Come to think of it, those bikes would probably work quite well for the O.P.s purposes. Strong frame, deep step through, easy enough to add gears in the form of a hub gear. If I were going to recommend a bike to someone who hadn't ridden in years and was intimidated both by gearing and by getting on, something like this would be on my list. Especially the hub gearing. Very easy to use, especially in traffic, so less intimidating to complete novices.
The Breezer Uptown LS comes closest to this design.