Zen and the Art of Aging – a Seniors Guide
From the desk of Estate Planning attorney Rick L. Law of the Estate, Asset, and Retirement Tax law firm of Law Elder Law. Dale Chatfield was a man of simple and powerful virtues. His initiative, integrity, and personality drew people to him, and in turn, he enriched their lives. When Dale passed in 2014, he and his wife doris had been married for just over 75 years. Born October 10, 1911 in the central Nebraska plains. He told us, “I grew up on the farm, and when I was a young man it seemed like I knew all the girls in Nebraska—but none of them were right for me! It was The Great Depression, but I headed off to find my fortune in Denver.” In Denver he lived frugally, studied accounting, and eventually got a job as an accountant for the Denver/Rio Grande Railway. But Dale was never meant to just sit at a desk. He was a competitor… driven to always do more than what is expected. Doris beamed and proudly told us, “Dale spent his whole life going the extra mile. We had a dry cleaning business for 32 years. The business, called D&D Cleaners (for Dale and Doris), grew because my husband always gave extraordinary personal attention to each customer. Even after people moved away from our neighborhood, they would drive back to have Dale do their cleaning. People value that special personal attention.” Even after retirement, Dale has kept on making life more fun for others. From 1990 to their 2005 move to Chicago, he almost single-handedly did the Christmas decorations and lights around their four-story senior residential center in Denver. Doris told us, “He was the only one in the neighborhood who decorated all four sides of their building! Everybody else just did the front. You know, he climbed up and down those tall ladders even when he got to be 92.” A treasured memoir of my encounter with Dale, he gifted me a handwritten note with some of his keys to a long and successful life.
- God, parents, wife, and kids
- Creator, genes, diet, exercise
- Husband and wife 50/50; don’t let the sun set on your anger.
- Honesty (don’t even take tax deductions if they are iffy)
- Eat well but nothing fancy (oatmeal with raisins every day and good farm food)