Ken Stein turns 82 in January, and he’s enjoying the benefits of staying active and engaged in the community as he ages.
Stein, a member of Congregation Shalom and Temple Menorah, is celebrating his 59th anniversary with his wife, Dee Stein, this month. Together, these East Side residents walk for exercise more than four times a week.
They also take in the city’s cultural offerings, educational opportunities and Jewish community programs.
“I have a wonderful wife who keeps pushing me,” said Stein, a retired jewelry store owner. “We have gone to museums and programs all over downtown, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and the Marcus Performing Arts Center.”
Ken and his wife have taken to social distancing, satisfying their curiosity about the world through online courses sponsored by Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. “We travel all over the world through Zoom learning,” Stein said.
Stein said he finds it personally rewarding to stay active in the Jewish community, especially the Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center, 6255 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Whitefish Bay. Having served on the board, he is now the volunteer coordinator for the Men’s Club at the JCC. He has also been instrumental in organizing three programs a month for the Senior Men’s Club.
Stein stays involved on the board of Ovation Communities, a Jewish organization that offers a continuum of senior living and care options.
Dee Stein calls her husband a Type-A people pleaser: “There’s nothing that makes him happier than making people happy. He loves to give to the community. He loves to see people happy and smiling with whatever he does to make them happy. He’s a very, very positive guy and his repayment is never in dollars. It’s just to see a big smile and people enjoying life.”
Stein never looked back after he got out of the family jewelry and pawn business after 44 years. He sold Stein’s Jewelry at West Wisconsin Avenue and Seventh Street in 2006 and worked part time for three more years. It was time to retire, he said. “I wanted to smell the roses and do a few things that I always wanted to do like get more active in the community.
“It’s very important to keep up with everything so life doesn’t pass us by,” said Stein, who has two children and four grandchildren.
Stein’s advice to those contemplating their retirement is to “prepare financially and think about what you will be doing after retiring. What do you want to do? Keep busy, keep a young outlook, keep learning. Don’t be stagnant. Become a part of the community that you may not have been a part of.”