Advice for the Ages

We spoke with older adults and asked them to look back and offer advice to their younger selves.


Interesting to say the least. Some were quick and decisive with their answers, several needed time to ponder, but all gave advice that reflects the wisdom and understanding that comes with a life well lived.

Dave Baum, 72
Dave is a Skokie resident with arguably the best “pipes” in town. You might just find his voice, and face, familiar from his time at WBBM as well as WMAQ-TV and WFLD-TV, and WSCR, Sportsradio670 (CBS) Chicago. Today, Dave operates The Dave Baum Media Training Group, providing media spokesperson training, crisis communications, issues strategy and presentation skills. His passions include golf, banjo pickin’, the Reds and bluegrass music.

“Develop a passionate love for life’s pursuit … look forward every day to what you do for a living. Getting paid to do what you love is a bonus. Develop a firm handshake. Perception always opens a door. Eat lots of dark chocolate.”

Dr. William Bunn, 84
Dr. Bunn is the quintessential active, older adult. Originally from Ohio, Bill is a retired cardiologist who lives at Westminster Place of Presbyterian Homes in Evanston. When he’s not busy skiing in Aspen, or hiking in Austria or Croatia, Bill is volunteering at Habitat for Humanity in Waukegan or singing with the Yale Glee Club alumni group—this summer he will travel with the club to Turkey, Armenia and Georgia. And he evens finds time for his 10 grandchildren!

“When considering the selection of a career or the opportunity for a new position, chose the one that you believe you are best qualified to be successful at and enjoy the most.  The amount of compensation and the honor attained should be secondary considerations. The largest personal reward will come from a job well done and in a cause that will benefit others as well as yourself.”

Charles Harrison, 79
Charles Harrison, former industrial designer at Sears, Roebuck and Company, created practical innovations that touched many lives. A resident of Evanston since 1973, Charles is a much-celebrated industrial designer who created the first-ever plastic garbage can, the Viewmaster and hundreds of sewing machines. More recently, Charles taught design at the University of Illinois and Columbia College. In 2009, he received an honorary doctorate from his undergraduate alma mater, the Art Institute of Chicago, and in 2010 he was featured on the Smithsonian Channel’s Spotlight Program.

“I would advise minorities, African Americans in particular, to never forget that they are in a hostile environment. Do not allow yourself to be distracted from your goal.”

Don Hintz, 90
When Don was a young boy, he and his family moved from Iowa to Northbrook, where his family had been part of the community since 1856. In 1939, he and his wife, Gladys Potter, were part of the first graduating class of the four-year program at Northbrook High School. He was a Culligan International executive for 46 years and a charter member of the Northbrook Historical Society when it incorporated in 1974. Last year, the Village of Northbrook honored him by celebrating “Don Hintz Day” during the Annual Shermerfest fall festival. Don has been a resident at Covenant Village in Northbrook since 2003.

“Keep doing what you are doing and always keep track of the details!”

Micky Johnson, 92
Micky, a resident at Vi at The Glen in Glenview, was among the first teachers at Glenbrook North High School when it opened in 1953. A teacher for 45 years, Micky taught traffic safety, health and consumer education classes. She says her favorite car is the 1955 Ford Thunderbird, but today she owns drives an Audi TT roadster and a Lexus hardtop convertible.

“Your life is what you make it. Always look at life as the cup half full—never half empty.  Make sure to love what you do and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

Becky Kartalia, 95

Becky has been a Barrington resident since 1960 and now lives with her husband, Mitchell, at the Garlands of Barrington. Originally from Lebanon, Ohio, and a registered nurse, Becky spent much of her life raising five children and travelling with her husband, who retired in 1983 and was chairman of the Square D Company. Her favorite place: the Greek Islands. She is proud of her 12 grandchildren, who have all graduated from college, and she is expecting her 15th grandchild in September. Becky began blogging two years ago and has written two books, one about her life on the farm and the second on family genealogy. You can read Becky’s blog, “Mostly Happy Notes” at

“I believe in planting seeds, because if you don’t, nothing will ever grow. Send a letter, call a friend and invite someone over.”

Milton Kayle, 88
As if working directly for President Harry Truman and serving as Howdy Doody’s attorney weren’t enough, Milton has packed more life experiences in his briefcase than most of us can ever imagine. A resident at Vi at The Glen in Glenview, Milton is a Harvard Law School graduate who specialized in trademark and licensing for the likes of Jackie Gleason, Jackie Robinson and the New York World’s Fair of 1964-65. He moved to The Glen six years ago to be near his family—including his three grandchildren.

“Never forget that good luck is when preparation meets opportunity.”

June Shuldes, 70+
A resident of Barrington for 47 years, June taught in the Chicago Public Schools for 35 years before retiring in 1987. She and her husband, Bob, raised two children and an award-winning collie, Betsy Ross. June and Bob have four grandchildren and five great grandchildren. During her teaching career, June received three Freedom Foundation Awards for patriotic programs she conducted with her classes. She has worn an American flag every day since 9/11.

“First, I would say that we should love our country more, because we have more freedom and liberties than any other country in the world. Always be consistent with what you do and say, and become a good example to others.”