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Anne Wepman – A Life of Volunteerism

Wednesday, January 23, 2013, is Anne Wepman’s 99th birthday. Born January 23, 1914 in Grand Rapids to parents who immigrated from Russia in the early 1900s, her secret to longevity is keeping busy by volunteering at Michigan Blood.
     “Anne has been volunteering her whole life,” says Barbara Wepman, Anne’s daughter. “She volunteered for her synagogue, Butterworth Hospital, and Kent Community Hospital before coming to Michigan Blood. She says she’s going to do it until they fire her,” Barbara laughs. Anne began volunteering at our former Fulton Street location around 1970 – early records don’t give an exact date – as a “bag lady” assembling the various components of the blood bags.
     Now she volunteers in the Post Donation area at Grand Rapids’ main center every Monday from noon to 4 p.m. “Giving of yourself is so important,” Anne says. “Monday is my best day of the week. It keeps you young because you’re with people and it just makes you feel good.”
     “Anne really cares about out donors and they can tell and appreciate that,” says Donna Martorano (VS/GR). “We get people who are blood donors who come back specifically on Monday afternoons, between noon and 4 p.m., just to come and visit with Anne.”
     Anne worked in cosmetics in her working life, first at Wurzburg’s Department Store before she was married in 1939, as an Avon lady, and at Hansen’s Drug Store in Eastown. She didn’t get her driver’s
license until she was 65, and drove until she was 95. She still lives in her own apartment, does not like
medication, and wants nothing to do with walkers, canes, or wheelchairs. Her favorite foods are Chinese
food at First Wok and hamburgers. At 99 years she’s seen a lot of change, from horses and buggies to cars,
planes, and man walking on the moon.
     Anne says Grand Rapids is the best place in the world to live and is always excited to see how downtown is developing. “I enjoy whatever I do,” says Anne. “Being with people is the most important.”


Fox 17 and WWMT covered Anne's birthday party at Michigan Blood.