City celebrates 50 years of senior programming, honors pioneer Dorothy Large

Mayor Jim Gray joined former and current City employees today at historic Bell House to celebrate 50 years of programs for Lexington senior adults.

Gray also honored Dorothy Large, longtime senior adult programs director, with a proclamation acknowledging her decades of service, and dedication to the city and its seniors.

“She was a pioneer,” Gray said. “In 1967, when she started at Bell House, Lexington was the only city in the state offering senior programs.”

On June 1, 1967, Bell House first opened its doors to senior adult programs thanks to a federal grant through the Older Americans Act. Until that time, senior programs were generally only offered through churches. The city’s senior programs were managed by Parks & Recreation and the Department of Social Services until earlier this year, when all programs were transferred to Aging and Disability Services.

One of the first and most popular senior programs was the Monday Club – a group that still meets at Bell House, once a week. Another popular program initially offered was the Kitchen Band – band members, under Large’s direction, played washboards kazoos, spoons, water basins and more.

Large was Lexington’s first director of senior adult programs. For 40 years she helped create, provide and manage programming for seniors that included classes in writing, music, theater, fitness, wellness and more.

“Without her leadership and dedication, the city’s senior services programs would not be as strong and popular as they are today,” said Kristy Stambaugh, Lexington’s Director of Aging and Disability Services who now welcomes an average of 320 seniors a day to the city’s new state-of-the-art Senior Center, which opened in 2016.

The new center has room for more programs and seniors than ever before in order to support the growing senior population. Bell House also continues to offer a range of programs and activities for seniors.

For more information on current programming, visit the Lexington Aging Services website.


Image of Nell Duvall and Dorothy Large