Who says you have to retire? Here are some folks who’ve proven that you don’t. Here are the hardest-working person in…
…the paperboy business
Honoree: Ted Ingram of Winterborne Monkton, England
Details: In 1942 Ingram, then 22, got a paper route to add to the income he made driving a tractor. He delivered the Dorset Echo for the next 72 years, more than 500,000 copies in all. And he delivered nearly all them on a bicycle, taking to his car only after hip replacement surgery. Knee troubles forced him to give up the route for good in 2013, at age 93. In all those years the world’s longest-serving paperboy took just two vacations, both in the 1960s, and one sick leave in 1950 after he broke his back.
…the stock market
Honoree: Irving Kahn of New York, New York
Details: Kahn began his Wall Street career as a 23-year-old “runner” (delivery boy) on the New York Stock Exchange in 1929. A few months later the stock market crashed, ushering in the Great Depression. Kahn survived (he made a handsome profit shorting stocks before the crash) and he rode out several more booms and busts over the years. A “value investor,” his strategy was to buy stocks he thought were underpriced, then hold onto them until their value increased, and sell them for a profit. In 1978 the 73-year-old founded Kahn Brothers Group with his sons Alan and Thomas; by 2014 the firm was managing nearly $1 billion in assets and Kahn, 108, was still coming in to work three days a week. He died in 2015, a month after turning 109, still picking stocks to the very end.
Honoree: Dr. Leila Denmark of Athens, Georgia
Details: Denmark, a pediatrician, began a medical internship in Atlanta’s Grady Hospital in 1928. In 1931 she opened her own practice and the following year she helped to develop a vaccine for whooping cough, which was often fatal to children. When her husband passed away in 1990, Denmark considered retiring after 62 years in practice, but decided against it. She continued on for another 11 years, retiring at 103…but only because her eyes became too weak for her to perform certain medical exams. By then she was treating the great-grandchildren of her earliest patients. Denmark lived another 11 years. At the time of her death at age 114 in 2012, she was the fourth-oldest person in the world.
…The federal judiciary
Honoree: Judge Wesley Brown of the Federal District Court for Kansas
Details: Brown graduated from law school in 1933 and practiced law for three decades before President John F. Kennedy nominated him to the federal bench in 1962. The U.S. Constitution allows federal judges to remain on the bench for life, and Judge Brown did just that. He was still hearing cases when he died in 2012 at the age of 104.
Honoree: Ron Akana of Boulder, Colorado
Details: Akana was a 21-year-old student at the University of Hawaii in 1949 when he saw an ad in the paper for flight steward jobs on United Airlines. A job that offered access to the mainland was a big deal in those days, so Akana (and 400 others) applied for the eight openings…and he got one of them. He worked for United for the next 63 years, and saw a lot of changes in that time. Flights became nonsmoking; prop planes gave way to jets, which cut travel time to the mainland in half; stewards and stewardesses became “flight attendants.” If you’ve ever flown United from Denver to Kauai or Maui, you may have been served by Akana. When he retired in 2012 at age 83, it was estimated that he’d flown more than 20 million miles—the equivalent of 40 trips to the moon and back.
…an ice-cream truck
Honoree: Allan Ganz of Boston, Massachusetts
Details: Ganz started working on his father’s ice-cream truck in the late 1940s when he was 10. He kept at it until he was 19, spent two years in the military, and then he went back to working with his dad. He didn’t buy his own truck until 1977, when he was 40. But he’s had it ever since. As of 2016, the 79-year-old had logged 67 years driving up and down the Massachusetts North Shore selling ice cream out of his or his father’s trucks, the longest career as an ice-cream man ever. He may have a few years left in him, too: his father didn’t give up his truck until he was 86.