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.

Since 1999, more than 25 scholarships have been awarded through The Mildred and Bernard Doyle Charitable Trust to Plymouth Harbor employees and their children. A result of the deep admiration the Doyles developed for Plymouth Harbor employees during their residency, the trust was established as a means to provide ongoing educational assistance to “a worthy and needy child of an employee of Plymouth Harbor” or “a worthy and needy employee seeking to increase their skills or to obtain a higher education.” Each year, a scholarship committee at Northern Trust Bank, including former Plymouth Harbor executive director Jack Smith, selects two recipients of the $5,000 scholarship. This year, Tara Mitchell and Louise Franca received the prestigious recognition.

Tara Mitchell joined the Smith Care Center as a certified nursing assistant in 2006. With the help of the Doyle Scholarship, Tara plans to complete her associate degree in nursing at the StateCollege of Florida. Once completed, Tara will enroll in the LPN to RN transition program at St. Petersburg College.

scholarships imageLouise Franca is the daughter of Marcos Franca, who has worked as a landscaper at Plymouth Harbor for over seven years. A senior at Manatee High School, Louise has been a Dual Enrollment student at the State College of Florida since her junior year. After graduation, Louise plans to pursue a degree in fashion marketing, first at Tallahassee Community College for her associate degree, then transferring to Florida State University to earn her bachelor’s degree.

Congratulations, Tara and Louise!

To hear Carol and Mort Siegler reminisce, one might wonder if they are talking about the same lifetime. Using words sparingly and eschewing any hint   of exaggeration, Mort recounts his childhood in Jersey City, Cornell college days, wartime service as an Army Ordnance Officer in Detroit, and a career   in construction. Carol on the other hand, bubbles with colorful detail, exciting stories of an exotic upbringing and adventures of a lifetime.

With time, it is apparent that there is no disconnect at all. The two have been partners since college in an elegant dance – Mort holding the frame with calm, cool confidence, while Carol adds the flare and fascination. It’s a dance lasting 67 years and counting.

Carol’s father started a successful textile venture in Havana, Cuba, in 1920 and brought his family there where they lived privileged lives within a thriving American colony community. Always attentive to her environment, she grew up bilingual with culturally sensitive and politically progressive viewpoints.

“I learned a lot from dinner table conversation where the news of the day was often about refugees from Europe prior to World War II,” Carol recalls. Their community banded together to accommodate and take care of recent arrivals who were destitute.

Raised in Jersey City, Mort’s family kept their regimented, hard-working Austrian traditions. His father ran a successful construction firm involved in the construction of the Holland Tunnel to Manhattan. However, music also filled their home. His father played violin, his mother was a coloratura soprano, and his sister played piano. “Nothing really stuck with me,” adds Mort. Instead, Mort focused on his engineering studies, earning a degree from Cornell University after the war. That’s where he met the beautiful young and spirited pre-med student, Carol.

After marriage, they settled in West Orange and commenced to raise three daughters – Jan, Kim, and Meg. Known as a quiet intellect, Mort grew the family business and expanded into commercial and industrial real estate. He lent his quiet intellect to crafting extraordinary deals and win-win negotiations that landed him the reputation as a “mover and shaker.” (Please note that the laudatory adjectives come from Carol, not Mort!)

Mort later moved to the public sector, managing a $300 million budget as the Director of the Division of Building and Construction for the State of New Jersey. While Mort may have lacked musical talent, Carol is quick to point out that Mort is an excellent cook and served on the board of Restaurant Associates. This might just be a footnote, but it explains how this no-nonsense businessman fits so well with an ebullient arts and human rights advocate.

sieglers 2Having been immersed in dance, arts, and music as a child, Carol still uses her keen visual eye as an interior designer—their home on the 20th floor is stunning. Volunteer work included founding a cooperative nursery school and The Creative Arts Group to provide art, dance, drama, and film experiences for school children, and serving as a Spanish interpreter for Planned Parenthood in Newark, New Jersey, in the late 50s.

When their youngest daughter was in college, the Sieglers found their time was spent more in their second home on Abaco in the Bahamas, a climate more reminiscent of Carol’s youth. They eventually explored both the east and west coasts of Florida by boat, searching for a possible full-time southern home. Honing in on Naples or Sarasota, Mort and Carol inspected both during a land-based road trip and much preferred Sarasota’s inclusive community. They   set down their roots on Longboat Key in 1990, immersed themselves in the arts, and continued their fifty-year commitment to the American Jewish Committee (AJC) (they both still serve on the national board). As a result of their work with the AJC, St. Leo University’s Center for Catholic Jewish Studies was founded in the Siegler’s very own Longboat Key apartment, where they even served as co-chairs of the board at one time.

Continuing their commitment to the Florida community, Mort served on the board of the Sarasota Orchestra, while Carol served on the board of the Asolo Rep and even had the opportunity to travel back to Havana with the Sarasota Ballet. When the Ballet hosted a trip to Cuba, the group met with Alicia Alonso of the famed Cuban National Ballet, who is just a few years older than Carol. “I was surprised she remembered me from the days we were ballet students together,” shared Carol.

The arts for children are a more visible community commitment, but Carol’s voice took on a more urgent tone when she spoke of human rights, crisis     relief, and human services. Just as the expatriate community in Havana took care of the dire needs of refugees, Carol and Mort have extended themselves     in myriad ways throughout their lives to fill in the gaps. Citing the Herald Tribune’s Season of Sharing endeavor, Carol mentioned just a couple of recent cases Mort has supported: destitute NYC firefighters relocating to Sarasota, and paraplegic twins whose mother needed housing. The Children’s Guardian Fund, the supporter of the Guardian Ad Litem program providing resources that fill the basic needs of children in foster care, is another focus of their time and attention.

Through the years, their dance together has progressed from career and family to new homes and endeavors. Yet holding between them a mutual love for the arts and commitment to making the world just a little bit better for those who could use a little help, Carol and Morton Siegler still make it all look easy.

Back in February, we reflected on the spirit of philanthropy – that only through helping one another and uniting our efforts, can we truly make a difference in the world, and in turn, create a better tomorrow for our children. One of the primary reasons people engage in philanthropy is the desire to make an impact on someone’s life. In 2012, The Plymouth Harbor Foundation was founded to ensure the appropriate stewardship of funds contributed to Plymouth Harbor, provide funding for innovative programs and services, and guarantee that these gifts are able to make that desired impact.

This year, with the help of The Foundation’s 2014 Impact Report, we wanted to share with you the far-reaching impact that your gifts have made, not only within the Plymouth Harbor community, but also the greater Sarasota community.  The report includes heartwarming stories of families that overcame overwhelming obstacles, residents and donors that contributed unbelievably generous gifts, countless hours of volunteer service, and much more.

Here are a few highlights from the 2014 report:

  • Over $541,000 was donated in gifts to The Foundation.
  • Residents and employees of Plymouth Harbor contributed 10,486 hours of volunteer services to nearly 70 different organizations in the Sarasota area.
  • 14 individuals became members of The MacNeil Society (those who included a gift to The Foundation in their estate through a will, gift annuity agreement, trust arrangement, life insurance, or retirement plan).
  • Gifts By Source Vs. Gift By Fund

impact report image

If you have a minute, take some time to read the full impact report, found here. You’ll be amazed by the generous gifts and inspiring stories found here at Plymouth Harbor.

Last Friday, May 29, 2015, we celebrated Plymouth Harbor’s first annual MacNeil Day! The inaugural event was sponsored by The Plymouth Harbor Foundation as means of celebrating our founder, The Reverend Dr. John Whitney MacNeil, born on May 29, 1911. As we near the milestone of our 50th Anniversary next year, it was only fitting to honor Dr. MacNeil and celebrate the past, present, and future of our thriving community.

The commemorative event took place in Pilgrim Hall, where nearly 150 residents and guests gathered to view a presentation by Harry Hobson, President & CEO, Plymouth Harbor. The presentation first reflected on Dr. MacNeil’s vision for Plymouth Harbor, which was realized on January 15, 1966, when Plymouth Harbor first opened its doors to community residents, then transitioned into present and future initiatives.

The presentation also included a video (shown below) containing heartfelt testimonials from historic community icons, including Tom Elliott, Plymouth Harbor’s first third-generation resident, and Judith MacNeil Merrill, the late Dr. MacNeil’s wife, now a resident of Plymouth Harbor. As Judith puts it, “John never lived here, but I live here now. It has come full circle.”

We look forward to MacNeil Day 2016, where we will celebrate Plymouth Harbor’s 50th Anniversary! To learn more about The Reverend Dr. John Whitney MacNeil, click here.

By Addie Hurst

ElliottsReally, no introductions are needed!  Many Plymouth Harbor residents know the Elliotts, perhaps not Sue and Tom, but Tom’s parents and grandparents.  Sue and Tom Elliott are our first third-generation family!

You may have read about them in the June 2014 issue of Harbor Light but in case you missed it, or don’t remember, let me introduce you.  Tom and Sue were high school sweethearts in Toledo, OH.  They both attended the University of Toledo where Sue got a degree as a registered medical technologist and worked at the Blood Bank in Ann Arbor, MI.

Meanwhile, Tom graduated from Alma College with a degree in biology.  They were married in 1958, and in 1959 Tom served in the Army in Schweinfurt, West Germany, where Sue was able to join him.  They traveled all around Europe in a Volkswagen, which they filled with gasoline at 13 cents a gallon.  Their friend, who was a tour guide for American Express, gave them instructions on where to go, where to stay, and where to eat. They reported living in an apartment where the Polish landlady spoke no English and they spoke neither German nor Polish.  A neighbor helped by being an intermediary.

Tom’s work when he returned to the States and finished his M.S. at Michigan State University (go green) was at ASA (Applied Science Associates), which became a multi-faceted organization involving behavioral science, ergonomics, personnel management, software development, printing, and training for government and industrial users.  When he started, there were only two men and a secretary; when he retired as president, there were over 150 employees.  After retirement, he taught management at the community college and led the expansion and modernization of the county library system.

They lived in Butler, PA.  Sue was home raising their children, Daniel and Elizabeth, and was involved in lots of volunteer work.  She was on the boards of the library, the mental health clinic, and the symphony.  Sue’s hobby is quilting; one of her quilts was selected to be displayed at Dollywood!

One of the Elliotts’ hobbies was sailing, and they won the Governor’s Cup in 1975.  Tom particularly enjoys woodworking and has already become a member of the Health & Wellness Committee.  Sue will become more active when she completes her physical therapy course.  The Elliotts have many friends in Sarasota as they spent many winters at Sarasota Harbor, but look forward to meeting new ones here.

FreedmanTheirs is another one of those rare stories of young love at first sight.  Marcia Freedman recalls “I was only thirteen, but he thought I was older. I graduated from high school when I was fifteen and went straight to Endicott College where I earned my degree in art.”

Arnold Freedman replies, “We waited until she’d graduated from college to get married. I bounced around and ended up at Rider College (now University) in New Jersey.”

Both Marcia and Arnie grew up in Albany, New York, and that’s where Arnie landed his first job at the Times-Union Newspaper. When he learned the salary was $25 a week higher in radio, he stepped into broadcast news and got to provide national radio news coverage of the Eisenhower 1952 campaign and inauguration.  But in 1953, television arrived and what young up-and-comer could resist the allure and promises of this medium?  Certainly not Arnie!

The radio station where he’d been an office boy in high school got the first license for TV in Albany and he was able to jump right on board from the beginning. “Nobody knew what we were doing. It was all experimental,” he says.

His career at the Albany station, which became a media conglomerate called Capital Cities Communications, lasted 46 years. “I did everything in  sales and promotion, news, and management,” Arnie adds. Five minutes before his first on-air appearance hosting a quiz show, the advertising guy rushed in to inform him that his on-air name would be Marc Edwards.  Arnie Freedman was just not going to fly.

“What’s my mother going to say?” was the first thing he said, but the name was set and they went live. For many years Marc Edwards reported the weather, news, and provided coverage at major news events. He was part of the team that won a prestigious Peabody Award for their coverage of the 1961 Adolf Eichmann trial in Israel, a noted highlight of Arnie’s career.

During these years Marcia was a working freelance artist, starting with commercial art for department stores, and then on to many other projects. She thrived on the diversity.  She was also the mother of a growing family as she and Arnie welcomed two talented boys to the world. “My art work was my life, as well as my family,” shares Marcia.

Interestingly, both boys ended up in the television industry. Why?  Arnie recounts the pivotal conversation when his boys observed, “Dad always makes enough to buy hockey tickets, so the money in TV must be good.”

It can be for those as motivated as Arnie. The Albany station manager was also Arnie’s mentor who helped him grow into station management. “In 1981, I uprooted Marcia and became station manager of Capital Cities’ station in Fresno. She gave up a great deal for me,” says Arnie gazing lovingly her way.

Smiling, she replied matter-of-factly, “I didn’t give up a lot. I added to my repertoire.”

That she did, expanding her art by working with ASID interior designers who commissioned her to create murals, art for specific spaces, and the list goes on. During those 16 years in Fresno, Marcia also produced a series of Fresno scenes that adorn the offices of the Central Florida Blood Center and were also used in an award-winning calendar for 1995.

About this time, Marcia had a sobering encounter with a stage four diagnosis of ovarian cancer.  Marcia’s oncologist stated his intention, “We are going to make it go away.”  And that’s what happened after two years of chemotherapy.  When Arnie retired in 1997, they took their cancer-free diagnosis and moved to Longboat Key, Florida to briefly be near one of their sons while he was at a station in Orlando.

The cancer returned with a metastasized tumor behind the chest wall in 2000. This time they turned to the doctors at Moffit Cancer Center in Tampa and there’s been no recurrence since.

“They worked miracles,” says Marcia, acknowledging that recovery from recurring ovarian cancer is indeed rare.  Throughout all of these difficult days, Marcia continued to paint exuberantly colorful scenes from her window looking out on the Gulf of Mexico.

After a heart health scare in 2005, both Marcia and Arnie began to consider what might be best for their long-term care and peace of mind for their sons.  Finally conducting research on all the comparable continuing care retirement options in Sarasota, they decided that Plymouth Harbor was the ideal choice.

Not that they didn’t have some reservations. Marcia shared she was heartened to learn that Plymouth Harbor had a diversity of faiths among the residents. And although they now have a lovely two-bedroom home on the 10th floor, downsizing all of their furniture and belongings was a nearly overwhelming chore.  Luckily, the staff at Plymouth Harbor was there to help.

“We could not have made our move without the care and attention of Liz Sparr from the Marketing office,” says Marcia.

“You hope you are never going to need help, but when you do, we know it will be here,” added Arnie. Knowing that they will not over-burden either of their sons or daughters-in-law means a lot to them.

Arnie concluded our conversation with a phrase we often hear from residents, “This is the biggest gift we can give our children.”

Mary AllynMary Allyn, Plymouth Harbor Resident

“Service on the Board has been both a privilege and a pleasure.”

Mary Allyn has an AB and AM from Mount Holyoke College, and was a member of the Mount Holyoke administration until moving to Sarasota, serving as Associate Dean of Students, and directed educational programs and the support of alumnae classes for the Alumni Association. As a volunteer, she has served on alumnae and community boards and search committees.

Mary is a co-founder and board member of NTM Info & Research, Inc., a national 501(c)(3) organization formed on behalf of patients with NTM pulmonary disease for the purpose of patient support, medical education and research, where she also leads a support group. In Sarasota she has worked with the Women’s Resource Center, the Woman’s Exchange, and with Premium Estate Liquidators. At Plymouth Harbor, she has been a Colony Director, a member of the Executive Director Search committee and has served on long-range planning committees. A past chair of the Grounds Committee, she is now President of the Residents Association.

From the moment Plymouth Harbor on Sarasota Bay opened its doors, our residents have made it clear that life-long education and enrichment is a high priority.  With input from an ad hoc committee , residents continue to identify and schedule mini-courses of interest to their neighbors.  The second of two courses identified this year, The Epic of Medicine, continues through the end of April.

Next up, beginning in June, will be Paris: The Luminous Years: 1870 to 1914, presented by Baila Miller of Miller Fine Arts, Monday afternoons at 4:00 pm.

Paris: The Luminous Years: 1870 to 1914

parisWho would have dreamed that the once traditional, conservative city of Paris would become the center of freedom in Europe?  This course examines the exhilarating, scandalous, and intimate relationships of young artists and authors who shaped this magical era that came to be known as La Belle Epoque.  Artists such as the French impressionists, Pablo Picasso and Juan Gris, writers such as Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway, booksellers Sylvia Beach, Adrienne Monnier and many others made up this legendary milieu.

June 8:          The French Impressionists: A Vision to the Future

June 15:         Art Nouveau and the Post Impressionists

June 22:        The American Personality and Modernism: Picasso, Stein, and Stieglitz

June 29:        The Lost Generation: Art, Literature, and Music

Instructor: Baila Miller has completed Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.  For over a decade she has continued her independent study of World History and the Arts.  Currently, she teaches at the Art Center, Sarasota; the Brandeis National Committee; Sarasota Library Systems; Pierian Spring Academy; Longboat Education Center; Sarasota Bay Club; Road Scholar; The Ringling Library; and FSU.

Cost: $20 for the series of four classes. Space is limited to 40; please get your reservation in early.  These educational offerings are supported in part through gifts to the Plymouth Harbor Foundation.