Class Notes & Profiles

Don't Look Down

By Lindsay Dawson ’05

At 80 years young, Lonny Myers ’44 has proven that grandmothers have all the fun. Last winter while traveling in New Zealand to celebrate her birthday, she went bungee jumping for the first time — off a cliff. Even though her three companions defected in the end, Lonny mustered her courage and completed the jump. Of the physical sensation, she says excitedly, “The few seconds of floating were great, but a few seconds are only a few seconds. There was no sudden jerking at the end of the fall.” Following the jump, she was lowered into a rowboat and deposited safely on firm ground. As for her impulse to explore the effects of gravity first hand, Lonny calls it a “here-and-now moment.”

After graduating from Vassar, Lonny attended medical school at the U. of Michigan. She worked in Chicago for 40 years as, among other things, an anesthesiologist and menopause counselor. In 1989, she joined the Peace Corps and spent three years in Malawi, where she established an STD clinic that served 60 to 100 patients a day. While in Africa, she also collaborated with the Johns Hopkins Project in their study of HIV/AIDS in women and infants.

She was joined on her birthday trip, which also included a visit to Australia, by her old friend, Fu-Ho Chow. Back home, her five children and eight grandchildren are thriving. Lonny currently resides in Boulder, where she has attempted to take classes at the nearby University of Colorado. “I have a huge range of subjects I’d be interested in,” she says, “providing the professors had some charisma and projected enthusiasm.” Nothing compares, apparently, to the adrenaline rush of leaping off a cliff.