Fred Lindenmeyer, Resurrection 5K Elder Statesman

Walking with Chapel Hill Elder Statesman Fred Lindenmeyer

An interview with Rev. Dr. Lisa Weins Thompson, director of Health & Wholeness Ministry. Fred Lindenmeyer will be 89 this year. For the past three years, he has been the most senior 5K participant in Chapel Hill’s Resurrection 5K. He is not out to set records; he is just living his life as he always has.

A Life-Long Habit

“When I was growing up, during the war, every place you went, you walked or rode bikes,” Fred says. “Ride your bike to school, paper routes, you went on your bicycle. When I went to college, I didn’t have an automobile. Every place you went, you walked. We walked down to the local theater, we didn’t have cars, we seldom drove.”

While manyFred Lindenmeyer, our eldest participant quickly adapted to the automobile, Fred stayed the course. Even when he had a job and finally owned a vehicle, he chose to walk to work. “In Syracuse one cold morning, somebody stopped to see if I needed help, to give me a ride. I told him I didn’t need a ride. I had a car, but I liked walking. Normally we drove to go to church or when we went shopping.”

These days, Fred walks up to six miles each day with his volunteer work at Colvin and the Catholic Care center, giving rides to people in wheel chairs. We often think walking is an exercise at 30 minutes a day on a track.

Thinking About Walking

I asked Fred, what does walking do for you? Did you feel rushed to get places because you were walking? “I think it is relaxing. I have had a lot of things come up, and when I am walking, I can think. Even when I was a school administrator, if something would come up I needed to figure out, I’d tell my secretary, ‘I’m going to be walking, I have something to think about.’” In a time and place where schedules keep us running from place to place and cars allow us to speed up the pace, Fred enjoys the wisdom of slowing down.

Rev. Gannon with eldest participant Fred Lindenmeyer and our youngest, Nathan Baker

Rev. Gannon at 5K finish line with eldest participant Fred Lindenmeyer and our youngest, Nathan Baker.

 When asked about one of the most interesting things he has seen while walking, he remembers, “I was at the Catholic Care Center (on 45th) and I noticed a little path. I wondered what It was. I followed it to a sign. It was a path that took you through the last week of Jesus’ life. I never would have known that.”

The path to which he refers is the Stations of the Cross. Fred would love to share the beauty of walking with others and we hope to plan a visit to the stations as a group!

Fred welcomes anyone who would like to join him on April 23! “Walking is a joy for me, rather than a burden. I praise God that I have the health to walk and can do like I do. It keeps me healthy. “

Fred is an inspiration. He is helping others, staying active and living his life. He is an essential beautiful piece to the Body of Christ and we are blessed to have his life inspire us, no matter the age!

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