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Queen Elizabeth II, Pete Seeger, Betty White and others choose not to retire

By — Christina Barron,

Queen Elizabeth II is having a big party this year. She is celebrating because she has served as queen of the United Kingdom and 15 other countries for 60 years.

If you think 60 years is a long time to work, you’re absolutely right. But the queen, who is 86, has a lot of company among older working people. Here are some famous and some not-so-famous Americans who have never gotten around to retiring.

l  Pete Seeger has been singing and writing music since 1940. The 93-year-old folk singer continues to strap on his banjo and perform hit songs such as “If I Had a Hammer,” which your grandparents probably remember from the 1960s.

l Actress Betty White got her first job in 1939. She is best known for two television comedy shows, “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” in the ’70s and “The Golden Girls” in the ’80s, but she hasn’t slowed down since then. She has provided her voice for two recent animated movies — “Ponyo” and “Dr. Seuss’ the Lorax” — and she continues to appear on TV. Not bad at age 90.

l  Walter Watson made a career of delivering babies — about 18,000 of them. The Augusta, Ga., doctor has spent 68 years in his profession and is thought to be the oldest practicing doctor — he’s 102 — in the United States.

John Dingell was elected in 1955 as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He has run for reelection and won 28 times. Dingell is the longest-serving member of the House in the nation’s history. The 85-year-old aims to continue representing his Michigan district after the November elections.

●Montgomery County teacher Jean Bone has been helping area students understand math for about 50 years. The Forest Oak Middle School math teacher says she has stayed with classroom teaching because she knows of nothing more important than giving kids the tools they need to succeed in life. “When that light bulb goes off, there’s nothing more satisfying,” she said. Bone, who has worked in Montgomery County longer than any other teacher, says she has no plans to retire. “That word is not in my vocabulary.”

— Christina Barron

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