Chris and Karen Romig, a classically trained flute and piano duo, have been performing together for 15 years.  Plymouth Harbor audiences enjoy many performances throughout the year by visiting artists. The Romig Duo’s concert on Thursday, November 21 at 7:45 pm in Pilgrim Hall is yet another example of gracious living.

Karen Romig has played in orchestras in California and Florida and over the years has won many awards in prestigious competitions. She studied with Arthur Hoberman of the 20th Century-Fox studio orchestra and continued studies with Bonita Boyd, Julius Baker, Anne Giles, Amy Porter, Rhonda Larson, and Carol Wincenc. She has also been a featured soloist Crystal Cathedral, the Palos Verdes Peninsula Young Artists Music Festival, and with the Venice Symphony.

As an ordained minister at Venice Presbyterian, Chris uses his keyboard skills at special services as well as often accompanying his wife.  Together they provide a charming program of uplifting entertainment and dazzling virtuosity.

Their program:

  •  Wilhelm Popp:  La Chasse (Galop Brillante for Flute and Piano)
  • Gabriel Faure:  Morceau De Concours
  • Ian Clarke:  Sunstreams
  • Ernesto Nazareth: I Caught You Cavaquinho!
  • Rhonda Larson:  The Way of the River
  • Claude Bolling:  Madrigal (from “Picnic Suite”)
  • Andrae Crouch (arranged by Joel Raney):  Soon and Very Soon
  • Paul Taffanel:  Fantasie on Themes from the Opera Francoise de Rimini
CDS on sale after the one hour concert – “Flute and Piano Music from Around the World” and the newly released “A Joyous Christmas.”

Resident Snapshot by G. Randolph Bishop

When you enter Sandra Forbes’ light, bright, inviting apartment, you see the hand of an experienced decorator, namely Sandra herself; interior decorating has been a hobby all her life and, with her many moves, she has had ample opportunity to use it.

Born and raised in Port Chester, N.Y., she was educated in the local school system, attended New York University, majoring in business, graduated with a BA degree.  She found employment at Alexander’s, at that time a well-known department store chain in the New York area and, after training, became an assistant buyer in the Women’s and Child’s Department at the White Plains store.

With her marriage to Clifford Forbes, she stopped working and moved to Philadelphia.  After three moves in 8 1/2 years, they settled in Franklin Lakes, N.J.  Twenty-five years later, Sandra moved to Sarasota where her only child, a daughter, Gail Forbes, also lives; her last residence in Sarasota was at Lake Shore Village.

Her late husband, Clifford Forbes, was a 1958 graduate of NYU School of Engineering.  While he was employed at Hamilton Standard, a leader in aerospace technologies, he was assigned to work with Gus Grissom, the astronaut; Grissom wanted to develop a new helmet for space flights.  Together the two men created a space helmet which eventually went to the moon.  The prototype, in wood, was presented to Forbes on completion of the project.  Forbes subsequently founded a business in New York, a firm he headed till 2 1/2 years ago when he suffered a fatal stroke at age 78.

Sandra Forbes’ life as a volunteer started as a teenager when, pushed by her father, she took her dog to comfort nursing home residents.  She volunteered in her daughter’s school library and, when Gail joined the school band, she became a “band mother,” driving kids to competitions.  Here in Sarasota, she was a “cuddler” in the neonatal department at Sarasota Memorial for twelve years and, most recently, a “caring companion” at Anchin Hospice for seven months.

Plymouth Harbor and Sandra Forbes are a good fit.  Since painting watercolors is another hobby, she’s an interesting addition to our thriving art community.  We welcome her and hope she enjoys life here in our active and interesting community as much as we do.

When Michael Johnson was first hired as a part-time server at Plymouth Harbor in May 2000, he was immediately recognized as an asset to the dining services staff. Promoted to full-time wait service Caption in 2002, he continued to go above and beyond his responsibilities jumping right in to take care of what needs attention.

Thirteen years after his initial hiring, Michael is still being recognized for his good work, this time at Employee of the Month in November 2013.

In the nomination, one of his supervisors was quoted, “Michael is very caring and gives impeccable service to the residents.  It has been great watching him grow and mature in his tenure here.”

Disciplined work and the growth that results enabled Michael to further his career with a full-time administrative position with Chapman & Associates and night school at Sarasota County Technical Institute, all while continuing to work part-time at Plymouth Harbor.

Through these years and most recently, Michael has received several Shining Stars from our residents.  They all complement his skills, professionalism, patience, accuracy, and overall pleasant disposition when providing services to the residents.

As with many of the long-time staff in this community, work is a family affair.  Michael met his wife, Susie, while working here at Plymouth Harbor.  They now have a son Collin, 3 ½  years old, who keeps them both very busy.

Congratulations, Michael!  Your work is appreciated by so many here!


It’s that joyful time of the year again when people travel around the world to visit family and friends for the holidays.  Preparing for a big trip may be stressful and time-consuming, but make sure you reference the following tips before travelling:

1)      Tell your doctor about the itinerary that you have for your trip.  She/he knows you and your limitations well and will inform you if she/he thinks any activities or plans sound too strenuous.

2)      Depending on your destination, you may need certain immunizations, so make sure you are up-to-date with them.  For information on immunizations, visit the Center for Disease Control at

3)        Pack enough medicine for yourself and make sure the medicine is in the original bottle, in case you need to call for a refill.

4)      If you have a heart issue, bring a copy of your most recent cardiogram with you.  In case you  have an episode while travelling, the doctor will be able to use it as a reference.

5)     Research doctors’ offices, hospitals, and urgent care centers that are close to your destination, in case of an emergency.

6)     Make sure you pack fitness equipment, like a band or tube, and ask the Wellness Center for an exercise handout, so you can continue to exercise while away from home!

7)     Stretch frequently when taking long flights and drives by moving your legs and ankles often and walking around the plane or rest areas.  This will prevent blood clots that could form from not moving for long periods of time.

8)    Don’t over book yourself!  Planning too many activities in one day can cause exhaustion.  Pace yourself by spreading your activities out and adding rest in between.

9)    If you are going to be walking long distances, consider bringing a cane or walker with you.  Even if you don’t use a walking device on a day-to-day basis, it might be helpful to have the extra support during a long, eventful day.

10)   Contact any airports you will be using to find out, concierge, and special policies to help older adults travel smoothly.

Reference:  Cornell University.  Travel Tips for Older Adults.  Cornell Ageing.  Retrieved October 10, 2013 from


Resident Snapshot by Lee Yousri

Yet another interesting couple has joined our ranks!

Jeanne is a native New Yorker while George hails from Minnesota, but no matter how far apart, the fates do a good job when two people are meant to meet.  The Air Force training centers were full and students were being trained in private colleges.  George ended up in the University of Connecticut.  Not too far from New York.  And then an arranged blind date!  Our story begins.

It was a typical 50’s New York date.  They went to a TV taping of “Your Hit Parade” and then on to Birdland.  One tiny incident worth mentioning to show the disparity of their backgrounds: at one point as they reached their subway station, George was nowhere to be seen.  Jeanne finally discovered him still on the train, standing politely back while other passengers alighted.  Not exactly New York style.

Meetings ensued.  Jeanne visited grandparents in Massachusetts.  Connecticut was not too far away.  George was transferred to Washington.  New York was close by.  Step by step, it all led to their marriage in beautiful Riverside Church in Manhattan.

After a few years in Washington, George terminated his active duty in the Air Force and went into the reserves.  They both enrolled in the University of Minnesota.  George earned his BS there and an MBA at Capital College.  Through friends in the YMCA he became a staff member of the Minnesota Republican party and progressed to administrative assistant to the governor.  Ultimately though, he realized it was not a life-time option for him.  In looking for an exit from politics, a friend suggested Life Insurance and was instrumental in the start of his new career as a salesman for North American Insurance.  (Yet another domicile for the Mansers: Columbus, OH, for 23 years.)  Born to succeed—it appears—George went from salesman to president to CEO of North American.

And what was Jeanne up to?  A family had been started during the college years: it evolved into four children, eleven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.  From the very beginning, Jeanne’s hands were full and the lovely family outcome can only be attributed to her devotion and hard work.

When it came time to think about retirement, they made plans to research both Florida coasts.  Fortunately for us, they explored the west coast first and purchased a condo on Siesta Key.  After many years, they moved to the Essex House in Sarasota but kept the condo in Siesta Key.  It is now a big treat for the family to have this lovely vacation haven by the sea.

They both have always volunteered and it remains a constant today.  George is currently chairman of the Pines of Sarasota and spends three days a week at work there.  Hobbies?  His: travel, golf.  Hers: furniture refinishing, exercising, gardening, to name a few.  The Essex House condo was sold before the move to Plymouth Harbor.  Their loss is our gain.

Plymouth Harbor staff, residents, and specifically, our Safety Committee, are the proud recipients of an FCCI Safety Award.  Twice a year, the loss control consultants at our insurer, FCCI, nominate policy holders that have an excellent safety program and low loss ratio (under 35%).

With a loss ratio this year of only 3.48%,PlymouthHarborstood out from the field. Loss control consultant Pansy Hager pointed out, “Your safety committee is very dedicated to identifying hazards and controlling claims.  That is why I nominated you for the Award.”

The FCCI Safety Award was presented to Plymouth Harbor at the Resident Meeting on November 1 by FCCI’s Regional General Loss Control Manager Brian Smith who pointed out that Plymouth Harbor was selected as the best of the best from a total of 8000 businesses insured by FCCI.

Plymouth Harbor CEO Harry Hobson called forward all the members of the Safety Committee who deserve the lion’s share of credit for this recognition.  The committee, consisting of April Stout, Chris Valuck, Jannelly Collado, Carolina Davis, Bert Adams, Fran Vancil, Lyall Smith and Karen Smith, has been chaired by Jim Myers since 1996, who, it was noted, no longer needs to dress up in costume to make his points about safety to the community.

Three times a year this committee splits into teams of three to survey the entire campus for potential safety issues such as low lighting from a burnt out bulb, an electrical cord, frayed doormat, etc.  Any discoveries are reported immediately and resolved just as quickly. Jim Myers himself surveys the campus at least 10 times a year, going above and beyond the call consistently for 17 years.

Not only arePlymouthHarborresidents and staff safer due to this diligence, but the benefits are monetary, as well.  Harry reported FCCI rewards strong safety records with a reduction in annual premiums.  That’s gratitude and safety that boosts the bottom line, too!

Congratulations to all for this remarkable safety record and recognition!


When Weta married the handsome Walt Cannon, whom she had met on a blind date, it was on one condition: the couple would move toNew York Cityas soon as possible. She had her eyes on graduate school, a career in public health policy, and a life of world travels. They did move to the Big Apple where Walt built his career with AT&T while she raised their three children.  Graduate school was not in the cards for Weta, but she did top off her nursing degree with a bachelor’s degree in education when her youngest son graduated from high school.

Weta’s ambition and determination were instilled in her early youth when her father and most of the other men in Nederland, Texas were off fighting the war. Her mother and all the other women around her were in charge, making all the decisions, working in the defense plants, and paying the bills.  It was an unprecedented time of choice and freedom for women in theU.S.and Weta, no doubt, took it for granted. That is, until she became an adult herself in the 50’s and 60’s and discovered that, in reality, women had few choices of their own.

Working as an ER nurse in New York City’s Roosevelt Hospital, Weta got her first dose of the horrific consequences of denying low-income women choice in family planning and healthcare. In the 1960’s when Weta was raising her own children with her husband in New York City, a woman who wanted to end her child–bearing years with a tubal ligation, had to meet the following requirements: bear a minimum of four children first, be at least 35 years old, undergo a psychiatric evaluation, and obtain her husband’s permission.  These experiences motivated Weta to learn more about Planned Parenthood and its Center for Family Planning Program Development, known as the Guttmacher Institute, a designated Collaborating Center for Reproductive Health by the World Health Organization.  She found herself at ground zero during a seminal time in the family planning and women’s health movement.

Weta’s social consciousness, driving her to participate in peace marches and later National Organization for Women marches, was equally matched by a progressive-thinking husband. Together they lived on a boat for a year, travelled across the U.S. twice over a two-year period, and travelled the world.

Weta, far left, with other volunteers

When they retired to life on Siesta Key in 1989, she volunteered as a clinic escort at the local Planned Parenthood during years when anti-choice protests were particularly vociferous and violent. Until two years ago, she was a regular volunteer in the clinic’s recovery room. Now she takes on whatever job wherever she’s needed.

One glance around Weta’s living room on the 17th floor reveals a gallery of folk art and artifacts gathered from their travels, which took them to many developing countries in Asia and Central andSouth America.  On their travels, Weta naturally gravitated to experiences that offered her a window into the nature and challenges of health care in each country. While they did participate in a research program on the Amazon, she regrets not taking advantage of service programs where she might have been able to address issues such as the appalling sex trafficking of women she’d encountered inCambodia,Thailand, andNepal.

Weta with Jan Chester (left)

“I consider my years of volunteering at the Planned Parenthood Clinic my service,” says Weta. “Barbara Zdravecky and Jan Chester (of Planned Parenthood of Southwest Florida) are miracle workers. We have come a long way in this community, but what we’ve gained is still not secure.”

Now with four granddaughters and one grandson, she is determined to do everything she can to ensure that they will live in a world where everyone has choices.  “What we want is universal access to affordable healthcare for men and women. I’ve talked with the men seeking preventative healthcare at the clinic, and they are victims of blocked access and choice as well.”

Weta has come to expect the protesters as she walks into the Planned Parenthood Clinic in Sarasota’s Rosemary District bearing her husband’s name, but it still saddens her.  “We all want the same thing, really:  healthy lives and children who are loved. Until we can have a dialogue, nothing much is going to change.”

Yet change and making the world a better place is what motivates Weta and other residents who volunteer. “I feel lucky to be living in a community of such vital, caring, and engaged individuals,” she says. “The intensity of everyone’s involvement makes for a rich community experience here at Plymouth Harbor.”

Plymouth Harbor was represented in force at the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce Annual Membership Meeting and Luncheon on November 1.  CEO Harry Hobson was there with members of his senior leadership team.

r-l: Harry Hobson, Nick Gladding, Joe Devore, Garry Jackson, Becky Pazkowski, Tom Hopkins, Plymouth Harbor Board Chair, Gordon Okawa, Tena Wilson, Mary Allyn, Jody Hudgins, Trustee, and Tom Barwin.

Of course, Plymouth Harbor, now celebrating its 47th year serving the community, has been a long-time member of the Chamber, but there was a reason for such an enthusiastic showing at this event.  Plymouth Harbor was honored as one of the Chamber’s Salute to Business “Top 9.”

This is the 2nd Annual Salute to Business where the Chamber recognizes members in three areas: Attaining Milestone Anniversaries of Service (years in business), Investing in the Future (capital investments to facilities), or Hiring Our Neighbors (hiring within the past year).  Plymouth Harbor was recognized for Investing in the Future as one of the top 3 in that category.  “Plymouth Harbor is known as a top quality residence,” said Steve Queior, Executive Director of the Greater Sarasota Chamber.  “We are proud to be able to honor such an excellent community for having the foresight to continually invest in its facility at its beautiful location to nurture its well-deserved reputation for excellence.”

Gratefully accepting the award, Harry Hobson stated, “I believe that there is greater risk in standing still than moving forward in this competitive environment, because standing still clearly translates to taking steps backward and jeopardizing your future.”  He went on to point out that, “In our field, expanding our wellness programming and developing a new assisted living/memory support center are two prime examples of how we choose to embrace and ensure Plymouth Harbor’s future and stay in a leadership capacity.”

A video highlighting Plymouth Harbor’s commitment to the future was shown to over three hundred business and community leaders from across the country gathered at the luncheon that day.  It was a proud day for Plymouth Harbor, but in terms of our mission, nothing out of the ordinary for this extraordinary community.