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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

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  • Ethel Percy Andrus

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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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