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Champions of Aging

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

  • AARP

    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.

    1 of 11
  • AARP

    Ethel Percy Andrus

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

    2 of 11
  • Courtesy of the Social Security Administration

    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.

    3 of 11
  • Courtesy of Worth Blaney

    Warren W. Blaney

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

    4 of 11
  • Courtesy of the International Longevity Center USA

    Robert N. Butler

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

    5 of 11
  • Jim Harrison/The Heinz Awards

    Elma Holder

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

    6 of 11
  • Keystone/Getty Images

    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.

    7 of 11
  • Alain Keler/Sygma/Corbis

    Maggie Kuhn

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

    8 of 11
  • Ed Clark/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

    Patrick V. McNamara

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

    9 of 11
  • Shepard Sherbell/Saba/Corbis

    Claude Pepper

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

    10 of 11
  • Wisconsin Historical Society

    Edwin E. Witte

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

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