Jon Esty, PhD
Retired in: 1997 from his job as a
psychologist at the Colorado Mental
Health Institute at Fort Logan, in
His adventure: Long before he
loved psychology, Esty loved trains
and politics. “ I was head of ‘Kids for
Eisenhower’ in my [eighth grade]
homeroom,” he remembers. Four
years before retirement, Esty got reacquainted with his first
loves: He joined a grassroots advocacy effort to preserve rail
transit in Colorado and to save Denver’s historic Union Station
from being turned into a convention center.
Once he retired from Fort Logan, Esty volunteered full
time as a lobbyist to the Colorado Legislature for the advocacy
group, now known as the Colorado Rail Passenger Association.
“It was just like a full-time job, and I didn’t care at all that I
wasn’t getting paid,” says Esty, who also served 15 years as the
He and his colleagues saved Union Station, helped to pass
a state requirement to monitor rail resources more closely
and established a bus line that connects Denver’s train line
with one in Raton, N.M. They also worked to pass a local
sales tax increase for transit that is funding additions to a
light/commuter rail system in the Denver metropolitan area
including the new service to Denver International Airport and
Golden, Colo. His background as a psychologist was an asset
throughout his advocacy work.
“Early on, I told the people at the Department of
Transportation I didn’t know anything about civil engineering,”
says Esty. “They said, ‘Look, the problem here is egos, you have
to manage pretty big egos, and if you can manage that, you’ll be
When he’s not promoting rail: Esty and his wife now live
in Ridgway, Colo., near the scenic San Juan Mountains in an
“earthship” house made of recycled tires packed with earth. The
house is heated and powered by solar energy. “We’ve always
loved this part of Colorado, and we’ve always wanted to live ‘off
the grid,’” he says. He raises vegetables in his greenhouse and is
actively involved in the local community garden.
His advice: Embrace your natural curiosity and learn
something new. “Most psychologists think of learning as a
lifelong process, and it doesn’t need to stop when you cease your
regular daily schedule,” says Esty.
Linda Moore, PhD
Retired in: 2006 from private practice.
Her adventure: When Moore was ready to retire, she
sold her Columbia, S.C., office building and bought 50 acres
in Columbia with the proceeds. In 2008, she opened the
Howlmore Animal Sanctuary, a
shelter for cats and dogs that need
special medical care due to age,
sickness, disability, abuse and neglect.
Along with three full-time
employees and 40 volunteers, Moore
works with local veterinarians to get
the animals the medical care they
need to be adopted. Often the animals
have emotional wounds as well,
she says. Among them was Banjo, a
6-year-old Chow who needed multiple surgeries to remove a
deeply embedded puppy collar left on by his owners. “He was
also traumatized from being left outside with no shelter and
little food or water,” she says. After months of training and
care, Banjo recently visited a local middle school as part of a
lesson on animal care and seemed to have found his calling, says
Moore. “ I was astonished at how well behaved he was,” she says.
“He was so excited that the kids were excited to see him.”
Moore fields referrals from up and down the East Coast,
sheltering 30 to 40 animals at a time. Moore and her team
screen adoptive families carefully and have placed 70 animals
since they opened. But some animals have been at Howlmore
since it opened and may stay permanently because they require
more medical care than most families can provide.
Between managing her staff and overseeing the volunteers,
the facility and the animals’ care, Moore estimates she works
longer hours than when she was in private practice. “This is the
hardest job I have ever loved,” she says.
Her newest trick: Moore is becoming an expert fundraiser
to keep the sanctuary up and running. She has held a rummage
sale, participated in charity events with local churches and
department stores and is organizing a donor party for the
sanctuary’s fifth anniversary. “We do everything but stand on
street corners with a tin cup,” says Moore.
Her advice: Find something that makes it exciting to get out
of bed every day, she says. “Dying of boredom would be the
worst way to go.”
Ernie Lenz, PhD
Retired in: 1995 as chief of
psychology at Tripler Army Medical
Center in Honolulu.
His adventure: Lenz moved to
Saudi Arabia to teach instructors
curriculum development at the Allied
Health Sciences School for the Saudi
Arabian National Guard. When he
returned to the United States at age
66, he earned a master’s in public health at George Washington
University in Washington, D.C. in 2003.
After 9/11, Lenz felt drawn back to service. He applied to the