Photos by Tom Styrkowicz
KC Shepherd’s Center has announced the cohort of honorees for the fourth annual 2021 70 Over 70 Awards, a celebration that recognizes the community and leadership contributions of older adults. This year’s virtual event will be held on November 4 and includes an online silent auction.
The 70 Over 70 Awards honor civic leaders, unsung heroes, or other examples of active and engaged individuals who have and continue to make significant contributions and achievements. KC Shepherd’s Center inaugurated the awards in 2018 to celebrate those who share their goal of empowering, celebrating and serving older adults.
This year’s honorees, including south Kansas Citians such as Joe Runions, Joseph Spalitto, Jan Parks, and Frances Farah, have contributed immeasurably to both their local communities and their worlds at large. Also on the list are Suburban Lawn & Garden founders Bill and Bo Stueck.
To view the full list of winners and to learn more about their achievements, visit www.kcshepherdscenter.org/2021-70-over-70-honorees.
“We couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful group of nominees for 70 Over 70’s Class of 2021,” said KCSC Executive Director Janet Carlson Baker. “As we are with each new year of award winners, KC Shepherd’s Center is humbled by the opportunity to recognize the incredible contributions and accomplishments that these influential individuals have provided for our community.”
KC Shepherd’s Center is dedicated to serving older adults across the greater Kansas City area. Offered by seniors, for seniors, our peer-to-peer programs increase social activity, reduce food insecurity and provide peace of mind to help eliminate feelings of isolation and loneliness. In 2022, KC Shepherd’s Center celebrates 50 years of service. Learn more at kcshepherdscenter.org.
When Bill Stueck was 11 years old, he began mowing lawns in what was then the brand-new community of Leawood. Since then, he has grown that business into Suburban Lawn and Garden in Martin City. Bill is on two boards at US Bank, is on the steering committee for the Nelson Atkins Museum Business Council, and is a trustee for the Kansas Nature Conservancy. He is on the board for Hope Faith Ministries (a day center for the homeless) as well as active with the American Royal to the Heart of America Boy Scouts of America to the Epilepsy Foundation. Bo designed and helped install the sprinkler system for the Ronald McDonald House on Cherry Street and was instrumental in setting up the Stueck Family Foundation, which supports many local charities.
At the age of 72, Joe was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives, serving Grandview and south Kansas City. He was a member of the State Transportation Task Force, spending the summer of 2016 crisscrossing the state seeking input from citizens on their transportation needs. An electrician by trade, Joe has also been a member of many government, civic and nonprofit boards. He previously served a term as a City Alderman in Grandview and, after retiring from the state legislature at age 80, he was elected to serve a second term as a Grandview Alderman.
Joe has been practicing dentistry for 50 years. He also taught at the UMKC School of Dentistry for the past 20 years and now serves as chairperson of the school’s golf tournament, which has raised more than $250,000 in scholarships for dental students in need. He’s president of the UMKC Alumni Association and serves as a drug commissioner for Jackson County COMBAT. But Joe’s service extends far beyond Kansas City. For more than 20 years he conducted annual medical/dental mission trips to Guatemala and now serves as the Honorary Consul to Guatemala, continuing his work to help the poor and underserved families of Guatemala.
Jan Parks, a retired nurse, works on a committee to increase awareness of human trafficking, participates in preparing and serving meals for the homeless, and serving on the AIDS care team. In schools, she has been a mentor, assisted with a high school peer group and gathered donations for food and clothing pantries. She recently was appointment to the Mayor’s Task Force to Revise the Advanced KC Scorecard to increase equity.
Frances has worked in theatre her whole life, including founding two theatres – one as artistic director and one as a board member. Frances also has taught children’s theatre classes and has worked with the inmates at the prison in Leavenworth to teach them theatre and direct them in theatrical productions. Beyond her work on the stage, she has worked with numerous groups on voter registration and volunteered with several social action groups including Clean Mo, installing Medicaid expansion and efforts to strengthen unions in Missouri. Currently she works with the Kansas City Public Library, providing programming, a book club and technical training to the patrons. She also serves as a volunteer with Jobs for Justice, the Heartland Alliance for Progress and the Democratic Party.