By Lee Yousri

ManleyIn the 50s and 60s, the profession of advertising was a magnet for many bright young men – the MBAs clustering on Wall Street came later.  And so we have Bill Manley joining the advertising force in 1959 and remaining there, from New York City to Memphis, TN, for the rest of his work life.

And what an interesting career it turned out to be – diverse and multi-layered.  He was account executive for many products with different companies and in countless venues.  Not all of his work took place behind a desk.  Take Coppertone:  in his twelve-year association with that product, he had to travel to different beaches for TV commercial shoots, such as the Hamptons near New York City, Hawaii, Catalina Island, St. Thomas, and quite a few more.

The range of products he worked on was huge.  To name a sampling:  from over-the-counter medicines to toiletries and cosmetics, from household to industrial products, from foot care treatments to liquor.  To me, a couple of the most interesting products were Grand Marnier Liqueur and Absolut Vodka.  One made in France and the other in Sweden – both delicious.  Absolut held second place to Stolichnaya as the leading vodka import until the Russians boycotted our Olympics, then Absolut became the leader.

Getting away from the “fun” part, Bill had to prepare budgets and set communication strategy for the copy and art teams, then get the client’s approval of the finished product, whether it was print, radio, or television.

Bill is the middle son among three brothers:  the older chose a career in Insurance, the younger one in Finance.  All embracing business, although father and grandfather were both doctors.  They all lived on the East Coast (New York and New Jersey) lunched together and saw each other frequently.  The two brothers married.  One had four children, the other two.  Bill would often entertain them weekends in New York and thinks he saw more of them there than if he’d had children of his own.

Bill loves to travel.  Being in Memphis – in the center of the U.S – he launched out on expeditions to all fifty states and has visited seven continents.  Coupled with this is a love of theater, which he indulges with gusto.

When it came to retirement, Bill sought a cosmopolitan resort-college town, and the final contenders were Santa Barbara, CA, and Sarasota, FL.  Fortunately, he selected Sarasota and has been here for twenty-four years.  We are lucky that now he has chosen Plymouth Harbor as his home.  Welcome, Bill!

Welcome, Bill!


Flower-Arrangements-Ideas-648We continue to celebrate National Philanthropy Day with acknowledgments for the many gifts that have come our way thanks to the generosity of our caring community.

Flowers for Mayflower

Flowers continue to bloom in the Mayflower Dining Room as resident Jean Lions adds $2000 to the support of the orchids.  Mrs. Lions’ gift will support the maintenance of the orchids that were initially supported by Addie Hurst and her daughter.  Many thanks, Mrs. Lions and Mrs. Hurst!

Carmichael Collection

We received over $4000 this year from the Ruth Carmichael Fund (a permanently restricted endowment established by Mrs. Carmichael) to benefit Plymouth Harbor.  With this year’s gift, we will add a piece of art to the Wellness Center to continue the Carmichael Collection.  The Carmichael Collection was established in 2013 to honor Mrs. Carmichael’s memory, and her life work Art for Industry, whose mission was to bring modern art to the lobbies and halls of big business in Boston and New York City.  The Carmichael gift supported art in the Mayflower Dining Room in 2013.

Residents Support Scholarships

We are very grateful to the Residents Association, Walter and Gerry Mattson, Kay Bosse, Cynthia Conway, and Jane Smiley who each recently gave to the Employee Assistance-Education Fund to support scholarships.  These and several other gifts to this fund total over $14,000 this year in support of our employees who wish to pursue educational opportunities!

Towler LyonNancy Lyon and Tom Towler live in a light-filled, sixteenth-floor residence decorated with charming paintings which, upon inquiry, Nancy gracefully acknowledges as her own work. Nancy and Tom—as individuals and as a couple—are as busy and as pleasant as their home is full of light and far-reaching views.

Tom Towler visited Siesta Key for the first time in 1931. Tom will tell the story—1931, Siesta Key, 4 years old—and then, with a twinkle in his eye, admit that he doesn’t really remember much about that trip. Still, his visit would be the beginning of a life journey that would lead back to Sarasota, with just a stop—or two—along the way. Nancy Lyon’s path towards Sarasota and Plymouth Harbor was more circuitous, but Tom and Nancy have arrived together at the same place, at the same time: busy, happy, and engaged in the community, both inside and outside Plymouth Harbor.

Nancy grew up on the North Shore of Long Island, on a farm, with mother and father and two brothers and a retired Ringling Brothers circus pony—black with white front socks and a white blaze—named Princess. Tom was raised in West Norwalk, Connecticut, the son of Julliard graduate Lucile and Dartmouth graduate Eugene, an ad salesman for the Curtis Publishing Company, publishers of County Gentleman, Ladies’ Home Journal, and The Saturday Evening Post.

Tom followed his father and his uncle to Dartmouth, where he played varsity lacrosse. Tom continues to support Dartmouth’s lacrosse program—which has expanded to include women’s teams—and is immortalized as a member of the College’s all-time lacrosse roster. Tom is also a regular contributor to the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine’s Class of ’49 Class Note, which chronicles the activities of his classmates.

Nancy graduated from Vermont College in 1964, with a degree in Home Economics. She met her husband-to-be, Bob Lyon, an MIT graduate, at a church picnic. Bob and Nancy were married in 1967 and had two children: Amy and Andrew. Bob went on to work at Grumman Aerospace for 35 years as an electronics engineer; Nancy enjoyed a 10-year position as a social secretary after her children were grown.

Tom’s college education was interrupted by three years spent in the Army infantry.

After his military service, Tom married Sue, and returned to Dartmouth to complete his history degree. Sue and Tom would have a family of four children: Ned, Jill, Jon, and Bill. Tom’s professional career included positions at Standard Oil, Mobil Oil, and Baldwin-United, Inc., and stints as CEO of Top Value Enterprises and Peyton’s, Inc.

When Nancy and Bob retired to Sarasota, they initially lived in the north part of the county. Nancy recalls how much Bob loved Sarasota’s downtown, its cinema and the arts. Nancy and Bob embraced volunteer activities at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Sarasota Memorial Hospital, and Mote Marine Laboratory, where Bob helped to write the organization’s volunteer manual. Nancy continued to volunteer at both the hospital and Mote following Bob’s death in 2007 and recently saw the passing of two important milestones at each organization.  In 2013 Nancy was one of two Sarasota Memorial Hospital Auxiliary volunteers to give flowers to the very first patient at the new Courtyard Tower orthopedic unit on the Tower’s opening day, and in 2014 she was honored at Mote’s Volunteer Awards Ceremony with a 15-Year Award.

Nancy’s mother moved into Plymouth Harbor after, according to Nancy, “she looked at every retirement home in Sarasota.” Until her death at age 91, Nancy describes her mother as “still very much involved in the outside community” and remembers her as a world traveler, talented homemaker, and fabulous cook.

After Tom and Sue retired to Sarasota in 1985, Tom became a commercial real estate appraiser, a position he continued until 1997. Tom and Sue began to volunteer actively at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, where Tom met Bob. In 2008, Tom won an at-large seat on the Sarasota County Public Hospital Board, where he currently serves as Secretary. In addition to his commitment to the Hospital, Tom has also served as a trustee on the boards of the New College Foundation, Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation, Siesta Key Utility Authority, and The Field Club.

Tom’s sister Jane Smiley, a Smith College graduate and the first woman vice president of Florida-based retailer Burdines, moved into Plymouth Harbor in 2003 and, according to Tom, loved it. Tom and Sue would follow Jane, moving into Plymouth Harbor in 2009. Shortly after they moved in, Sue died, following a brief illness.

Nancy and Tom have been together since 2010. Both have nothing but praise for Plymouth Harbor, its ambience, and its staff, which Nancy characterizes as kind and thoughtful. Tom, who serves on the Plymouth Harbor Foundation board, mentions Plymouth Harbor’s great leadership and tremendous employees, praise indeed from a man who has been at the helm of billion-dollar companies.

In August the couple visited Paris, enjoying a 28-day sea crossing, and in October Nancy travelled to China. Their Plymouth Harbor home, with its Sarasota sunlight and Nancy’s lovely paintings, is always welcoming when they return.

fall cleaningEverybody knows about spring cleaning.  Fall, however, may be a better time for cleaning since for many of us the year starts after summer and the hurricane season leaves us.

Of course, for Plymouth Harbor residents who hail from the more northern parts of our country, Fall cleaning conjures images of colored leaves collecting on the lawn and in the gutters. Yard work, lots of it, came on the heals of the bright fall colors. However, retirement years, particularly those in Sarasota, Florida don’t include much time with a rake in your hands. And at Plymouth Harbor, yard work is entirely a thing of the past, unless you enjoy tending your own garden.

Instead, Fall has other chores that seem to make sense.  Fall is good for throwing stuff out, all that stuff you have been collecting ever since you moved in.  There are some easy ways to get rid of your discards.

Think about your file cabinet.  How many outdated records do you have?  Those pounds of paper and their folders can go straight to the Recycling Bin.  If some are too private, there is the shredder in our Business Office near the mailboxes.

Old, dead batteries sitting around?  If they are marked with a letter (AA, AAA, C, D, etc.) they go straight to the trash and down the chute.  Batteries without a letter marking and all hearing aid batteries get special handling. They go to Audrey in the Maintenance Office on the ground floor.  Your housekeeper will take them there, if you ask her.

And your unused medicines, prescription or otherwise.  They are rather dangerous to keep around, some of them.  We all know they should not go into the toilet.  The A#1 place for them?  Take them to those great nurses in the Callahan Center.  They are disposing of their unused meds.  They will dump yours in with theirs.

And that chic skirt that makes you look fat?  The appliance that works but you do not need two?  To our handy dandy Fund Shop!  You know where it is — across from the Security Office in the East Garden Garage.

Whatever is not saleable here (would you buy it?) — off to Goodwill!!

Does it not make your life easier to be rid of that stuff?  The only question is “Can you resist the urge to fill up those shelves all over again?”

BelchersBy  Isabel Pedersen

Writing about Marie and Tom Belcher is challenging, particularly because their responses to our questions were so gracefully written and so complete.  Insofar as possible, we will be using  their words.

Tom, born in Los Angeles, grew up moving often with the Navy assignments of the uncle and aunt who raised him. After four years in the Air Force during the Korean War, he enrolled at San Francisco State College, graduating in business administration with a concentration in insurance.  Later, he completed a five-year program leading to the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter designation.

From college, Tom joined Aetna Life and Casualty Company and spent 35 years in positions ranging from trainee to an “eight-year stint as Vice President of Aetna International,” traveling and, at times, living around the world.  He sat on the boards of companies in Chile, Spain and Australia.

Marie grew up in Buffalo as the middle child of a thoracic surgeon, from a large Brooklyn Lebanese family.  He and her mother, a nurse anesthetist, served near the front lines in Africa, Italy and France in WWII.

Marie’s study at the State University of New York in Buffalo ended in 1969 with a B.S. with Distinction in industrial relations and finance, plus an election to Beta Gamma Sigma.   “In 1969, there was still a bias against women in management in the corporate world” so she began her career at Aetna in the mailroom looking for files for unmatched mail.  “Someone recognized me being mismatched in my unmatched mail assignment and asked about my career goal.  I replied, ‘to be president of the company’.  Well, needless to say, that didn’t happen, but when I left Aetna in 1991, I was Vice President for Property-Casualty Underwriting.”  Marie, after Aetna, became senior vice-president of another insurance company and then went on to develop an executive search firm specializing in senior financial positions which she and Tom (retired from Aetna in 1996) enjoyed running until they closed it in 2001, fortuitously just before 9/11.  Volunteering and then working with a local author and philanthropist and running a private foundation filled the time until 2010, her final retirement.

“Some say you must kiss a few frogs before you find your prince, and my prince came into my life in 1989, when Tom and I moved from friend stage to romance.  We had known each other for 15 years in business, but the world for both of us had changed, and in 1990 we were married.  Tom arrived with two wonderful children, Andrew and Susan.  Andrew was still afraid of monsters, ran like the wind and baked cookies with me.  After living with us for a year, Susan went off to find herself.”  She found herself in Eugene, OR, where she still lives with her husband and son, running two small businesses.  Since Tom’s son is in the restaurant business in Portland, the Belchers settled into their own condo in Portland for the summer months.

Their local lives include St. Thomas More Church and, for fun, tennis, golf (badly, says Tom), fishing, bridge, wellness activities, travel and for Marie, add to these fibre arts and painting.  We just hope this busy pair will leave some time for Plymouth Harbor.  It will be fun to get to know them.

By Lee Yousri

Ann BrandtAnn Brandt was born in East Meadow, NY, and lived on Long Island for most of her formative years.  For those of us from the New York City area who consider the string of towns that make up Long Island as commuter “bedroom communities,” it is hard to imagine that Ann lived on a commercial vegetable farm that supplied the markets of the Big Apple.  The present eight-lane highways grew from the two-lane dirt roads of yesteryear!

After attending high school in Hempstead, she went to St. Lawrence University further north; she laughingly calls this “the party school.”  Her mother died in a car accident so she transferred to Allegheny College and graduated with a B.S. in psychology and a minor in economics.  She then found it was still necessary to go to secretarial school in order to find a job.

She worked in the personnel department at Republic Aircraft and in a bank clearing house before marriage.  Later she moved to several states with her husband and became a stay-at-home mom with two children.  While at home, she managed a triple-net shopping plaza for 50 years until she recently sold it.

It was when, sadly, her husband died that Ann returned to school at Bryant College, earning a Masters degree in taxation.

She also passed a two-day exam to become an agent enrolled to practice before the IRS in every state.  She then opened her own tax practice, which she ran for 30 years.  A second marriage added two step-children, ultimately producing five grandchildren.

Ann also developed a healthy zest for traveling, her son being a missionary and teacher in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.  On several visits, she strayed beyond this country to many other interesting and diverse places on the “dark continent.”

Visits to her parents and sister, who wintered in Florida, introduced her to Sarasota, and she opted to retire and lived here for ten years before coming to Plymouth Harbor.

Ann’s many volunteer activities have focused on the First Methodist Church.  She was president of the New England Conference Board of Pensions for eight years, a conference equalization member and board member of the New England Federal Credit Union.  She has been treasurer of the Sarasota unit of United Methodist Women for the past five years and also volunteers each year as a tax aide for AARP during the tax season.

We are delighted to have her in the fold.

Mary AllynMary Allyn is the type of confident person who takes action when she sees a need; she makes things happen and will guide a situation to a successful resolution.  The depth and breadth of her wide-ranging knowledge and leadership skills is remarkable.  Today she has been answering “thank you” notes.  To someone who believes that civilization was practically built on the now quaint notion of the “thank you” note, the fact that the current president of the Plymouth Harbor Residents Association has been answering notes from college students is jaw-dropping in its significance:  there’s hope!

Mary Allyn grew up in Brunswick, Maine, across the street from the campus of Bowdoin College, where her father, Dr. Samuel Edward Kamerling, became a chemistry professor in 1934.  As it turns out, today Mary has been answering “thank you” notes written by grateful student recipients of two different scholarships endowed in honor of Mary’s father and her family.

After graduating from Brunswick High in 1959, Mary attended Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts.  It was obvious upon arrival that Mary had found her milieu, immersing herself happily in Mount Holyoke’s active theatre life, and it was there that Mary met Professor of Theatre Arts Oliver Allyn — the two were wed after her graduation.  Mary then earned a Master of Arts degree and joined the college administration, ending her 26-year career there as Associate Dean of Students.

Mary and Oliver would stay in South Hadley and raise their children — daughter Emily and son Jeremy — until Oliver’s retirement from Mount Holyoke in 1989.

It was through their friendship with former Mount Holyoke president and Plymouth Harbor residents David Truman and his wife Ellie that the Allyns found Sarasota.  “Sarasota’s arts scene attracted the Trumans,” says Mary, “and they urged us to visit and then move here.”  She adds: “And I was ready for warm weather!”

Arriving in Sarasota, Mary lost no time becoming influential in arts-related activities, actively supporting Arts Day and editing the local Visual Artist newsletter.  Mary and Oliver lived in two homes in Sarasota and then decided to move into Plymouth Harbor.  A big factor in their decision, Mary says, was their vow that their children not worry about the couple’s safety and security in retirement.  Plymouth Harbor had a great reputation, and  Mary continued her volunteer work following their move, eventually working for more than 20 years for the Encore and More Consignment Shop of the Women’s Resource Center, whose estate liquidation services now benefit the YMCA’s programs for at-risk children.

Mary was presented with a huge challenge in 2000, when she was diagnosed with NTM disease, a non-communicable lung disease that affects between 50,000 and 90,000 Americans.  Determined to organize efforts towards proper diagnoses and treatment, Mary was an early organizer of NTM Info & Research, Inc., an internationally recognized nonprofit that assists the approximately 18,000 people who become infected annually.

Among her many and notable contributions to the organization, Mary was instrumental in setting up and running the more than 30 patient support groups all over the country, which serve more than 2,000 people.

Mary’s roots in the heavy-lifting end of the arts world — the place where people actually get their hands dirty — is evidenced in the quirky and fun “Mermaid Fountain” on Pineapple Avenue in downtown Sarasota.  Not only did Mary help Bradenton artist Nancy Matthews construct the fountain, she probably thought deep thoughts while doing so:  Mary’s masters thesis, published in 1974, was titled The Uses and Effects of Negative Areas in Sculpture.

There is no doubt that Mary finds great joy living at Plymouth Harbor, and the decision to remain in the Plymouth Harbor community was an easy one following Oliver’s death.  She especially loves observing the shorebirds from her upper-floor windows, watching as they depart to all points of the compass in the morning and return in the evening, just as the sunset turns the downtown buildings into tall blazes of gold.  She finds peace as well as fitness when paddling one of her two kayaks; sometimes, though, things aren’t so peaceful, like the time Mary found herself smack dab in the middle of a mullet run near Big Pass, watching as hundreds, if not thousands, of mullet jumped and swam around her kayak.

Mary is enjoying her busy tenure as president of the Residents Association, especially because she is a big supporter of the proposed assisted living/memory support project at Plymouth Harbor, which she feels is necessary for the community.

Meanwhile, it is a sure thing that Mary will find herself closely tied to both Mount Holyoke and Bowdoin colleges in the future.  Daughter Emily is the Associate Dean of Admissions at Mount Holyoke.  Emily’s daughter Hannah Yee has followed in her grandmother’s footsteps: during her freshmen year at Mount Holyoke, Hannah lived next door to the dorm room where Mary lived nearly 50 years earlier.  Mary herself was awarded the Alumnae Medal of Honor from Mount Holyoke as a testimony to her hard work on behalf of the college and its students.  As far as Bowdoin goes, there are not one but two scholarships set up in the Kamerling family name.

With a creative, active future in front of her, with plans to travel the world and continue to learn new things, with her leadership position at Plymouth Harbor, Mary plainly loves to be in contact with young people and will listen  with commendable patience to their thoughts and plans.  Asked if she enjoyed watching modern young people follow the practice of handwritten “thank you” notes, she laughs.  “Oh,” she says cheerfully, “all ‘thank yous’ nowadays are emailed!”  With two sets of college-mandated “thank you” notes being sent each year, Mary will continue to receive words of appreciation from grateful students for a long, long time.

Granddaughter Hannah Yee, scheduled to graduate from Mount Holyoke in 2015, has said that she wants to be a teacher, so it may be that the educational genes of the Kamerlings and the Allyns will run true in the next generation.  If that happens, there’s no doubt that someday soon Hannah will begin to answer “thank you” notes of her own.