing Occupational Therapist. Where she will live after grad school is still up in the air, but she loves the outdoors, cafes, and warm weather.
Patrice Reese is a graduate of East Carolina University's School of Art with a degree in Art Education. She has exhibited throughout the United State and studied with several master artists. She believes anyone can become an artist with an open mind, enough practice, and a strong concept. She has been featured in PALETTE magazine and is represented by Uptown Gallery in Richmond.
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.
Linda Rubin was born in Philadelphia, raised in Petersburg, and graduated with honors from the School of Art at VCU. Linda comes with a diverse and eclectic background. She worked in advertising at Bloomingdales in New York City and for the NYC Department of Transportation creating its first Adopt a Highway Program. After returning home to the metro Richmond area, she led the Community Emergency Response Team’s statewide efforts. Linda felt a huge draw to work with the aging population after winning a national competition to rename the word “senior” when referring to those 50 and older to a more positive image. Over 400 entrees from across the USA brought the win to Virginia and a path to Senior Connections managing the Healthy Habits for Adults Program. In between a plate full of volunteer activities, Linda can be found in her art studio, in the company of her Kitty, Lulu, working on a project or commission in almost any material she can put her hands on to create something optimistically wonderful from nothing.
Les Schaffer listens to, teaches and tells original and traditional stories in theater, therapeutic, classroom, churches, libraries, and conference settings throughout the country. A popular, long time LLI Instructor, Les leads and coaches the Story Warriors, a youth storytelling group in Church Hill. He is a co-founder of The Tell Tale Hearts Storyteller’s Theater and the TwoTellersTelling Tandem Storytellers. Les is also an experienced story-slammer, participating in slams from Maryland to South Carolina. Among other new projects, currently Les is in preparation for two full-length theatrical story/music performance pieces.
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.
Audrey Short has played taiko for about 10 years, starting with Manhattan Taiko in New York City. She currently performs with River City Taiko (as well as an Indonesian orchestra, Gamelan Raga Kusuma) in Richmond. During the week, she enjoys teaching international students English at VCU.
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.
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
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.
Jay Swedenborg is the Administrator and Executive Director for Communities In Schools (CIS) of Chesterfield. Jay has served with Chesterfield County Public Schools and CIS of Chesterfield since March of 1994. The CIS program is a non-profit within Chesterfield Schools. CIS programming positions a full-time CIS Site Coordinator at six Chesterfield schools. CIS is a dropout prevention program that seeks to provide kids and families with the supports they need to be successful in school and in life.
Tina Thomas is a native of Michigan; she has lived in Virginia since 2010, and currently resides in Williamsburg. Tina holds a Bachelor of Science in Health Care Administration and a Master of Science in Hospice and Palliative Studies. She also holds certifications in Gerontology, Addictions Specialist, Pastoral Care, Nursing Home Administration, Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia Care. Tina is the Director of Programs and Services for the Greater Richmond Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. Prior to joining the Alzheimer’s Association Tina worked as a Home Health and Hospice Administrator and a Dementia Education Specialist.
Nicole Thomas-Jackson Ed.D., has been in the fitness industry for over 15 years. A certified fitness instructor since 2001, Nicole has taught group fitness classes in a variety of settings. Classes have included high impact aerobics, low impact aerobics, lite physical fitness and senior fitness. Nicole has also taught elementary physical fitness and currently holds an elementary teaching certificate.
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.
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 major 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. She is in the process of marketing her two full-length stage plays to theatres and publishers. As her writing schedule permits, she teaches screenwriting classes at the University of Richmond. Helene enjoys the fun of sharing great movies and PBS Series to view and to discuss with the LLI students.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Paul Yoon was first introduced to taiko drumming in 1995 when he became a member of Soh Daiko, a New York City-based taiko ensemble that began in 1979. After completing his Ph.D. in ethnomusicology at Columbia University in 2005, he went on to found four different taiko groups. Yoon currently teaches in the Department of Focused Inquiry at VCU.