Two years ago, the State of Jobs Conference, hosted by the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce and aimed at high school sophomores, did not recognize the senior services industry as a known career track. This year, for the second time, Plymouth Harbor participated in the day-long conference by sponsoring the Healthcare track, staffing an exhibit booth filled with employment and volunteering opportunities, and representing the field of nursing to students interested in healthcare as a career.

On October 10th, more than 850 students from Sarasota and Manatee counties attended the State of Jobs Conference, now hosted by CareerSource Suncoast. Held at Robarts Arena, students arrived at the arena at 8:00 a.m. and were free to visit exhibits for colleges and sponsors (yes, Plymouth Harbor had a booth!). The keynote address was by Blair Bloomston, vice president of Game On Nation, a respected consulting group that works with high-profile corporations, teams, and other organizations to build leadership, teambuilding, and communication. Following the keynote, students were ushered to their respective tracks, where three sessions were held for each track, led by experts in the field, such as business/entrepreneurship, arts and culture, manufacturing/engineering, information technology, healthcare, and hospitality/tourism. Lunch was provided by Jason’s Deli, and career track sessions were followed by two final panel presentations addressing College Preparation and Career Preparation. Students returned to school at 2:00 p.m.

The healthcare track is the conference’s largest track, with more than 250 students in attendance. During Plymouth Harbor’s session, Stephanie Leathers, April Gillespie, and Danny Bushman, all nurses at Plymouth Harbor, led an interactive scenario. In this scenario, a gentleman (played by a student in the audience) fell and experienced a head wound and brain trauma. Each of the three nurses represented a different level of care for the gentleman, and an aspiring nurse in the audience helped to dress the patient’s wound. The students learned how residents move through our system, receiving the appropriate and compassionate care they deserve as their needs change.

This year, for the first time, the evening offered a Parent’s Night, where 140 parents were invited to have dinner and listen to presentations from each of the six careers tracks. Healthcare was again represented by Plymouth Harbor, with Senior Vice President of Philanthropy Becky Pazkowski discussing the variety of careers available in the healthcare field.

As we continue to be challenged by workforce issues — such as the shortage of workers in our community — it is important that Plymouth Harbor stands out as an employer of choice. We will continue to keep our industry at the forefront, and you can bet that this inspiring and respected field of services for older adults is now recognized as a viable career track, and, indeed, Plymouth Harbor is leading the pack!

 

Most of us know that in January 1966 Plymouth Harbor opened its doors to the first residents of our community. But what you may not know is that in 1967 the idea behind the Resident Fund Shop was formed.

The Fund Shop has certainly transformed over the years. In early 1967, it initially began as the “Memorial Fund” established by the Residents Association, where monetary gifts were raised as part of a blood drive, collecting more than $280 to help purchase blood for the original “infirmary.”

In the January 1968 issue of the Harbor Light, an article indicated a name change from the Memorial Fund to the “Resident Fund.” Along with this came a change in their mission — the Fund had evolved to begin seeking donations of used, “saleable” items that could be sold to the Woman’s Exchange, from which the Fund would receive 70 percent of the profit of sold items. Later that same year, an update was given in the resident Harbor Light newsletter, referencing a new designated closet area in a colony room where donated items could be stored.

As the Fund continued to grow, it remained committed to supporting purchases for the infirmary, such as wheelchairs, a subscription to Reader’s Digest (in large type), and more. But it also grew to support other purchases as well, such as the purchase of new curtains for the chapel and the like. Residents showed their support by donating clothing, jewelry, furniture, pots, pans, linens, and many other items, which became part of the colony closet and were given to the Woman’s Exchange for sale. In 1972, the Fund reported that the Woman’s Exchange had returned more than $2,800 to Plymouth Harbor for that fiscal year.

As the years passed, the Resident Fund blossomed, expanding its scope and service, and collecting any items that would help support its mission. In May 1987, Plymouth Harbor gathered to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Residents Association, during which they recognized the integral role that the Resident Fund had played over the years. By 1988, the Fund was given its own “room” on the ground floor of the Tower, where the sale of items could be made here at Plymouth Harbor — what we now know as the Resident Fund Shop.

Countless improvements are owed to the generosity of the Residents Association Fund. Today, the Resident Fund Shop continues to be managed by dedicated resident volunteers and the mission remains the same — offering donated items for sale, and using the proceeds to purchase items that are deemed necessary by our residents. This year, we are proud to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Resident Fund Shop, which has unwaveringly contributed to the generous atmosphere of Plymouth Harbor. Please join us in celebrating this wonderful piece of our history!

 

By: Ann Anderson

It is not often to have lived a life where you really do not have any regrets. Gay Tennis has lived such a life, successful in her career and adventurous in her pursuits. She lives up to her name, Gay, embodying the joy of living.

She was born in Atlanta in 1936, but moved to Orlando when she was six years old. She grew up and graduated from high school there. Orlando was undeveloped in those days. She enjoyed experiencing the Disney growth and the birth of the Magic Kingdom. To this day, she is a lifelong Disney fan with a lifetime pass. She continues to visit, often with one of her sons and his family who live nearby.

After two years of college, she got married at the age of 19 and subsequently had three sons. That marriage ended in an amicable divorce after 19 years. Her boys and their families continue to
be the loves of her life.

In 1975, she married Gene Tennis. They remained happily together for the next 39 years, until his death in 2014. After his retirement in 2000, they traveled to every country in the world except Egypt. They also had a timeshare in Hawaii, which they visited with family and friends during every even year. They loved snorkeling and exploring the islands, even flying over a volcano just as it was preparing to erupt.

Professionally, Gay earned her B.A, M.A., and Ph.D. degrees from Georgia College and State University. From 1978-1984 she served as research director of the United Presbyterian denomination in New York City. From 1984-2000 she taught at North Georgia College and State University as a professor of business administration. She received recognition along the way, including a Distinguished Professor and Educator of the Year awards. One of her most treasured accolades came when she ran into one of her students years later. He declared, “You know Mrs. Tennis, I can’t believe I enjoyed your torturous course so much.”

Her hobbies still include traveling, singing in the Presbyterian Church choir, and reading…especially mysteries. “if someone doesn’t die in the first chapter, I don’t read on.”

Gay is a vibrant, intelligent, fun new neighbor at Plymouth Harbor.

 

By: Judy Stanford

When Tom Bulthuis says he is of Dutch heritage, we can tell that is more than just a matter of family descent — he was born in Grand Haven, Michigan, which he describes as “small-town America,” a beach town on Lake Michigan and part of a larger regional community of Dutch residents. Idyllic.

Tom grew up with four siblings who each married and had four children. Although he has no children of his own, he became “Uncle Tom” to 16 nieces and nephews. He is clearly Midwestern and Dutch.

After attending parochial schools through high school, Tom received his B.A. from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and his M.A. in Library Science from the University of Michigan.

Tom’s professional life began as a college reference librarian. He was later director of library services at Ramapo College of New Jersey and vice president of Microfilming Corporation, a New York Times subsidiary. He then became self-employed in graphic design, primarily working with the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

Meanwhile (after marriage and the birth of two sons), Edy was enjoying a varied and extensive career in healthcare. Born in San Francisco and raised in Arlington, Virginia, she was educated at the University of North Carolina and the University of South Carolina, where she received her BSN degree.

Over time, Edy held nursing positions in labor/delivery as well as psychiatry. She served as assistant director of nursing, director of managed care at Travelers Insurance, and nurse consultant for wound and incontinent care for Kendall Healthcare.

Most rewarding of her career accomplishments? She developed and implemented the first infection control program in the 250+ bed acute care hospital where she was employed. In 1993, Tom and Edy discovered each other at their Chapel Hill condo community swimming pool. They married two years later. That was 22 years ago.

While in Chapel Hill, the Bulthuises were active community members. In addition to Edy’s efforts for the Chapel Hill Service League and the American Cancer Society, they volunteered at Family House — a hospital hospitality facility, much like Ronald McDonald house, built for adults. Together, Tom and Edy were volunteer ushers at UNC basketball games for 15 years. Tom also served as a board member of the Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle. They were ardent hikers and kayakers. Edy is a Ruby Life Master bridge player and has played duplicate bridge for many years.

The Bulthuises arrived in Sarasota in 2016. They lived downtown while waiting for just the right apartment in Plymouth Harbor to become available. Happily, they joined us in August 2017. All settled now, Tom and Edy look forward to sharing their lives with their new Plymouth Harbor family.

 

By: Al Balaban

Does being forced to move frequently from one country to another during early adolescence result in a passion to move about the world freely later in life? That notion may occur to those who will have the opportunity to see Dr. Gloria Schranz’s huge world map, festooned with scores of multicolored pins representing the countries and cities she has visited thus far.

The only child of a middle-class accountant’s family, Gloria was a 12-year-old Latvian schoolgirl when Russia invaded her country at the start of World War II, later followed by German occupation. Her family subsequently moved to Nuremburg for her father’s work. Gloria was 14 when the war ended and they moved onto an Allied Displaced Persons Camp. Having no American relatives or contacts, they remained in the camp for almost six years.

She was able to continue her schooling while arrangements were being made for them to emigrate to the U.S. Finally, after a brief stay in Michigan, they settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she was able to continue her education.

Gloria earned a B.A. degree at a local college, then was admitted to Marquette University, graduating in 1957 as a Doctor of Dental Surgery. She quickly built an active practice. A little later she met William Schranz, owner of a family roofing company, whom she married in 1961. Their mutual passion for travel resulted in great personal joy and pleasure as reflected in the multi-pinned map. In 1987, they both retired, left Wisconsin for Florida and nearby Osprey, where he died in 2010. Although she no longer wished to have an active dental practice, Dr. Schranz received a license to practice dentistry in Florida so that she could volunteer her services at the Senior Friendship Center in Venice and serve on its Board of Directors for more than 20 years. She has also been involved with the Community Foundation and has been on the Board of the American Cancer Society.

Dr. Schranz is gradually settling in, building a new and comfortable place for herself, gradually meeting new people, but also enjoying the quiet opportunity to immerse herself in historical and mystery novels. Surely the subtle, seductive powers of Plymouth Harbor committees and residents will work their magic…but Africa still calls.

 

“Whatever talents we have ought to be used to make the world better…and to make the human family happier.”

That is what Martha Jane Phillips Starr’s father told her as a child. Many of us might make a note of this and carry on, but she took this notion to heart, remaining devoted to it throughout her life.

There is no doubt that this spirit of philanthropy, which was ingrained in her at such a young age, is what led to the Martha Jane Phillips Starr Field of Interest Fund pledging a generous gift of $1 million to the A Commitment to Memory campaign, naming The Martha Jane Phillips Starr Memory Care Residence.

Many of you may recognize the name “Starr” – yes, Martha Jane was the mother of resident Phil Starr and mother-in-law to Barry Starr. But before this, Martha Jane was born in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, in 1906 – 11 years before the U.S. entered World War I and 14 years before Women’s Right to Vote. She was the daughter of L.E. Phillips, co-founder of Phillips Petroleum Company (Phillips 66), and can be described as an extremely determined and dedicated woman.

Martha Jane was not given the opportunity to go to college like her brothers, and instead attended finishing school. In 1929, she married John Wilbur Starr, otherwise known as “Twink,” a University of Kansas-educated geologist, who happened to be a classmate of her brothers.

Originally, Twink worked at Phillips 66, but after they married, he decided to explore other careers. In 1931, they moved to Kansas City, Missouri, and had two sons. During World War II, Twink volunteered for the Navy and was called away for duty in the Pacific. At this same time, Martha Jane enrolled their sons in Pembroke Country Day School. It was here that she got her true start in philanthropic work, helping with fundraising efforts and eventually becoming a trustee.

Martha Jane went on to volunteer in her local community with Junior League, the Red Cross, and Planned Parenthood, eventually serving as president for each. In the 1950s, she became involved with research at the University of Kansas Medical Center that focused on human reproduction. She believed this same attention could be applied to healthy marriages – preparing men and women for marriage as they prepared for careers. This became a major goal of hers, and in 1959, Martha Jane worked with the University of Missouri Kansas City (UMKC) to create the Research Center for Family Development.

In 1963, she became one of the first women trustees at UMKC, where she was later awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. She also established the Family Studies Center and its Endowment Fund. In 1967, she created the UMKC Women’s Council, its Graduate Assistance Fund, and later, the Starr Education Committee.

When asked of his mother, Phil says, “She was a good mother and a committed volunteer.” Barry adds, “She was an incredible mother-in-law. She was so passionate about women’s issues and education.”

In 2011, Martha Jane passed away, and left her money to the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, where she established the Field of Interest Fund. She named her son, Phil, and friends Mary Kay McPhee and JR Majors as trustees.

Her Will stipulated that her Fund be used to support causes that were close to her heart, and that they support the development of educational programs that assist youth and adults, and promote stable marriages and healthy family life. In May 2016, the trustees heard our case for why the new Memory Care Residence programming aligns with her life work.

We shared that our residence will be dedicated to promoting healthy family life by removing the daily burdens of hands-on care by loved ones of those affected by dementia, restoring spousal and family relationships that suffer during the caregiving phase of life. Because of our program, relationships between wives and husbands, daughters and sons, and grandchildren and friends can again be restored. The trustees unanimously agreed to authorize this major gift.

Most notably, this gift marked only the second time the Fund made a donation outside of Kansas City. The Starr family also has a special tie to the Sarasota community. After the war, Twink began working for RB Jones Insurance when none other than the Ringling Bros. Circus became a potential client. Twink was asked to visit with the circus, and later, after he won them over, he purchased a vacation home on Longboat Key, where their family visited for more than 40 years.

By example, Martha Jane taught her sons the importance of giving. Today, Phil sits on the Plymouth Harbor Foundation Board, and he and Barry are leading the A Commitment to Memory campaign.

Phil says, “I saw both of my parents live a long life, longer than expected – dad to 95 and mother to 105. Barry and I want to have the most caring experience possible when the time comes. We want to know that we, and our family, will be taken care of.”

Plymouth Harbor is most grateful to Martha Jane and the generous gift by her Field of Interest Fund. There is no doubt that the Martha Jane Phillips Starr Memory Care Residence will be dedicated to fulfilling her legacy.

 

“Health is a state of body. Wellness is a state of being.” – J. Stanford.

At Plymouth Harbor we couldn’t agree more. Over the years, our definition of healthy living has certainly expanded. When we first opened our doors in 1966, an active lifestyle simply meant engaging in activities such as gardening and shuffleboard. Years later, a new approach — “wellness” — started becoming more prominent. Wellness offers a unique perspective on healthy living, one that emphasizes a balance of social, spiritual, community, professional, emotional, intellectual, and physical activities.

Along with this approach came a new definition of physical wellness, one that had grown to include more comprehensive fitness programming like those seen at the YMCA and other health clubs. In keeping with this trend, Plymouth Harbor opened the doors to our very own state-of-the-art Wellness Center in 2014, featuring professional staff, new equipment, knowledgeable instructors, and variety of fitness classes. With experienced staff onsite, residents were now able to receive a multitude of benefits, including fitness assessments, orientations, and enhanced programming.

By 2015, with the help of contracted instructors, the Wellness Center was able to offer at least 10 separate fitness classes each month, meeting two to three times per week. Today, the Wellness Center has expanded so much that weekend classes were added to our monthly programming in order to offer more options for our residents. Thirteen different classes are now provided, including our latest additions, Sit Fit+ and Yoga, which are offered on Saturday mornings. In addition, the Wellness Center continues to produce numerous take-home brochures, DVDs, and guidelines for in-home fitness.

Resident Elsa Price is a familiar face in the Wellness Center. While she used to regularly attend scheduled classes, Elsa now focuses her attention on dancing — with private dance lessons in the Group Fitness Room with instructor Jim Helmich (who also teaches one of our Line Dancing classes). Elsa says, “Not too many years ago, the Wellness Center looked quite different. Now, we have a beautiful center that is staffed by very competent people, and a dance floor that provides space not only for dancing but also for fitness. This dedication to mobility promotes a pathway to good health. It’s a wonderful improvement and a welcoming sign for those coming in.”

We are thrilled that the Wellness Center has become such an important resource in the daily lives of our residents, and we look forward to continually expanding our offerings.

 

By: Isabel Pedersen

He was an “officer and a gentleman.” That is how Barbara J. Chin describes her boss of 13 years, Lt. General James M. Gavin, Chairman of the Board of Arthur D. Little, Inc., a research and management consulting firm in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Barbara, fresh out of Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, went to Arthur D. Little.

After five years, she accepted a position with Lt. Gen. Gavin for what she calls “the best years of my life.” She stayed 13 years as Assistant to the Chairman of the Board. When Gavin retired after 13 years, she left to work for the President of Raytheon. There was another remarkable man in her life, her husband Joseph Chin. Joseph was one of 11 children of a Chinese immigrant family. His father supported this army of “Chelsea Chins” by running a laundry business. Her husband, as a boy, had his own iron and when he was not needed at the family laundry, he was rented out to other laundries, taking “his” iron with him. A pre-World War II enlistment, using an older brother’s birth certificate since he was underage, was extended when war was declared. As an Asian serving in the Pacific Theater, he was at extra risk. He found himself sometimes being shot at by both sides. After the war, and after studying at Northeastern University, Joseph became an electrical engineer. All his brothers became engineers as well.

Barbara, an only child born in Pittsburgh, moved to Summit, New Jersey, after her eighth grade year, a move that felt traumatic to her. Her adult years were spent in a condo in Lincoln, Massachusetts, where she was active on the Condo Board’s Hospitality and Welcoming Committee and its Garden Committee. After 37 years there, she has struggled to downsize so that she could move straight to Plymouth Harbor. Thank you, Salvation Army.

She is already at work in the Fund Shop, which she suggests might better be called the FUN shop. With interest in gardening, fashion, and decorating, there will be more people wishing to put her to work. Come say hello to Barbara in the Fund Shop on Friday afternoons and maybe find a few treasures as well.

 

By: Addie Hurst

Meet Rae Lichtenstein…that pert, smiling, friendly lady you have seen around the campus recently. She moved in on June 27th and just loves Plymouth Harbor! Perhaps one of her favorite activities is going to the movies and programs…she rarely misses one performance!

Rae was born in Brownsville, Pennsylvania, a small town about an hour from Pittsburgh. Her father was Austrian-Hungarian who met her mother in Uniontown, which was near Brownsville. He was a salesman. Rae graduated from high school, attended classes at the University of Pittsburgh and worked for her stepmother in the family restaurant and bar manufacturing business. Then she was introduced to Ernest by a relative. They were married within a year. Ernest owned supermarkets, eight in all, and Rae helped in various capacities. They had four children and now there are six
grandchildren; a series of mostly professional people — artists, an accountant, an attorney, and a bio-physics student.

At the age of 35, having watched her children in the water, Rae learned to swim, and swam laps for years. She also took yoga classes and participated in water aerobics. Ernest and Rae belonged to the Green Oaks Country Club, where Rae learned to play golf, mahjong, and canasta. They owned a second home in Deep Creek, Maryland, where they spent their weekends, boating and swimming. During this time, Rae enjoyed volunteering at Montefiore Hospital for 15 years.

Traveling? Yes, once a year, Rae and Ernest traveled all over the world, and once a year they took the children on a trip. Eventually, they bought a vacation home at Beachplace on Longboat Key where they spent 27 years. Rae loved taking the movie classes at the Education Center.

Ernest died in 1997. Rae was on the waiting list for two years before she moved here. Do say “hello” to her when you see her around Plymouth Harbor!

 

On Wednesday, August 30, 2017, Irma developed near the Cape Verde Islands from a tropical wave that moved off the West African coast three days prior. As we know all too well, Irma rapidly intensified, growing to a Category 5 Hurricane by Tuesday, September 5th. During Irma’s journey through the Atlantic, Plymouth Harbor’s Storm Team closely monitored its movement. Staff meetings took place at least twice daily during the week of September 4th to determine appropriate plans and preparations.

In addition to our Storm Team, Plymouth Harbor consulted with our “CCRC Consortium” — a group of retirement communities that we helped form more than 10 years ago, ranging in location from Sarasota to Naples. This group works together in times of need, serving as a sounding board and sharing resources and information. Throughout the development of Irma, we held regular meetings with this group, along with Ed McCrane, Chief, Sarasota County Emergency Management, to discuss plans and potential needs.

By Friday, September 8th, Irma’s track had shifted significantly further west, predicting landfall on Florida’s western coast and heading directly toward Sarasota. After again speaking with Ed McCrane and our CCRC Consortium, Plymouth Harbor announced a mandatory evacuation, which would commence on Saturday, September 9th. In the midst of all this planning, our staff was hard at work making sure that residents had a safe, secure, and comfortable shelter in the event of an evacuation. While our agreement with local hotels did not come to fruition due to overbooking and a plethora of unforeseen guests fleeing from South Florida, staff worked tirelessly to determine an alternative shelter: First Congregational United Church of Christ (UCC).

First Congregational UCC is Plymouth Harbor’s founding church, and was used as our independent living shelter some years ago. After viewing the church’s newly renovated, hurricane-rated facility, staff set to work preparing the space ahead of the evacuation decision. By the end of the workday on September 8th, cots, supplies, and an emergency generator were delivered and ready for use.

After evacuation was announced, staff teams and evacuation plans were finalized and put into place. Our CCRC Consortium stepped up, graciously offering supplemental buses in order to safely and swiftly evacuate our residents. Those communities included: Sarasota Bay Club, The Fountains at Lake Pointe Woods, The Pines of Sarasota, Lakehouse West, Sunnyside Village, The Glenridge on Palmer Ranch, Aviva Senior Life, and Village on the Isle. Additionally, Aviva Senior Life and The Glenridge on Palmer Ranch agreed to host our Smith Care Center residents and staff during the storm, while Sunnyside Village hosted staff and residents of our Assisted Living. By nightfall on Saturday, all parties were in place at their respective shelters.

While the experience was far from ideal, what came out of it was something special — a unique bond between staff and fellow residents, and an undeniable spirit of kindness and community. Residents never skipped a beat in rallying behind administration. They contributed in any way possible, helping one another and continually putting a positive spin on the situation. Some even joked that they had never experienced a “catered evacuation,” referring to Chef René’s impeccable spread, which included specialty salads, carved New York strip, salmon salad, and more. Residents at the church, including Peggy Wallace, Winnie Downes, Carl Denney, Ted Rehl, and John Goodman, shared their musical and show talents to help pass the time. At Sunnyside Village and Aviva Senior Life, residents and staff came together through song, puzzles, and conversation.

Resident Bobi Sanderson said the following of her time at the church: “I felt that the staff and assistance we received was absolutely unbelievable. We were given the ultimate help, both physically and mentally. It was well planned and well carried out to the nth degree.”

Charles Gehrie, who was also at the church, said, “The experience was very supportive. What most impressed me was the level of staff commitment. For instance, I knew our CEO was supporting us through plans and preparations; but what I didn’t expect was that when I had to get up in the middle of the night, he would be the one helping me out of my cot. That kind of commitment is extraordinary.”

Thankfully, Hurricane Irma slowed to a Category 2 storm as it neared Sarasota on Sunday evening, and we were blessed once again that our area was spared a direct hit. Overall, the Plymouth Harbor campus sustained minimal damage, and all residents were home by Tuesday, September 12th. We wish to thank our residents for your patience and understanding throughout this journey. We also extend our deepest gratitude to both our staff and community partners for your cooperation and generosity.

Please know that we are taking this opportunity to review and improve upon our preparations should the need for evacuation arise in the future. While Irma certainly presented an unfortunate situation, we know Plymouth Harbor is stronger from this experience.