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June 12, 2013
Older Woman with a Gun

Older Woman with a Gun

I wonder how many of us would be surprised to see a 72-year-old grandmother armed with a .357 Magnum revolver shooting at a burglar who broke into her home in the middle of the night. Not only was Jan Cooper of Stanton California armed with the magnum, but she managed to get off a shot at the intruder while calling 911 to report the break in.

Jan’s husband, a WWII veteran was not at all surprised by his wife’s ability to protect herself, her husband and their property. The choice of words she used when she yelled at the intruder was something the reserved 72-year-old grandmother usually is more conservative with, however; but this called for extreme measures.

The recently awoken Bob Cooper confirmed that he never heard his wife talk like that, but reported that Jan had things totally under control. The 85 year old Mr. Cooper confirmed that Jan fired a single shot that just missed the intruder by a few inches.
Jan has been shooting guns from the time she was a teenager and this time, it resulted in the arrest of 31-year-old Brandon Perez. “I’m not going to allow them to come into my home,” Jan said.

Earlier this year, the well-loved actor and comedian, Dick Van Dyke, 87, won recognition for a 70 year long career and became the 49th recipient to earn the Screen Guild Academy’s Life Time Achievement Award. Watching the 87-year-old Van Dyke bound up the stairs to receive the award would make anybody wish for that type of energy and flexibility at that age. And listening to him make his acceptance speech, you would also know that his keen and alert mental functioning demonstrated the reactions and wit much more commonly associated with people a lot younger than him.

“I had the right parents,” Van Dyke said during his acceptance speech. “I think it’s only because I’ve outlived the competition.”

Noteworthy contributions and achievements of people in their ‘later’ years is not something new and more common than you would think. Here are a few of the most well-known ‘late-bloomers’ that have had very significant impressions on the lives of many.

Monet Painting Venice

Monet Painting Venice

Claude Monet, the beloved Impressionist did not complete the majority of his very expensive paintings until he outlived Van Gough by more than 35 years. He actually continued painting well into his 70s and 80s.

Winston Churchill, was 77 years old at the time, he had his second go-round as the British Prime Minister in 1951. He led Great Britain through its recovery from the devastating impact of WWII.

Noah Webster didn’t publish his first dictionary until he was 69 years old. Today the Webster Dictionary is still one of the most widely-known, popular dictionaries of all time.

Golda Meir

Golda Meir

And politics “old lady” Golda Meir was 70 years young when she first took over the high-profile, high-pressure role of Prime Minister of Israel.

As medical science continues to increase the average life-span and help people lead healthier, more productive lives longer than ever, there will most likely be more and more people seniors able to achieve remarkable accomplishments later in life. It is a wonderful trend – because of all the experience and wisdom they are able to bring with them. It is a win-win because they are feeling more worthwhile and accomplished at they are contributing and providing things that benefit others as well.

So, here’s to the late bloomers – those that have gone before us, those of today, and those yet to come!


I’m a licensed clinical social worker and have worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. I combine professional experience in the mental health field along with my love of writing to provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. I hope my down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life is easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!

  1. Sue Suwak Herman permalink

    Yeah, JudeeANN:
    You are doing a GREAT JOB! There is still hope for me to bloom!
    Love ya! Sue

    • You’re the bestest….Sue!

      Love you and thanks so much for the cheering squad!


  2. Enjoyed your post. Good luck on your longevity journey. I’m also aiming for the same goal in my posts.

    • Hi there,

      Thank you for your support and your wishes. I will come by your blog soon. Anything we can do to help each other out is most appreciated.


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