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June 13, 2013 Volume 34, No. 31

Retirees honored at annual awards event

Retired MU employees encourage people to be active throughout life

For the faculty and staff winners of the Retiree of the Year awards, retirement doesn’t look like sitting on a beach holding a drink with a tiny umbrella. It looks like working part time, volunteering in the community and supporting the university. 

Nearly 300 university retirees and friends gathered June 7 at the Reynolds Alumni Center to honor the accomplishments of faculty winner Bob Stewart and staff winner Jack Miles. 

Stewart retired in 2002 as a professor and chair of the Department of Practical Arts and Vocational-Technical Education, but he continues to work part time for the university. 

“It’s humbling to be recognized for something that just seems like it’s the right thing to do,” Stewart said in an interview. “I’ll always remember what my grandfather said to me when he was climbing up the barn loft and feeding cows at 88. He said, ‘Oh, those guys that move to town and sit on the porch, they just die.’ He worked up until the day he went to the hospital.”

Influenced by his grandfather’s warning and his late wife’s battle with cancer, Stewart volunteered to review literature, manuscripts and grant proposals for Sinclair School of Nursing research to improve the outcomes for breast cancer survivors. In 2005, he was named to the adjunct clinical faculty at the nursing school. He has also volunteered as a patient advocate for oncology research clinical trials. 

“These contributions in the area of cancer survivorship following his retirement represent a ‘second professional career,’ ” his nominator wrote. “His generous volunteer efforts at the Sinclair School of Nursing and Ellis Fischel Cancer Center have significantly impacted the well-being of cancer survivors locally and nationally through research and education.” 

When not working, he enjoys visiting his grandchildren. But the best thing about being retired, Stewart said, is that he doesn’t have to wear a tie every day. 

Miles, former coordinator of the Missouri State Senior Games, hasn’t handed off the baton, either. Since he retired in 2005, he has remained active with the state games, serving as a board member of the senior games. He also volunteers as an official at MU Track and Field events.  

As former executive director of the Missouri State High School Activities Association and one of the founders of the state games, fitness has always been important to Miles, especially as it relates to the aging population. 

“The Missouri State Senior Games was a situation where I was involved with people who were participating for the right reasons,” Miles said. “They were there to maintain physical fitness and a good quality of life.”

He practices what he preaches. He enjoys playing golf and riding bikes with his grandchildren. He also works as a handyman for people in need. 

“There is one lady who is 90 who lives by herself in a home she and her husband built more than 50 years ago,” Miles said. “I do anything she needs done, from repairing her door to odds and ends around the house. That’s been rewarding.” 

Miles and his wife, Darlene, have both received Retiree of the Year awards. 

Darlene retired as an administrative assistant at the Mizzou Alumni Association in 1998 and received the staff award in 2005.

­— Kelsey Allen