Pnew giftslease join us in extending a huge thank you to Bruce Crawford, Winnie Downes and Carl Denney, and Phil and Barry Starr, all whom recently made legacy gifts to The Plymouth Harbor Foundation. Two of the gifts were made through changing the beneficiaries on a life insurance policy to The Plymouth Harbor Foundation. The third was by naming The Plymouth Harbor Foundation in their will.  We welcome them all into The MacNeil Society, as a result.

Individuals who have thoughtfully included a gift to the Plymouth Harbor Foundation through their estate are part The MacNeil Society. Their gift has been named through a will, gift annuity agreement, trust agreement, life insurance policy, or retirement plan. Currently, there are 19 members of The MacNeil Society, whose consolidated gifts total over $1.4 million. We are extremely grateful for your future gifts to sustain the zest that continues to define the culture of Plymouth Harbor.


Leon was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, but lived in Allston, Massachusetts. He enlisted in the Air Force during World War II, training as a pilot until the war was over. He attended Northeastern University through the G.I. Bill, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. He joined a family jewelry business for several years and then decided to start his own company, Opus, Inc.

It started in a garage at his home, where he made products for lawn and garden wholesalers. Bird feeders became the main product. All manufacturing and shipping was outsourced. He built a factory in Bellingham, Massachusetts, and employed several hundred people. Leon has some patents for squirrel proof feeders. After many years, Opus sold bird feeders around the world. He feels that much of his success was due to serendipity, which gave rise to many wonderful stories.

Leon has two sons, one daughter and six grandchildren. He has done sculptures in soapstone and some work in wood carving. His favorite animal is the giraffe which he made using clay.

Both Leon and Pat lost their first spouses within a week. They met through a mutual friend and were married.

Pat was born in and grew up in Chicago, Illinois with her twin sister. She attended the University of Illinois and Gregg business school. She worked as a secretary for several years before marrying her first husband. She raised three sons and has seven grandchildren. In 1972, she moved to the Detroit area and in 1978, she moved to Paris, France, where she lived for three years. Upon returning to Birmingham, Michigan, she became a fashion coordinator for B. Siegal and a small boutique in Birmingham.

Her hobbies were lapidary, jewelry making, sewing and cooking. In 1987, she moved to the Meadows where she lived until 2005, when she married Leon and moved to University Park. Leon and Pat remained there until April 1, 2015, when they moved into Plymouth Harbor, a place which she adores and loves the people.

William R. Kennedy, M.D., Board of Trustees

In my years of serving on the Plymouth Harbor Board I have never been among a finer group of individuals. I am always amazed at the accomplishments of our Board members and their dedication to their Board responsibilities. I think this dedication in itself speaks for the institution and its residents. Plymouth Harbor is simply the best, and I am honored to be a board member.

William R. Kennedy, M.D. is co-owner of Kennedy-White Orthopaedic Center and specializes in Adult Reconstructive Joint Surgery. He is board certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and is a Fellow of both the American College of Surgeons and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Dr. Kennedy graduated from Tulane Medical School and did his orthopedic residency at the New York Orthopaedic Hospital at Columbia. While there, he served as the Senior Annie C. Kane Fellow in Orthopaedic Surgery and held a teaching appointment as a clinical instructor at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Dr. Kennedy has designed numerous total hip systems that were manufactured by several companies from 1972 until1995. He also designed several knee systems and is currently the co-designer of the Zimmer CR Flex Total Knee System. Dr. Kennedy is a member of the Florida Orthopaedic Society, American College of Surgeons, American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, and the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons. He is also a member of the Florida Arthritis Foundation Board of Directors, and has served as President and Vice-President of the Society for Arthritic Joint Surgery. Dr. Kennedy enjoys spending time with his family and woodworking, especially if it involves boats. He is an avid sailor, and in 1980, he qualified for the Olympic final trials in the Star Class.

There are many forms of philanthropy, but giving of yourself and your talents falls into a special category. If you have ever visited the eTEAM on a Saturday morning, you’ve no doubt met many of the Sarasota area high school students who volunteer here, and make up the eTEAM. These wonderfully talented students assist residents with electronics, such as cell phones, computers, tablets, printers, and various other devices. Currently, we have a team of seven students: Matthew Jacobs, Brandon Kennedy, Tyler Lundy, Paul Nicowski, Natasha Nieckoski, Jared White, and Stephen Yaegers. Each of these students is generous and skilled, and we are ever so grateful for their time. The student with the longest tenure as an eTEAM member is Jared White. He was our first student member, and he has just celebrated two years with us, giving over 130 hours of his time to the eTEAM. This fall, he will be going into his senior year at Suncoast Polytechnical High School. But, do not fret…he is not going away. He’ll be with us until he graduates, we hope. Please enjoy reading a recent conversation I had with Jared.

You recently received a special certification. Can you tell us more about that?
The certifications I recently received are known as the CompTIA A+ and Network+, which are certifications designed to show my skill set in the computer and network technician field, respectively. In addition to the competitiveness of the certifications, they also weight with them an equivalent of 6 months on the job training, of which I credit to the multitude of experiences I achieved through working with the residents living at Plymouth Harbor.

You have been attending Suncoast Polytechnical High School. What attracted you there?
From the beginning of Polytech—the nickname many have coined for Suncoast Polytechnical High School as a result of its length—the idea surrounding the school was to equip students with the tools they need to either go on to be bountiful additions to our community in Sarasota in terms of the workforce or to go onto college equipped with the tools they need to succeed in the modern setting of university life. This initially attracted my sister, Megan White, who attended the school the second year it opened as a member of the class of 2016. Along with the school’s A rating and priority seating at SCTI (now known as STC) my family has always been comfortable with the fact that I had choices when graduating from high school, a choice many don’t have when they graduate.

What has your focus in high school been to this point?
Up to this point, my goal has always been consistently the same, though it has changed from working as a technician in the Sarasota area to attending a university to study computer science, as I still plan to do once I graduate from SPHS. With this degree plan, I plan to move on to working as either a database or network engineer.

Have you enjoyed being an eTEAM member?
Volunteering at Plymouth Harbor has been a great joy, as I have not only been able to expand my customer service and social skills, but also my technical experience with practical problems that I will undoubtedly encounter in the entry-level workforce. I would like to personally thank everyone at Plymouth Harbor for the experiences I’ve had, and hope that my service from here forward will continue to be as meaningful to you as it is to me.

Jack Smith 1The Reverend Dr. Jack A. Smith was approved as the Administrator of Plymouth Harbor in 1971, holding the position from 1972 until his retirement in 1989. At the time, Dr. Smith was a minister in the Florida Conference of the United Church of Christ, with administration experience and a degree in business. He was selected to replace Alan Switzer, Plymouth Harbor’s first administrator, who retired at the end of 1971.

Throughout Dr. Smith’s 17 years at Plymouth Harbor, the organization received an excess of $10 million in voluntary gifts from residents, was able to pay off a mortgage of roughly $3.5 million, and made capital improvements to the property in excess of $16 million—including the construction of the North Garden: then a 60-bed licensed skilled nursing home, 32 additional apartments, and a 58-car garage. Today, Dr. Smith remains actively involved in Plymouth Harbor life, serving on The Mildred and Bernard Doyle Charitable Trust scholarship committee.



William R. Johnston, Board of Trustees

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.

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 a consummate board member who shares his time and talent with many organizations in addition to Plymouth Harbor, including DeSoto National Park and New College of Florida. He is also a past trustee of both Washington and Lee University and Hollins University, his wife’s alma mater. Bill’s additional advisory board service is too numerous to mention in this article, but suffice it to say that he is in demand and gives of his time generously.

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.  He and his wife Betsy are Bradenton residents, who also spend part of their time in the northeast.


The Roman poet Virgil once said, “The greatest wealth is health.” At Plymouth Harbor we couldn’t agree more and our Wellness Center promotes that mindset in countless ways—through group fitness, whole-person wellness, social activities, and much more.

From its formal inception in 2011, Plymouth Harbor’s wellness program was designed to evolve. As we approach Plymouth Harbor’s 50th anniversary next year, we thought it would be fun to take a look back and see just how far fitness and wellness have come from those early days.

Back in the Day

While it was state-of-the-art at the time, retirement living back in 1966 (when Plymouth Harbor first opened its doors) looked quite different than it does today. Back then, physically-passive, socially-oriented activities like walking, gardening, and shuffleboard were the norm. Plymouth Harbor’s Activities Department offered a weekly exercise class and, in later years, resident Lois Droege, with her background in physical education, led a popular group fitness class for residents.

july-wellnessTimes changed, and by 2005, later generations were expressing a desire for more comprehensive fitness programming. The opportunities they were enjoying at the local YMCA or other health clubs weren’t available at Plymouth Harbor; Marketing was hearing this from prospects and their families as well.

A 2011 resident survey revealed that one of residents’ top three priorities was a wellness center with professional staff and programming. Residents wanted updated equipment, knowledgeable instructors, and a variety of fitness classes. Next step? Making it happen.

Our philosophy was “develop the program and they will come.” The brick and mortar would come later. The first step was recruiting a wellness professional, with the proper credentials and experience with a senior population, who could build a program from the ground up. Enter Chris Valuck in September 2011.  As planned, by April 2013, Chris had developed the program to the point that a second full-time staff member was needed and Amanda Kirk joined the team.

By May 2013, a capital campaign was underway and the funds needed for the cost for a new, state-of-the-art wellness center had been donated by generous residents and staff. In September 2014, Plymouth Harbor’s beautiful ‘new’ Wellness Center opened its doors. By November 2014, Chris and Amanda, along with seven other staff members,  were helping to develop Plymouth Harbor’s employee wellness program, OnBoard. 

Wellness Today

With experienced and knowledgeable staff onsite, residents receive a multitude of benefits, including personalized fitness assessments, weekly orientations, and enhanced programming—including both group fitness and other physical activities.

Resident fitness assessments are conducted for each new resident, whether in-home or in the Wellness Center. After assessments are completed, resident records are created and maintained, including documents such as consent forms, waivers, guidelines, medical clearances, medical history, and exercise logs. Today, the Wellness department is in a position where they can also offer re-assessments to current residents, upon request.

With the help of contracted instructors, the Wellness Center offers at least 10 separate fitness classes each month, some of which meet two to three times per week. Chris is onsite to teach some; however, contracting with qualified instructors allows the Wellness department to offer specialized classes in areas like Tai Chi and ballroom dancing that might not otherwise be available. Countless hours are spent researching, contacting, and vetting these individuals, to ensure residents are receiving the highest possible quality of exercise.  In addition to monthly classes, Wellness staff researches, organizes, and conducts both off-site and on-site events, including last year’s Wellness Week, field trips, kayaking, and more.

Community outreach and networking with other local fitness centers and CCRCs is conducted on a regular basis to keep programming up-to-date. To promote both Plymouth Harbor and wellness in the greater community, Chris and Amanda also serve as “The Face of Wellness” at receptions and events to assist the Plymouth Harbor marketing team. The two additionally contribute monthly to the Harbor Light, and have prepared, designed, and produced numerous take-home brochures and guidelines for increased in-home fitness for residents.

Wellness in the Future

As time passes, there continues to be a resident desire for added programming. Residents can expect the Wellness Center to adapt and improve to meet these requests—through continued research, and an emphasis on unique classes and events. One resident-requested improvement in particular that will be implemented, is the expansion of outdoor physical activities (like the popular beach walk or kayaking) into regular programming.  You can look forward to seeing these types of activities more often, as well as new, never-been-done-before activities like visits to local state parks. Residents can also expect additional group fitness classes, such as the desired tap dancing class. These unique forms of physical activity promote exercise in an interesting, social environment and we hope they will inspire and encourage more residents to participate in physical activity to enhance their well-being.

With a higher resident demand for in-home fitness, a “Wellness Center Exercise Series” is also in process, which will encompass a series of exercise booklets and DVDs of the most popular wellness classes. As of now, the Line Dancing DVD is complete, and Sit Fit and Better Balance are in the works. Stay tuned for additions to this series. Along those same lines, the long-awaited Preferred Professionals Program is now available. Designed to meet resident requests for personalized services (including personal training, Pilates, yoga, dance, and massage), residents can expect this brochure in their mailbox in just a few short weeks.

Wellness goes beyond the four walls of Plymouth Harbor. For that reason, the Wellness department is collaborating with staff to offer an internship program to qualified students studying Exercise Science. They are also planning to offer a Harbor Club program, where members are allowed special access to participate in popular Wellness activities.

We’ve come a long way since 1966, and we plan to keep evolving to meet your needs. Stay tuned for updates on new programs and activities, and please continue to share ideas and enthusiasm with staff.

ElsaElsa Price is an energetic, optimistic lady who sees many positives as she reflects on her life. “I have been blessed,” she says, “to have enjoyed 43 years with my late husband, Don Price, who made our life together seem like a fairytale!” During Don’s working years, they traveled throughout Europe, cruised aboard the QE to Paris, flew home on the Concord, and delighted in the joys they discovered wherever they went. It will be four years since Don passed in August 2011, and her obvious love and deep admiration for this remarkable man is ever present.

Their love affair ignited when Elsa reconnected with Don (10 years her senior) while she and the children were living in Michigan with family—Elsa was gainfully employed with the police department doing criminal record searches at the time. Elsa recalls vividly when Don came to visit, not having seen one another since childhood. It was “love in the moment” tender and captivating, and they knew then that it was time to share their lives and their children: Elsa’s three daughters and one son, and Don’s two daughters became “our family” of six lively teenagers!

At age 42, when she and Don reunited, Elsa had already accomplished a great deal on her own.  There were many challenges…the early loss of her parents and the equally tragic loss of her identical twin sister (they were mirror twins) to cancer when they were only 37 years old.  The twins had always been inseparable, dressing alike well into their college years, and, of course, enjoying the baffled queries of young men who asked, “which one are you?!”

In late 1950, Elsa became a “farm girl” when she and the family were living in the beautiful Green Mountains of Manchester, Vermont.  This was a real  “working farm” with everyone sharing in the daily chores of milking their family cow, feeding the chickens, grooming the horses, breeding golden Labradors, raising their own beef,  and cultivating their large vegetable garden which provided produce for both the summer and winter meals.  During the winter season, part of their farmhouse was converted into a ski lodge, providing bunks for their guests who enjoyed the warmth of the big fireplace after a day on the slopes, and a hearty dinner around the farmhouse table.

Being adventurous by nature, Elsa found time to expand her horizons by learning how to fly at the local airfield. She ultimately became General Manager of the Morrisville-Stowe Airport that services General Aviation and small jets (very small jets as the runway is short and the mountains are very tall!). Curious to fly a small plane with no engine, Elsa experienced the awesome solitude of “soaring in a glider” as the thermals carried her over the mountains in a world of total silence…amazing!

Aviation appears to be a family trait as Don was an accomplished pilot in his own right, and as a very young man flew his single engine Belanca—solo—from Minnesota to São Paulo, Brazil in just four days. Their son, Jay, an Air Force Veteran, carries on this tradition as he pilots his own single engine, four place, Cirrus SR22 for both business and pleasure. As Jay and his wife, Leslie, live in Sanderling on Siesta Key, Elsa has been known to “hitch a ride” on occasion.

From “living off the land” to “flying high in the sky,” Elsa moved on to “life at sea.” Don introduced Elsa to boating, which became a way of life throughout their years together. Elsa recalls with pride that Don was a great captain, and was assured that she was the finest “first mate.” Being the proud owners of three motor yachts, all aptly named PRICELESS, they weathered their share of dangerous storms, skirted around “sea pirates,” and experienced many other exciting adventures at sea. Their yacht was berthed at the Sarasota Yacht Club (SYC), where Don was a highly respected Past Commodore. Both are also life members of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

In 1981, Don retired, and Elsa and Don cruised the east and west coasts of Florida in search of their next home together. Sarasota captured their hearts: how could it not?  They bought their home in Lido Shores, directly on New Pass, where they lived for ten years. Driving past Plymouth Harbor everyday, on the way to SYC, piqued their interest. After a “stop in,” Elsa and Don knew they had found their final home in the tower on the 23rd floor, with its endless windows, a vista of blue sky, spectacular sunrises, and water all around!

In 1993, at age 63 and 73, Elsa and Don became residents of the Plymouth Harbor family. Don, a natural leader and visionary, saw an immediate need for members of the Board of Trustees to be aware of the residents needs through a voice on the Board, proposing the appointment of at least one resident representative. “We now have 16 highly-qualified trustees,” says Elsa with pride. “Don was privileged to serve as a resident representative on the Board of Trustees from 1997-1998.” Following in his Dad’s footsteps, their son Jay was recently appointed Member at Large on the Board of Trustees of the Plymouth Harbor Foundation, and looks forward to being an integral part of Plymouth Harbor’s destiny, and perhaps, in time, a future resident!

Elsa Price 2“During my 23 years in residence, I have watched Plymouth Harbor’s continual advancement in every arena as our CEO, Harry Hobson, with his vision and dedicated focus, strives to ensure the ultimate in our senior care living to its full potential,” says Elsa. “I am very impressed with the many improvements over the years of the lobby decor, restaurant renovations, creation of the state-of-the-art Wellness Center, our Smith Care Nursing Facility, the imminent groundbreaking of our Memory Care Center, valet parking, errand cars, each amenity enhanced for the ultimate comfort of our residents.”

With a quiet acceptance, Elsa recalls Don’s decline with Alzheimer’s, and praises both the intensive training with Teepa Snow, who provided the tools to help her cope with caregiving, and the invaluable six-week course offered by the Friendship Center under the tutelage of Nancy Hobson.  In this setting, Elsa remains forward-looking, focusing her energies on her health and healing to match her young spirit. In a philosophical moment, Elsa shares, “If you meet the challenges that life puts before you, strive to find that haven of peace and stillness, remain inspired and directed, search for the abundant goodness in those around you, then you will find that hope shines in every heart that believes.” Beaming with one final thought, Elsa reveals that a family reunion is planned the end of December 2015, a joyful time when family will gather together in the holiday spirit of sharing and creating magical moments and memories!