Back in May, we introduced you to three of our newest Episcopal Retirement Services (ERS) Board members. And we were pleasantly surprised to learn just how many of you were interested in getting to know the caring people driving innovation in Tristate retirement care.
As our Chair, Robin Smith, recently noted, “The all-volunteer ERS Board brings incredible skills and experience to support the mission and strategic direction.”
“All would say that they get more from being a part of ERS than they give,” she added.
We’d like to make this column a regular series, and introduce you to more of the fascinating people who are helping to make dignified, person-centered senior care the standard in Cincinnati and beyond.
So, without further ado, here are three more elder care leaders we think you’ll be interested in getting to know.
W. Thomas Cooper
One of our newest members, Tom Cooper is a former managing partner of the accounting and consulting firm Potter & Co., LLC (which subsequently merged into Blue & Co., LLC).
Cooper is a tax expert, and he’s put that knowledge to use as an important matter of ERS’s Finance Committee. He joined the ERS Board in October of last year, following our affiliation with Louisville’s Episcopal Church Home (ECH), which he also served as a board member.
He’s a past president of the Kentucky Society of CPAs, and received that organization’s Distinguished Service Award. He previously served on the board of directors for the American Institute of CPAs and was president of its benevolent foundation.
Cooper grew up in the Louisville area, where his family belonged to the Episcopal Church. His mother was a long-time volunteer at ECH, and she lived there in her later years.
As his own career wound down, Cooper said, he decided to honor his mother’s legacy of service by volunteering on the ECH Board.
“ECH has enjoyed a stellar reputation in the community,” he explained. “Being able to keep that reputation going is my primary interest.“
Albert Smitherman comes from a family of high achievers.
His father, Dr. Herbert Smitherman, was a pioneering Procter & Gamble chemist and, for nearly 30 years, helped to develop many of that company’s most prized, patented formulas.
But Albert Smitherman has been a success in his own right. He is the President and CEO of Jostin Concrete, a multi-million-dollar concrete pouring and construction management company.
Smitherman first joined the Affordable Living Board in 2015, after our late chairwoman, Trish Martindell, noted his talent for leadership and asked him to serve. He brings his expertise in organization and management to bear as a member of both ERS’s Affordable Living Board and its Leadership Committee.
He said that the most rewarding part of volunteering with ERS has been, “becoming an overall better person and manager. I’m learning about people and my own leadership skills.”
In addition to his service with ERS, Smitherman serves on the executive and facilities committees for Bethany House (a Cincinnati women’s shelter) and on the Christ Hospital Foundation board.
On Wednesday nights, he said, you might find him out on a date night with his wife, Liza. Most Saturdays, though, you’ll find him visiting with a good friend who is in residential memory care.
A resident of our flagship Deupree House retirement community in Hyde Park, Tom Ottenjohn is a Korean War-era veteran and retired financial services broker. He served as the director of research for Hill & Co., which later merged with Morgan Stanley.
He has stayed active in retirement: he is an advisor to and past president of the Deupree House Residence Council, and now serves on the ERS Board as an Alternate Resident Representative.
He and his wife, Adelaide, moved to Deupree House in 2011, after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. She now resides in our Marjorie P. Lee memory care center, which is conveniently also in Hyde Park, and Ottenjohn visits her regularly there. The couple raised three children and have 11 grandchildren.
The most rewarding part of volunteering with ERS is “serving with other Board members,” Ottenjohn said. “The organization is outstanding.”