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Champions of Aging

Here are 10 Americans who helped to build a nation that respects and protects its oldest citizens

  • Our Hall of Fame

    They came from divergent backgrounds but shared a common cause: fighting for the interests, rights, financial security and overall well-being of older Americans. Learn more about these movers and shakers in this virtual hall of fame.

    AARP 1 of 11
  • Ethel Percy Andrus

    The founder of AARP was an educator who never stopped teaching. Read Andrus' story.

    AARP 2 of 11
  • Robert M. Ball

    The lifelong civil servant (pictured upper right) oversaw the creation of the Medicare system in the mid-1960s, which may have been the largest government undertaking since D-Day. Read Ball's story.

    Courtesy of the Social Security Administration 3 of 11
  • Warren W. Blaney

    Many compete in the Senior Olympics, but few can name the movement’s founder (pictured far right).
    Read Blaney's story.

    Courtesy of Worth Blaney 4 of 11
  • Robert N. Butler

    Butler was raised by his grandparents, became a doctor and fought prejudice and discrimination against older Americans. Read Butler's story.

    Courtesy of the International Longevity Center USA 5 of 11
  • Elma Holder

    Are nursing homes "over-regulated?" she asked rhetorically. "Well, are the schools in your town over-regulated?" Read Holder's story.

    Jim Harrison/The Heinz Awards 6 of 11
  • Lyndon B. Johnson

    The son of a failed cotton farmer engineered the passage of Medicare, Medicaid and the Older Americans Act. Read Johnson's story.

    Keystone/Getty Images 7 of 11
  • Maggie Kuhn

    The Gray Panthers founder weighed only 95 pounds but packed a big punch as a crusading activist. Read Kuhn's story.

    Alain Keler/Sygma/Corbis 8 of 11
  • Patrick V. McNamara

    As a senator, the one-time pipefitter helped lead the charge for Medicare. Read McNamara's story.

    Ed Clark/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images 9 of 11
  • Claude Pepper

    Mr. Senior Citizen’s concern for those in need may have grown out of his own early struggles. Read Pepper's story.

    Shepard Sherbell/Saba/Corbis 10 of 11
  • Edwin E. Witte

    Witte, raised in hardscrabble Wisconsin, invented Social Security, the program that millions of retirees depend on. Read Witte’s story.

    Wisconsin Historical Society 11 of 11

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