West Chester Courses

Tai Chi for Health–West Chester

Harvard Medical School says that practicing Tai Chi can lead to a healthier body, stronger heart, sharper mind, and better balance in 12 weeks. Mayo Clinic teaches Tai Chi to people emerging from therapy. Recent studies show the slow Tai Chi movements actually affect the positive outcome of exercise more than top “cardio” programs without the pain of stretched muscles. It reduces stress and depression, improves balance and coordination, increases energy, and lowers blood pressure; some even sleep better and enjoy feelings of wellbeing after practicing Tai Chi. Please wear comfortable clothing.


Larry C. Bobbert  has over 50 years of martial arts experience, has earned black belts in Aikido, and ranks in several styles of karate, arnis, and cane self-defense.

Dates and Location

5 Mondays: October 2–October 30
9:00 – 10:15 a.m.
Chapel, Chesterwood Village

This class is also being held on Thursdays in Monroe. Register for both for even greater benefit.

How to Convert Old Photos, Slides and Films to Digital Files for Posting Online

Learn how to preserve old photo prints, negatives, slides, film, and home movies by converting them to a digital file format. We will discuss organizing your digital files for display on the Internet using Flickr for photos and YouTube for videos. 

Supplies: Participants should have access to a laptop computer and the Internet. It is not necessary to bring equipment to first class.


Paul Holzschuher is a retired electrical engineer who has been an avid photographer since 1959. His world photos and videos are posted online at www.flickr.com/photos/nikonimages/ collections.

Dates and Location

5 Tuesdays: October 3 – October 31
9:00 – 10:15 a.m.
Room 100, Voice of America Learning Center

Beginning Quilting

Students will construct a small wall hanging using four quilt squares. They will purchase materials of colors and styles that they prefer after a short introduction to color theory and choosing fabrics that will “brighten” up a quilt. Note: A prerequisite for this class is a working knowledge in the use of a sewing machine to sew straight lines. The course also requires access to a sewing machine that can be used at home, as well as an ironing board and iron, scissors, and thread. 

Supplies: After the first class, students will need to purchase approximately 3-1/2 yards of cotton fabric for the project, 1 yard of fabric for backing, and batting for the project.


Rebecca Chapman, a retired Occupational Therapist, has taught professional classes and seminars and has presented short sessions on quilting. She has quilted for approximately 25 years.

Dates and Locations

4 Tuesdays, October 3–October 24
10:00 a.m.–noon
Room 123, Voice of America Learning Center

Analyzing Costume in Period Films: The 19th Century

Costumes are a central element of period films. They are critical in identifying context and defining characters. In this course we will explore the costuming of three different films set in the 19th century: Pride and Prejudice, Gone with the Wind, and The Age of Innocence. We will talk about the actual dress of each time period, view clips of the films, discuss how each designer used costume to contribute to the story, and evaluate the success of the costumes in each film. Costumes from the Butler County Historical Society will illustrate our discussions. 

Instructor: Sara Butler, Professor Emerita of Art, taught History of Costume for over 20 years. She is currently curator of costume at the Butler County Historical Society.
3 Tuesdays: October 3 – October 17; 10:45 a.m. – noon
Location: Room 100, Voice of America Learning Center

All Gave Some. Some Gave All: My Father’s Experience as a WWII Minesweeper

Ray Wissel was only 18 when he enlisted in the US Army. Little did he know that he would become part of the Blue Devils, the 88th Infantry Division, honored for its valor in driving the Nazis from Italy. While viewing a PowerPoint presentation, we will discuss the instructor’s book about her father’s experiences in the Army and the Italian campaign. Instructor will bring some of her dad’s letters and V-mail, his Naples ring, his Nazi belt, books, and other memorabilia to class. 

Class text: The Minesweeper: A Cincinnati Teenager Serves in Italy During WWII by Kathy Kitts. Available on Amazon as an e-book which can be downloaded for $3.99. Instructor highly recommends that you read the book before the first class. It’s a short, easy read.


Kathy Kitts, a retired English teacher, wrote a book about her father’s experience as a minesweeper during WWII.

Dates and Location

2 Tuesdays: October 24–October 31
10:45 a.m.–noon
Room 100, Voice of America Learning Center

Tuesday Brown Bag Seminar: Gee, I Didn’t Know That

The Brown Bag Lecture Series presents a different speaker each week who will discuss a topic of interest and importance. Bring your lunch and enjoy an ILR tradition.

October 3—The 1939 New York World’s Fair: A Look into the Future – Al Wiebe is a retired research physicist in the fields of optics, spectroscopy, and color theory.
October 10—9-1-1 Ready (Things I Didn’t Know I Needed to Know) – Leland Hite is a retired electronics engineer from General Radio (GenRad Inc.).
October 17—Painting with Light – Dave Fitzpatrick has a physicist’s background working in the electro-optical field designing missile defense systems at L-3 Cincinnati Electronics.
October 24—Amazing Dive Adventures Viewing Sunken Ships – Mary Anne Pedoto is an underwater filmmaker who journeys to the South Pacific rich in culture, marine life, and World War II history.
October 31—Basics of Advanced Funeral Planning – Clint Eastman is a licensed funeral director and certified preplanning consultant.


Dan Szuhay is a retired teacher and counselor from the Birmingham, Michigan public schools.

Dates and Location

5 Tuesdays: October 3–October 31
12:30–1:45 p.m.
Room 100, Voice of America Learning Center

Cooking Made Easy: Culinary World Tour

Chef Rickett will take you on a Culinary World Tour with easy-tofollow recipes from France, Italy, Mexico, China, and the U.S. He will discuss methods to tailor each dish to your personal dietary needs. Each student will receive a recipe card and sample to take home, including selections from American Grill, Wok N Roll, Bon Appetit, Crazy for Queso, and Eddie’s Spaghetti. 


Chef Eddie Rickett is a chef for Hillandale Family of Communities and Director of Dietary Management at Chesterwood Village.

Dates and Location

5 Tuesdays: October 3–October 31; 2:15–3:30 p.m.

Location: Dining Room, Chesterwood Retirement Village

French Mystery Writers in Translation

We will read works by five of the best contemporary French mystery writers. The following books will be read and discussed: Class texts: The Devil In Montmartre, by Gary Imbinder (read for first class); Murder On The Brittany Shores, by Jean Luc Bannalec; Paris Librarian, by Mark Pryor; The Patriarch, by Martin Walker; and The Curse of La Fontaine, by M.L. Longworth.

Instructor: Mark Plageman, Professor Emeritus of French, has been teaching ILR courses on French culture and literature for 11 years. His specialty is French and Italian Mystery Writers in Translation.
5 Tuesdays: October 3–October 31; 2:15–3:30 p.m.
Location: Room 123, Voice of America Learning Center

Wining Around California

We will explore five different regions of California, including their wine history and the wines they are known for, and will discuss the uniqueness of each. Please bring three wine glasses.

Instructor: Scott Hau has been an avid collector for 30 years. He has owned or managed wine stores for 15+ years and spent 12 years in senior management positions for Magic Pan, Simon’s Seafood, and Ruby Tuesday’s restaurants.
5 Tuesdays: October 3–October 31; 4:00–5:15 p.m.
Location: BC Bottle Lodge
Supply Fee: $25, payable at the first class

Cinema Classics:  Love is Life

Love comes to us in amazing ways.  Hollywood tries to present it to us and shows that it has no age or end.  It matures as we age.  You fall in love with the most unexpected person at the most unexpected time.  It hits you over the head or creeps up on you when you’re not looking.  It appeals to our senses, yet is blind.  Love hurts, love obsesses.  Love is like.  Enjoy!

October 3 – Once (2006, 86 minutes).  This obscure Irish film will seduce you with its simplistic opening and draw you in as a simple Hoover repairman (Glen Hansard) plays music on the street and meets a poor immigrant girl (Marketa Irglova) drawn to his music.  She also just happens to have a broken vacuum cleaner.  Don’t be surprised if you are humming their simple ballads for weeks to come.
October 10 – Harold and Maude (19971, 91 minutes).  Why do a 20-year-old young man (Bud Cort), obsessed with death and a mature woman (Ruth Gordon), obsessed with life, keep noticing each other at funerals?  This dark cult comedy has gone from being commercially unsuccessful to now being ranked #45 on the American Film Institute’s list of 100 funniest movies of all time.  I will never forgive Harold for customizing that 1971 Jaguar XKE
October 17 – The Notebook (2004, 123 minutes).  Can World War II cause the breakup of a poor passionate you man from his rich young love, especially when her parents disapprove of the social class differences?  This film received the AARP Movies for Grownups Award in 2005 for Best Love Story and the MTV movie award for Best Kiss.  The film stars James Garner and Gena Rowlands.
October 24 – Good Will Hunting (1997, 126 minutes.  Can Sean Maguire (Robin Williams) conquer his own inner demons to help a brilliant young janitor (Matt Damon) at MIT who is anonymously solving difficult math problems he sees on the blackboard for advanced students in Professor Lambeau’s classroom?  What is the final goal in life – friends, pride, money, prestige, accolades, or love?  Robin Williams received the Academy Award for Best Actor in this film.
November 1 – Shakespeare in Love (1998, 137 minutes).  What or who was William Shakespeare’s inspiration for the most famous love story ever told?  Watch this endlessly witty, visually rapturous, and sweetly romantic romp through 1593 London as this film plays out through the famous balcon and bed-room scenes.  The film stars Gwyneth Paltrow and Joseph Fiennes.

Instructor:  Rick Richter retired 6 years ago from the family landscaping company.  Every Friday night after a  stressful week at work, Rick and his wife Maribeth, went to the movies to relax and escape.
4 Tuesdays:  October 3–October 24; 6:30–9:00)
1 Wednesday:  November 1:  6:30–9:00 p.m..
Location:  Theatre, Chesterwood Retirement Village.

The Causes of WWII and the War

Beginning with the rise of European and Japanese fascism and the failure of the WWI peace treaties, the course will move into the fascist march of aggression and the war itself.

Instructor:  Ken Schneider taught European history at Maderi and Indian High School for 41 years.
5 Wednesday October 4–November 1; 9:00–10:15 a.m.
Location:  Room 100, Voice of America Learning Center

A Brief History of Butler County in the War Years 1940-1945

We will explore how residents of Butler County responded to WWII, including such topics as women in the workforce, rationing, victory gardens, industrial contributions, public housing.  Navy training in Oxford, radio, and propaganda.  Also, covered will be local reactions to D-Day, The Battle of the Bulge, VE Day, the atomic bomb VJ Day, and the end of the war.

Instructor:  Lawrence Gray is a retired international businessman and longtime student of the history of America as “The Arsenal of Democracy in WWII”.
5 Wednesdays: October 4–November 1; 10:45 a.m. – noon.
Location:  Room 100, Voice of America Learning Center

Wednesday Brown Bag Lecture Series

This session will inform and entertain you with a variety of topics from ancient Indians to beekeeping. October 4– Archeological Overview of Fort Ancient and World Heritage Recognition – Jack Blosser has been the site manager at Fort Ancient Earthworks and Nature Preserve for 29 years.
October 11 – A Tale of Two Artists: American Realist Painter Edward Hopper and American Realist Writer John Steinbeck – Larry Gray international businessman and longtime fan of both artists’ work. October 18 – Ohio Talking Books Program – Tracy Grimm is Manager of Circulation and Special Services at the Ohio State Library.
October 25 – Greater Cincinnati Habitat for Humanity – Tricia Sunders is Corporate Relations Director, responsible for establishing and managing Cincinnati’s corporate relations and sponsoring programs. Jen Kephart is the Volunteer Services and Program Manager, responsible for volunteer services and community engagement program.
November 1 – Don Popp’s Honey Farm – Don Popp is a beekeeper and runs the honey farm.

Coordinator: Marlene Esseck is a retired elementary teacher from the Lakota School District.
5 Wednesdays: October 4 – November 1; 12:30 – 1:45 p.m.
Location: Room 100, Voice of America Learning Center

An Examination of the History of the Reformation Era

October 31st marks the 500-year anniversary of Martin Luther nailing the Ninety-Five Theses to the cathedral door in Wittenberg, Germany. This course will examine the following: what drives history; state of the Church in pre-Luther Europe; The German “Reformation” (Luther had no desire to leave the Church); the origin of the words “Reformed” and “Reformation”; why the movement was called the Protestant Reformation; The Protestant Revolt and The Catholic Reformation; and The English Reformation. We’ll explore and answer such questions as: “Was it the Protestant Reformation or the Protestant Fragmentation? When did the Reformation Era end?” 


Jim Stock is a retired career educator (history, political science), administrator, pulpit supply minister (ten denominations), and world traveler.

Dates and Location

5 Wednesdays: October 4–November 1
2:15–3:30 p.m.
Room 123, Voice of America Learning Center

Fridays Not-So-Far Afield

We often travel to distant lands without ever discovering the gems hidden in our own backyards. Join us as we do a little exploring closer to home. You may select any or all of these jaunts while planning to expand your local horizons.

  • October 6—FANUC America Corporation—CNC, Robot & Robomachine – 7700 Innovation Road, Mason. FANUC is the leading supplier of robotic automation. Their robots work in a wide range of industries, including aerospace, automotive, consumer goods, education, food, metal fabrication, medical, pharmaceutical, solar panel, and many others. Mark Jones, Engineering Manager, will lead the tour.
  • October 13Cohen Recycling, 1723 Woodland Avenue, Middletown. Cohen Recycling has been a family-owned company with headquarters in Middletown since 1924. They are in the business of scrap management, as well as retail, electronic, and auto parts recycling. They are also one of the largest ferrous and non-ferrous metal recycling companies in North America, processing more than 1.25 million tons annually. Cohen operates over 20 locations in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee, but their capabilities extend across the continent and around the world. Ken Cohen, President and COO, will conduct the tour.
  • October 20Rooted Grounds Coffee Company, 9926 Crescent Park, West Chester – Rooted Grounds is rooted in quality, service, and community when it comes to serving coffee to its followers. Come join us for an informative tour to learn about coffee beans and the different types of coffee available for your enjoyment, including breakfast blends, Italian espresso, Columbian supremo, roasted and dark coffees, as well as seasonal favorites. Kris Chari, Vice President of Business Development, will lead the tour.  October 27 – Miami University Student Center, 550 E. Spring Street, Oxford, OH. Plan on meeting at the Shade Family Center, located in the Armstrong Student Center, formerly known as Rowan Hall. Join Dr. Richard Nault, former Vice President for Student  Affairs, and some of the Miami students for a one-of-a-kind, personal tour of Miami University’s Oxford campus. A special one-day parking pass for guest parking within close proximity to the Armstrong Student Center is available and will be sent to all tour registrants. The parking spaces are being provided free of charge by the Miami University Police Department.
  • November 3Matthew 25: Ministries, 11060 Kenwood Road, Blue Ash. Matthew 25: Ministries is an  international humanitarian aid and disaster relief organization helping the poorest of the  poor locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally, regardless of race, creed, or  political affiliation. By rescuing and reusing products from major corporations and  manufacturers, Matthew 25: Ministries provides basic necessities, nutritional supplements,  educational materials, and disaster relief across the U.S. and worldwide. We will tour the  Global Mission experience and the manufacturing facilities and then participate in a  non-mandatory 30-minute volunteer project to give you a hands-on experience of what’s  happening at the facility. Gracie Warnemunde, Global Village Coordinator will lead the tour.


Sharon Chapman is a retired executive assistant; Frank Chapman is a retired  construction engineer.

Dates and Locations

Fridays: October 6–November 3
10:00 a.m.–noon
Location varies, as noted by each date.

ILR events/classes involving walking/hiking/exercise may be strenuous for some. Please use discretion when registering.