Last month, we learned that Fran Knight had passed away. Fran lived at Plymouth Harbor for nearly 20 years before she moved in early 2015 to be closer to her daughters in Massachusetts.

During her years with us, she was involved in a variety of committees and activities at Plymouth Harbor. One such involvement was in art, as she was both an artist and a lover of art. We are honored to have recently received $5,000 from Fran’s trust, which her daughters wish to benefit the Plymouth Harbor Art Fund. The fund was established to support both resident artists and overall art at Plymouth Harbor. It is our pleasure to include Fran Knight as a member of the MacNeil Society.


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!


3212L3-PILGRIM_HALL-SD (3)We are very happy to say that progress is being made in the rejuvenation of Pilgrim Hall. Following is an update on the project, as it stands at the end of May.

The construction drawings have been completed and are with Willis Smith (the contractor) and the City of Sarasota (for permitting). Willis Smith has invited subcontractors to bid on the project, which will result in a final construction cost. We will have the cost by the end of June, at which time we should also possess the permits from the city.

The Project Design Team (Phil Starr, John DeJongh, Fran Rehl, Ted Rehl, Charles Gehrie, Maryanne Shorin, Harry Hobson, and Becky Pazkowski) has been attending a series of meetings with the architect (Laura Adcock, WBRC Architects) and the interior designer (Marne Kaplan, Marne Kaplan Interior Design, Inc.). A color scheme encompassing fabrics, carpet, wood, curtains, wall coverings, and fixtures has been selected for both inside the hall and the corridor directly outside of the hall that complements the café, dining room, and lobby décor. (Note that the previously viewed wall images for the corridor that were discussed at last June’s resident meeting are not in the final design template). The new design of the entrance includes widening of both doors from the corridor by 18’’ each. New seating is progressing, with two companies still in the bidding process. The seating goal is to improve comfort, maintain capacity, and accommodate wheelchairs and scooters.

The acoustician and audio/video experts have submitted their recommendations, which have been accepted by the Project Design Team. The improvements include upgrades of acoustical materials throughout the hall, surround sound, high capacity voice amplification, high definition video projection, and sound monitoring from the rear of the hall. Also included are capabilities to view Pilgrim Hall performances from the Club Room and Wellness Center.

The Club Room voice microphones, surround sound, and TV monitor have all been upgraded. Previously, only two microphones were available…now, we have 10. Previously, the sound for the video projection and the microphones all came from the same ceiling speakers…now, we have a brand new surround sound system that has dedicated speakers in the ceiling and on the floor in the front and back of the room. This system handles any sound coming from the TV. The new 85’’ 4k television takes the place of the previous video projector and screen. Now all video projection, including cable TV, can be viewed on this screen. This includes anything done from a computer, from cable, or from a DVD. We also upgraded the internet access to hardwire, as opposed to Wi-Fi, which will improve the performance of streamed videos.

We anticipate that the rejuvenation in Pilgrim Hall will commence at the end of June, with a projected six-month schedule. Let’s hope for an end of the year grand opening celebration!


By: Becky Pazkowski

For the first time, Plymouth Harbor is able to offer Workplace English to our primarily Spanish-speaking employees, as part of our OnBoard Employee Wellness Program. The course is administered by State College of Florida’s Workplace Education program.

The classes are 2 hours per week for 10 weeks, and will be offered here on the campus of Plymouth Harbor for the convenience of our employees who wish to participate. At the end of the 10 week course, which runs March 1st through May 3rd, participants will receive a certificate of completion. This course is made possible through gifts to the Plymouth Harbor Foundation.



Picture6Channel 195 on your TV – some of you love it for the musical background it provides and frequently refer to it for information about what’s going on and what’s coming up at Plymouth Harbor, while some of you hardly know it exists.

That’s all about to change – for the better!

Plymouth Harbor has contracted with Touchtown, a leading provider of in-house TV and digital signage, to provide improved communication with you through your television set. Instead of the white-text-on-blue-background that exists now, Channel 195 will bring you up-to-date information on activities, dining menus, trips, programs, classes, weather reports, and announcements with gorgeous full color graphics. You’ll continue to enjoy the background music as before.

And here’s a new feature for those with vision loss — at specified times, the background music will pause and there will be audio narration of the information on the screen. So if you’re having trouble seeing it, you’ll be able to hear it.

Look for it starting in February.


By: Becky Pazkowski

Picture5As of this writing, we have experienced quite a year in our history of The Foundation. So far, we have over $1,200,000 in current gifts, from more than 500 gifts and pledges. In addition, we welcomed nine new members to the MacNeil Society (those who named The Foundation in their estate plans), totaling over $231,000 in new deferred gifts this year.

We are so very grateful for all who have made these contributions! We will detail these gifts and stories in the 2015 Impact Report, coming out in March of 2016.


On Monday, December 14, 2015, Plymouth Harbor held a Groundbreaking Ceremony for the new Northwest Garden building, which will house customized residential apartments, assisted living residences, and memory care residences. The event began with a Shovel Ceremony at 5:00 pm on the  west lawn near the Smith Care Center, followed by a poolside reception sponsored by Northern Trust.

The new Northwest Garden building, to be located next to the existing Smith Care Center on the west side of the campus, will encompass 30 Memory Care, 30 Assisted Living, and 10 luxury apartment residences. The Memory Care residences are a new addition to Plymouth Harbor, and will specifically focus on providing personalized care and services for individuals with Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related conditions. The new Assisted Living and Independent Living residences are an expansion of Plymouth Harbor’s current offerings, intended to help meet increased market demand.

The Groundbreaking Ceremony included remarks from President/CEO Harry Hobson, as well as key executives involved in the project — Duncan Finlay, M.D., Chair of the Plymouth Harbor, Inc. Board of Trustees; William R. Johnston, Chair of The Plymouth Harbor Foundation Board of Trustees; as well as remarks from Philip A. Delaney, Jr., President, Northern Trust; and Rick Gomez, Senior Vice President & Managing Director-Sarasota, Northern Trust, our reception sponsor and project lender.

56476546We also had the honor of having Sam Woolf, a Bradenton local, and a finalist in the hit TV show “American Idol,” perform the Star-Spangled Banner at the beginning of the ceremony. Additionally, The Reverend Dr. Wes Bixby, Senior Minister at the First Congregational United Church of Christ Sarasota, gave a special message and blessing of the project. Following the blessing, seven individuals, including The Reverend Dr. Wes Bixby; Jim Hudgins, President, THW Design; Dave Sessions, President and CEO, Willis A. Smith Construction; Philip A. Delaney, Jr.; Harry Hobson; Dale N. Woodling; William R. Johnston; and Duncan Finlay, M.D., were invited to participate in the Groundbreaking Shovel Ceremony (pictured right).

Nearly 200 guests attended the ceremony, including Plymouth Harbor residents, employees, members of the Plymouth Harbor, Inc. Board of Trustees and the Plymouth Harbor Foundation Board of Trustees, local media, and key partners involved in the development of this project. Many residents were also able to witness the ceremony through live simulcast streaming into Pilgrim Hall, the Smith Care Center Living Room, and the Callahan Center.

In addition to the construction of the Cooling Tower, which began earlier this summer, the Northwest Garden Groundbreaking Ceremony marks the official beginning of construction for the new building. We anticipate roughly 22 months of construction, with an expected opening date set for the end of 2017.

Plymouth Harbor is proud to celebrate the beginning of this exciting project, and looks forward to continually providing the most positive life experience possible for our residents.



Bert Adams (4)Each year, Keep Sarasota County Beautiful asks the community to nominate individuals who, time and time again, demonstrate their commitment to our environment. These individuals are then recognized at the Keep Sarasota County Beautiful Annual Volunteer Awards Recognition Dinner.

This year, Plymouth Harbor is proud to announce that we nominated our very own volunteer superstar, Bert Adams (an employee in our Smith Care Center). To no one’s surprise, Bert’s nomination was well-received, and she was invited to attend the annual dinner where she received the prestigious Guy Hudson Award for promoting volunteer interest and participation!

KSCBAwards2015-4The 27th annual dinner was held on November 4, 2015, at Robarts Area, and was hosted by Tampa Bay Rays Emcee, Bobby Milliken, and the Oriole Bird. A group of Plymouth Harbor employees attended the event alongside Bert’s family to cheer her on and support efforts being made throughout the county that promote environmental stewardship and innovation through education and action.

Bert’s award is not only well-deserved, but extremely fitting as it “recognizes an extraordinary life-long volunteer who has contributed to litter prevention and public awareness efforts.” Since Bert started at Plymouth Harbor in 1991, she has been committed to involving employees and their family members in volunteer efforts throughout the county. She has consistently organized company volunteer cleanup projects, and her efforts go beyond beautification.

Bert is the reason Plymouth Harbor adopted All Faiths Food Bank as our corporate charitable project, and she continually participates and promotes other local charities, such as the Crop Walk, the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life, and many more.

Both Sarasota County and Plymouth Harbor are extremely lucky to have Bert Adams as member of our team — congratulations, Bert!


By: Becky Pazkowski

Everyone knew Joan Runge. She was smart, outgoing, hardworking, and confident. There was also another attribute that Joan possessed: generosity. She did not flaunt it. In fact, she made you work for it. But, alas, she could be more generous than anyone knew.

There were two very generous things that Joan did before she passed away that will live on at Plymouth Harbor far into the future. First, along with the others in the Fund Shop group, she made a recommendation to the Residents Association that they contribute $30,000 of their treasury to The Next Stage Capital Campaign to rejuvenate Pilgrim Hall. As far as we know, this generous contribution represents the largest single contribution from the Fund Shop treasury in its history. This donation helps us to rejuvenate Pilgrim Hall, adding state of the art audio, video, furnishings, and acoustical treatments.

Additionally, Joan was a member of the MacNeil Society, having named The Plymouth Harbor Foundation in her estate plans. We are yet to know the exact amount of her bequest, but we do know is that the gift is in the “major” category, and she made sure that it would benefit the new Assisted Living and Memory Care expansion.

These two projects were very important to Joan, and she ensured that her generosity would have the largest impact on people’s lives as possible. We believe she accomplished just that. A truly generous heart.