4 headshots
2021 Continuing Care Hall of Fame inductees, from left: John Diffey, Larry Minnix, Mary Alice Ryan and William Sims.

John Diffey, Larry Minnix, Mary Alice Ryan and Bill Sims will be inducted into the Continuing Care Hall of Fame for 2021.

The Hall of Fame, established in 2015 by Alwyn V. Powell, founder of Atlanta-based A.V. Powell & Associates, was created “to commemorate and pay tribute to individuals and organizations who have made extraordinary achievements and contributions” to the development of continuing care retirement communities, also known as life plan communities, as well as continuing care at home programs. The four newest inductees collectively have more than 150 years of experience.

The 2021 event will be held in October in Atlanta during the LeadingAge Annual Meeting & Expo.

John Diffey is the former president and CEO of Kennett Square, PA-based Kendal Corp. which he joined in 1992 and from which he retired in 2016. During his 40-year career, he served LeadingAge as a member of its board of directors, chair of its committee on CCRCs, founding co-chair of its leadership development program, and president of its North Carolina affiliate. He also was vice chair of the Continuing Care Accreditation Commission. Diffey’s previous awards include LeadingAge’s highest recognition, the Award of Honor, which he received in 2006.

“Under his leadership, Kendal became one of the nation’s largest and most respected non-profit continuing care organizations,” according to the Continuing Care Hall of Fame. “John is well known as a champion of highly participative leadership and governance, diversity and inclusion, and outcomes in measurement practices. John is truly a visionary and transformational leader, which has been demonstrated on multiple occasions when he and Kendal stepped up to help other CCRCs survive.”

Larry Minnix was president and CEO of Washington, D.C.-based LeadingAge from 2001 until his retirement in 2015, but he has been active in the aging services field since 1973. He was a leader at Wesley Woods in Atlanta for 28 years, the last decade of which he was executive director. In 2018, Minnix self-published the book “Hallowed Ground: Stories of Successful Aging” and today maintains a related website. He was honored as part of the McKnight’s 40 for 40 series in 2020.

“Larry is a nationally recognized icon in the senior living space, where he has helped to develop a foundation, lead a national nursing home quality initiative, develop financing alternatives for long-term care, establish an applied research institute and technology consortium, and create a Leadership Academy that is named in his honor,” according to the Continuing Care Hall of Fame.

Mary Alice Ryan has been president and CEO, St. Andrew’s Resources for Seniors System, St. Louis, since 1990. She is a past board chair for LeadingAge, member of its House of Delegates, chair of its development corporation, board treasurer and member of many commissions. She also is a past president of LeadingAge Missouri. Ryan has received many awards for her extensive expertise and innovation in senior housing and services, including being inducted into the 2020 McKnight’s Women of Distinction Hall of Honor.

Ryan “was the driving force behind the St. Andrew’s growth from two senior apartment buildings in 1983 to an organization that now has 16 communities, as well as home- and community-based services, Handy House Doc, Caring Workplace, and a charitable foundation, with 1,100 employees serving over 8,700 seniors and their caregivers each year,” according to the Continuing Care Hall of Fame.

William “Bill” Sims is managing principal of Fairfield, CT-based wealth management, investment banking and institutional services firm HJ Sims & Co., founded by his father, Herbert J. Sims, in 1935. William Sims began his time with the company in 1973, focusing on financing for senior living, after a brief time in the bond department at Merrill Lynch, where he served as a liaison between the branch offices nationwide and the underwriting and trading departments in New York City.

“Under his leadership, [HJ Sims] has significantly increased its individual investor audience and lowered capital costs for senior living financing,” according to the Continuing Care Hall of Fame. “During the past five decades, the firm has consistently been one of the top capital funding sources by underwriting over $30 billion in bonds for senior living communities in over 40 states. He has served as a board member and chairperson of Jewish Senior Services; this experience allows Bill to be a unique adviser who can incorporate the provider’s perspective in his investment banking efforts.”

The four 2021 inductees join 10 previous honorees who entered the Continuing Care Hall of Fame in 2015, 2017 and 2019.

The invitation-only induction ceremony and reception for 2021 will be held Oct. 24 at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta. For additional information, contact Thandi Nunn at [email protected] or (404) 845-0360, ext. 876.

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