Harry and NancyHarry Hobson can count to ten as well as the next person and certainly it must have occurred to him that 2014 marked his 10th year anniversary serving as Plymouth Harbor’s President and CEO.  Nonetheless, when Mary Allyn rose to recognize this anniversary with a tribute at the Board of Trustees meeting last month, he was caught totally off guard.  What’s more, he was just as surprised when she repeated the tribute at the most recent Residents Association Board meeting. On both occasions, Harry says he felt humbled by, yet deeply appreciative of the honor.  For the past decade, Plymouth Harbor has benefited from the leadership of a remarkable man and the warmth and fellowship of his equally remarkable partner and wife, Nancy.

“Ten years ago, Nancy and I did our full due diligence prior to making the life-changing decision to leave our home in Virginia and move to Sarasota. We learned that Plymouth Harbor was not only a wonderful community to serve, but that it had so much more potential to reach what it is today.  And now, there is even more potential looking to the future.”

Imagine the exhilaration of these years during which there has been a great deal of change. The thought of the work can be tiring, yet Harry notes “Ten years later, I am just as excited to get out of bed to come to Plymouth Harbor as I was in 2004.”

He and Nancy discovered early on that Plymouth Harbor’s location may be the hook that brings you in, but it’s the people who keep you here—residents and staff.

“One thing that solidifies my feelings about Plymouth Harbor,” he adds, “is the strength of the relationships we have built and continue to maintain between staff, residents, and our Board of Trustees.”

The entire community has had fun with Harry, a CEO who is not above a laugh at his own expense.  For several years running, he has adopted the name “Barry Dobson” for the annual Plymouth Harbor Players production that pokes playful fun at the community of “Puritan Cove.”   He says the thing that makes him nervous each year is knowing that Play Director and resident Don Wallace requires that he audition for the part of the Executive Director of the fictitious retirement community.  Harry says with a smile that being the real CEO doesn’t make it a shoe-in that he gets the part in the annual play.

Harry is also quick to point out the true sense of teamwork exhibited throughout the development of the new Wellness Center—from resident vision to Board of Trustees moving forward to the staff to bring the vision to reality.

“You don’t have to be on campus very long to feel that sense of community. Whether embracing a project, celebrating a special occasion, resolving a complex issue, or enduring the inevitable bumps along the way, the sharp minds of everyone at Plymouth Harbor pull together for the greater good.”

Hobson testimonial


Wellness Florida Retirement Community

Staff work with residents Jeanne Manser and Geri Johnson to assess gait and balance functionality.

The Health Services Team hosted an open house recently at Plymouth Harbor to highlight the wide breadth of Therapy Services available to residents and community members in this continuing care retirement community.

The Open House provided residents with a glimpse of both the therapy and nursing services offered to them. Physical, Occupational and Speech therapies showcased a diverse and energetic approach to rehabilitation and the spectrum they have to offer the residents. Nursing services from the skilled nursing center, assisted living, and home care  provided blood pressure screenings and insight to the total package of caring individuals within their building. The focus of this Open House was to address the “One Stop Shopping” for meeting their healthcare needs at Plymouth Harbor.

“We decided to do this in a fun, expo-like format, so that our residents would have a good time while getting to know the breadth of services that are available to them here,” says Joe Devore, Vice President of Health Services.  “Some of our residents are not aware that full therapy services are right here at Plymouth Harbor for their convenience.”

The entire room was buzzing during the afternoon as residents visited station after station to assess their own functional levels in balance, cognitive memory recall, endurance, and even blood pressure.  Residents could also sign up to volunteer in the Smith Care Center if they have interest.

Many residents came out to the Open House to learn more about the therapy services offered.  Visitors could register to win the drawing for a gift basket.

Many residents came out to the Open House to learn more about the therapy services offered. Visitors could register to win the drawing for a gift basket.

Staff in occupational, speech, and physical therapy led the balance, endurance, and memory cognition assessments.  Greg Carvajal, who works with our therapists and led part of the assessments, added, “We are looking for fall risks and functional deficits during these assessments. If we detect any here, we can recommend that they follow up with the staff at a later date, and hopefully avoid serious injury.”

Gina Kanyha, Director of Rehabilitation Services at the Smith Care Center, hopes to introduce the residents to the therapy staff.  “Our goal was to bring the faces of the team to all residents and let them know who we are and that we are there for them.  This also gives us an opportunity to showcase the services we can offer.”

Also available during the open house was staff from the Smith Care Center, Home Health Services, and Assisted Living.  “We are here to provide services for our residents and building that relationship early, even before they ever need our health services makes it so much more comfortable for all of us when and if the need arises,” said Stacy Baker, Director of Nursing Home Health.

By Susan K. Johnson

Plymouth Harbor Sarasota Active Senior living FloridaAs soon as I talked with Susan on the telephone to make an appointment, I knew I was going to meet someone special, and when I rang the doorbell, I was greeted by an exciting and attractive woman who waved me into a colorful apartment decorated with her paintings, photographs and custom furniture on which she has painted Impressionist art scenes.  Her apartment is a must-see!

Susan was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA.  At 18, she headed west to the University of Colorado in Boulder, graduating with an art major and a journalism minor.  During the 60’s, she modeled and appeared in TV commercials in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

In the 70’s, she broke into the TV broadcasting field at the NBC affiliate in San Diego, hosting a daily live talk show, “You’re On” — similar to the Phil Donahue show — interviewing famous people, such as Gerald Ford, Billy Graham, Maya Angelou and Ansel Adams.  Next, on to a show at KRON-TV in San Francisco and then back to Los Angeles to co-anchor news at KTLA-TV.         In the 80’s, a job took Susan to Aspen, CO, but that company folded quickly.  “I found that I wanted to make a life in this charming mountain village,” she says, “so I picked up my paintbrush and started a new business I called Furniture As Art, where furniture and walls were my canvas.”

After an 18-year stint decorating furniture and feeling “burnt out,” theater caught her eye and she co-founded a resident theater company in Aspen called the Hudson Reed Ensemble, “producing and acting and wearing many hats” for six years.

“HAVE I GOT A STORY FOR YOU!” is a brochure about the latest career chapter in Susan’s life.  She is a professional Story Reader, and if you go on her website, haveigotastory.com (which I did), you learn that she custom-designs a mélange of short stories, poems, passages and letters from, by and about famous or unconventional people to entertain at parties, fundraisers and other gatherings.

More recently, Susan has been living in Denver, but last winter she stayed on Lido Key, fell in love with Sarasota and its plethora of activities and culture and decided to move to Plymouth Harbor.  She says she is thrilled to be a part of this vibrant community.  Susan enjoys travel, tennis, bike riding and walking her little brown dog, Moki.  She loves working with kids; “literacy is a passion over the years that I will continue here with students at Bay Haven School.”

We welcome Susan and look forward to her presenting a program of “Story Reads” to us as well as to seeing her art displays.  Her creativity, charm and warmth are an asset to our community.

Charles EdwardsCharles Edwards is a world traveler and keen observer of the human condition wherever he is. One glance at the dozens and dozens of research papers that fill Dr. Edwards’ curriculum vitae is to understand that his professional life has been filled with cutting-edge scholarship and collaboration with a host of international scientists, but even a brief conversation with him will make it equally plain that he is a modest, gracious, and enthusiastic raconteur, comfortable talking about history, politics, art, and music, effortlessly pulling up pertinent names, dates, and facts.

Dr. Charles Edwards grew up in Hyattsville, Maryland, the youngest of three children. His father was a grocer whose early death propelled his mother into the workplace. Charles was drawn to mathematics at an early age, and began his education at The Johns Hopkins University studying engineering, but ended up majoring in biophysics. His undergraduate degree from Hopkins would be the first of three degrees he would earn from that institution; he received his Ph.D. there in 1953. While at Hopkins, he met his wife Lois, then a student at Baltimore’s Goucher College. As Dr. Edwards remembers it, he saw a friend “talking to a pretty girl” at a lacrosse game. When he walked over and asked her her name, she refused to tell him, but their romance would blossom when he was hospitalized with tuberculosis and Lois became a faithful visitor, traveling by streetcar “to the end of the line” to encourage his speedy recovery.
An opportunity to do post-graduate research in London provided the introduction to what would become a lifelong love of British and European art, and would be the first of many times the couple would cross the world’s oceans and become familiar with many foreign lands, including Japan, Sweden, Mexico, England, and Czechoslovakia. The first of their four children was born while they were living in London.

Following London, the Edwards family returned to Baltimore, where Charles continued to do research at Hopkins. The family moved to Utah for two years, and then to Minnesota, where Dr. Edwards taught physiology at the University of Minnesota Medical School for seven years. He then moved to the Department of Biological Sciences at the State University of New York at Albany, where he taught undergraduates and supervised laboratory research for 17 years. From Albany Dr. Edwards worked for several years at the National Institutes of Health before wrapping up his career in academia as Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Affairs in the College of Medicine at the University of South Florida. He retired from USF in 1989.

It was in 1980, while he was at SUNY-Albany, when Dr. Edwards decided to work at the Institute of Physiology in Prague under the United States’ National Academy of Sciences-Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences exchange program. Dr. Edwards recalls his time in Communist-controlled Prague and the people he met there with great fondness, though he characterizes the country as “very isolated” in the pre-Velvet Revolution years. He recalls how the Communist Party exercised very tight control over the professional lives of his fellow researchers: for those not members of the Party, a successful academic career was difficult. International travel to the West was not easy for Party members; for non-Party members, it was nearly impossible. As one Czech friend put it: “We live in a golden cage.” In addition to his colleagues, both he and Lois got to know a number of young Czechs, who were eager to work on their English. The Edwardses enjoyed art, concerts, and traveling through the country in a French-built and licensed car, which he characterizes as a “magnet” for the police.
Dr. Edwards vividly remembers the building and the tearing down of the Berlin Wall, and notes that it was television that made the demise of Soviet-controlled countries inevitable, since the East Germans could see for themselves via the (banned) West German and Austrian television that life in the West was not at all the bleak existence portrayed by their government.
Dr. and Mrs. Edwards first learned of Plymouth Harbor when friends moved in. They had commuted back and forth between Sarasota and New York City for many years, but the burden of looking after a house became too much for them, and they moved into Plymouth Harbor in 2005. Dr. Edwards sees living in Plymouth Harbor as a “gift” to both their children and to themselves because “life is very convenient here.” He lists the services and amenities with obvious pleasure: first class dining, fitness classes, trips to concerts and theaters, programs featuring local leaders, concerts, and the regular showings of popular movies. Plymouth Harbor, he says, is full of “remarkable people.” The Edwardses have been active members of the Plymouth Harbor community, serving on many committees, including the Health, Dining, Civic Affairs, Housekeeping, and Hospitality committees. Dr. Edwards also leads the Low Vision Support Group.

Following the pattern of their lives, Dr. and Mrs. Edwards continue to be engaged with young people. Both volunteer regularly—she, helping second graders at Booker Elementary with their reading, and he, for the past 15 years, teaching science to fifth graders at Gulf Gate Elementary. He has brought strategy games into the classroom, hoping to excite the young people about math. “Math means thinking,” he says firmly. Not a surprising attitude from a man who admits, with a twinkle in his eye, that he still adds up the digits on license plates. Dr. Edwards has also been a positive force for the health of Sarasota’s environment. In 2012 he was the recipient of the Blue Dolphin Award in recognition of his contribution to the Citizens Advisory Committee of the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program.

In May of this year Dr. and Mrs. Edwards, with their son and daughter-in-law, returned to the Czech Republic, where Dr. Edwards was awarded the Laufberger Medal from the Czech Physiological Society, “in recognition of his scientific excellence and contribution to the enhancement of international scientific collaboration.” Dr. Edwards found the contrast between life in the former Czechoslovakia and the new Czech Republic easy to see and hear. Nowadays, he says, Prague is “full of Americans, everyone speaks English, and the streets are full of foreign made cars.” A Soviet-made tank, which had been painted pink during the Velvet Revolution, has disappeared.
The medal ceremony, which marked the 50th anniversary of the Institute, where he had worked, was very memorable for Dr. Edwards: “There was one hour, twenty-nine minutes of people speaking Czech, and exactly one minute of English,” he laughs. “That minute was when they were speaking about me.”

Plymouth Harbor Dance Studio active senior living in floridaFriday, September 12 was a remarkable day at Plymouth Harbor, with sunlight streaming through floor-to-ceiling windows into what was once a darkened “dungeon” of the main building’s ground floor.   At 10:00 a.m. the doors to the soon to be christened 10,000 square foot Wellness Center swung open to welcome residents, donors, trustees, and the media.  The ribbon-cutting and ensuing celebration had begun.

The curious crowd wandered through the exceptionally well-appointed social area and into the Fitness Room, eager to learn about the state-of-the-art strength-training, cardio, and balance equipment.  The pristine Art Studio drew visitors as well, imagining what has yet to be created at each of the 20 artist stations. And the more adventurous tried their hand at the xBox Kinect gaming system in the Activity Alcove.

Plymouth Harbor Wellness Center Active Senior living floridaHowever, when the program began all eyes were on President & CEO Harry Hobson as he welcomed and thanked the many people who helped make this long-time dream a reality. Among them were the team of staff and architectural/construction partners who did the heavy lifting, led by Vice President of Support Services Tena Wilson, Wellness Director Chris Valuck, Building Project Manager George McGonagill, and partners from THW Design and Willis A. Smith Construction.  Harry paid homage, as well, to two residents who were especially instrumental in developing the wellness plan, Lois Droege and Dr. Paul Groen.

Everyone was beaming as resident leaders, donors, and even some of their family members, were acknowledged. The Plymouth Harbor Board and the Foundation Board were well represented, proudly appreciating what had been accomplished under their watch.

Plymouth Harbor Wellness Center active senior livingAnd then, the music began … so to speak.  Honoring the very special contribution by the late Joanne Hastings, a resident who shared her vision and enthusiasm for a wellness center that embraced dance as well as many other creative aspects of wellness, two dancers made their entrance to a lilting waltz.  Professional dance instructor James Helmich and his 90-year-old partner, Gloria Moss, seemingly floated around the dance floor in tribute to Joanne Hastings’ long-time passion for ballroom dancing.

After the ovations for the dancers faded, it was time for the ribbon-cutting.  The honors went to Tena Wilson, Resident Association President and Trustee Mary Allyn, Board of Trustees Chair Tom Hopkins, and Harry Hobson.

Chris Valuck and Wellness Program Assistant Amanda Kirk say it’s been non-stop ever since, with a steady stream of residents taking advantage of the beautiful new facilities.

What a dream. What an accomplishment!

Karen Novak demonstrates use of the remote for operating the electric patient beds.

Karen Novak demonstrates use of the remote for operating the electric patient beds.

Plymouth Harbor holds an annual Skills Fair that allows staff to demonstrate competence with nursing skills that are used daily to provide the most optimal care for the residents in the Smith Care Center, Home Health, and Callahan Center.

During the Skills Fair, specific stations are designed to address various topics such as order entry, dietary intake, skin care, transfer techniques, medication administration, lifts, bed alarms, Care Choices, and documentation.  Each staff member is required to complete fourteen stations and assure competence.

“This is an excellent way to keep everyone’s skills sharp and up-to-date on best practices and new equipment,” says Karen Novak, Director of Health Services.  “We have 100% completion with all passing the competency testing at the end.  We are very proud of our staff!”

The Skills Fair is offered annually to all health services staff members.  By the end of the second week, 150 health services employees will have rotated through the Fair.

Nancy Cressotti (Admissions Coordinator) and Monica Copeland (Nursing Supervisor) were present to administer the Electronic Medical Record skills competencies. Von Demosthenes (Clinical Mentor) prepared to discuss and advise on the content and enhancement of nursing documentation.

Nancy Cressotti (Admissions Coordinator) and Monica Copeland (Nursing Supervisor) were present to administer the Electronic Medical Record skills competencies. Von Demosthenes (Clinical Mentor) prepared to discuss and advise on the content and enhancement of nursing documentation.


Joe Devore (Vice President of Health Services), Stacy Baker (Director of Nursing Home Health), Liz Clark (Administrator of Callahan Center and Director of Home Health), and Brandi Burgess (Social Worker) administer the Home safety, transfers, and Advance Directives skills competencies.

Joe Devore (Vice President of Health Services), Stacy Baker (Director of Nursing Home Health), Liz Clark (Administrator of Callahan Center and Director of Home Health), and Brandi Burgess (Social Worker) administer the Home safety, transfers, and Advance Directives skills competencies.

Nurses Melissa Magac (Nursing Supervisor) and Karen Novak demonstrate use of patient lift with Shelia Strahorn (Certified Nursing Assistant).

Nurses Melissa Magac (Nursing Supervisor) and Karen Novak demonstrate use of patient lift with Shelia Strahorn (Certified Nursing Assistant).






Lauren Krause EE of MonthLauren Krause has always been a stand-out employee at Plymouth Harbor, but this month she was nominated by her peers and voted “Employee of the Month” for September 2014.

When she joined joined the Smith Care Center team in December 2001 Lauren worked as a  full time LPN.  In October 2007 she was promoted to Restorative LPN. Of course, we don’t all know what that means, but a quick Google search tells us that a restorative nurse assists patients who are in recovery from a surgery or illness with regaining their health and self-sufficiency.  Smith Care Center serves as a rehabilitation center for many residents and community members recovering from surgery, so Lauren’s specific skills are in demand.

In fact, she not only exceeds standard appraisal ratings for job knowledge, quality of work, decision making and attitude, but she is a tremendous asset to Plymouth Harbor.  Lauren’s expertise continues to enhance the team daily; she is always looking for ways to achieve better outcomes for our residents.

As a detail-oriented professional, Lauren quite resourceful.  Joe Devore, Plymouth Harbor’s Vice President of Health Services, calls her “Go-to Krause” because of her skills in resolving issues and finding solutions.  Everyone recognizes that Lauren’s strength lies in the fact that she knows who and how to pull the resources together to achieve her goal.

A long-time Floridian with two beautiful sons and loving husband, Lauren is a positive, radiant soul, who is well-liked by all.  One of her nomination letters summed it up:

“Lauren is a great team player, willing to go the extra mile to get something done when needed.  Lauren is compassionate with the residents and always has a smile on her face.  She is a great asset to the Plymouth Harbor family.”


By Addie Hurst

CoranThe Corans are a blended family; he has three children and eight grandchildren and she has two children and three grandchildren.  Aubert was born and grew up in St. Louis, MO, and Sandy was born in Brooklyn but spent most of her youth in Trenton, NJ.

They met in Akron, OH, and it was almost love at first sight.  At the time, Sandy worked for non-profit agencies (YMCA, United Way, and a public TV station) and Aubert worked for Monsanto Company as a research scientist.  It was a second marriage for both of them.

During that time he made many contributions in the fields of polymer science and technology.  He was an inventor (over 99 patents) and an author (about 100 scientific papers).   He has won too many prestigious awards and honors to try to enumerate them.  But not satisfied with B.S. and M.S. degrees from St. Louis College of Pharmacy, Aubie went on (37 years later) to earn his Ph.D. in physical chemistry at the Universite de Haute Alsace (at Mulhouse,  France) in 1992.  Next, he served as Research Professor, then Adjunct Professor at the Institute of Polymer Engineering of the University of Akron, and then was a consultant until he retired in 2005.

What can we say about Aubie’s inventiveness?  He says he just looks at problems and finds solutions.  Sandy says he finds unusual problems and solutions, because his mind functions in a different sphere.

Besides accompanying Aubie on his many travels, Sandy has spent most of her time volunteering.  Before her heart attack, she spent five years teaching the AARP driver education course at various places in Sarasota.  She also volunteered at the Senior Friendship Center in their physical fitness program.  Now she is eagerly looking around to find a niche where she can do some volunteering here at Plymouth Harbor.

The Corans moved to Plymouth Harbor at the recommendation of several friends who are residents.  They both enjoy bicycling and Sandy participates in water aerobics and exercise classes and looks forward to playing Scrabble.  Aubie enjoys playing tunes on their keyboard and has been chairman of the Restaurant Awareness Committee of the Sarasota-Manatee Gluten Intolerant Support Group.

They already know a lot of people in Plymouth Harbor; they are so friendly and outgoing that they are sure to meet many more.