William R. Johnston, Board of Trustees

Having spent much of my life here with my parents and other relatives, Plymouth Harbor is near and dear to my heart.  Someday, we will call it home, too.

Well regarded in financial circles throughout the country, Bill was the President and COO of the New York Stock Exchange from 1996 to 2001.  In addition, he has a long and distinguished career on Wall Street with several well-known firms, and is a graduate of Washington and Lee University.  Bill is a consummate board member who shares his time and talent with many organizations in addition to Plymouth Harbor, including DeSoto National Park and New College of Florida. He is also a past trustee of both Washington and Lee University and Hollins University, his wife’s alma mater. Bill’s additional advisory board service is too numerous to mention in this article, but suffice it to say that he is in demand and gives of his time generously.

Prior to Bill’s involvement with the Foundation Board, he served six years as a Plymouth Harbor Trustee.  He was first introduced to Plymouth Harbor by five relatives who preceded him, including his parents, two aunts, and an uncle.  He and his wife Betsy are Bradenton residents, who also spend part of their time in the northeast.


Jay Price, Member at Large Trustee

Jay was born in Southport, Connecticut and raised in Manchester and Stowe, Vermont. After finishing high school in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, he moved to Wichita, Kansas to serve six years in the 8th Air Force Strategic Air Command. After his Air Force service and education at Wichita State University, he joined Boeing Military Co. Aerospace Group, and worked on National defense projects. In 1984 Jay moved to Sarasota, FL and spent 12 years traveling and managing worldwide, special access international defense projects for Fairchild Weston and its successors, Loral Aerospace – Lockheed Martin. He then served as Director, Corporate Accounts for an international telecommunications firm. His board service includes chair of the St. Thomas More Finance Committee. He and his wife, Leslie Juron, co-chaired the Girls Incorporated of Sarasota County Capital Campaign and were both awarded the Girls Inc. Visionary Award.

Jay Price is a First Vice President – Investments and Financial Advisor with the Juron Price Wealth Management Group of Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC. Jay and Leslie have two rescued English Springer Spaniels and have lived in The Sanderling Club on Siesta Key for 19 years.

Lee DeLieto, Sr., Board of Trustees

“I have a personal sensitivity for what the folks at Plymouth Harbor do. Because of that, I was compelled from an objective as well as subjective point of view to want to get involved. It’s an honor to be recognized as a member of The Plymouth Harbor Board, and I’m very proud and pleased to contribute to such an iconic organization.”

Lee DeLieto, Sr. joined the Commercial Group at Michael Saunders & Company more than 20 years ago and he and his partner, Lee Jr., have repeatedly received the “Top Commercial Real Estate Team” recognition. Lee is an active member of various professional organizations including member and Past President of The Commercial Investment Division (CID) of the Sarasota Association of Realtors, member of Sarasota Association of Realtors and the International Council of Shopping Centers.

Community involvement includes Founder and Board Member of Insignia Bank, and current Board Member and Past Chair of Boys and Girls Clubs of Sarasota County. Additionally, Lee is a Past President of the Downtown Sarasota Kiwanis Club, Past Board Chair of the Sarasota University Club, and Past President of the Sarasota Alumni Club of Phi Delta Theta. Lee received a Bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University and an MBA from the Sloan School of Management at the University of Rochester.

John M. Cranor, Board of Trustees

“My first experience with Plymouth Harbor was its ‘connection’ with New College. John Whitney McNeil was, along with his wife, the ‘adult presence’ for the Charter Class of New College. He was also the ‘creator’ of Plymouth Harbor. For nearly fifty years, Plymouth Harbor has been an icon in Sarasota. For most of that time, friends of New College have been residents there. Two local institutions, nurtured by a single, inspired individual, have shaped a half century of growth and history in Sarasota.”

John M. Cranor is the former President and CEO of the New College Foundation, and has over 30 years of management experience in the food service and retail industries. John is an active member of the Sarasota community and has held senior executive positions with several notable corporations, including Pepsi-Cola North America, Taco Bell Corporation, Wilson Sporting Goods, and Frito-Lay Company.

John holds degrees from a handful of prestigious institutions including a Bachelor of Arts Degree from New College of Florida, a Master of Business Administration from Harvard University Graduate School of Business and an honorary Doctorate from Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky. Currently, John serves as the non-executive Chair of the Board of Directors of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc.

HallBrian D. Hall, Treasurer

“Plymouth Harbor is an exceptional continuing care retirement community with an exciting future. It is a pleasure to serve on the Board of Trustees.”

Brian D. Hall is the Executive Vice President and Director of Wealth Management at the Gateway Bank of Southwest Florida, joining Gateway after serving previously as President, Chief Executive Officer and Director of Sarasota-based Sabal Palm Bank. Prior to Sabal Palm, Brian was President and Chief Executive Officer for SouthTrust in Sarasota, following a 22-year banking career in Indiana and Ohio. Brian received a BS degree in Finance from Indiana University and an MBA in Management from the University of Cincinnati. Brian’s community involvement includes director and board chair of Samaritan Counseling Services of the Gulf Coast, regional board director and past Sarasota community campaign chair of United Way Suncoast, past director and treasurer of the Education Foundation of Sarasota, and volunteer youth basketball coach. Brian and wife Betsy live in Lakewood Ranch and enjoy spending time with family. They are active members of the Woodland Community Church.

Plymouth Harbor may not be able to find a more enthusiastic advocate and admirer than resident Ellen Harrison.  Sitting down over coffee in the Plymouth Rock Café, she was sure offer up the seats with the best view to her guests remarking on the unbeatable scenery of Sarasota Bay and the nearby mangroves.

Of course the purpose of our interview is to talk about Ellen and her many life experiences, but she was determined to pair anything she divulged about her personal life with some factual information or praise for the remarkable community of Plymouth Harbor.

And so it is remarkable, but it was Ellen’s mother who discovered that for herself first.  Ellen and her late husband, Vance, fell in love with the architecture of Plymouth Harbor, as well as Sarasota’s warm weather and many art-related activities while visiting her mother.

The couple lived in Winnetka, Illinois where she taught at Winnetka Junior High School. She and Vance had met while students at Cornell University. Once married, they moved to Connecticut where Ellen earned a master’s degree in Education at the University of Connecticut. Vance’s work in radio and television eventually landed the family—which now included four children—in Chicago, where Ellen was a docent at the Art Institute for 15 years.

Shy to speak of her adventures, this native of Kinston, North Carolina, only glancingly described moving to New York with her mother after her father died. Ellen was in high school at the time and left to fend largely for herself while her mother studied at Columbia University.

Despite her reticence to share her stories, Ellen has never hesitated to get involved volunteer for many years in Winnetka civic and community activities including the League of Women Voters, Junior League, social services and youth activities. When she and Vance moved to Plymouth Harbor in 2002, Ellen got involved in some of Plymouth Harbor’s many resident committees.

Within those first years, Ellen was active with the Program, Décor, and Library committees. “The library is run completely by the residents,” she said beaming with pride. “We add ten to twelve new books each month. There is an enormous amount here at Plymouth Harbor to keep your mind and body going.”

“Plymouth Harbor is so very different from most other senior communities,” Ellen points out. “Our committees tackle important tasks and get things done.”  She is the person who would know.  After serving as chairman of the Program Committee she was elected to serve as President of the Residents Association. In this capacity, she represented residents on the Plymouth Harbor Board of Trustees for a total of 6 years.

There are always three residents serving on the Board of Trustees at any given time. They are the Resident Association President-Elect, current President, and Immediate Past-President. During her years on the Board, Ellen saw major renovations of the lobby and dining rooms, electrical upgrades throughout the community and the groundbreaking for the new Wellness Center still under construction.

Much of the success, she feels, can be attributed to CEO Harry Hobson, who she describes as “very approachable.” Ellen says unequivocally, “We’re lucky to have him.”

The feeling is probably mutual.  At a recent Residents Association meeting Harry Hobson acknowledged Ellen for her outstanding work on the council from 2011-2014 and praised her as a consensus builder.  Ellen’s first official duty was the ribbon cutting upon completion of the Northwest Passage connecting the tower mezzanine and the West Garden.  Now at the end of her term of service, she was presented an award for her conscientious and outstanding leadership.

For the first time in many years, she has few official obligations and she is looking forward to some extra spare time to relax and enjoy her reading. In May, she’ll travel to Martha’s Vineyard where she will vacation with family as she has done for many years.

While she does enjoy these summers up North, I bet she will miss Plymouth Harbor, or at least her time in the dining room! Ask her about the food and her eyes light up. “This is the best food I’ve ever had!” she says. “I love asparagus, and here it’s always perfect. Chef René really cares.”

As if on cue, our discussion ends and 20 or so culinary-minded residents come into the cafe on time for Executive Chef René Weder’s weekly “Café Chat.” Chef Rene, white-clad and complete with chef’s hat, arrives, and a lively conversation ensues.

The Plymouth Harbor Foundation was established in 2012 to further ensure the appropriate stewardship of contributed funds, develop and implement fundraising strategies that support the most positive aging experience possible for residents of Plymouth Harbor on Sarasota Bay. It also provides funding for innovative programs and services for seniors in the region.

We are so pleased to be able to announce the inaugural members of our Plymouth Harbor Foundation Board of Trustees, who met for the first time on January 16th where they elected officers.  As you may be aware, our bylaws call for a Foundation Board that consists of 3 Plymouth Harbor Trustees, 3 resident members, 3 community-at-large members, and the President and Sr. Vice President of Finance for Plymouth Harbor.  We are proud to present our Foundation Board, as follows.  Please join us in thanking our generous Trustees for their dedicated time and attention to this worthy and very important cause.

 Bill JohnstonBill Johnston, Chair, Plymouth Harbor, Inc. Trustee

William Johnston is Past President and COO of the New York Stock Exchange. William received his BS degree in Commerce from Washington & Lee University. He became a member of the NYSE in 1964 and a Director in 1992 and has served on numerous committees. He was Senior VP and Director of Mitchum Jones & Templeton. William also founded Agora Securities, and then merged it into LaBranche & Co. where he was Senior Managing Partner. He is currently a Director at Hollins University and Chairman of the Audit Committee and Co-chair of Development. William has served on numerous committees and advisory boards of universities; and taught at numerous colleges and universities across the country. He and his wife Elizabeth have two children and two grandchildren.

 Tom HopkinsTom Hopkins, Plymouth Harbor, Inc. Trustee

Thomas Hopkins is a shareholder and former President of the Icard-Merrill law firm and has practiced with the firm since 1977. Tom practices all areas of real estate law and has been designated by the Florida Bar as a Board Certified Real Estate Attorney. He also has extensive experience counseling clients in all aspects of estate planning. His professional affiliations and positions have included serving as President of the Sarasota County Bar Association and the Bar Association Legal Aid Society, Inc. Tom also has served as President and board member of the Sarasota County Civic League and President of the Ivy League Club. A graduate with an A.B. from Dartmouth College, Tom also earned an M.S. from the University of Southern California and his law degree from the University of Florida. Tom and his wife Wendy have three children and one grandchild.

Lee ByronLee Byron, Plymouth Harbor, Inc. Trustee

Lee Byron is a long-time resident of Sarasota, a successful real estate agent with Michael Saunders, a former elected school board member, and very involved in the community. She presently serves as chair of the Big Brothers/Big Sisters of the Suncoast Foundation board, the Teen Court Board, the Human Services Advisory Committee (to the County Commission), and on the Government Affairs Committee for the Sarasota Association of Realtors. Lee is a graduate of Smith College with a Masters in Government from the Monterey Institute of International Studies, and is presently working on a second Masters in Pastoral Ministry from the Rice School of the Diocese of Venice. She and her late husband, Tom, have three children and two grandchildren.

Tom Towler, Resident of Plymouth Harbor

Tom graduated from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire and joined Mobil Oil Company for several years. He subsequently chaired the grocery non-food company for the Kroger Company, Top Value Trading Stamp Company, TV Travel and served as an officer of the Baldwin United Financial Services Company in Cincinnati.  He arranged the purchase of the S&H Green Steamp Company, taking them private from the NYSE public listing.  Tom retired, moved to Siesta Key in 1984 with is late wife Sue, and then spent 10 years working as a property assessor with Goodnow Associates.  He has a passion for volunteering, which included Board positions with Sarasota Memorial Hospital Healthcare Foundation Board, New College Foundation Board, Field Club, and Bay Plaza boards.  He spent 16 years in Surgery Transport and SMH and was the chair of Siesta Key Utility Authority.  He moved to Plymouth Harbor in October 2009.  He has four children and has encouraged each of them to be active volunteers.

 Carla Plush Smith, Plymouth Harbor, Inc. Secretary

Carla Smith is a Florida CPA. She has an extensive background in estate and personal financial planning in her 25+/year career as a CPA. A Sarasota native (which is unique), Carla is a graduate of Leadership Sarasota and has served as an officer and director on numerous community boards. She is a graduate of  University of Florida with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting, and a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling from the University of South Florida. She and her husband Peter are members of the Sarasota Field Club, and enjoy boating, water skiing, and traveling.

 Cade Sibley, Plymouth Harbor, Inc. Trustee

Cade Sibley is a recent resident of Longboat Key, moving here in 2010 with her husband, Whit from Denver, Colorado, where she for nearly 30 years designed and implemented advanced estate, business-transfer and investment-planning strategies for affluent business owners, highly compensated executives and those with inherited wealth.    Her clients realized significant reductions in estate, capital gains and gift taxes, preservation of family businesses for subsequent generations, and maximization of existing wealth through comprehensive investment planning. Cade was a longtime member of several of Lincoln Financial Group’s most prestigious honors societies. Cade served her Denver community as Vice Chairman of the Rocky Mountain Multiple Sclerosis Center board, as a member of the Professional Advisor’s Board for The Denver Foundation and a board member of the Denver Arthritis Foundation Board. She is familiar with Plymouth Harbor, where her mother and father have both been residents for more than 15 years. Cade and her husband are both new members of Bird Key Yacht Club where they are serving on several committees and are active with the club’s cruising fleet.

 Garry JacksonGarry Jackson, Plymouth Harbor, Inc. Treasurer

Mr. Garry Jackson is the Senior Vice President and CFO of Plymouth Harbor on Sarasota Bay Continuing Care Retirement Community. He has worked at Plymouth Harbor since March of 1997.   Prior to his career in healthcare, Garry worked in New York City where he was the Controller & Director of Financial Planning at New York Law School for nine years, and at the investment-banking firm of Rothschild, Inc. as the Assistant Vice President of Finance & Administration for six years.  He holds a Masters Degree in Business Management from Southern California University, Santa Ana, CA.

 Harry HobsonHarry Hobson, Plymouth Harbor, Inc. Vice-Chair

Harry Hobson, President and CEO of Plymouth Harbor on Sarasota Bay, has a career that has included work in both Hospital and Retirement Community Administration. Prior to his arrival at Plymouth Harbor in 2004, he was the President and CEO of Westminster-Canterbury Retirement Community of Irvington, Virginia; and, First Community Village of Columbus, Ohio. Mr. Hobson received Masters Degrees in both Business Management and Healthcare Administration from Central Michigan University; and, completed gerontological studies at George Washington University. He holds nursing home administrator
licenses in Florida and Ohio.