mural1If you’ve stopped by the Smith Care Center’s (SCC) Therapy room recently, you might have noticed a change of scenery. In July, the SCC Therapy team welcomed a new mural on one of its walls, depicting a colorful and inviting beach scene.

The mural is the work of self-taught artist Carol Roman, who is also the mother of Tony Roman in our Dining Services department. Carol is a talented local artist, having produced artwork for Bradenton Healthcare and Peach’s Restaurants, in addition to specializing in artwork for individual homes, pool areas, furniture, and more.

The mural illustrates a beautiful shoreline with fencing along the beach, an anchored boat, islands off in the distance, and palm trees seemingly extending into the therapy room. While at first glance it may seem mural2like your typical beach scene, you may want to take a closer look. Each member of the SCC Therapy team has a personalized item incorporated into the mural. And if you are lucky, they just may give you a clue behind the meaning.

This mural is only the start for the SCC Therapy team. In the coming weeks, they hope to add inspirational quotes to the room’s remaining walls. With no
windows to the outside, the team felt this was the perfect way to incorporate the unique location and atmosphere of Plymouth Harbor. After stopping multiple visitors in their tracks and receiving several comments from residents, it seems they were right. If you are interested in viewing the new mural, simply stop by the SCC Therapy office and take a look.


By: Isabel Pedersen

NimickGeorge “Gus” Nimick is one of five Pittsburgh brothers who, each in his turn, marched off to study at Princeton University. His father had gone there, too.

It is no surprise that Gus, when they moved to Sarasota 30 years ago, looked for the Princeton Club. And, for 30 years, he has been the glue which kept that club alive: doing the boring stuff; maintaining lists, collecting dues, sending out notices, and making sure that someone besides Gus Nimick would be president. He did serve as president of the Ivy League Club but not “his” club.

Meanwhile, Deborah “Debbe” was cutting her own swath. Her presidency of the Child Protection Center and her private practice as the “teacher of last resort” for trouble
d and learning disabled children are the latest manifestations of a lifetime commitment to children. Her first child-centered job came at eleven, teaching swimming.

After finishing her classics major at Brown University, she added a master’s degree in Educational Psychology. Debbe started two pre-schools, in Sewickley, Pennsylvania, and in Houston, as they moved back and forth. Then she added some more courses in Houston and spent several years as a psychologist in the Houston schools. While in Pittsburgh, she had developed a fifth-grade curriculum for the gifted, all of this while raising three children.

The Nimick’s 59-year-old marriage involved moving from Gus’ native Pittsburgh where,  as a chemical engineer, he worked on product quality at Gulf Oil to managing Information Technology for Gulf’s trading branch in Houston. Then Pittsburgh, then Houston again. Gus’ early adoption of the computer to industry’s uses made him early in the IT work. He also served as Secretary to the Industry Advisory Board to the International Energy Agency.

Now, after studying economics at the University of South Florida and being elected to their honorary society, he does a bit of work as a Certified Financial Planner and tax preparer.

Between tap dancing classes, painting (which has become Debbe’s passion), Gus’ club work, their three children, three grandchildren, and their other volunteer activities, let us hope they can find time to relax here, just a bit, so we can enjoy this energetic pair.


MotepicMote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium (Mote) is not only an icon of Sarasota, but also a world-class marine research institution. An independent, not-for-profit organization committed to the conservation and sustainable use of our oceans, Mote brings the local community together, educating and reminding us of the vital importance of protecting our local marine habitat and beyond.

Plymouth Harbor residents have always been strong supporters of Mote — committing years of service and acting as volunteers, board members, and patrons. Resident Ted Rehl and his late wife, Fran, were volunteers for almost two decades, where he served as “head volunteer cashier,” responsible for filling all volunteer slots each week. Similar to the Rehls, many residents, including Larry Coffey, BJ Peters, Gerda Maceikonis, Molly Moffatt, Hank Gieseler, and many more, spent numerous years at Mote as loyal and devoted volunteers.

Resident Nancy Lyon is currently a 19-year volunteer of the organization. “My late husband, Bob, and I got involved when we were new to Sarasota,” she says. “He always liked fish, and we thought it would be a nice way to meet people.” It has turned into so much more for Nancy, who volunteers at Mote every Wednesday. Over the years, she has helped take care of mammals, assisted researchers, and helped guests in the gift shop.

Today, Nancy sells admission tickets. Her favorite part of volunteering there? Giving back to the sea and to the community. “What I always find so interesting is that a lot of people don’t realize that Mote is only 25 percent aquarium — the other 75 percent is devoted to science,” she says.

Resident Bobi Sanderson has volunteered as an aquarium guide at Mote for 22 years. Now volunteering on an as-needed basis, she works about three hours per week. Bobi was always passionate about ecology and marine life, so getting involved with Mote was a given. When asked what she enjoys most about her volunteer work, she almost immediately responded with “education.” She went on to say that she respects the staff, who consistently keep volunteers informed while collaborating with other laboratories and working on new discoveries. “You can’t help but be enthusiastic when you’re working there,” Bobi says. “You’re not only teaching, but you’re learning.”

Resident Dr. Lou Newman, a retired veterinarian with a Ph.D. in Veterinary Pathology, has also worked with Mote since he moved to the area years ago. Because of his professional background, Dr. Newman’s role is different than your average volunteer. Over the years, he has participated in training programs in order to aid in the rescue of marine animals, and later he assisted in the rehabilitation of these animals. He has also assisted in the cataloging of microscopic specimens and consulted with researchers on several projects. Today, Dr. Newman is consulting with researchers on biomarkers (substances indicative of disease or infection) related to fertility in several species of animals and fish.

There is no doubt that Mote is an organization unlike any other, and our residents are extremely dedicated to their service. To learn more about Mote’s efforts, visit


new-york-city-828776_1920On June 30, 2016, Plymouth Harbor on Sarasota Bay live-streamed its first-ever Broadway musical. Thanks to resident Arthur Ancowitz, M.D., She Loves Me – a romantic comedy with “a soaring score” – was presented onscreen in our newly upgraded Club Room through an online streaming service provided by BroadwayHD.

Dr. Ancowitz first saw the play live in New York City, where his great nephew, Nicholas Barasch, plays the part of Arpad in the show. Inspired by the performance, he wanted to share the experience with friends and family down in Florida. Suffice it to say that the 52 residents and friends of Plymouth Harbor who attended the event are certainly glad he did.


If you have passed by Pilgrim Hall recently, you may have noticed a little different look to the perimeter. Veiled with plastic partitions and a zippered door, the rejuvenation has begun!

You will see on the floorplan (below) that several new items have been added:

  1. On the north wall we have added a ramp for easy access for those with mobility challenges.
  2. The stage has been widened and deepened on both sides.
  3. Steps up to the stage have been added on both sides of the stage front.
  4. The backstage has been improved and storage has been increased.
  5. The sound booth has been moved to the back of the Hall, with portability and remote capabilities from anywhere in the room.
  6. Acoustical panels were added to all corners, the north and south walls, and the ceiling (which is not shown this in the floor plan).
  7. Both doors on the south corridor were widened for easier ingress and egress.
  8. A walled area at the west end of the Hall was designated for walker and other storage.
  9. A quick service area has been added to the northwest corner, adding symmetry and additional service area for the dining staff.
  10. The area between the walker storage and quick service area on the west (back) wall is a removable wall, intended for increased seating when needed. Capacity in the new hall is 100, increased to 130 when the wall is opened.

We are still hopeful for a December grand opening, when the complete new design will be  revealed! Stay tuned!




Wendy Underwood always played by the rules…that is until she met Jim. As a teenager, Jim ran away from home to join a carnival. Always chasing his next dream, he came home a year later to get his father’s signature to join the Air Force. From there, Jim traveled the world and dipped his toe into many different professions. Wendy, on the other hand, was a “good girl” who worked for the same telephone company until her retirement. How was it that these two seemingly opposite individuals met?

View their July Insights presentation to find out:

Insights is a monthly connection where residents can share stories and insights about their lives, careers, and hobbies with Plymouth Harbor employees. A feature of Plymouth Harbor’s developing employee wellness program, OnBoardInsights is offered at noon on the fourth Friday of each month. Open to all employees, lunch is provided, supported by gifts to the Plymouth Harbor Foundation employee assistance fund. Thanks to Phil Starr, each Insights presentation is videotaped for viewing by employees unable to attend the live event.


Elsa_JimJim Helmich has been an independent contractor with Plymouth Harbor since September 2014, when the Wellness Center opened. He teaches line dancing every Tuesday from 10:30-11:30 a.m. In addition, Jim operates his own dance studio, Ballroom City, where he offers private lessons in a variety of dance forms.

It is no surprise that Jim comes from a musical family — his mother was a Sweet Adeline (the worldwide women’s chorus that formed in 1945, singing a cappella barbershop harmony) and his grandfather was a singer on early television. Jim began playing classical piano at age seven, and as a teen he sang in both the church and school choirs. After high school, Jim moved from Ohio to Sarasota to attend New College of Florida. He was a pre-med student with the hopes of becoming a veterinarian. However, after one conversation with a neighbor, the course of his career was changed for good.

Jim’s neighbor was an undefeated U.S. ballroom dance champion, and when he opened his own dance studio in Bradenton, he asked Jim to join him as a dance instructor. Although he had never danced professionally before, Jim says he was a quick learner and received a great deal of on-the-job training. The rest was history. He spent nine years working for local dance studios, including the Fred Astaire Dance Studio, and has now owned Ballroom City for 15 years. He is certified in dance instruction through the National Dance Council of America, and competes in numerous ballroom dance competitions each year.

In addition to social and mental stimulation, Jim explains that dancing offers many health-related advantages. According to a 21-year study by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, funded by the National Institute on Aging, dancing is linked to a number of health benefits and may even help reduce the risk of dementia. The study followed seniors 75 and older and showed reduced stress and depression, and improved balance, endurance, cardiovascular health, and mental capacity.

“How I’ve seen dance improve people’s lives is amazing,” Jim says. “It’s all about having fun, and I try to make each day as positive as possible.”

If you’re interested in learning more, make sure to stop by Jim’s Tuesday morning class. You can also find his contact information in the Wellness Center’s Preferred Professionals brochure.


It is with pleasure that I announce that Becky Pazkowski has been promoted from Vice President to Senior Vice President of Philanthropy for Plymouth Harbor. Becky has done an admirable job in a key leadership position to help us establish The Plymouth Harbor Foundation since her arrival on June 11, 2012.

During her four-year tenure at Plymouth Harbor, she has successfully led the Wellness Center Capital Campaign and the Pilgrim Hall Rejuvenation Campaign.  In addition, working with donors, she has helped us establish over $14,000 in annual educational scholarships awards, grow the employee hardship fund, establish a young person volunteer program to assist residents, seek grant funding from other foundations, and establish a planned giving program for legacy gifts. In the last four years, Becky has helped to generate over $4,000,000 in gifts to support life at Plymouth Harbor now and into the future.

In addition to her duties as our chief philanthropic officer, Becky has assisted me on other key projects. I hope that you will join me in congratulating Becky Pazkowski, our Senior Vice President of Philanthropy, for earning this promotion.

Harry E. Hobson, President/CEO


By: Becky Pazkowski

Picture154Mildred and Bernard Doyle (Mimi and Larry to their friends) lived at Plymouth Harbor from 1977 until they passed away in 1996 and 1997. Mrs. Doyle was a Sarasota native and one of four in the first graduating class of Sarasota High School. She was the sister of Verona Burns, who was married to Owen Burns (of Burns Court).

Mr. Doyle was from Baltimore and came to Sarasota to work on completing the “hard road” that we now know as U.S. 41, between Fruitville and Phillippi Creek. The two met during his time in Sarasota, but he left for the war and other jobs in Baltimore. When his friend mentioned that Mimi was being courted by another, Larry quickly returned to Sarasota on a Thursday, proposed on Friday, and they were married on Saturday! So began their life together.

Although bright and ambitious, neither of the Doyles was educated beyond high school, yet they valued education immensely. When they came to live at Plymouth Harbor, they had much adoration for the employees. The Rev. Dr. Jack Smith, former executive director of Plymouth Harbor, having known them both very well, knew of their passion for education and employees and suggested that a scholarship program be established with the gift they left Plymouth Harbor in their endowed trust. Known today as the Doyle Scholarships, nearly 30 individuals have directly benefited from this generous gift throughout the years.

The 2016 Doyle Scholarship recipients are:

 LaToya Jackson

LaToya Jackson has been a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) for seven years, now working in our Home Care department. She is a student at Meridian College, studying Diagnostic Medical Sonography. Her goal is to earn her Bachelor’s degree in Pediatric Cardiac Sonography. She has chosen the healthcare field because she loves to help people and has a “hands-on” approach to care.

She has been described by her supervisors as a compassionate, attentive caregiver, with a deep desire to learn. Anyone who knows LaToya knows that she is a remarkably positive individual with high standards of care, and is a delight to be around. Congratulations, LaToya!

Elly Walton

 Elly Walton just graduated from Riverview High School’s International Baccalaureate Program. She plans to attend Florida State University in a pre-med program, which she has already begun in the IB Program at Riverview. Eventually, she plans to attend Emory University Medical School. Armed with her M.D., she will pursue her longtime goal of service to others somewhere in Africa, hopefully aboard the Africa Mercy (a hospital ship belonging to the humanitarian organization, Mercy Ships).

Elly has over 200 hours of community service, and is a cherished valet here at Plymouth Harbor. She includes her time here at Plymouth Harbor as part of her journey to learning that even one’s wildest dreams can be accomplished. Congratulations, Elly!


By: James Ahstom

Don and Barbara MacLean_5-2016 (4)Barbara was born in Rome, New York. Don was born in Northampton, Massachusetts. Each had a father who was a doctor. Barbara’s father had her drive him to his house calls so that he could evaluate her driving skills and acclimatize her to cold winter weather by waiting in the car. She attended Rome Academy and Green Mountain College. Don attended the University of Massachusetts.

From 1953 to 1956, Don was a test pilot at The Air Development Center, Rome, New York. He was called back into service with the Massachusetts Air National Guard from 1957 to 1962, and flew F86 Sabre jets at the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1961. He was stationed outside Strasbourg, France, and later Libya. He received a commendation for flying the photo plane used in atomic bomb studies.

Since Barbara and Don were married on May 5, 1956, they recently celebrated their sixtieth anniversary. They have two daughters and a son. Susan lives in Canandaigua Lake, New York. Martha lives in Ligonier, Pennsylvania. David lives in Wayland, Massachusetts. They have nine grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

They have lived in South Glastonbury, Connecticut (three years), Long Meadow, Massachusetts (six years), North Tonawanda, New York, Canandaigua, New York, and Longboat Key, Florida.

Don was a member of Rotary, serving as President of the Tonawanda Rotary Club and Co-Chairman of the District Youth Exchange Program. They shared their home with five Rotary youth exchange students. Two were from Mexico, one from Australia, one from Norway, and one from Japan. In honor of this activity, Barbara was awarded a Paul Harris fellowship, which provides a $1,000 donation to the Rotary Foundation in her honor.

After his military service, Don worked with Travelers Insurance Company as an agency and branch manager in Springfield, Massachusetts, and Buffalo/Niagara Falls, New York. He also was CEO and President of Humphrey and Vandervoort, Inc., an all lines commercial and industrial insurance company.

Barbara has volunteered at the Woman’s Exchange in Sarasota, and is interested in the Fund Shop. She writes a daily “joy” journal to record all things on a daily basis which give her joy. Don has an interest in woodworking, has a commercial pilot rating, and also is a Coast Guard captain for ships up to 100 tons.