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The Old Guard of White Plains Helps Busy Career Men Ease Into Retirement

Retired lawyers, physicians, entrepreneurs, and executives join the Old Guard of White Plains to enjoy the company and stimulation of their peers.

 
PRLog - Jul. 18, 2012 - BEDFORD HILLS, N.Y. -- Back in the 1950s, Westchester’s retired professionals and businessmen (and they were all men back then) found it hard to adjust to the solitude and leisure time of retirement. Sure, there was golf, but they missed a sense of purpose and camaraderie with their peers.

To fill that void, the Westchester County Department of Aging created the Old Guard of White Plains, an organization catering to retired career men. Since it opened its doors in 1954, the Old Guard has attracted dozens of loyal members, including leading physicians, judges, lawyers, executives, and entrepreneurs who live mostly in Westchester. With a record membership of close to 170 people today, the Old Guard stands stronger than ever.

“Our members are captains of industry, with tremendous backgrounds,” says Rich Ronde, 68, a former New York City official who lives in Pelham. He joined the Old Guard when he retired four years ago. “It was a great find for me because it eased the tension and stress of retiring. There were people I could talk to, and I could look at how they dealt with retirement.”

Old Guard members meet and listen to a guest speaker each week. Bridge, bowling, golf, pool, and an annual dinner dance engage its members and spouses. Community service is part of the mix as well.

Robert G. Kurzman, a trusts & estates attorney who has been regularly listed as a New York Metro Super Lawyers, explains the club’s appeal. “A happy and successful career nearing an end can bring sadness and despair to a professional,” says Mr. Kurzman, who recently retired as founding partner of Kurzman Eisenberg Corbin & Lever, LLP, in White Plains. “The Old Guard promotes fellowship, mutual edification, community service, and physical activities to maintain one’s fitness and mental acumen.”

Other members echo his opinion. “I found a new life [at the Old Guard] when I joined,” explains Bob Anderson, 85, the founder of Zion Kosher Delicatessen in White Plains, who joined the Old Guard in 1997 after retiring. “My country club friends have either died or moved to Florida. Here I have found people with similar interests to mine.”

For Harmohan Sethi, who owned a wholesale furniture business Sethi & Sethi with his wife, bridge and the caliber of the members are what enticed him to join a year and a half ago. Now the Pelham resident chairs the club’s Bridge Committee. “Here I meet people of similar backgrounds and interests. We are all of a similar type,” he says.

Past members have included Harry G. Horn, who retired as CEO of New York Life in 1997; the Hon. William D. Friedmann, a former Associate Justice of the New York State Appellate Division, and Dr. Paul Tucci, a distinguished urologist who practiced in Rye.

The Old Guard meets every Tuesday morning at the Memorial United Methodist Church at 250 Bryant Avenue in White Plains.  A recording secretary keeps minutes, and the president of Old Guard, currently James Kelleher, presents old and new business topics for discussion. Meetings are run as crisply as a quarterly board of directors meeting. Afterwards, invited speakers address the group, discussing a wide range of topics from what’s happening in Pakistan today to energy efficiency. Following the discussions, a light lunch is served. Many members stay for a game or two of bridge.

The Old Guard’s community-service projects include preparing tax returns for seniors, collecting money for the Salvation Army, and raising funds that support other nonprofit groups housed in Memorial United Methodist Church.   And while the club sticks to its “no girls allowed” policy, wives are frequently invited to participate in discussions and social events.

“I was looking for ways to occupy my time. The Od Guard has eased me into the next phase of my life,” explains Mr. Ronde, who chairs the membership committee. “It’s a place to get your bearings and find amazing people.”

For more information, the public is invited to visit www.oldguardofwhiteplains.org or call James Kelleher, president, at 845-290-0956.

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Location:Bedford Hills - New York - United States
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