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Back on the Job : 'I Wasn't Being Fulfilled' : Bud Morris: Bored by retirement, he found new purpose in producing big-band dances and is reliving part of his youth.

July 18, 1993

Here are three retirees who, out of boredom, went back to work. Their stories are on E2.

* Bernard Gutierrez, a former baker now working at what he calls "the best job I've ever had," as a driver for Tailored Residential Irvine Paratransit Services.

* Charlie Rypczynskiroger, a former Pacific Telephone building engineer, who couldn't wait to retire and now works 40 hours a week as a conductor on the Disneyland Railroad.

* Bud Morris, a longtime corporate executive who is reliving a bit of his past by producing big-band shows for "seasoned" citizens.

*

Standing on the edge of the crowded dance floor of Maxi's Lounge in the Red Lion Inn on Sunday afternoons, Bud Morris is in his element.

Morris, 68, spent four decades in the corporate world. But for the past six years he has been producing big-band dances for crowds of up to 200 people eager to swing to the 17-piece John Henderson Orchestra and other bands that play the golden sounds of the Glenn Miller, Woody Herman and Count Basie era.

Morris, who used to win dance contests "as a kid in the jitterbug days," is even known to do a little rug-cutting of his own.

"I'm reliving something I wanted to do for years," Morris says. "It really is a trip for me."

As a high school student in Chicago in the early '40s, Morris had his own big band. But World War II put an end to Bud Morris and His Orchestra. And after three years in the Navy, he went through the USC Business School, became president of Seeburg Corp.'s music division and, after 15 years with the firm that made coin-operated juke boxes, games and vending equipment, started his own video security systems business.

Then in 1983, at 58, Morris retired.

As "everybody does," he said, he looked forward to not working.

He moved from Los Angeles to Palm Springs, where he had a house at Indian Wells Country Club. "I thought I was going to spend the rest of my time on the golf course," he said. But after lowering his handicap from 18 to 12, "I got bored as hell."

About five years into retirement, it dawned on him: "I've got to do something. I found that I wasn't being fulfilled. Other than sports or business, men do not talk to men. There's no sharing kind of thing. You can't say, 'Hey, I feel lonely.' It's not macho, not in our generation anyway."

In 1988, after moving to Irvine, Morris formed a nonprofit organization called the SWAT Foundation (Seniors With Amazing Talent) "to bring retired people back into the mainstream of business life by forming a consulting firm and hiring them out as consultants."

More than 350 people--mostly professionals--signed up. But with the economy foundering, Morris said only a few people found consulting jobs through the foundation, and SWAT "is sort of on the back burner right now."

But that experience, Morris said, "opened up another field for me, which is producing big-band dancing for this population."

As president of Emeritus Productions, Morris recently added big band dances at the new Red Lion hotel near Los Angeles International Airport. He also produces live, "danceable" jazz events on Monday nights at the Red Lion hotel in Costa Mesa.

Morris spends about 15 hours a week on Emeritus Productions. "I'm not looking for any full-time work," he said. "I don't want to be that regulated."

Morris--he still plays golf twice a week--says he now has the best of both worlds.

Describing his role as a big-band dance impresario, he echoes a common refrain of retirees who have gone back to work: "It's given me a purpose to wake up in the morning."

Or put another way, Morris says: "I'm not retired; I'm re -fired. "

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