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 beckyp@plymouthharbor.org. We can work up an illustration based on your age and other details.


By: Lee Yousri

I think almost everyone can boast of a full and interesting life, but I found Jean Glasser’s full, interesting, and also somewhat complicated. She discusses it with such verve and vigor, I almost asked her to write her own bio.

Jean hails from New Jersey. At the early age of 17, as an honor student from Hillside High, she was picked for employment by a prominent local law firm. She was thrilled. “I was an honor student but I hated school,” she confessed.

For the first six months she was stymied. Lawyers spoke a different language, but she heeded her father’s advice to “hang on” and eventually found herself for the next 30 years dealing with real estate matters, divorces, adoptions, estates, and all sorts of interesting subjects. To quote her: “I learned so much about law and life. It was most helpful with my own life. There was always a new challenge.”

Along the way she met and married her first husband and had a son. Unfortunately the marriage ended in divorce, but Jean soldiered on and was rewarded with a second and a third marriage, both of which sadly left her widowed. But what joy they brought! Plus they brought her four daughters, who in turn have blessed her with six grandchildren besides the three she has from her son.

Since there was no mention of Sarasota, I wondered how she had ended up here. Jean and her second husband, Edmond, visited close friends and fell in love with Sarasota. They thought, “In New Jersey we have a house in the city and one on the shore for summer fun. Sarasota encompasses both in one.”

The decision was made; in 1979, they moved south and settled in the South Gate area of Sarasota. Jean took a job with a law firm (it was in her blood) and together they thoroughly enjoyed life in Sarasota. After Edmond’s passing, Jean met Otto Glasser through an associate at the law firm. They married and took up residence in The Meadows. After adding 13 years to the 30 she had worked in New Jersey, Jean reluctantly retired at  Otto’s “request.”

This is not the end. Her volunteer work includes Sarasota Memorial Hospital, Selby Gardens, a four year term as Governor of the Bird Key Yacht Club, 17 years as President of the Meadows Condo Association, the choir of the Redeemer Church, Key Chorale, and the Meadows choir.

From the latter three you can guess that Jean is a singer. Key Chorale was especially interesting as it performed with the Symphony whenever a choir was needed. And you can add to all this her hobbies of walking, swimming, dancing, playing the organ, reading, crossword puzzles, gardening, the “arts,” etc., etc., etc.

One last thing: Jean claims she chose her apartment at Plymouth Harbor because of its many spacious closets. That’s interesting and quirky as most of her stories are. But no matter what her reason was, we’re just delighted she’s here!


Ted Rehl fell in love with music…not once, but twice. His love for music blossomed around piano, Fran’s around cello, and they met at Oberlin College Conservatory of Music. With two music degrees, and a thirst for teaching, they began their careers. After retiring, Ted closed his piano and didn’t play again for 18 years. What brought him out of retirement?

View Ted and Fran’s August 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 Insights Presentations:

September 25             Walt Mattson:  “Community College & the Newspaper Business”

October 23                         Susan Mauntel:  “Taking Risks and Winning”

Two desserts a day…that’s what George Heitler credits for reaching his 100th birthday. On September 3, 2015 to be exact, this accomplished and energetic Plymouth Harbor resident will celebrate this landmark with his wife Florence, who’s 95 years of age herself. But that’s not the only milestone being celebrated this summer – on July 30, 2015, Medicare and Medicaid celebrated its 50th anniversary. What do these two have in common? George Heitler.

As a child, George always admired Abraham Lincoln. “I thought he was a good man, an honest lawyer, and I respected that he charged modest fees,” he says of the former president. Despite his apparent interest in law, George first thought he’d try his hand at pre-med. That didn’t last long though. In college, he performed his first dissection and decided, “That’s not for me.” It was then that he settled on law school.

In 1938, George graduated with his Juris Doctor from Columbia Law School. But it wasn’t until 1957 that he joined the national Blue Cross Association as in-house legal counsel. Oddly enough, it was George’s friend who first applied for the open position, but when he was interviewed, instead suggested George for the job. It was as simple as that. George joined the Blue Cross Association as Assistant Secretary and House Counsel, and when he retired from his post in1981, he had moved his way up to Senior Vice President and General Counsel.

As a senior officer of the Blue Cross Association in 1965, George proudly remembers that he had a hand in drafting Medicare and one of the biggest programs in U.S. history, the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. Not surprisingly, George counts this among his proudest accomplishments throughout his 100 years. He remembers the hard work that he and his team put into it, and the seemingly endless months of drafting and redrafting of the bills. “Few people know that in the first draft of Medicare there was only supposed to be one unit. But AMA (American Medical Association) opposed it. They wanted two parts – Part A and Part B, which is what we have today.”

When reminiscing on these times, Florence instead remembers their silver bowl – a “gift of forbearance” given by the Blue Cross Association (BCA) to the wives and families of those involved. “The country got Medicare and I got a silver bowl,” Florence jokes as she pulls the bowl out from her kitchen cabinet. Engraved, it reads, “In Grateful Recognition of Your Months of Forbearance – BCA, 7–1–66.” While she jokes, Florence has a constant smile as she listens to George talk about this piece of their history.

Capture2Even outside of his involvement with Blue Cross, George never seemed to experience a dull moment in his life. When he was a toddler, he participated in a “baby beauty contest.” When he was 20, he met Florence over the back fence of his parents’ home in Brooklyn – she was 17, attending college at Adelphi, and visiting relatives next door. One rainy day, Florence’s aunt asked George to drive her to the subway, but he instead drove her home, and the rest was history when they were married on April 21, 1940.

Back in 1938, George’s first job out of law school paid him only $10 per week. After he passed the bar exam, he graduated to $25 per week, which is when he and Florence were married. They lived in a Brooklyn apartment that cost them $58 per month. At that time, Florence had just passed the social service exam and was working for the Child Welfare Bureau. When George was asked about the initial years of his career, Florence instead replies, “Well, he was really interrupted by World War II.”

When war was imminent, George volunteered for the Navy but was rejected due to very poor eyesight. He later volunteered for the Army, but was again rejected. After that, George and Florence were blessed with their first son, James. However, after Pearl Harbor, George was drafted and accepted by the Army for limited duty. On the day that he reported, he was the last man in line selected for limited duty in the U.S. only. Despite that classification, George wound up at the port of embarkation to go overseas and join the 1st Army. “Had I just gotten out of line to go to the bathroom, I wouldn’t have been chosen,” George remembers. But, as luck would have it, or as George calls it, “his dumb luck,” one of his college classmates happened to be one of the ranking officers that day. He took George out of line and rejected him.

The reassignment center then assigned George to serve as Chief Clerk and Legal Advisor to the 4th Service Command Rents and Claims Board at Fort Jackson, Columbia, South Carolina. While living there, George and Florence had their second son, Richard. But, George’s light-hearted tone quickly changes as he shares that the group of 1,600 men, of which he would have been a part, were involved in the invasion of Normandy. Of those 1,600, an astounding 1,200 lost their lives.

After George was discharged, the family made their way back to New York. It was then that George took a break from law, and worked for his grandfather’s smoking pipe manufacturing firm. After some time, George made his way back into law. He became a member of the Ethical Culture Society of Long Island, New York, where he met the leader, who became his dear friend and eventually led him to the job at Blue Cross. While working for the Blue Cross Association, he was instrumental in the taking over of the Blue Cross Commission from the American Hospital Association. This eventually took the Association from New York to Chicago, and the Heitlers followed suit.

“Chicago is a wonderful city,” Florence says. “You could do and be anything you wanted to. It was also a much more welcoming city for getting involved.” In their time in Chicago, George served on the board of the Chicago Public Library, while Florence spearheaded the efforts of the Citizens Information Service (CIS). She worked with people of all ages, informing them of their rights and eventually gaining a three year government contract. At the end of its contract, the CIS was one of only 12 organizations to receive commendation.

George retired from Blue Cross at the end of 1981, and immediately joined a private practice law firm in New York, where he stayed for only four years. “The nature of the practice changed and I wanted out,” George remembers. This time he retired for good, and it was around the same time that they visited Sarasota with friends. After this visit, they were sold. “There wasn’t a doubt in our minds that we wanted Sarasota,” Florence says. They bought a condo on Longboat Key and split their time between here and a summer home in Southbury, Connecticut.

When George and Florence moved into Plymouth Harbor in 2000, their children made them promise not to sell the condo. They kept that promise, and today, the Heitlers’ sons have bought the condo underneath, expanding the space for their growing family – including the Heitlers’ four grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. George and Florence’s motivation and drive continued once they were here at Plymouth Harbor. Together, the two have served on numerous committees and have participated in a laundry list of groups and activities. Florence has served as the Chair of the Plymouth Harbor Dining Committee and as Secretary of the Residents Association.

George served as Colony Director for five years, and prides himself on leading the Smith Care Center monthly birthday bash, the low vision support group, and Plymouth Harbor sing-alongs. George has been passionate about singing all throughout his life, running numerous choral groups, and play acting as a member of the Plymouth Harbor Players. The two also make it a point to stay active, playing bridge and only recently giving up tennis – Florence played tennis for 90 years of her life, and George played up until a few months ago, retiring at the age of 99 and a half.

Outside of Plymouth Harbor, George brings the joy of these sing-alongs to other continuing care retirement communities in the Sarasota and Manatee areas. The list of their contributions and involvement in the community throughout their lifetime is almost endless, but to name a few, the Chicago Henry Booth House, Heritage Village Master Association, The Ethical Culture Societies of Chicago and Long Island, the Law Committee of the American Ethical Union, and board member and vice president of the Democratic Club of Longboat Key.

As you would expect, George places an enormous emphasis on the importance of ethics, admiring Abraham Lincoln as much today as he did as a child. The tradition even carries on with his family, as each child, grandchild, and great-grandchild that ever played Abraham Lincoln in a school play uses the top hat that George wore on his wedding day. While 2015 has blessed the Heitlers with numerous highlights this year – George’s 100th birthday, Medicare and Medicaid’s 50th anniversary, and the Heitler’s 75th wedding anniversary – it still has one more milestone in store for this couple. This coming November, on the day after Thanksgiving, George and Florence will celebrate their 15th anniversary of living here at Plymouth Harbor.

It’s hard to beat a year like 2015, with so many exciting and noteworthy moments, but if anyone can do it, it’s George Heitler. Happy birthday, George! Thank you for sharing your 100 inspiring years with us. We look forward to seeing what 2016 holds.

Jon F. Swift, Board of Trustees

Prior to joining the Board of Trustees, I knew about Plymouth Harbor’s great reputation in the community. Since joining, I have been thoroughly impressed with it as a comprehensive CCRC. It has been very educational  for me, and I’m glad that I can contribute my construction background to help the organization during an exciting growth period. 

An Ohio native, Jon Swift attended Miami University at Oxford, Ohio, studying industrial technology. In 1969, Jon started his own construction company and moved his organization to Sarasota 10 years later. Currently, he is the CEO of Jon F. Swift Construction.

As an active member of the community, Jon is past president of the Argus Foundation of Southwest Florida, the Education Foundation of Sarasota County, Inc., and the Police Athletic League of Sarasota County. He has also served on the Board of Directors of the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange and the Development Services Advisory Board of Sarasota County, and is currently on the Board of Directors of Sabal Palm Bank and The Field Club. Jon has a passion for woodworking and enjoys spending time in the shop. He and his wife Janey have five children and seven grandchildren.


By Chris Valuck

We have yet to meet a resident that doesn’t enjoy using the Nu-Step located in the Wellness Center. In fact, they’re so popular that we had to acquire another to keep up with demand.

A Nu-Step is a recumbent cross trainer, which is sometimes referred to as a recumbent stepper because the user “steps” back and forth (from a seated position) rather than moving their legs in a circular motion like a bicycle does. It is a piece of exercise equipment that has historically been seen in a rehab setting and is intended for cardiopulmonary conditioning. However, in recent years, it has become increasingly popular in health and fitness settings for general conditioning.

The Nu-Step has gained popularity in part due to the fact that it is safe, easy to use, and comfortable, while still offering effective muscular and cardiovascular endurance. The Nu-Step provides an option to exercise only the legs or to add upper body exercises as well. The seat and arm levers can be easily adjusted for a custom fit. The convenient low entry onto the machine makes it easy to get on and off, without having to climb over any part of the equipment. If need be, the seat also swivels for easy transfer from a walker or wheelchair to the seat.

Many residents also enjoy the easy-to-use console, with it’s ability to monitor heart rate, SPM (steps per minute), time, distance, and 15 different levels of resistance. Each Nu-Step is equipped with adaptive equipment such as a chest belt, lap belt, foot supports, and even arm rests to assist users that may need this additional support (i.e. Multiple Sclerosis or Parkinson’s Disease).

Considering the Nu-Step’s wide variety of custom adjustments, and the fact that it is an excellent form of low-impact exercise (therefore more gentle on the muscles and joints as opposed to a treadmill), it’s no surprise that users claim to have a more enjoyable exercise experience when using it.

If you would like to experience the Nu-Step, stop by the Wellness Center and let us show you this great piece of equipment.

Nora Patterson, Board of Trustees

Our ties to Plymouth Harbor date back many years, to when John’s father was a resident. I am pleased to serve on the Board of Trustees.

Nora Patterson served as a Sarasota County Commissioner for 16 years, retiring in November 2014. Prior to that, she held a seat for eight years on the Sarasota City Commission. Nora grew up in New York City, obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Duke University and a Master of Education from the University of Florida in Educational Psychology. She has been a small business owner, a teacher, and a real estate broker. She has lived in Sarasota County since 1970 with her husband John, a local attorney and a former chair of the Plymouth Harbor Board of Trustees.

Nora has always been active in the Sarasota community, serving on numerous boards of directors.  In addition to the Plymouth Harbor Board of Trustees, she currently holds a seat on the board of Teen Court of Sarasota as well as the Jewish Family and Children’s Service. She previously represented Sarasota County on regional boards that deal with subjects such as the regional water supply of a four-county area; MPO, the transportation planning organization advisory to the Florida Department of Transportation regarding Manatee and Sarasota counties; the maintenance of the Intracoastal Waterway in a four-county area; and TBARTA, a regional transportation authority.