In 1972, Beaulah Gaither and her husband Bob were proud to be working at Plymouth Harbor. It was the glamorous retirement community built in 1967 whose striking tower, the city’s tallest building, sat right on the shore of Sarasota Bay. “It was a real nice place and we enjoyed the residents,” says Beualah who celebrated her own retirement at the end of March 2013 after 39 years of service.
She and her husband Bob worked in housekeeping together until Bob retired after 37 years. During that time their work at Plymouth Harbor had become a family affair. All three of their daughters as well as their son worked there when they came of age. The entire family pulled together and all four children graduated from college and are enjoying successful careers. The daughters manage medical practices and the son owns his own mechanic shop. Beaulah and Bob can be proud of these many accomplishments.
Jim Myers, their supervisor for 25 of those years, knew the entire family well. According to his stories, they were an important thread in the fabric of life for their co-workers and the residents they served. From all reports, Beaulah always has a smile, rarely a complaint, and is quick to help out someone who needed a boost.
Resident Joan Runge knew Beaulah not as a housekeeper, but as one of her best customers at the Fund Shop. “She was always stopping in to buy something pretty for one of her ‘babies’,” says Joan. One might ask if she meant one of her five children, grandchildren, or even one of her co-workers who seemed to call Beaulah “Mama.”
At her retirement celebration on April 1, friends, co-workers, and residents gathered to honor “Mama” and speak to the many ways in which Beaulah enriched the lives of everyone at Plymouth Harbor for nearly four decades. Many friends who had already retired or that were not scheduled to work that day came in just to say good-bye. That is how special a lady she was to so many.
Harry Hobson, Plymouth Harbor’s CEO, surely appreciated her service but was concerned, he said, with a projected decline in income from the Fund Shop after Beaulah’s retirement. Of course this was all in jest, but Harry did point out that her husband Bob had told him that at the end of every day as he waited outside in his car to drive her home he asked himself, “What WILL she bring home today from the Fund Shop?” According to Bob, they used to have a garage that echoed. Now he can barely park the car in it. LOL!
At this farewell party Beaulah was showered with well wishes, a basket of goodies, a big bouquet of roses and a certificate for a special weekend retreat at the Lido Beach Resort. She also was able to go home with a large photo of Plymouth Harbor filled with loving messages from her many admirers.
Thank you, Beaulah Gaither, for your many years of hard work, generous service, and loving kindness.