Meet Bill Johnston of the Plymouth Harbor Foundation Board

 

“Having spent much of my life here with my parents and other relatives, Plymouth Harbor is near and dear to my heart.  Someday, we will call it home, too.”  – Bill Johnston, Chair,   Plymouth Harbor Foundation Board of Trustees

 

Well regarded in financial circles throughout the country, Bill was the President and COO of the New York Stock Exchange from 1996 to 2001.  In addition, he has a long and distinguished career on Wall Street with several well-known firms, and is a graduate of Washington and Lee University.  Bill is the consummate Board member who shares his time and talent with many organizations in addition to Plymouth Harbor, including locally DeSoto National Park, Boys & Girls Club of Manatee Foundation, and New College of Florida.  His advisory board service is too numerous to mention in this article, but suffice it to say that he is in demand and gives generously of his time.  Prior to Bill’s involvement with the Foundation Board, he served six years as a Plymouth Harbor Trustee.  He was first introduced to Plymouth Harbor by five relatives who preceded him, including his parents, two aunts, and an uncle.  Bill and his wife, Betsy, are Bradenton residents who also spend part of their time in the northeast.

 

A Resident Snapshot: Hild Kjeldbye

By Helen Kelly

Our new Plymouth Harbor neighbor is a woman of many talents:  medical researcher, massage therapist, fashion model, hiker, skier, world traveler.  Born in Norway, the youngest of four children, she was trained in cytology at Radium Hospital near Oslo.  She was a member of the team of the renowned doctor who developed the Pap Smear, a method for early cancer detection.  This was the start of a circuitous path to a career in medical research.

In her twentieth year, she embarked alone on an ocean voyage to the United States.  The plan was to stay for two years, to learn and play.  However, a job was necessary.  In order to work, she needed a green card through Immigration and due to quotas, she ended up waiting for two years before embarking.  Fortunately, along the way a fellow traveler advised her to first seek work as an “au pair” which would provide her a view of local family life and familiarity with New York City.  Her youthful enthusiasm opened many doors.

To further advance her knowledge of science and biology, she took courses at Columbia University  Medical School while working with “the best” in diagnostic and research labs.  She found life in the city challenging and fascinating.

Life in Academia soon offered long vacations, fulfilling Hild’s travel dreams.  She made several trips around the world, stopping in exotic places on all continents.  When offered a position in the Department of Anatomy at the Auckland School of Medicine in New Zealand, she embarked on her longest trip, 360 days.  In lieu of a salary, she received room and board, giving her the freedom to explore a new world.  Accompanied by friends, she climbed Mt. Egmont, a volcanic mountain on North Island, New Zealand, a daunting experience.  Her love of adventure included a four-day hike of the Milford track in the “Southern Alps.”  On continuing her trip westward from New Zealand, Hild pursued some unforgettable stops in Australia, New Guinea, Indonesia, India, Afghanistan and Iran.

For the past twenty five years, Hild has been part of an eye-research team in the Department of Ophthalmology at Harkness Eye Institute, Columbia University Medical Center in Manhattan.  This gave her the opportunity to visit and become familiar with Sarasota where an annual Ophthalmology meeting, ARVO, has taken place every May.

After retiring, Hild lived in Venice and is now very pleased to be part of the Plymouth Harbor community.  Perhaps those of you who are “travel buffs” will arrange a “těte à těte” with her.  It is bound to be fascinating.

Giving Updates from the Plymouth Harbor Foundation

The Cadillac Women

Do you know what Marjorie Boulware and Dorothy Johnston have in common besides being long-time Plymouth Harbor residents?  They both recently donated their Cadillacs to Plymouth Harbor Foundation!  Lyall Smith, Director of Security & Guest Services, commented, “Because of these generous donations, we are able to retire our older Cadillacs that were approaching the 100,000 mile mark.  The donated cars each have about half that many miles and have now been entered into service.  We are very grateful.”  Please extend a warm thanks to our Cadillac women for their generosity!

Evelin Corsey Estate

Evelin Corsey, who passed away in 2013, left Plymouth Harbor Foundation in her estate plans.  In February, we received a bequest of $45,000, to be distributed to several programs, including the Employee Assistance Fund and the Library.  While Evelin had no children of her own, she was very close to her goddaughter Lesley Fera, who has helped us to establish the Evelin Corsey Scholarship with a portion of the gift.  We are extremely grateful for this generous and thoughtful gift, and will keep you informed of the impact this gift has over the next few months.

Honoring Danielle Menzies

Thank you to Tom Towler and Nancy Lyon, who made a gift in honor of Danielle Menzies, Dining Services Operations Manager, on the occasion of her completing the Miami Lifetime Marathon on February 2, 2014.  The gift will benefit the Employee Assistance Fund.

Congratulations, Danielle!

A New Home for A Treasured Antique – Thanks to Community Connections

L-R Phil Delaney, Priscilla Doulton, Mary Allyn, Harry Hobson

Priscilla Doulton could see that her family was enjoying the old pool table that had come with the house they had just moved into in Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts, outside of Boston.  The cue sticks,  however, were just not in good shape.  So off she went to a store in a nearby town that was having a sale.  “Sure we have pool cue sticks,” they had answered when she called ahead to ask.  What they failed to mention was that they also had a rare gem on hand with which she would soon fall in love.

The large antique pool table that caught her eye when she walked in was made of oak with diamond-shaped inlays of ivory all along the top border.  The shopkeeper told her it was from the 1880’s and she could see that it had real presence.  It was beautiful, Priscilla thought, and just the right gift for her husband.

It was perfect for them, but the “pool table” room in the house was not.  This grand pool table was simply too large.  Undaunted, Priscilla and her husband simply added a room onto the back of the house to accommodate the new table.  There was nothing more than the pool table and necessary accoutrements in the room they designed with three glass walls overlooking a wooded backyard and distant stream.

It sounds idyllic, but Priscilla says she doesn’t think her daughters noticed the view at all.  Bettina andKara grew up having a lot of fun in the pool room.  As budding young women, they delighted in the attention from the boys, whether they said it was interest in the pool table or not.

The pool table held a lifetime of memories and moved down with the Doultons when they retired to Sarasota.  Recently, Priscilla moved to a smaller home in downtown Sarasota and wondered what to do with this lovely antique.

Phil Delaney making the first break.

Her friend, Phil Delaney, Managing Director & President at Northern Trust, thought that it deserved a home where many more would enjoy games of pool for years to come.  If she were to give the antique to an organization, where might it receive a fitting reception and welcome home?  When the idea struck Phil, Priscilla agreed, Plymouth Harbor on Sarasota Bay!

Now, this lovely table has a home of its own again, the cozy alcove in the newly renovated Club Room.  Accompanied only by two handsome spectator chairs for the watchful players and a cabinet for the cue sticks, the table built by J.E. Came & Company Billiard Makers of Boston now holds court at Plymouth Harbor, welcoming all players.

Harry Hobson, President and CEO of Plymouth Harbor, greeted both Priscilla and Phil, along with  several Plymouth Harbor resident leaders and Trustees for the official christening of the pool table in its new home.  Phil was given the honor of making the first break.

Mary Allyn, President of the Residents Association, and Bill Johnston, Chair of the Plymouth Harbor Foundation, proudly acknowledged this remarkable gift and thanked Priscilla for her generosity.

“This gift is an amazing example of how our community comes together for the good of the whole,” commented Harry Hobson.  “We cannot thank Priscilla Doulton and Phil Delaney enough.”

The table is clearly following the Eastlake design style popular in American furniture making from 1870 to 1890 during the later years of the Victorian era.  The Eastlake furniture style as envisioned by its namesake, Charles Lock Eastlake, came about in response to his dislike of the over-the-top Rococo Revival and Renaissance Revival styles popular during the Victorian era.  In contrast with other  Victorian styles of furniture produced in America featuring classical motifs, Eastlake furniture is more geometric and incorporates modest curves.

Ornamental carving seen on these pieces is lightly incised rather than deeply carved.  Wood grains were often emphasized, with oak and cherry frequently used in Eastlake pieces.  The next time you visit the Club Room, take a moment to examine the oak grain in the veneer panels and the carved medallion details on the sides.  We can appreciate the elegantly turned legs and the diamond ivory inlays.

Bill Seiberling recently enjoyed a game of pool with Harry on the ‘new’ table.  “I played a lot of pool in college and thoroughly enjoyed the game, but I haven’t played much since then,” said Bill.  “I was very touched that Harry remembered pool as one of my favorite college pastimes and challenged me to a game.  I had the biggest smile on my face!” he exclaimed.

And so ends the story of how a Sarasota community connection led to a generous contribution by a newfound friend that will lead to Plymouth Harbor residents and friends connecting with one another for many years to come. It just doesn’t get any better than that!

Luis Santiago, Employee of the Month, March 2014

Congratulations to Luis Santiago for being nominated by his peers and being honored as the Plymouth Harbor“Employee of the Month for March 2014.”

Luis is originally from Panama,Central America, however moved here to Sarasota while still in school. He was not only an athlete, but an accomplished musician as well. While attending the Booker High School Visual & Performing Arts program, he played clarinet and baseball. Luis was one of the best pitchers in the tri-county area, but he still made time to go to concerts and enjoy all kinds of music.  After graduating from Booker High School, he went on to earn an Associates degree from State College of Florida in 2008.

Always working while attending school Luis served  at Pei Wei Sarasota as a Dishwasher and Pantry Cook, at Kobernick House as a Server, and at Sweetbay Supermarket as a Cashier and Customer Service Rep.  His previous employers describe Luis  as personable with customers or residents and a good employee.

Luckily for us, Luis came to Plymouth Harbor as a full time Lead Steward in March 2012 where he was quickly noticed as the person who consistently asks if there is anything he could do to help when he has a few spare minutes.  Within a year he was promoted to Dining Services Houseman in April 2013.

Now everyone knows that Luis always does whatever it takes to help make the kitchen run smoothly. He’s efficient at cleaning up after and organizing everyone’s untidiness or accidents.  He tries to keep a smile on everyone’s face and lightens their spirits.

Always the professional, he listens and follows instructions and criticism effectively while keeping a good, upbeat, and enthusiastic attitude.

And just to emphasize the fact that he is a hard worker, Luis is still in school. This time he’s working toward earning a Radiology certificate at State College of Florida.

A Different Twist on Legacy Giving

By Becky Pazkowski

I recently attended the Positive Aging Conference hosted by the Institute for the Ages here in Sarasota.  One of the sessions was entitled “Give It Forward” and the description talked about legacy giving.  Being in the business I am, I figured that I was going to learn something new about making financial gifts from your estate plans.  However, what the talk was really about was legacy giving in the sense of intangibles.  It really inspired me to think about the legacy gifts people have made to me, and how the most meaningful gifts we receive are given unintentionally by the donor.

We were to think about a legacy gift we have been left with and how it impacted our life.  Mine was from my mom, who died in 2010, at the age of 73.  She gave me some of the greatest gifts ever, without even knowing she did . . . how to be a good listener and a good mom.  Both of these two gifts have had a profound impact on my life.

The speakers left us with the three universal deathbed questions that I would like to share with you.  I know, it sounds depressing, but it wasn’t.  If we can find it within ourselves to think about these three things while we are busy living our lives, would we perhaps live a more purposeful life?  I leave you with these things to think about:

♦             Have I given and received love?

♦             Have I lived my life, rather than someone else’s?

♦             Have I left the world a better place than I found it?

Resident Snapshot: Helen and Harold Schwartz

By Isabel Pedersen

The Schwartz’s beautiful apartment should have been the tipoff.  The decorator had to have been a professional—and, of course, she was.  Helen spent her adult years as a decorator, designing both homes and offices.  She graduated from Pembroke College (now part of Brown University.)  A New York City gal all the way, she did not want a conventional 9-to-5 job so she studied at the American Institute of Interior Design (ASID) and found a profession she loved.

Harold’s story intersected Helen’s in 1949 when they met, in New York, of course.  Harold was born in the Bronx, son of an immigrant father who had developed a good tannery business.  After studying mechanical engineering at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, the Army sent him as an engineer to build Treadway Bridges across Europe.  After the war, Harold finished his education, later adding a Master’s degree.  He chose a college in Newark, New Jersey, partly because the family tannery was there.  It was there because Newark had the pure water necessary for the tanning process.  It also is vital for brewing beer.  The joke was that there was so much beer made in Newark that you had to check when you opened your faucet.  It might be beer that day.

His family business was primarily manufacturing suitcases.  The company was sold to a conglomerate which sent him to run the luggage division in Virginia.  His final job was as president of a distributor of equipment for the tanning industry.  Through all this, the family lived in South and then West Orange, New Jersey, close to New York for this city family.  A major interest, while there, was raising money for the United Jewish Appeal.

When they moved to Longboat Key, they rented for several years before settling on Promenade.  Retirement meant more time for golf and tennis.  The tennis has now gone by the boards but golf, for Harold, is still fun.

Their three daughters are, not surprisingly, interesting.  The oldest is a lawyer and Secretary of American Express.  The second lives in Israel with her husband, and the youngest and her husband have retired, splitting their time between France and Manhattan.

You will enjoy meeting this delightful couple.  You may even get some ideas for your own apartment.