Founded in 1981 and recognized across the globe, International Housekeeping Week (IHW) is traditionally celebrated during the second week of September. This year, due to Hurricane Irma, Plymouth Harbor held our IHW event during the first week of October.

IHW is typically a week-long event that is celebrated uniquely by each organization that participates. At Plymouth Harbor, we are dedicated to recognizing the efforts of our hard-working housekeeping staff, who play a vital role in keeping our campus clean, healthy, and safe.

“International Housekeeping Week is an important event for us to celebrate each year because it provides the perfect opportunity for us to recognize and thank our staff for what they do,” says
Director of Housekeeping, Jim Myers.

Plymouth Harbor has now celebrated IHW for 29 years. This year, our appreciation was shown through daily recognition and a great deal of food — catered breakfast, lunch in the Private Dining Room, a pizza party, and an ice cream day. We truly thank our staff for what they do each day, and look forward to celebrating this important event in the years to come.


“In the short time that I’ve been here at Plymouth Harbor, I have experienced a camaraderie with staff and residents that you don’t get to see in other campuses. I am excited to be part of the team and I look forward to using my experience in the field to help establish in-house construction here at Plymouth Harbor.” – Brian Bly

Plymouth Harbor is proud to announce Brian Bly as our new Construction Superintendent. Brian joined the Plymouth Harbor team in August 2017.

In his new role as Construction Superintendent, Brian is responsible for organizing and directing the work of field personnel and trade contractors to meet Plymouth Harbor’s construction objectives, including cost, quality, schedule, equipment conservation, and safety for all assigned projects. Brian is part of our new Facilities Department, working closely with Vice President of Facilities, George McGonagill.

Before coming to Plymouth Harbor, Brian served as construction superintendent for Questar Construction Inc. from 1998 until 2013. He was responsible for overseeing the organization’s subcontractors, ensuring their work was performed correctly and ahead of schedule, in addition to daily work reports and working in partnership with project managers to identify and address any issues that arose, including delays, cost, time requirements, and the like. From June 2014 to August 2017, Brian worked with Kellogg and Kimsey, a commercial building and construction company, serving on projects including Hampton Inn Tampa, Aloft Sarasota/One Palm residences, Mallard Law Firm, and more.

Additionally, Brian attended Barclay Career Institute and served in the United States Marine Corp from 1987 to 1990. With more than 20 years of construction experience, Plymouth Harbor is thrilled to have Brian as a our new Construction Superintendent.


Two years ago, the State of Jobs Conference, hosted by the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce and aimed at high school sophomores, did not recognize the senior services industry as a known career track. This year, for the second time, Plymouth Harbor participated in the day-long conference by sponsoring the Healthcare track, staffing an exhibit booth filled with employment and volunteering opportunities, and representing the field of nursing to students interested in healthcare as a career.

On October 10th, more than 850 students from Sarasota and Manatee counties attended the State of Jobs Conference, now hosted by CareerSource Suncoast. Held at Robarts Arena, students arrived at the arena at 8:00 a.m. and were free to visit exhibits for colleges and sponsors (yes, Plymouth Harbor had a booth!). The keynote address was by Blair Bloomston, vice president of Game On Nation, a respected consulting group that works with high-profile corporations, teams, and other organizations to build leadership, teambuilding, and communication. Following the keynote, students were ushered to their respective tracks, where three sessions were held for each track, led by experts in the field, such as business/entrepreneurship, arts and culture, manufacturing/engineering, information technology, healthcare, and hospitality/tourism. Lunch was provided by Jason’s Deli, and career track sessions were followed by two final panel presentations addressing College Preparation and Career Preparation. Students returned to school at 2:00 p.m.

The healthcare track is the conference’s largest track, with more than 250 students in attendance. During Plymouth Harbor’s session, Stephanie Leathers, April Gillespie, and Danny Bushman, all nurses at Plymouth Harbor, led an interactive scenario. In this scenario, a gentleman (played by a student in the audience) fell and experienced a head wound and brain trauma. Each of the three nurses represented a different level of care for the gentleman, and an aspiring nurse in the audience helped to dress the patient’s wound. The students learned how residents move through our system, receiving the appropriate and compassionate care they deserve as their needs change.

This year, for the first time, the evening offered a Parent’s Night, where 140 parents were invited to have dinner and listen to presentations from each of the six careers tracks. Healthcare was again represented by Plymouth Harbor, with Senior Vice President of Philanthropy Becky Pazkowski discussing the variety of careers available in the healthcare field.

As we continue to be challenged by workforce issues — such as the shortage of workers in our community — it is important that Plymouth Harbor stands out as an employer of choice. We will continue to keep our industry at the forefront, and you can bet that this inspiring and respected field of services for older adults is now recognized as a viable career track, and, indeed, Plymouth Harbor is leading the pack!


Most of us know that in January 1966 Plymouth Harbor opened its doors to the first residents of our community. But what you may not know is that in 1967 the idea behind the Resident Fund Shop was formed.

The Fund Shop has certainly transformed over the years. In early 1967, it initially began as the “Memorial Fund” established by the Residents Association, where monetary gifts were raised as part of a blood drive, collecting more than $280 to help purchase blood for the original “infirmary.”

In the January 1968 issue of the Harbor Light, an article indicated a name change from the Memorial Fund to the “Resident Fund.” Along with this came a change in their mission — the Fund had evolved to begin seeking donations of used, “saleable” items that could be sold to the Woman’s Exchange, from which the Fund would receive 70 percent of the profit of sold items. Later that same year, an update was given in the resident Harbor Light newsletter, referencing a new designated closet area in a colony room where donated items could be stored.

As the Fund continued to grow, it remained committed to supporting purchases for the infirmary, such as wheelchairs, a subscription to Reader’s Digest (in large type), and more. But it also grew to support other purchases as well, such as the purchase of new curtains for the chapel and the like. Residents showed their support by donating clothing, jewelry, furniture, pots, pans, linens, and many other items, which became part of the colony closet and were given to the Woman’s Exchange for sale. In 1972, the Fund reported that the Woman’s Exchange had returned more than $2,800 to Plymouth Harbor for that fiscal year.

As the years passed, the Resident Fund blossomed, expanding its scope and service, and collecting any items that would help support its mission. In May 1987, Plymouth Harbor gathered to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Residents Association, during which they recognized the integral role that the Resident Fund had played over the years. By 1988, the Fund was given its own “room” on the ground floor of the Tower, where the sale of items could be made here at Plymouth Harbor — what we now know as the Resident Fund Shop.

Countless improvements are owed to the generosity of the Residents Association Fund. Today, the Resident Fund Shop continues to be managed by dedicated resident volunteers and the mission remains the same — offering donated items for sale, and using the proceeds to purchase items that are deemed necessary by our residents. This year, we are proud to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Resident Fund Shop, which has unwaveringly contributed to the generous atmosphere of Plymouth Harbor. Please join us in celebrating this wonderful piece of our history!


By: Ann Anderson

It is not often to have lived a life where you really do not have any regrets. Gay Tennis has lived such a life, successful in her career and adventurous in her pursuits. She lives up to her name, Gay, embodying the joy of living.

She was born in Atlanta in 1936, but moved to Orlando when she was six years old. She grew up and graduated from high school there. Orlando was undeveloped in those days. She enjoyed experiencing the Disney growth and the birth of the Magic Kingdom. To this day, she is a lifelong Disney fan with a lifetime pass. She continues to visit, often with one of her sons and his family who live nearby.

After two years of college, she got married at the age of 19 and subsequently had three sons. That marriage ended in an amicable divorce after 19 years. Her boys and their families continue to
be the loves of her life.

In 1975, she married Gene Tennis. They remained happily together for the next 39 years, until his death in 2014. After his retirement in 2000, they traveled to every country in the world except Egypt. They also had a timeshare in Hawaii, which they visited with family and friends during every even year. They loved snorkeling and exploring the islands, even flying over a volcano just as it was preparing to erupt.

Professionally, Gay earned her B.A, M.A., and Ph.D. degrees from Georgia College and State University. From 1978-1984 she served as research director of the United Presbyterian denomination in New York City. From 1984-2000 she taught at North Georgia College and State University as a professor of business administration. She received recognition along the way, including a Distinguished Professor and Educator of the Year awards. One of her most treasured accolades came when she ran into one of her students years later. He declared, “You know Mrs. Tennis, I can’t believe I enjoyed your torturous course so much.”

Her hobbies still include traveling, singing in the Presbyterian Church choir, and reading…especially mysteries. “if someone doesn’t die in the first chapter, I don’t read on.”

Gay is a vibrant, intelligent, fun new neighbor at Plymouth Harbor.


By: Judy Stanford

When Tom Bulthuis says he is of Dutch heritage, we can tell that is more than just a matter of family descent — he was born in Grand Haven, Michigan, which he describes as “small-town America,” a beach town on Lake Michigan and part of a larger regional community of Dutch residents. Idyllic.

Tom grew up with four siblings who each married and had four children. Although he has no children of his own, he became “Uncle Tom” to 16 nieces and nephews. He is clearly Midwestern and Dutch.

After attending parochial schools through high school, Tom received his B.A. from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and his M.A. in Library Science from the University of Michigan.

Tom’s professional life began as a college reference librarian. He was later director of library services at Ramapo College of New Jersey and vice president of Microfilming Corporation, a New York Times subsidiary. He then became self-employed in graphic design, primarily working with the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

Meanwhile (after marriage and the birth of two sons), Edy was enjoying a varied and extensive career in healthcare. Born in San Francisco and raised in Arlington, Virginia, she was educated at the University of North Carolina and the University of South Carolina, where she received her BSN degree.

Over time, Edy held nursing positions in labor/delivery as well as psychiatry. She served as assistant director of nursing, director of managed care at Travelers Insurance, and nurse consultant for wound and incontinent care for Kendall Healthcare.

Most rewarding of her career accomplishments? She developed and implemented the first infection control program in the 250+ bed acute care hospital where she was employed. In 1993, Tom and Edy discovered each other at their Chapel Hill condo community swimming pool. They married two years later. That was 22 years ago.

While in Chapel Hill, the Bulthuises were active community members. In addition to Edy’s efforts for the Chapel Hill Service League and the American Cancer Society, they volunteered at Family House — a hospital hospitality facility, much like Ronald McDonald house, built for adults. Together, Tom and Edy were volunteer ushers at UNC basketball games for 15 years. Tom also served as a board member of the Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle. They were ardent hikers and kayakers. Edy is a Ruby Life Master bridge player and has played duplicate bridge for many years.

The Bulthuises arrived in Sarasota in 2016. They lived downtown while waiting for just the right apartment in Plymouth Harbor to become available. Happily, they joined us in August 2017. All settled now, Tom and Edy look forward to sharing their lives with their new Plymouth Harbor family.


By: Al Balaban

Does being forced to move frequently from one country to another during early adolescence result in a passion to move about the world freely later in life? That notion may occur to those who will have the opportunity to see Dr. Gloria Schranz’s huge world map, festooned with scores of multicolored pins representing the countries and cities she has visited thus far.

The only child of a middle-class accountant’s family, Gloria was a 12-year-old Latvian schoolgirl when Russia invaded her country at the start of World War II, later followed by German occupation. Her family subsequently moved to Nuremburg for her father’s work. Gloria was 14 when the war ended and they moved onto an Allied Displaced Persons Camp. Having no American relatives or contacts, they remained in the camp for almost six years.

She was able to continue her schooling while arrangements were being made for them to emigrate to the U.S. Finally, after a brief stay in Michigan, they settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she was able to continue her education.

Gloria earned a B.A. degree at a local college, then was admitted to Marquette University, graduating in 1957 as a Doctor of Dental Surgery. She quickly built an active practice. A little later she met William Schranz, owner of a family roofing company, whom she married in 1961. Their mutual passion for travel resulted in great personal joy and pleasure as reflected in the multi-pinned map. In 1987, they both retired, left Wisconsin for Florida and nearby Osprey, where he died in 2010. Although she no longer wished to have an active dental practice, Dr. Schranz received a license to practice dentistry in Florida so that she could volunteer her services at the Senior Friendship Center in Venice and serve on its Board of Directors for more than 20 years. She has also been involved with the Community Foundation and has been on the Board of the American Cancer Society.

Dr. Schranz is gradually settling in, building a new and comfortable place for herself, gradually meeting new people, but also enjoying the quiet opportunity to immerse herself in historical and mystery novels. Surely the subtle, seductive powers of Plymouth Harbor committees and residents will work their magic…but Africa still calls.


“Whatever talents we have ought to be used to make the world better…and to make the human family happier.”

That is what Martha Jane Phillips Starr’s father told her as a child. Many of us might make a note of this and carry on, but she took this notion to heart, remaining devoted to it throughout her life.

There is no doubt that this spirit of philanthropy, which was ingrained in her at such a young age, is what led to the Martha Jane Phillips Starr Field of Interest Fund pledging a generous gift of $1 million to the A Commitment to Memory campaign, naming The Martha Jane Phillips Starr Memory Care Residence.

Many of you may recognize the name “Starr” – yes, Martha Jane was the mother of resident Phil Starr and mother-in-law to Barry Starr. But before this, Martha Jane was born in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, in 1906 – 11 years before the U.S. entered World War I and 14 years before Women’s Right to Vote. She was the daughter of L.E. Phillips, co-founder of Phillips Petroleum Company (Phillips 66), and can be described as an extremely determined and dedicated woman.

Martha Jane was not given the opportunity to go to college like her brothers, and instead attended finishing school. In 1929, she married John Wilbur Starr, otherwise known as “Twink,” a University of Kansas-educated geologist, who happened to be a classmate of her brothers.

Originally, Twink worked at Phillips 66, but after they married, he decided to explore other careers. In 1931, they moved to Kansas City, Missouri, and had two sons. During World War II, Twink volunteered for the Navy and was called away for duty in the Pacific. At this same time, Martha Jane enrolled their sons in Pembroke Country Day School. It was here that she got her true start in philanthropic work, helping with fundraising efforts and eventually becoming a trustee.

Martha Jane went on to volunteer in her local community with Junior League, the Red Cross, and Planned Parenthood, eventually serving as president for each. In the 1950s, she became involved with research at the University of Kansas Medical Center that focused on human reproduction. She believed this same attention could be applied to healthy marriages – preparing men and women for marriage as they prepared for careers. This became a major goal of hers, and in 1959, Martha Jane worked with the University of Missouri Kansas City (UMKC) to create the Research Center for Family Development.

In 1963, she became one of the first women trustees at UMKC, where she was later awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. She also established the Family Studies Center and its Endowment Fund. In 1967, she created the UMKC Women’s Council, its Graduate Assistance Fund, and later, the Starr Education Committee.

When asked of his mother, Phil says, “She was a good mother and a committed volunteer.” Barry adds, “She was an incredible mother-in-law. She was so passionate about women’s issues and education.”

In 2011, Martha Jane passed away, and left her money to the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, where she established the Field of Interest Fund. She named her son, Phil, and friends Mary Kay McPhee and JR Majors as trustees.

Her Will stipulated that her Fund be used to support causes that were close to her heart, and that they support the development of educational programs that assist youth and adults, and promote stable marriages and healthy family life. In May 2016, the trustees heard our case for why the new Memory Care Residence programming aligns with her life work.

We shared that our residence will be dedicated to promoting healthy family life by removing the daily burdens of hands-on care by loved ones of those affected by dementia, restoring spousal and family relationships that suffer during the caregiving phase of life. Because of our program, relationships between wives and husbands, daughters and sons, and grandchildren and friends can again be restored. The trustees unanimously agreed to authorize this major gift.

Most notably, this gift marked only the second time the Fund made a donation outside of Kansas City. The Starr family also has a special tie to the Sarasota community. After the war, Twink began working for RB Jones Insurance when none other than the Ringling Bros. Circus became a potential client. Twink was asked to visit with the circus, and later, after he won them over, he purchased a vacation home on Longboat Key, where their family visited for more than 40 years.

By example, Martha Jane taught her sons the importance of giving. Today, Phil sits on the Plymouth Harbor Foundation Board, and he and Barry are leading the A Commitment to Memory campaign.

Phil says, “I saw both of my parents live a long life, longer than expected – dad to 95 and mother to 105. Barry and I want to have the most caring experience possible when the time comes. We want to know that we, and our family, will be taken care of.”

Plymouth Harbor is most grateful to Martha Jane and the generous gift by her Field of Interest Fund. There is no doubt that the Martha Jane Phillips Starr Memory Care Residence will be dedicated to fulfilling her legacy.


“I am extremely happy to be part of the Plymouth Harbor family, and I am excited for the opportunity to serve as Director of Nursing for Home Care as well as the new Assisted Living and Memory Care residence. I look forward to working with the residents and bringing my 25 years of nursing experience to this position.” – April Gillespie

Plymouth Harbor is proud to announce April Gillespie as our new Director of Nursing for Assisted Living, Memory Care, and Home Care. April joined the Plymouth Harbor team in August 2017.

In her new role as Director of Nursing, April is responsible for overseeing the professional nursing care and delivery of services for the Assisted Living and Memory Care departments in the new Northwest Garden Building as well as Home Care. In addition to establishing departmental policies and procedures, April is tasked with managing all personnel who provide direct patient care and ensuring that professional standards of community nursing practice are maintained.

Prior to joining Plymouth Harbor, April worked at the Sarasota Health & Rehabilitation Center for six years, most recently serving as Assistant Director of Nursing. In this position, April oversaw nursing personnel, recommended the establishment of policies and procedures, and set objectives and goals for the 143-bed facility. Before that, April worked as Assistant Director of Nursing at Harmony Healthcare & Rehab Center and as Staff Development Coordinator for Magnolia Health & Rehabilitation.

A Registered Nurse, April has more than 25 years of experience in clinical settings, primarily focused in long-term care. She graduated from Sarasota Vocational Institute’s Practical Nursing Program in 1992, went on to earn her Associate of Science degree in Nursing from Manatee Community College (now State College of Florida) in 1996, and attended Hodges University in Fort Myers, where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration in 2004.

April is also the stepdaughter of Bert Adams, a concierge in our Smith Care Center who has been with Plymouth Harbor for more than 26 years.

Plymouth Harbor is thrilled to have April as a part of our team and truly values her expertise as our new Director of Nursing for Assisted Living, Memory Care, and Home Care.


By: Isabel Pedersen

He was an “officer and a gentleman.” That is how Barbara J. Chin describes her boss of 13 years, Lt. General James M. Gavin, Chairman of the Board of Arthur D. Little, Inc., a research and management consulting firm in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Barbara, fresh out of Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, went to Arthur D. Little.

After five years, she accepted a position with Lt. Gen. Gavin for what she calls “the best years of my life.” She stayed 13 years as Assistant to the Chairman of the Board. When Gavin retired after 13 years, she left to work for the President of Raytheon. There was another remarkable man in her life, her husband Joseph Chin. Joseph was one of 11 children of a Chinese immigrant family. His father supported this army of “Chelsea Chins” by running a laundry business. Her husband, as a boy, had his own iron and when he was not needed at the family laundry, he was rented out to other laundries, taking “his” iron with him. A pre-World War II enlistment, using an older brother’s birth certificate since he was underage, was extended when war was declared. As an Asian serving in the Pacific Theater, he was at extra risk. He found himself sometimes being shot at by both sides. After the war, and after studying at Northeastern University, Joseph became an electrical engineer. All his brothers became engineers as well.

Barbara, an only child born in Pittsburgh, moved to Summit, New Jersey, after her eighth grade year, a move that felt traumatic to her. Her adult years were spent in a condo in Lincoln, Massachusetts, where she was active on the Condo Board’s Hospitality and Welcoming Committee and its Garden Committee. After 37 years there, she has struggled to downsize so that she could move straight to Plymouth Harbor. Thank you, Salvation Army.

She is already at work in the Fund Shop, which she suggests might better be called the FUN shop. With interest in gardening, fashion, and decorating, there will be more people wishing to put her to work. Come say hello to Barbara in the Fund Shop on Friday afternoons and maybe find a few treasures as well.