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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.
The founder of AARP was an educator who never stopped teaching.
Date unknown: AARP
The lifelong civil servant oversaw the creation of the Medicare system in the mid-1960s, which may have been the largest government undertaking since D-Day.
1965: Pictured upper right. Courtesy of the Social Security Administration
Many compete in the Senior Olympics, but few can name the movement’s founder.
1975: Pictured at far right. Courtesy of Worth Blaney
Butler was raised by his grandparents, became a doctor and fought prejudice and discrimination against older Americans.
c. 2004: Courtesy of the International Longevity Center USA
Are nursing homes "over-regulated?" she asked rhetorically. "Well, are the schools in your town over-regulated?"
c. 2006: Jim Harrison/The Heinz Awards
The son of a failed cotton farmer engineered the passage of Medicare, Medicaid and the Older Americans Act.
1967: With Thurgood Marshall. Keystone/Getty Images. First slide: Ed Clark/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images
The Gray Panthers founder weighed only 95 pounds but packed a big punch as a crusading activist.
c. 1972 Alain Keler/Sygma/Corbis
As a senator, the one-time pipefitter helped lead the charge for Medicare.
1957: Ed Clark/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images
Mr. Senior Citizen’s concern for those in need may have grown out of his own early struggles.
1988: Shepard Sherbell/Saba/Corbis
Witte, raised in hardscrabble Wisconsin, invented Social Security, the program that millions of retirees depend on.
Date unknown: Wisconsin Historical Society
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FOUNDING INSPIRATION: AARP President Rob Romasco discusses AARP founder, Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus, sharing how and why she formed AARP.
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