Board Members

Betty Traynor, President

Betty Traynor became a member of Senior Action Network in 2000 and became a Board member in 2008. She has been active in San Francisco as coordinator of the Friends of Boeddeker Park in the Tenderloin, Board member for five years of the co-op where she lives, St. Francis Square Cooperative in the Western Addition, and volunteer with Food Runners. She is also a core group member of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom-San Francisco branch. Betty played a lead role in the merger of Senior Action Network and Planning for Elders to become Senior and Disability Action in August 2012 and is currently Board President of the new organization. You may contact her at (415) 931-1126 or btraynor@att.net.

Walter DeVaughn

Walter DeVaughn was born in Cleveland, Ohio, graduated from high school in 1947, joined the U.S. Air Force in 1951, and retired in 1976. During this tenure, he married and fathered 5 children, who until now, have provided him with 14 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. Walter was employed by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and during this period attended City College of San Francisco and San Francisco State University, obtaining a degree in social work. He retired in 1986. After leaving the court system, Walter was employed as a case manager by Curry Senior Center (formerly North of Market Senior Services) and retired in 1996. During his employment, into the present, Walter has associations with the SF Gray Panthers, Family Service Agency, Curry Senior Center, Department of Aging and Adult Services, and PECC, now Senior and Disability Action.

Karen Fishkin

Karen was born in Berkeley, almost 70 years ago. She has lived her life in the Bay Area, and wouldn’t have it any other way. Karen was a Licensed Clinical Social Worker for most of her professional life, worked with seniors, and used what she had learned to assist her parents through their declining years. She is married and divorced, has 2 children and 2 grandchildren. Now happily retired, Karen divides her activist life between SDA, and her neighborhood group, HANC, the Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council. Maybe she’ll get a dog.

Marie Jobling

Marie Jobling is the Director of the Community Living Campaign (CLC) in San Francisco and an active member of San Francisco’s Long Term Care Coordinating Council. She has led the CLC team in developing several large community forums on topics such as Elder Economic Security, Alzheimer’s and Dementia, and Healthy Aging. Marie is inspired by the potential of small, committed networks of support to inform and to empower, and she helped develop CLC’s Connections for Healthy Aging Workshops. Marie has many years of experience in long-term care public policy, planning and advocacy. She has a particular interest in how technology and social media can be useful for advocacy and organizing, and how seniors and people with disabilities can be key connectors and agents in its development, and she plays a leadership role with the SF Connected Program. Marie was Executive Director of Planning for Elders in the Central City (PECC) for 14 years. Past positions also included Director of Parish and Community Services for Catholic Charities of San Francisco, the Boards of TURN and the California Public Interest Center on Long Term Care and planning and board leadership to a number of affordable, low-income housing developments. Marie received a BS in Applied Behavioral Sciences from the University of California, Davis a very long time ago. Marie has received Community Service Awards from Northern California Presbyterian Homes and Services and Senior Action Network. In 2009, she received the Beacon Award from the Mayor’s Disability Council and the Francis Curry Award from Curry Senior Center.

Hene Kelly

Hene Kelly calls herself a woman of mature years, a seasoned veteran of politics at the grassroots level, and a vocal leader of demonstrations for Single Payer Healthcare, Social Security, Medicare, and Civil Rights. She is proud to serve on the Board of Senior Disability Action (SDA). During the 50s and 60s, she worked in the civil rights movement both in Mississippi and Chicago, Illinois. She is a retired San Francisco public school teacher where she taught English, Health Education, and Holocaust Education. As a teacher, she was active in my union, serving as a building representative and as a delegate to the San Francisco Labor Council where she is now the SFLC Sergeant at Arms. Hene is the chair of the California Federation of Teachers Retirement Committee and serves on the American Federation of Teachers Retirement Committee and as the Sgt. at Arms of the AFT. She is a vice president of the California Alliance for Retired Americans (CARA) and serves as their Legislative Director. She is an elected member of the San Francisco Democratic Central Committee and the newly elected Region 6 Director of the California Democratic Party. Hene has been married to Dennis Kelly for 45 years. They have two children and are the ecstatic grandparents of triplets.

Herb Levine

Herb Levine believes that what we do is not as important as who we are. His maternal grandmother was an undocumented immigrant who had to pretend to be part of someone else’s family to get into the U.S. His maternal grandfather came here on the run after a failed assassination attempt on a Czarist official. His father worked partly as an organizer for a CIO union. He was told as a child to do work that built the world, that working to become wealthy was a waste of everybody’s time. Herb says some of his heroes are: Saul Alinsky, a great community organizer; Martin Luther King, Jr., the greatest person who has lived in his lifetime; Abraham Joshua Heschel, a rabbi who marched with MLK and prayed with his feet; Judy Heumann, leader of the independent living movement; Patricia Pascoe, a self-described crazy lady who taught Herb how to live with his disability and never stop believing in a better world. Herb’s work over 45 years was almost all as a teacher and advocate in the disability rights arena. He worked for over 30 years at the Independent Living Resource Center of SF, which he calls a gift he always tried to be worthy of. Mantras Herb tries to live by: Nothing about us without us. When faced with an impossible dilemma, don’t try something else; just get past it, anyway. Answers are easy. Good questions are hard, but more valuable.

Kathy Lipscomb

Kathy Lipscomb retired as an organizer from SEIU in 2004. One of the first things she did at the behest of the late Howard Wallace was join SAN, SDA’s predecessor. The other significant thing she did that year was help her niece with her newborn twin girls, Annabel and Cate, who remain very special to her. Kathy soon became an SDA Board member and devotes energy to SDA’s Housing Collaborative. Kathy also works with ACCE (Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment), is a delegate to the San Francisco Labor Council and a member of US Labor Against the War which was founded at the outbreak of the Iraq invasion by the U.S. military. In recent years, one of her passions has been to much diminish U.S. military spending. As with many other seniors, she works to leave a more just world for our children and grandchildren.

Michael Lyon

In addition to SDA, Michael Lyon works with the Gray Panthers of SF and the California Alliance for Retired Americans (CARA). After 40 years in SF’s Bernal Heights, he is newly returned to Berkeley where he lived a while as a kid. He has three wonderful kids, all with families of their own, within a half-hour drive, but he should see them more often. He hates sweet potatoes, eats prodigious quantities of fresh fruit, and he and his wife lead a simple life subsisting largely on tamales and trying to recover from lost sleep due to restless cats. On a more serious note, Michael is interested in health care issues and abhors capitalism and its racism and its corrosive effects on the working class, particularly minorities and those it deems “useless eaters;” elders, children, and people with disabilities.

Ursula McGuire

Ursula grew up in Northeast Pennsylvania. After college, she taught in New Jersey briefly and then joined the ranks of the Foreign Missionary Society of Mary Knoll. Under their auspices she taught in East Africa (Tanzania) for two years. When she returned to the states, she became part of the Catholic Worker (CW) movement out of New York City. The CW is a pacifist organization and as the Vietnam War was full-blown at the time, she became an anti-war protester. Ursula started to become paralyzed in 1965 when she got back from Africa. She says she knew something was wrong when the Scotch drink she was holding fell out of her hand. She was in a coma for 11 weeks, and when she came out, she was paralyzed from the cheekbone down. Eventually, with physical therapy, she was able to speak again and gained some movement in her upper body. After years of being an activist with the Catholic Worker, Ursula migrated to Berkeley, where she joined the legal arm of the Center for Independent Living (CIL). This was a group of both able-bodied and disabled people who advocated for the necessary societal changes needed for the realization of independent living. In 1977, Ursula took part in the month-long occupation of the San Francisco Federal Building as part of the nation-wide campaign for civil rights for people with disabilities. The sit-in was successful, and the Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) regulations were signed, implementing Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the first federal civil rights protections for people with disabilities in the history of the United States. In 1980 she started working for the federal government in the Civil Rights division, as a Human Rights Specialist.

Nader Shabahangi