By: Becky Pazkowski

Congratulations to the 2015 Plymouth Harbor Foundation scholarship recipients! Thanks to the generosity of over 70 donors, we were able to award eight scholarships for a total of $14,000 this year!


Bea Davis was a beloved, longtime (38 years) employee of Plymouth Harbor who passed away in 2013. She was a housekeeper in the Smith Care Center when she died. This scholarship was established in her memory and is available to housekeeping staff or their children.

Recipient: Carol Bello –
$1500 Bea Davis Memorial Scholarship

Carol is the daughter of Martha Chavez, a member of the housekeeping team at Plymouth Harbor since 2013. Carol is a sophomore at Florida State University working on a degree in Social Work and Political Science. She is interested in joining the Peace Corps, and is very involved in volunteer activities at FSU, such as Relay For Life and Ronald McDonald House. She is also an intern at the State Capitol.




Jane T. Smiley has resided at Plymouth Harbor since 2004. From a family that encouraged academics, she graduated from Smith College with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. She went into the business world and worked her way up from the training squad at Macy’s to assistant buyer at The New Yorker, and finally to Vice President at Burdines.  Well-educated, well-travelled, and a consummate philanthropist, Mrs. Smiley made two scholarships available this year to employees of Plymouth Harbor or their children.

Recipient: Nancy Chan – $2000 Jane T. Smiley Scholarship
Nancy Chan is a Certified Nurse Assistant working toward her LPN certification at Manatee Technical College. She has been with Plymouth Harbor for over 10 years, has been a CNA for over 17 years, and is now ready to take her career to the next level.  She feels that her years of experience as a CNA, and the understanding she has for others in need, will help her to become a wonderful nurse one day.

Recipient: Tricia Roman – $2000 Jane T. Smiley Scholarship

Tricia Roman has been part of the Plymouth Harbor housekeeping staff for two years.  She is very dedicated and motivated, and is working toward her Medical Administrative Assistant certification from Ultimate Medical Academy. She says that she has a heart to help people, especially the elderly.



Picture5Evelin Corsey resided at Plymouth Harbor from 1995 until her death in 2013, at age 98. Her life was filled with show business and the arts, but her most noted contribution to the business world was her career in real estate. She was known as the “broker to the world” and had the distinction of becoming the first woman CEO in Manhattan real estate. When Evelin passed away, she left a bequest to Plymouth Harbor in her estate. With a portion of that bequest, the Evelin Corsey Scholarship was established to benefit the employees of Plymouth Harbor.

Recipient: Luis Santiago –
$1000 Evelin Corsey Scholarship

Luis has worked as a houseman in Dining Services for over 3 years. He is working toward an Associate in Science degree as a Radiology Technician at State College of Florida.  He was inspired to pursue this field when he had his own sonogram and was completely fascinated by the technology.





Jeannette Gehrie lived at Plymouth Harbor with her husband Charles from 2012 until her passing in October of 2014.  She was wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and musician.  Before her death, Jeannette and Charles established and endowed a music scholarship to be offered annually, in perpetuity, to Plymouth Harbor employees or their immediate family members who wish to study music.

Recipient: Paul Pazkowski – $1500 Jeannette Gehrie Music Scholarship Paul Pazkowski has been a Plymouth Harbor employee for nearly three years, most recently as an eTech; he plays guitar in the Mayflower Café twice a month. Paul is taking guitar lessons in order to expand his song selection to include more pieces from the eras of our residents.


We are extremely grateful to the 70+ donors whose gifts have made additional scholarships possible for our employees and their families. 

Recipient: Lekeya Butler – $2000 General Education Scholarship

Lekeya Butler is a CNA working in our Home Care department. She is a student at State College of Florida in the LPN program. Lekeya has ambitious plans for herself, as she would eventually like to earn her Nurse Practitioner degree where she would apply her skills in the field of women’s health.

Recipient: Vernicia Crenshaw – $2000 General Education Scholarship

Vernicia (Nici) Crenshaw is the daughter of Michelle Jackson, a member of our housekeeping team for over 8 years, with a total of 29 years with Plymouth Harbor. Nici herself is a member of Dining Services. She is studying to become a Radiology Ultrasound Technician at Keiser University. One of her instructors commented that she is one of the most gifted of her contemporaries.

Recipient: Sabrina Galvan Cortez – $2000 General Education Scholarship

Sabrina Cortez is a CNA in the Home Care department. She has been a CNA for 11 years, and is studying to earn her Occupational Therapy Assistant certification at State College of Florida. Sabrina has 6 children and manages to work full-time and attend school.


By: Addie Hurst

Constance, “Connie,” and Haviland moved into Plymouth Harbor on July 22, and are fairly well-acclimated and happy with their new abode. They have lots of friends in Sarasota, having lived here since 2010, and have several friends who will be moving in shortly.

Connie was born in Kensington, Maryland, and eventually graduated from the University of Connecticut with a BA in psychology. Her first job was with Arthur D. Little, a prominent consulting firm. Then, in 1966, she moved to The Hague and joined the Insurance Company of North America, where she eventually became Director of Planning for the European region. She moved with them to Brussels for the next 16 years.

After the death of her father, she moved to Ocean Pines, Maryland, near Ocean City, where she and her partner formed a company providing financial services and managing condominiums. Next, she became CFO of Ocean Petroleum and while there, founded the Eastern Shore Performing Arts Society and co-founded the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra. Retiring in 2000, she served on the Reader’s Advisory Committee of the Sarasota Herald Tribune and on the board of the Sarasota Concert Association and SILL (Sarasota Institute of Lifetime Learning).

Haviland was born and raised in Fort Valley, Georgia. She graduated from Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky, with a BA in history and Spanish. After a brief stint teaching junior high school, she became Director of Christian Education in Savannah. Then she attended Emory University in Atlanta and received an MS in Christian Education.

For the next 14 years, she was Director of Christian Education for the Peachtree Road United Methodist Church. Next, she became a recruiter of students for the nursing program at Emory. After that, she was an executive for the YWCA of Atlanta, followed by Assistant General Secretary of the General Board of Discipleship of the Methodist Church in Nashville, and then General Secretary of the General Board of Church and Society in Washington, DC. Last was a stint at the American Bible Society in New York.

We welcome these accomplished ladies to Plymouth Harbor!



At age 90, Arthur Ancowitz is still dancing…tap dancing, that is. While Dr. Ancowitz has many talents, hobbies, and interests, his passion for tap dancing is one thing he prides himself on the most. However, unlike his passion for medicine, Arthur didn’t always have an interest in tap dancing.

“Five years ago, I saw a YouTube video of Bob Hope and Jimmy Cagney tap dancing,” he says. “I thought to myself if they can do it, I’d like to try.” So he began taking lessons at the local YMCA. He liked it so much that he went on to work with instructor Mike McManus at the Friendship Center, and he’s been taking classes ever since. “I’d say I tap dance at least once a week,” he says matter-of-factly.

Not only does Arthur dance once a week (or more), he was also instrumental in getting tap dancing classes started here at Plymouth Harbor. Along with Wellness Director Chris Valuck, Arthur helped to develop the class with his Friendship Center instructor. Today, the class has at least five resident “regulars.”

It’s not surprising that Arthur is still tap dancing. From a young age, he placed a heavy emphasis on remaining active and healthy, and had a keen interest in practicing medicine. “My grandfather wanted me to be a good doctor. The best I could be, and I was,” Arthur says.

A New Yorker “through and through,” Arthur is one of three children, born and raised in New York City. After Arthur graduated high school, he decided that he wanted a small-school experience and chose to attend Bethany College in Bethany, West Virginia. After one year there, Pearl Harbor occurred. As a result, he joined the Navy as an apprentice seaman. He worked his way up to Pharmacist’s Mate Third Class, and in 1944, the Navy sent him to medical school at New York University College of Medicine.

After graduation in 1948, Arthur went on to complete his fellowship, internship, and residency. After that, he was called back to service, this time by the Army, to serve in the Korean War. He was assigned duties in the Pentagon as an internist, and one of his responsibilities was to accompany VIPs assigned by the President on numerous air flights across the world.

Among these VIPs was General Omar N. Bradley – one of the United States’ most distinguished and respected generals. “I got to know him very well,” Arthur recalls. “He treated me like a son.” In fact, the General and his wife, Mary, hosted the wedding for Arthur and his wife, Marjorie. It was at the Pierre Hotel in New York City for 200 guests. Though they later divorced, Arthur and Marjorie had three beautiful children – a son, Richard, whose full name is Richard Bradley Ancowitz, and two daughters, Nancy and MJ.

After his service in the Army, Arthur returned to the Veteran’s Administration where he served as the Section Chief in Internal Medicine at the Bronx VA Hospital. Following his time there, Arthur went into private practice in New York. But to this day, he articulates a strong respect and admiration for the military. “I identify very strongly with those heroes,” he says, referring to the men he treated throughout his service. “And I hold in high regard those men and women who choose the military as a career.”

Arthur experienced a loss during those years in private practice when his father suffered a stroke. However, out of this unfortunate situation came some good. “I felt that the treatment he received was inadequate. That motivated me to study stroke and improve its treatment,” he remembers. In 1967, Arthur founded the Stroke Foundation – an organization that he still runs to this day.
Extremely motivated and passionate, Arthur has written several books on stroke prevention, and with the help of the Stroke Foundation, he is helping to fund research for the University of Florida, the New York University College of Medicine Department of Geriatrics, and Sarasota Memorial Hospital. In November, the Stroke Foundation will present an award to a young internist who wishes to pursue a fellowship in Gerontology. For more information on stroke and stroke prevention, he encourages others to take advantage of the informative and helpful articles that can be found on the Stroke Foundation’s website:

After 40 years in private practice, Arthur retired and “migrated to Florida.” In 1980, he purchased a condo on Longboat Key and continued to remain active. He says he chose the area because, after he came down for a 6-mile race many years before, he was impressed by the surroundings, water, palm trees, and, of course, the weather. In 2014, he moved into Plymouth Harbor.

DSCN0692When asked about his hobbies, Arthur again circles back to tap dancing. But he also adds that he’s an advocate for line dancing, applauding Plymouth Harbor for offering both of these “wonderful aerobic exercises” to its residents. In addition to dancing, Arthur was once big into tennis, running, and biking. He completed 11 New York Marathons, and has “biked all over the world” with his now partner of 15 years, Ina Schnell, listing Timbuktu and Mongolia as two of their destinations. Arthur lights up when talking about Ina, who will move into Plymouth Harbor after the sale of her home. “She is a remarkable woman. She is knowledgeable in many subjects. Her charity is selective. It benefits many deserving organizations,” he says.

In addition to exercise, Arthur is also a strong advocate of low-fat and vegetarian diets, and applauds Chef René for “offering a diverse menu which avoids ‘institutional’ meals.” For fun, Arthur has a love of poetry. He is the author of a 2014 rhyming poetry book entitled “The Bard in Me,” available in the Plymouth Harbor Library. When it comes to being a published author, Arthur’s children followed in his footsteps. His son Richard, an attorney, has published several books on legal matters, and his daughter, Nancy, published a book entitled “Self-Promotion for Introverts®.”

Arthur enjoys the theater, the atmosphere here at Plymouth Harbor, and his six grandchildren – Allison, Valerie, Jonathan, Pamela, Joseph, and Benny. “They have been raised to be contributors to our society and a source of pride to our family,” he says of his family.

Arthur Ancowitz is a clinician, professor, lecturer, author, researcher, and scientist. But most importantly, Arthur is a smart, caring, and kind-hearted individual who still has so much to share with the world. “Before the final curtain descends, as it does for all, I intend to remain active, to help others, and to continue to have fun,” he ends with a smile.


From a young age, Walt Mattson had a profound interest in the newspaper and printing business. He delivered neighborhood newspapers, and even worked as a printer’s devil (one step below an apprentice) at his uncle’s weekly newspaper business in Pittsburgh during summer vacations. In the 1950s, he landed a job at a commercial printing plant in Portland, Maine, and went on to hold several high-ranking jobs in the newspaper business. Walt quickly climbed the corporate ladder, and in 1979, he was named the president of The New York Times Company.

How did he land this prestigious title, and what got him interested in the business in the first place?

View his September 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 resident Phil Starr, each Insights presentation is videotaped for viewing by employees unable to attend the live event.

Upcoming 2015 Insights Presentations:

October 23                         Susan Mauntel:  “Taking Risks and Winning”


Dale N. Woodling, Board of Trustees

Designated Member from First Congregational UCC Church

Dale Woodling serves on the Board of Trustees as the representative of First Congregational United Church of Christ of Sarasota, the church that founded Plymouth Harbor. He is a native of northeast Ohio and received his bachelor’s degree in Economics from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. After receiving his law degree from the University of Akron School of Law, Dale entered the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps where he served for nearly 28 years in various legal positions around the country and overseas. He also holds a master’s degree in National Resource Strategy from the National Defense University.

Dale currently serves on a number of volunteer boards in Sarasota, including the Advisory Board for the Salvation Army and the board of Orchard Place, an apartment complex for physically disabled adults. He is married to Colonel Cynthia Woodling, U.S. Army (Retired) who served with the Army Nurse Corps. They have two sons.


Homer B. Myers was a local Sarasota banker and a member of the First Congregational Church of Sarasota. In 1963, Homer loaned the Reverend Dr. MacNeil the funds needed to purchase Coon Key for $300,000. Prior to that, Dr. MacNeil and his small group of visionaries had only the $50 that each of them had contributed as a starter fund. “He loaned us money as if we had money,” recalled Dr. George Baughman, an early Plymouth Harbor trustee and also a member of the local church.

Homer was a large supporter of Plymouth Harbor. In addition to loaning the group funds, Homer used his ties to members of the community to help the organization succeed. Following the purchase of the land, Homer helped ensure necessary zoning changes were made through a personal connection with Sarasota City Manager, Ken Thompson — an old college friend of Homer’s. Past that, Homer went on to serve as Chairman of the Plymouth Harbor Board of Trustees, first in 1968-1969, and again from 1977 until 1986. Eventually, Homer himself became a resident of Plymouth Harbor.




Over the next few issues of Harbor Light, The Continuum will feature an article that discusses the full Continuum process here at Plymouth Harbor, through the eyes of a resident’s family member. Please note that this article series is fictional, and is designed to provide a closer, more detailed look at our continuing care philosophy.

A few weeks after my mother Jane’s brief illness, she was back to her normal self. However, I couldn’t help but reflect on the reason that we chose Plymouth Harbor in the first place. Yes, she wanted an active community that fostered her independence, but also one that could be there for her when needed. My mother couldn’t say enough about the kind, caring staff in Smith Care and Home Care that helped nurture her back to health, and I, too, am forever grateful to them.

Roughly two months after her illness, mom jumped back into her active lifestyle with full force. She took up a new class in the Wellness Center, and began to work out in the community, becoming a Guardian Ad Litem and a member of the local Woman’s Club. In her time at Plymouth Harbor, she also served as a member on several resident committees. To say she kept busy would be an understatement – she had more meetings and commitments on her calendar than I did back then!

Still, elder family members and friends of my mother continued to question the idea of a retirement community. They would always ask her, “You’re so active, why would you give up your home to live there?” and “Don’t you miss your privacy?” She always laughed, and shared a story about swapping life experiences with someone in the hallway or dining room, and how easily she found comfort in her apartment when she needed some down time. As with any move, it was an adjustment for her in that first year, but after that, she loved her new home and all that came with it.

My mother remained active and flourished in her 17th floor apartment for some time. Six years after that first illness – at the age of 87 – my mother began to have some minor concerns. She would talk to us about them, and then we began to notice. Since we were now local to Sarasota, we were able to spend a lot of time with her – Sunday night dinners, holidays, birthdays, family vacations, and even just because.

My brother was able to stop in a bit more often than I could during the week because he worked downtown. During that time period, I probably saw her about three or four times a month, as my family life was getting busier.

With mom included, we were all noticing that her memory was beginning to fade — not at all to an extreme, just a couple of missed details here and there. She was also beginning to have a harder time getting around the apartment, and needed more help to get to doctor appointments or help with medication. We, of course, didn’t mind, but that led us to a discussion, and we all agreed that it would be good if someone was there to help with those things if my brother and I were both unavailable.

After talking with the staff, my mother decided that working with Home Care to provide in-home health services was the right choice for her. She could work with the nurses to develop a plan that met her goals, and they would provide the services she needed in the comfort and privacy of her own home.

Stay tuned to hear more of our fictional Jane’s story in the October issue.


By Chris Valuck

One of the first questions I’m asked when a person finds out I’m a personal trainer is: “Why do I need a personal trainer, if I’m not ‘training’ for anything?” That’s a logical question, but it may help to know that trainers work with many different populations, from post-rehab to professional athletes and everything in between. However, not all trainers are created equal. Below are some questions that you may consider asking a trainer to help evaluate whether or not  that particular trainer is qualified to work with you based on your needs.

Before You Call a Personal Trainer.

Think about the following questions before you call a trainer:  What are your goals? What are your expectations of a personal trainer? How frequently would you like to work with a trainer, and what is your budget?

Interviewing The Trainer.

A thorough evaluation of a trainer’s credentials is critical to determine if their skills and abilities are appropriate for your needs.

Unfortunately, the fitness industry (i.e. personal trainers, group fitness instructors, etc.) is not a licensed field, nor is a trainer required to have a degree — or even a certification.  However, a trainer qualified to work with a special population, such as seniors,  should have all, or a combination, of the following: years of experience in the fitness industry working with a senior population, academic achievement in a health-related field (exercise science), and a nationally-respected certification.


There are over 300 fitness certifications, but only three to four that are respected in the industry (ACSM and NSCA being the gold standard). Be sure to ask about certification and ask to see their card. If they worked hard for it, they’ll be proud to show you.

Academic Achievement.

Ideally, look for a trainer with a degree in Exercise Science.  A degree shows commitment to the field, and a trainer with a degree is likely to have a more solid understanding of not only anatomy and physiology, but chronic diseases and disabilities.

Years of Experience in the Industry.

Years of experience is a plus, but sadly, not a guarantee that the trainer is qualified to work any special needs that you may have. So, be specific when you question them about their experience working with a senior population and discuss your specific conditions.

Ask to see it!

A professional trainer should be able to provide proof of a current fitness certification, liability insurance, and CPR certification. Also ask for a copy of their session rate, billing procedure, cancellation policy, and hours of availability.  Lastly, ask for client references (and then actually call them).  Calling a reference will help to determine whether the trainer has the experience you require for your special needs. If they can’t produce these documents or provide references, walk away. It’s a red flag.


So, you’ve interviewed them and they seem qualified, but now ask yourself: do you like them? Can you see yourself working closely with them? What is their communication style? If the trainer is super-high energy and you want someone who is low key and clam, move on, because you won’t be compatible.

The First Session.

Before your first session, your trainer should request your permission to send a medical clearance to your doctor(s). Once they have this, it’s their turn to interview and evaluate you! You should expect that your trainer will request that you first sign a consent/waiver prior to the evaluation, and that you complete a thorough medical and exercise history.  At a minimum, your evaluation will consist of a strength, flexibility, and balance assessment. The results of these tests will help the trainer develop an appropriate program for you.

The Bottom Line.

Whether you hire a trainer to improve balance, muscular strength, or cardiovascular endurance, your trainer should provide ongoing motivation, education, and regular

re-evaluations to assess progress and monitor health conditions. In turn, you will be asked for compliance, and to provide regular feedback to help your trainer tailor each session to your needs. Whether you work with a trainer short or long-term , another considerable benefit is the improved self-efficacy that results in working with a trainer to enhance your well-being.


William Woeltjen, Board of Trustees

Previously serving as interim CFO and Treasurer for Sarasota Memorial Hospital, William Woeltjen was named Chief Financial Officer in November 2010. As Chief Financial Officer, William is responsible for all financial matters related to the health care system, including financial reporting, financial planning, revenue cycle, reimbursement, debt management and managed care contracting. He has more than 25 years of experience in corporate health care finance.

Before joining Sarasota Memorial’s Finance Department in 2007, William, a Certified Public Accountant, served as corporate treasurer and corporate chief financial officer for University Community Health in Tampa. He has a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Management from Tulane University and a bachelor’s degree in Accounting, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of South Florida.



By: Becky Pazkowski

Several people have approached me recently about making a charitable gift that produces income back to the donor, or a designee of the donor. There are several ways that this can be accomplished.  One such way is through a vehicle called a Charitable Gift Annuity, and I would like to offer some details about this type of gift below.

A Charitable Gift Annuity provides a variety of benefits for the donor, including:

  • Guaranteed fixed income based on your age at the time of the gift
  • Tax deduction if donor itemizes
  • Some of the income may be tax-free
  • 1 or 2 people can receive the income
  • There is no fee to establish the annuity

Other considerations:

  • There is a $1000 minimum to establish the annuity
  • The gift is irrevocable
  • We work with the United Church of Christ (UCC), United Church Funds
  • At least 50% of the beneficiary must be a UCC affiliated organization (Plymouth Harbor is)
  • Income you receive is based on your age, the highest rate is 9.0%
  • Your gift can be made with cash or securities
  • When the annuitant dies, the remaining principal passes to the beneficiaries

 Illustration below:


If you would like to know more about how to establish a Charitable Gift Annuity, or what rate you would receive, please feel free to contact me at We can work up an illustration based on your age and other details.