Retirement According to…Howard Bly

Alan Spector is an author, business consultant, baseball player, traveler, and grandfather.  He has authored five published books, including, with coauthor Keith Lawrence, Your Retirement Quest: 10 Secrets for Creating and Living a Fulfilling Retirement (  Alan and Keith conduct workshops across the country helping prospective and current retirees plan the non-financial aspects of their retirement—to make the rest of their lives the best of their lives.  Alan’s latest book, Body Not Recovered, is a work of historical fiction from the Vietnam War/Protest Movement era, and it has deep St. Louis roots.

By Alan Spector

Some people retire by choice, while for others, the choice is made for them for health or other reasons.  Regardless of why we transition into retirement, a key question is what are each of us going to do with the opportunity to redefine ourselves.  Howard Bly has leaned into his opportunity by focusing on his passions—some new and some old.

You might find Howard playing piano at the Adult Day Center at the Jewish Community Center or various nursing homes around the area.  Not only is Howard relishing the opportunity to give back to his community in this volunteer role, but he is doing something he loves…playing the piano.  Howard discovered his passion when he walked into Lacefield Music one day, found they gave lessons, and the rest is history.  He took those lessons, practices relentlessly on both piano and organ, gives recitals, and uses his new-found talent to give back. 

But perhaps Howard’s greatest passion (aside from family and friends), is his love for and knowledge of baseball, especially the St. Louis Cardinals, and his extensive memorabilia collection.  He has been collecting and displaying baseball memories for decades.  Can you envision 1,000 square feet of basement, wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling, barely passable walkways throughout.  In fact, instead of imagining it, take a look at this video.

As the video shows—over 300 signed baseballs, over 150 pennants, over 400 bobbleheads and statues—20 signed bats of the 500 home run club, 65 jerseys, over 10,000 baseball cards, over 500 autographed photos—over 400 Stan Musial, over 150 Bob Gibson, over 150 Lou Brock, and over 150 Ozzie Smith signed items—and some one-of-a-kind collectibles as well.  


Speaking of Ozzie Smith—he’s toured the collection—as have many others.  Two common reactions as visitors ascend from the basement museum, “Spectacular” and “Indescribable.”  

Whether he is playing his music or collecting and displaying baseball memoriabilia, Howard is a great example of pursuing passions.