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Seniors Got Talent

The Lantern at Morning Pointe of Spring Hill Resident Bob Paredes Makes a Difference Through Sports

photo of Bob Paredes and his wife, Lynne

Sports have meant a lot to Bob Paredes, a resident at The Lantern at Morning Pointe Alzheimer’s Center of Excellence, Spring Hill, Tennessee. From Memphis to Okinawa to Miami, basketball player to coach, Bob has always loved plugging in to the ability of sport to help young people develop themselves not just as athletes but as people.

Childhood to College

Bob was born on June 12, 1943, in Staten Island, New York. His father was a chef, and his mother was a nurse (she worked all the way up until age 75). He had one brother. As a child, one of the things Bob did for fun was play basketball with his friends and classmates.

Very early, Bob knew what he wanted to do. “I made that decision to coach and get involved in community affairs.”

Bob’s family moved to Miami when he was 13 years old. He went to Coral Gables Senior High School and played basketball there in the guard position. The highlight was scoring 40 points in one game! His achievements and team player attitude won him the MVP award for not only his school but for the county.

In addition to basketball, Bob enjoyed playing baseball when he was in high school.

Bob started his college career at Miami Dade Junior College and then transferred to Memphis State University. Although he didn’t play basketball at MSU, he did take part in intramurals with his fraternity, especially in track and field. He earned a bachelor’s degree in health and physical education.

“One of the things that was important to me was that you set a good example for the kids,” Bob said. “My parents always taught me to take the kids into consideration, to shape better people in our society. I could make a difference.”

photo of Bob Paredes as coach of the W. P. Ware High School basketball team
Bob Paredes (far left) as coach of the W. P. Ware High School basketball team

Coaching and Graduate School

After graduation, Bob taught PE in Florida for two years before returning to Tennessee and working as the basketball coach at W. P. Ware High School, about 30 miles outside of Memphis. He served there for three years before returning to Memphis State for his master’s degree in recreation administration.

Earning his degree, however, wasn’t the only important thing that happened while Bob finished his master’s. He met a young woman named Lynne who was in her senior year of the undergraduate program.

“We were both in the recreation department, and I went out with him on a dare,” Lynne remembered.

The first date went well, and soon the couple were dating. Then Bob got a job with United Service Organizations (the USO), and they sent him to Athens, Greece, as assistant director of the USO. Before he left, though, he proposed to Lynne by letter. She was so nervous and excited about the whole thing that she sent her “yes” reply… to the wrong address! Bob wrote her again to see if she had gotten his first letter, and they figured out what had happened.

photo of Bob and Lynne's wedding in Greece
Bob and Lynne’s wedding in Greece

Marriage and USO Travels

Bob and Lynne married on Aug. 8, 1974.

“I took my wedding gown and stuffed it in the overhead bin,” Lynne remembered. “We had a great experience in Greece.”

Bob (and then also Lynne) worked for the USO there for a year, until December of 1974, when Greece pulled out of NATO. The couple was then transferred to Stuttgart, Germany, to help open the USO there. Bob worked as the director of the USO and started a program for servicemen’s spouses. While Bob was helping with the office and supporting athletics for the U.S. troops stationed there, the couple traveled all over Europe, and Lynne gave guided tours to troops’ families. The Paredes were living close to the USO office, in Sindelfingen, the home of the Mercedes-Benz factory, so Lynne gave quite a few tours of the auto manufacturing facility.

One other interesting event that Bob helped start was Meet the Mayor, in which the servicemen and families had a luncheon with Manfred Rommel, Mayor of Stuttgart at the time and the son of the famous German officer Erwin Rommel.

In 1977, the Paredes were transferred to the small Japanese island of Okinawa. While they were there, they supported servicemen from almost every branch, and Bob organized a marathon up the middle of the island, with a large banquet at the end. For his work as director of the USO in Okinawa, Bob received two USO awards, for his program and for the special event of the marathon. Lynne, for her part, worked as the director of the youth center at the Kadena Air Base on the island.

photo of Bob coaching basketball in Bartlett, Tennessee
Bob coaching basketball in Bartlett, Tennessee

FedEx and Coaching

In February of 1979, they welcomed their first son, Rob. Since they were starting a family, they decided it was time to return to the United States. They came back to Memphis in August of that year.

Bob changed jobs and began a 24-year career with FedEx. He became a senior manager for design and development and trained the couriers.

Meanwhile, the Paredes’ second son, Christopher, was born, and as his children grew, Bob found satisfaction in getting involved with their athletics again. In Bartlett, Tennessee, he coached their basketball teams and was an assistant coach for their baseball teams.

photo of Bob, Lynne, Rob, and Christopher
Bob, Lynne, Rob, and Christopher

In 1992, the family moved to South Florida, and Bob started a co-ed basketball program for the city of Pembroke Pines that is still running today. The team there excelled and went on to win 25 games in a row! Lynne shared that Bob was very big in making sure his players had the fundamentals down.

“It was a good example of when you put the work in, you get results,” said Bob. “About a week after the season was over, I got a letter from one of our player’s parents, and they were elated that their son had the experience that he did because teams that he was on before hardly let the kid play. They were hoping that his attitude would carry on with being part of a team.”

Rob played basketball through college, and Christopher played two years of high school basketball and then focused on baseball in college.

Coming to Morning Pointe

After retiring from FedEx, Bob and Lynne moved back to Tennessee to be close to Chris. As Bob started having health issues and falling, the family started looking for a place where he could be looked after better medically.

“His neurologist said to him, ‘Being in a place where you can interact with people and have activities, even if it’s just going down to a meal, is better for your brain than any medication I could give you,’” Lynne said.

About 10 minutes from their house, they found The Lantern at Morning Pointe Alzheimer’s Center of Excellence, Spring Hill, and they were impressed. Bob moved in in January 2024. “The fact that there is care staff on campus 24/7 is why I chose here,” Lynne shared. “There were a lot of other things… everyone is very nice, the facility’s beautiful, but that was the deciding factor.”

Bob added, “The staff is A No. 1. They have a good communication line. They care about you, and that’s a big thing for me. I find that these are the good guys. These are the guys who are going to help you through it, and you’re going to be better off for it. One of the other things that I like is that they respect your knowledge level of what your past is bringing to their program.”

Bob enjoys joking around with the associates, who have taken a liking to him as well. And with his sports background, of course one of his favorite activities is the morning exercise class. In addition, he takes part in on-site physical, occupational, and speech therapies to stay as independent as he can.

When he looks back at his life, Bob shared that his proudest achievement was being able to help young people, through sports, to learn how to be their best selves.

Thank you for your contributions to the lives of young people, Bob! And thank you for choosing Morning Pointe as your home. We are privileged to give back to you and your family.

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