Plymouth Harbor’s Earth Day Celebration
On Monday, April 23rd, from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. in the Wellness Center, the Conservation Committee invites all residents to its annual event—Celebrate Earth Day!

Light refreshments will be provided in addition to interactive, informative, and fun activities—there will be trivia, videos, prizes, giveaways, featured items from the Fund Shop, local produce vendors, complimentary chair massages, an introduction to Plymouth Harbor’s new Resident Portal, and more! Bring your reusable shopping bags, and be sure to stock up on all things Earth Day.

Earth Day History
Celebrated each year on April 22nd, Earth Day is a global holiday focused on educating the public about environmental issues. The brainchild of Senator Gaylord Nelson (D-WI), and inspired by the student anti-Vietnam War protests of the late 1960s, Earth Day was aimed at creating a mass environmental movement. On April 22, 1970, an estimated 20 million Americans took to the streets to protest for a healthy, sustainable environment.

The first Earth Day accomplished a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city dwellers and farmers, tycoons and laborers. At the end of the year, the United States Environmental Protection Agency was formed, and the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts were passed. By 1990, Earth Day was recognized worldwide.

How Plymouth Harbor Contributes
Plymouth Harbor residents and the Conservation Committee do their part to participate in meaningful and effective conservation efforts. The committee promotes conservation of resources at Plymouth Harbor—including recycling, water, and electricity usage, which is regularly tracked and reported (2017 information will be available at this year’s Earth Day celebration.)

Additionally, when getting rid of household items, the committee strives to remind residents to consider the Resident Fund Shop or the donation collection bins located on the Ground Floor of the Tower—these four organizations (All Faiths Food Bank, Resurrection House, Sarasota County Animal Services, and Meals on Wheels) put our reusable items to good use.

We were very sad to recently say goodbye to Jim Gaylord in the Smith Care Center. Mr. Gaylord’s work life centered around the Colonel…yes, that’s Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken. He owned as many as 18 franchises during his lifetime, all in the Midwest, for which he was accustomed to many business operations. This was a big and important part of his life.

Upon his death, Jim’s wife Dee came to us and wished to make a gift to benefit the Smith Care Center, for whom she was eternally grateful for the great care Jim received. Her gift will fund an upgrade of the West Lounge in Smith Care Center to make it a functioning media center, much like the one in the new Northwest Garden Building. Her hope is that more rehab patients, guests, and long term residents will have better and more up to date access to secure internet, a printer/scanner, all in a comfortable and updated environment.

Thank you, Dee and Jim, for your generous and much appreciated vision for the Smith Care Center.


Throughout 2016 and 2017, Plymouth Harbor partnered with Sarasota Memorial Hospital’s HealthFit program—a contracted outreach program that brings experienced wellness professionals to organizations in the Sarasota community. We partnered with HealthFit in order to bring knowledgeable speakers here monthly as part of our OnBoard Employee Wellness Program.

Today, we are excited to share that we have expanded our partnership with HealthFit to recruit and staff our Wellness Director position. This partnership means that the Wellness Director is a skilled, experienced wellness professional and a HealthFit employee, contracted to work here at Plymouth Harbor.

After a careful and dedicated search with HealthFit, we are thrilled to introduce Summer Rentsch as Plymouth Harbor’s new Wellness Director. Summer has more than 10 years of experience in the health and wellness industry and a proven ability to drive and deliver improved health results. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology exercise science and health promotion from University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh. Additionally, Summer is specially trained in Six-Sigma Yellow Belt, Culture of Excellence – Culture Leader Level 1, Workplace Violence Prevention/Creating and Maintaining a Positive Work Environment, Business Acumen, Essential Facilitation and Leading Virtually, and PHI (Protected Health Information) and HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) Guidelines.

Most recently, Summer served as Personal Health Coach Manager for Humana, Inc. in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area, where she led a team of 18 direct reports and supported more than 11,000 individuals with chronic disease and/or behavioral health concerns. She was responsible for supporting associates and collaborating to develop and educate associates on chronic conditions, preventive measures, SMART goal-setting, and more. Also at Humana, Summer previously served as a Personal Health Coordinator and a Leader of Well Being Champion Group, helping associates within the Humana At Home business segment to implement well-being initiatives. Before that, she worked for Trotter Wellness in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, as Health Coaching Department Manager.

With Summer’s expertise, and HealthFit’s resources, we are excited to begin this partnership. Summer and her husband, Austin, live in Sarasota and enjoy an active outdoor lifestyle with their
dog, Lido.


The Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) periodically conducts unannounced surveys of its licensed agencies. As such, Plymouth Harbor’s Smith Care Center (SCC), our licensed skilled nursing facility, is surveyed every year. Our assisted living facility, formerly located on the Callahan Center (CC) level, and our home health agency are surveyed on average once every two years.

The unannounced survey of SCC tends to be the most intense, with four to six surveyors onsite for a period of three to five days. Throughout the survey, there are over 200 rules and regulations checked for compliance and a whole host of items these surveyors review for building safety. The outcome is used as one of three components to our national 5-star rating.

Plymouth Harbor has done very well in SCC the last several years, and has done particularly well in the last two years — which were deficiency-free for health care and health care documentation, cleanliness, and food service-related issues. Deficiency-free surveys (particularly two in a row) are extremely rare. According to Joe Devore, Vice President of Health Services, three or less deficiencies is considered to be a great survey, as long as none of the deficiencies are of a serious nature. Overall, these survey outcomes help Plymouth Harbor solidify our strong national 5-Star rating. (Plymouth Harbor scores in the best category, with only 10 percent of skilled nursing facilities nationwide.)

Not to be outdone, it should be noted that the Callahan Center’s last three surveys (April 2014, February 2016, and December 2017) each had a deficiency-free outcome. Additionally, our home health agency’s last two surveys (September 2014 and February 2017) were also deficiency-free. All of these surveys took place under Home Care Administrator Liz Clark’s leadership, and she and her staff are to be commended.

While we hope to never get to the point where deficiency-free surveys become an unrealistic expectation, we should certainly be proud as an organization to have earned such high marks. One thing that Joe Devore emphasizes to his staff, above all, is that the foundation of any great survey is happy residents. AHCA certainly recognizes this at Plymouth Harbor!


By: Judy Stanford

Marilyn Schwartz — call her “Lynn,” please — is a delightful newcomer to Plymouth Harbor who reveals a past of diverse experiences. Lynn was born in New York City and grew up in New Jersey. Her father was a successful real estate broker who suffered severe losses in the 1929 depression. Her mother built the business after his death (1939) and became the first woman president of the Jersey City real estate board. Quite a role model!

Lynn accomplished her undergraduate work at Mount Holyoke and, during those years, she met (on a blind date) and married Bob Schwartz, a chemist-to-be. They had a son (who is a doctor in Rochester) and a daughter who was in graphic design. Now retired, she lives half-time on Longboat Key (lucky Lynn).

Eventually, Bob established his own company and Lynn joined him to learn more about his work and professional operation. Though she claims not to know a thing about chemistry, she became proficient and capable in her new pursuit.

Meanwhile, Lynn happened to work for a “Home for the Aged” — a retirement community of many years back. The residents were indeed aged, and sick, and poor. The director of that facility succeeded in establishing an appropriate, modern venue and engaging qualified volunteer physicians to care for those patients. It was this working experience that led Lynn to consider social work as her next endeavor.

Her children grown, Lynn obtained her MSW (Master of Social Work) from Rutgers University. She then worked for the Millburn-Short Hills School System, initially as part of a child study team and then in their school for the deaf.

At that time, parents of deaf children tended to insist that their offspring “learn to talk,” Lynn says. This policy created great stress for the students and she spent much of her time counseling families. She is gratified today to know that “signing” is employed as a preferred method of communication and offers a great relief to those affected by hearing impairments.

Fast-forward to 1995. Bob and Lynn had often visited friends in Venice, Florida, and, consequently, were exposed to Sarasota. So-o-o in retirement, they chose Longboat Key for their new home. They lived at the Promenade and became “snowbirds” for twenty years!

Residents Mort and Carol Siegler are Lynn’s cousins, and Marian Kessler a friend. All, in turn, led her to Plymouth Harbor. We are so glad Lynn is here!


By: Lorna Hard

Shirley and her husband, the late Guy Nichols, are and were New Englanders. They met at the University of Vermont (UVM), and soon after she graduated, they were married. Asked about her college focus, she chose the classics, Latin and Greek, our origins. The mind is a curious thing, we know. At UVM, Shirley began her lifelong learning that continues to this day. Now, it extends to a literature course at the Longboat Key Education Center.

In their long, busy family life they raised three daughters—Pam, Gail, and Sally—who became Girl Scouts and college graduates and have led productive careers. Now their family line extends to three grandsons, three great-grandsons, and one great-granddaughter!

They moved several times within eastern Massachusetts: Worchester, Newton, Needham, Dedham, and Great Barrington, Berkshires (loved it). Her volunteer work led her to commute to Boston, often three times a week, to lead tours as a “Doric” docent. The docents were trained to guide adults and school children in a bit of history, architecture, and how the State House worked, explaining the legislative process. They visited in session and met with their representatives in groups of 10 to 20. Tours through the building lasted about an hour. Shirley tried a grassroots canvassing job for a friend’s campaign, going door to door to get signatures. That candidate was successful, so it was a good experience.

Shirley and her husband contemplated their retirement by taking to the seas, buying at first a day sailer. Gradually, the small boat traded into a bigger and bigger one until they finally could navigate and explore the Caribbean while living aboard the boat. They sailed to Antigua, Martinique, Guadeloupe (she liked French food), and on to the British Virgin Islands. They named their boat, “Song Liner,” after Bruce Chatwin’s book, “The Songlines.” They sailed for three, sometimes four, months each winter for many years! (Another career).

Reluctantly, they sold the boat and bought a house in Vermont. He loved it. She was bored. But few people love the cold winter, so they ventured south to Longboat Key. With the spirit of adventure intact, they retired from their nautical travels. So now, here’s to Shirley and her quest for learning (a fellow Economist subscriber). We are glad you have joined many like-minded land and sea worthy souls in our midst.

Welcome aboard to Plymouth Harbor!


Each year, organizations around the country celebrate “National Volunteer Month” during the month of April, when we remember to take a moment and recognize the work that our dedicated volunteers do year-round. Volunteers are the backbone of any community—lending their time, energy, and financial resources to organizations that are near and dear to their hearts.

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens (Selby Gardens) is one of the hallmarks of the local Sarasota community—offering a breathtaking bayfront oasis for tourists and natives alike and showcasing a living collection of rare and beautiful tropical plants. Originally the home of William and Marie Selby, and opened to the public in 1975, Selby Gardens brings in more than 130,000 visitors annually, and is recognized as a world leader in the study and conservation of epiphytes (a plant that grows on another plant but is not parasitic, such as orchids or bromeliads). Like many Sarasota organizations, volunteers are essential to the success of Selby Gardens as a private nonprofit.

Plymouth Harbor resident Susan Eckert is one of the botanical garden’s many dedicated volunteers. Susan began working with the organization in July 2014 after she relocated to Sarasota with her husband, Charles. As of December 2017, Susan has contributed more than 453 hours of volunteer service to Selby Gardens. She mainly serves as a docent in the Payne Mansion and Museum, but jumps in when necessary to work events, engage in training, and fill in for open shifts.

“I’ve always had an interest in horticulture, and when I lived in Atlanta I served as a volunteer with the Atlanta Botanical Garden,” she says. “Selby was a natural fit when I moved here.”

Plymouth Harbor employee Pete Berkery, of our Security department, also has an involvement with Selby Gardens, volunteering his time and talents in a unique way—behind the lens. Pete has a passion for photography, finding the best landscapes and views in the areas surrounding Sarasota County and sharing them with Plymouth Harbor to use in publications such as the Harbor Light resident newsletter, The Current employee newsletter, and the Plymouth Harbor Foundation’s annual Impact Report. Throughout 2017, Pete spent nearly 40 hours taking pictures that would best suit our use, and we are so grateful.

Pete scouts locations such as Myakka River State Park, Crescent Beach, Siesta Key, Lido Key, and, naturally, Selby Gardens. In fact, Pete even submitted his photos for Selby Gardens’ annual juried photography competition that they have been hosting since 1980. In recent years, the contest has included only photos that were captured onsite at Selby Gardens, awarding prizes to talented amateur and professional photographers who capture one-of-a-kind nature scenes.

We are continually grateful for the people who give precious time to help others. Year after year, Plymouth Harbor residents, employees, and board members alone contribute more than 10,000 hours to organizations in our community. It is that participation and support that makes Sarasota the vibrant and caring community that it is today.


By: Celia Catlett

Esther and Jorgen “JJ” Jensen like travel adventures. In fact, the journey they made two months after their marriage changed the course of their lives. Leaving their native Denmark by ship, they sailed through some rough winter weather to New York City and then took a bus cross country to San Francisco — with a slight delay in Reno, where the mountain passes were blocked by snow. Initially intending only a footloose and fancy-free jaunt, they decided to stay in the United States, and, aside from return trips to Denmark and many worldwide travels, they have lived here ever since.

Both have degrees from Danish business schools. Esther parlayed hers into employment at several banks and then worked as an airline ticket agent. She loved the travel benefits. After a two-year stay in San Francisco, Jorgen decided to study at Parsons School of Design, so they moved to New York then on to Dallas, where he worked in interior design. Finally, they settled in Atlanta and started their own retail business, importing Scandinavian furniture. It was a good fit for two people who appreciate design, art, and artifacts. The business burgeoned. Even after retirement, they retain one site in St. Louis, and Jorgen still travels to Thailand in search of the best teak.

Jorgen, who has joined our woodworking group, developed that interest through the many furniture repairs he made over the years. You can find him in the shop among the other members of “PH Chair Repair, Inc.” Next door, you can find Esther producing art glass in her kiln. This second, late career began with classes in Denmark. We at Plymouth Harbor have already enjoyed an exhibit of her beautiful creations. If you missed it, in February she will have a show at Art Uptown on Main Street. Esther is also active in The Fine Arts Society of Sarasota, a group that supports students and artists in all fields.

After 30 years in Atlanta, retirement brought the Jensens to Boca Grande, then to Bird Key, and now to Plymouth Harbor, a safe port for these world travelers who have been, as Esther puts it, “almost everywhere they wanted to go including several trips to Africa.”

Currently, an adventure to Antarctica is under consideration. Their most frequent trips, however, are summers in Denmark and visits with their daughter and her family in New York City.

We are glad that they chose to settle in our community.


By: Ky Thompson

Susan and Dan Juda are no strangers to the Sarasota area, having vacationed here for a number of years and having lived on Lido Key for two years prior to moving to Plymouth Harbor in November of last year. Susan’s sister, Heather Shaw, has been a resident of Plymouth Harbor for some years.

Susan and Dan met while in training at the Postgraduate Center for Mental Health in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy. This is one of the largest outpatient training centers in New York.

Susan was born in the Bronx, then was brought up in Queens and moved to Manhattan after attending New York University. The building in Manhattan where she and Dan brought up their family could represent the United Nations. New York, especially the Bronx, has one of the most diverse populations in the country. This is something that is familiar and very important to Susan and her integrated family.

Susan is an individual and group psychoanalyst and maintains a small individual practice in New York City. Dan and Susan have two sons and two grandchildren. Their sons are in New York City
and their grandchildren live in Florida. She looks forward to working in her garden plot growing flowers and herbs and taking advantage of the numerous physical fitness activities offered at
Plymouth Harbor. She loves music and dancing and hopes to do more of both in the coming years.

Susan is the coordinator and founder of Sarasota Stands Together (a non-partisan educational Indivisible Group) that works with six other Indivisible Groups in Sarasota — and with more than 6,000 Indivisible Groups nation-wide. The mission statement of SST is to create a networked community of empowered action-oriented individuals who work to protect the well-being of all citizens and who support the election of candidates that defend human rights and our democracy.

Dan was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and attended high school in Vermont and The Putney School. His mother was French, his father German, so he spent many summers of his youth in France (and in Israel where his father’s family emigrated). He has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California at Berkeley, his Master’s degree and Ph.D. from the New School for Social Research in New York City. Dan received his Certificates in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, and also in the Supervision of the Psychoanalytic Process from the PGC. Dan spent his professional career as a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in the Psychology Department and in private practice.

Before entering graduate school, Dan was a staff reporter for the Boston Globe newspaper. His first year he was assigned to four suburban communities; his second year he worked the “lobster shift” (midnight to 8:00 a.m.); his third year he was transferred to work with the main staff as a general assignment reporter. His final assignment was the investigative Spotlight Team that would be awarded a Pulitzer Prize for their uncovering of corruption in the City of Somerville.

Dan is an active member of the Sarasota Humanist Society as well as Sarasota Stands Together. He has numerous interests and hobbies (tennis, golf, bocce, violin, choral singing, bridge, sailing, and woodworking — especially with Barky, Gene, and Felix!) Dan hopes to find others here who enjoy ping pong.

Susan and Dan maintain an apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Susan is a New York resident and travels to New York periodically. It is a pleasure to welcome them to Plymouth Harbor.