Move-In Date: September 22, 2011

John was in the gold business. It is tempting to visualize young John, pick axe in hand, but it was his grandfather who was in the Klondike gold rush, struck gold, and later started the Williams Gold Refining company in Buffalo, NY, in 1912. John was CEO of the business, which involved precious metals for the dental business, and highly sophisticated metals for the semiconductor industry, from 1958 until the business was sold in 1986. John got his flying license at the age of 17, butflew his father’s Waco biplane on floats when he was eight on their way up to their summer home on Kawagama Lake in Ontario. He needed three cushions to be able to see out of the cockpit. He continued flying all his life, and owned a series of planes. The last one was a pressurized Cessna P-210 which he and Ann, who is also a pilot, flew all over the US and Canada, and even flew to Alaska on a five-week odyssey.

John met Ann on Kawagama Lake where her father, a professor of geology at Colgate, also had a summer home. John was 20 and Ann was 17 when they met. For three years they were an item until John became an Air Intelligence Officer during the Korean War. By that time, John had earned his BS degree from Yale in Business Administration, having been elected as a junior to Tau Beta Pi, the engineering equivalent of Phi Beta Kappa. John married, returned to Buffalo, and was the father of three children.

Meanwhile, Ann, who had grown up at Colgate University as a faculty kid, graduated from Skidmore College in 1953. She soon married, and supported about-to-be doctor husband. When they adopted two sons and a daughter, she became a full time house mother. With the exception of three stints around Washington, she lived in Columbia, MO, where her husband was Dean of the Medical School of the University of Missouri.

With the end of John’s marriage, he went looking for Ann. It seemed not to have taken much persuading to convince her to move to snowy Buffalo where they stayed until 1986 when they sold the business and moved to Bird Key. The Bird Key canal was home to a series of boats rigged for fishing and traveling, they cruised in the Bahamas for as much as six weeks at a time. With the larger boats gone, they had an electric powered boat for quiet cocktail trips around the Bird Key canals. Both boats and planes are now behind them, but their passion for bridge remains. Cooking for both of them, and for Ann, Mah Jongg, continue to be equally absorbing. Volunteer work has always been important in their lives. Ann’s chief commitment is to All Angels by the Sea. Her long term devotion to health care and to Hospice culminated two years ago as she was given the 20 year award by Hospice.

Can this busy pair work Plymouth Harbor activities into their schedule? They have many, many friends here already. John and Ann say they have simplified their lives so they will be real Plymouth Harbor residents.

Harry HobsonIt is hard to believe that the Holiday Season is just around the corner.  Thanksgiving is the official day that ushers in this festive time of the year. Thanksgiving also causes us to pause long enough to express appreciation to those who have given of themselves in so many ways, including philanthropically, by making a positive difference in the lives of others. This month I would like to highlight a special act of philanthropy.

Former president of the Residents Association and present member of the Philanthropic Advisory Committee, Jack Denison, recently visited with me to share his desire to sponsor one or more staff members in a career advancement opportunity. The spirit of this gift is to grant someone an opportunity to learn more about his or her profession in a forum off the Plymouth Harbor campus. The immediate goal is to bring new ideas back to Plymouth Harbor. The longer term goal is to produce a “win-win” scenario for both the staff member who grows professionally, coupled with enhanced resident care practices that will ultimately benefit the residents of Plymouth Harbor. I am pleased to announce that because of this gift, Liz Clark, LPN in the Smith Care Center who has been with Plymouth Harbor for 24 years, will be attending the LeadingAge Florida Leadership Academy this fall/winter. The Academy is a collaboration between our state long-term care trade association, LeadingAge Florida, and the University of Florida. It is designed to provide a challenging and engaging three-month learning experience to help aging services professionals at any level in their organization accelerate their leadership development so they are better equipped to serve our field. In essence, the mission of the Leadership Academy is to develop the next generation of leaders who will transform the aging services field and fulfill the leadership needs of our members. As a member of the Advisory Board of the Leadership Academy, I am also pleased to share with you that Brandi Burgess, Smith Care Center admissions coordinator, and Rob Kelly, director of accounting, are both graduates of the Academy. This “Spirit of Philanthropy” by Jack Denison is an illustration of the synergy that exists so often between residents and staff to produce this thing we often refer to at Plymouth Harbor as “The Sense of Community.”

We’ve made a few significant changes to the group exercise class schedule:

Starting November 1st

ALL group fitness classes are FREE of charge (This includes Tai Chi and Yoga)

A Great BALANCE Class! A significant number of residents have requested “balance” classes. Did you know that Tai Chi is an excellent form of exercise for balance and coordination? Are you not sure what Tai Chi is? Come by to observe, come by to try it out. These classes are held on Saturday mornings at 9:00 a.m., and starting November 12th (no class November 5th) they’re FREE, so why not try it?

A NEW yoga class format! By request from several residents, I have asked Ami French (our yoga instructor) to change the current class to incorporate a more traditional class format, one that would appeal to the majority of yoga participants. She feels that she will also be able to tailor the new class to accommodate those who have been doing chair-yoga. So, all can now participate! Please come, starting Wednesday, November 2nd at 9:00 a.m. to try out the NEW yoga class and receive the numerous benefits of this type of exercise.

We hope that this NO-FEE policy for the Tai Chi and Yoga classes will entice more residents to participate in these excellent classes.

Five Star quality and service is an everyday reality for Plymouth Harbor’s Swiss-born Executive Chef René Weder. Trained at the Culinary School of St. Gallen, Switzerland, Chef René further honed his skills at four and five star resorts throughout the United States during his 25-plus years.
Whether it was at the five star Boca Raton Hotel and Club, Hyatt Resorts in Hilton Head and Beaver Creek or the famous Brown Palace Hotel in Denver, Colorado, Chef René’s exceedingly high culinary standards were met on a daily basis and diners were served in elegant style.
The results didn’t change when he made the move last year to Sarasota and took on the responsibility for managing dining services at Plymouth Harbor on Sarasota Bay. He supervises a skilled culinary team and oversees service in Plymouth Harbor’s casually elegant Mayflower Dining Room and the Plymouth Rock Café. He is also responsible for the very active catering services which provide a unique resource for residents who wish to plan private parties, larger events and gatherings.
He plans regular dining adventures such as extravagant seafood buffets and a very popular Sunday brunch while never repeating a menu within a month. Residents vie for the opportunity to enjoy one of his Chef’s Tables with seating in the kitchen and a special menu prepared before their eyes.
While the culinary standards are high, Chef Rene has found another level of personal service that he can offer at Plymouth Harbor. “Our tastes change as we get older, and dietary restrictions complicate our dining experience,” shares Chef Rene. “Too often, establishments such as ours eliminate salt, or modify the preparation for all, which makes for an unnecessarily bland experience for some.”Chef Rene enjoys getting to know each resident prepares food to meet their specific preferences and needs.
“A fine dining experience is one of life’s greatest joys.” believes Chef René. “I would never want to compromise on this, and I don’t think our residents should either.”

Plymouth Harbor, is excited to announce its new arts education and exhibition programs in conjunction with the Ringling College of Art + Design. This partnership is the first relationship of its kind and will kick off with a talk hosted by Dr. Larry Thompson, President of the Ringling College and Chair of the Sarasota County Arts Council alongside Jim Shirley, Executive Director of the Arts Council on Thursday, February 25.

The series of events was inspired by the new mural commissioned by Plymouth Harbor resident Robert Barkley from local artist Jeff Schwartz to adorn the sixteenth “colony” at Plymouth Harbor. Schwartz was impressed by the art-first approach the residents took when bringing him in: “They cleared all the fixtures and everything out of the space and agreed to let the work dictate the feel of the space rather than trying to choose art to match the paint, which is usually the case.”

After the unveiling of Schwartz’ mural, Dr. Ann Albritton, professor of art history at the Ringling College will be hosting a series of talks in March at Plymouth Harbor called “Viewing Modern Art,” followed this fall by an exhibition curated by Mark Ormond of the Ringling College Galleries.

Robert Barkley is a longtime resident of Plymouth Harbor and member of the Ringling College of Art + Design’s Board of Trustees. After a successful career in insurance and benefits, Barkley moved from Indiana to Sarasota in 1992 and began to nurture his love of fine art after experiencing the amenities of the cultural coast. Barkley is dedicated to sharing his passion with the residents of Plymouth Harbor and the Sarasota community.