Smooth Sailing into Aging

AGE: 76

FORMER OCCUPATION: Cofounder of Formulary Productions, Former President of Wimmer Brothers Printing & Publishing

HOBBIES/INTERESTS: Golf, painting, sailing, and playing poker

FRED WIMMER may have inherited his athletic tendencies from his parents, but it is his very own passion for fitness that has kept him highly active into his senior years. Fred’s father pitched softball against The King & His Court, a barnstorming softball team that put on shows much like the Harlem Globetrotters. Fred, too, played baseball and basketball during his school days and continued with basketball in college at Rochester Institute of Technology.

As part of Memphis Printing Industries basketball team, Fred says, “My claim to fame was playing at the Mid-South Coliseum at halftime against the All-American Red Heads,” one of the first professional women’s basketball teams.

Fred’s motivation for staying active hasn’t waned. “It’s so obvious that any exercise pays great dividends,” says Fred, who has been living at Trezevant Manor for two and a half years. “Anyone who does not exercise is missing out on the benefits. It is so fine to be able to move.”

“Anyone who does not exercise is missing out on the benefits. It is so fine to be able to move.”

Fred plays tennis regularly and is amused by the variation of his skill level from day to day. “One day, you play incredibly well, and the next day, you play terribly,” he says, laughing. “You do embarrassingly stupid things, and everyone laughs together. There are daily variations in your abilities.” He plays with six other folks his age and noted no one is the “best player” in the group. “Different day, different person,” he says. “It’s weird, I think, but it’s part of what we love about the game.”

Fred says he especially likes tennis for several reasons: the competitive nature of the game, the cardio workout from constantly moving around the court, and the limited time frame. “Golf can go on forever,” he says, noting that he grew up playing more golf than tennis. “With tennis, you can play inside in the air conditioning, which is a heck of a deal.”

Fred has had three bladder tumors, a brain tumor, and a parathyroidectomy as well as lost a kidney to cancer but notes, “Those were just things I took care of and healed up.” Fortunately, Fred has not had any serious sports-related injuries to keep him from staying active. “I cannot believe I’m so lucky,” he says.

Not only does the resilient senior stay active by playing tennis, he has enjoyed canoeing most of his life. Eleven years ago, he came in third in his age bracket at the Outdoors, Inc. canoe race on the Mississippi River. He said his wife, who also resides at Trezevant, inspired them to buy their first canoe for “family fun.”

Recently, Fred went sailing with former Trezevant executive director John Webb and his wife, Ginny. “I taught him everything he knows about sailing,” he jokes. In June, the three Trezevant residents participated in the 39th Annual Bikini Cup Race and Party at Heber Springs, Ark. “Ginny was the helmsman for the race. And, let me tell you, I didn’t have any trouble with her being in charge!”

Fred plans to continue focusing on fitness and is grateful that living at Trezevant supports his active lifestyle.

By Molly Okeon. Photo by Jamie Elkington.

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