Forty-six Years of Memories

Sponsored by ASA’s Legacy Corps, we are running a series of stories from the ASA Storytelling Project, which invites you to reflect on your personal and professional lives, especially as they intersected with aging and ASA, by writing stories. We encourage all ASA members to submit their stories of 250–1,000 words, with a 25–50 word bio, to

I have been a proud member of ASA (formerly the Western Gerontological Society) since 1977, when I was a graduate student at the University of California at Berkeley, studying social work and gerontology. Amazingly, I have never missed an annual meeting in 46 years!

From the first time I attended the ASA annual conference in Tucson, Ariz., I was hooked on the organization. Really hooked. ASA not only provided the best networking opportunity in the field of aging, but it also gave younger members the chance to actually interact with leaders in the field who wanted to mentor the next generation of aging experts.

I learned early on in my career that ASA was the place to make important professional connections, make new and lasting friendships, and grow my skills, knowledge, and the impact of my work on family caregiving and long-term care. ASA members have always been individuals who have the spirit and heart to work with and on behalf of older adults and their families to influence positive social change.

Dr. Carroll Estes was one of my early mentors. She impressed upon me the value of joining committees as a way to develop expertise, make connections with others, and to enhance one’s personal and professional life. I took this suggestion to heart and have held many positions in ASA since.

As a relatively new member, I was the founding chair of the editorial board for the WGS Connection (later known as Aging Today), and later co-chaired both ASA’s Program Planning Committee and Local Arrangements Committee for two of the annual meetings. Later activities included being a member of the Research Committee and the Mental Health and Aging Network (MHAN), a member of the Generations Journal Editorial Advisory Board, and as past chair of the ASA Awards and ASA Nominating committees. I was elected co-secretary of ASA’s Board of Directors from 1987–90.

Nearly 25 years later, between 2014 and 2016, I was honored to chair ASA’s Board of Directors. In this leadership role, I began thinking about how many long-time ASA members (like myself) were beginning to focus on “what’s next” and on their potential retirement. Many of us wanted to stay connected to ASA and to the field of aging in a meaningful way—especially to continue the important personal connections that have meant so much to us in our careers in aging. So, at the 2016 annual conference in Washington, DC, I asked Helen Dennis and Sandy Timmermann—two long-time ASA members and experts in aging—to convene a meeting of ASA leaders. The intent of this brainstorming session was to begin thinking about how we could provide a role for accomplished professionals within ASA to stay connected to the field of aging and to one another.

ASA’s Legacy Corps (formerly the Corps of Accomplished Professionals, or CAPs) was borne shortly after. Today, about 150 ASA members are part of the Legacy Corps—sharing ideas, learning about this new stage of life, staying connected to aging issues and to each other, and finding ways to give back to other ASA members and to the field of aging. For me, as a retired member of ASA, I am involved with the Legacy Corps and serve as co-chair of ASA’s Economic Security Advisory Council.

ASA has been my professional home for nearly half a century. The organization has given me opportunities and leadership roles that I never could have imagined when I began my career as a planner in the emerging Aging Network.

One of my fondest memories is sitting in a WGS conference room in San Francisco one afternoon in the early 1980s, writing the song below with Gloria Cavanaugh (former ASA president and CEO), and the late Martha Holstein and Linda Crossman Fitzpatrick. All lovers of Motown music, we actually sang and danced to this song at WGS events! The lyrics of the song are:

The Western Gerontological Society (WGS) Theme Song

(Sung to the tune of “The Loco-Motion.”)


Everybody’s here the Network in Aging

Come on baby, come and join the Western

There’s Estes, Kerschner, Cavanaugh our leaders in aging

Come on baby, come and join the Western


We’re educating, advocating, having fun, too

You can come and join us it’s so easy to do

So come on, come on, join WGS today


We’ll give you Generations, yeah, and The Connection

Old friends, new friends, come and join the family today


You gotta write your check now baby

So jump up, sign up, join WGS today


Lynn Friss Feinberg, MSW, is a former Senior Strategic Policy Advisor at the AARP Public Policy Institute, and Deputy Director of the National Center on Caregiving at the San Francisco–based Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA). She served as the John Heinz Senate Fellow in Aging in the Office of former U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer in 2007–2008. She received the ASA Leadership Award in 2006, and the Paul Nathanson Distinguished Advocate Award in 2015 from Justice in Aging, for her career work on family care issues. She retired in December 2020.

Photo caption: Lynn Friss Feinberg chatting at ASA's 2019 Aging in America conference. 

Photo credit: Sandy Huffaker