27 Oct Senior in Action – Glenn Moeller
Marilee Marrero Stefenhagen
Former County of LA Public Library Administrator is having the time of her life as a retiree; meeting fascinating people who are active seniors, and volunteering for Soroptimist International of Norwalk and other women’s groups.
Senior in Action – Glenn Moeller
by Marilee Marrero Stefenhagen
Glenn Moeller was born in the windy city, Chicago, Illinois in 1926. His father, an insurance agent for Hooper Holmes Insurance, transferred to an office in Kansas City, Kansas in 1940, so Glenn finished high school in Mission, Kansas. Glenn enlisted in the Army Air Force in 1945, and went south for basic training in Biloxi, Mississippi. He was trained to be a flight mechanic, although he claims he didn’t have any mechanical aptitude. Glenn was then stationed in France, where small planes did photo reconnaissance. It was not an enjoyable time to travel through Europe, because of terrible destruction from aerial bombing. He was honorably discharged from the Air Force and transferred to the U.S. Army in Germany.
By 1946, GIs were offered the option to be discharged and Glenn took that option, as he and his parents were devastated by the disappearance and presumed death of his older brother Warren. Warren was a co-pilot flying B-24 military planes. On September 4, 1945, two days after the peace treaty was signed with Japan, Warren was transporting prisoners of war from the Philippines. The plane disappeared with the crew and passengers, and was never found. Glenn shared his DNA with the Missing in Action of WWII database in case any remains are found. Instead of his parents encouraging him to become independent, they wanted Glenn close to home. Glenn stated, “That explained why I left home later than most of my friends.”
Back in the U.S., Glenn worked for Farmers Insurance for five years. Some folks he met at the YMCA in Kansas City persuaded him to attend George Williams College in Chicago, named after the Englishman who founded the YMCA. He supported himself financially through credits earned selling insurance. However, his Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts came from University of Redlands in 1956, as Glenn moved to California to live closer to his parents. Glenn taught school briefly for Los Angeles Unified School District, but felt it was not a satisfying career. He moved to Long Beach, and accepted a position with the LA County Bureau of Public Assistance as a caseworker for four years. While at the Bureau, Glenn met Sharon Lynch, a colleague who became his closest companion. Sharon and Glenn shared interests in art, music and local walking trails, which led to many memorable adventures until her death from cancer six years ago.
In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson declared the War on Poverty, and funds became available to educate more social workers. Glenn took advantage of the educational funding and earned his Master’s in Social Work at USC in 1964. In 1966, a position with Family Services of Long Beach enticed Glenn to leave County employment and work closer to home. He remained with Family Services for 17 years until retirement in 1983.
When asked about his hobbies and interests, Glenn replied, “My basic hobby has been backpacking, which I started in my 30’s when I connected with Sierra Club. It’s been a lifelong interest of mine. I’ve always enjoyed walking, and loved hiking and backpacking. Mostly I took 7-14 day backpacking trips in the Sierra mountains. A memorable trip was in England; in 14 days we walked from the Irish Sea to the North Sea. We stayed in private homes along the way. I’ve been to Nepal three times, trekking near the base camp of Mount Everest. The Sierra Club also organized trips I joined throughout western U.S., including hiking in Idaho, and canoeing down the Mississippi River. Fortunately, I met a wonderful guide who planned trips that were appropriate for my speed as I aged.”
Prior to the pandemic, Glenn collected original art, some from Long Beach Museum of Art’s annual art auction, and other pieces from Bergamot Station Art Galleries in Santa Monica. His taste is eclectic, as evidenced by the variety of art displayed on the walls. A long-haired reddish-gold cat named Reddy shares Glenn’s home. Reddy is a rescue cat from the Long Beach Animal Shelter, chosen by Glenn so he could more easily see Reddy’s light fur after dark.
Due to macular degeneration, Glenn needs a magnifying glass to read the Los Angeles Times. Keeping up with current affairs is important to him. Attending church services at Bay Shore Church in Belmont Shore, Long Beach, is equally important to his social life. He is a regular volunteer every Sunday, serving coffee & donuts after worship.
When Glenn was asked for advice on longevity at age 95, he replied, “Advice is a slippery slope. Life is unpredictable. Good practices are important, but not the whole story.” Not Born Yesterday! thinks Glenn is on the right track: maintaining a network of friends, owning a feline companion, keeping up with the news, having a faith practice, and walking. Want to share your story about being a Senior in Action? Send an email to email@example.com or call (562) 691-2509.