Jack Smith 1The Reverend Dr. Jack A. Smith was approved as the Administrator of Plymouth Harbor in 1971, holding the position from 1972 until his retirement in 1989. At the time, Dr. Smith was a minister in the Florida Conference of the United Church of Christ, with administration experience and a degree in business. He was selected to replace Alan Switzer, Plymouth Harbor’s first administrator, who retired at the end of 1971.

Throughout Dr. Smith’s 17 years at Plymouth Harbor, the organization received an excess of $10 million in voluntary gifts from residents, was able to pay off a mortgage of roughly $3.5 million, and made capital improvements to the property in excess of $16 million—including the construction of the North Garden: then a 60-bed licensed skilled nursing home, 32 additional apartments, and a 58-car garage. Today, Dr. Smith remains actively involved in Plymouth Harbor life, serving on The Mildred and Bernard Doyle Charitable Trust scholarship committee.



Residents celebrated Wellness Week, April 20-24, by participating in exhilarating wellness activities. Participants enjoyed a drum circle, kayaking adventure, MOTE boat tour, dinner dance, QuickWitz brain presentation, and an outdoor game party.  We’re already looking forward to Wellness Week 2016!   

Just take a look at the fun we had!


insightsInsights is a new monthly connection where residents share their stories and insights about their lives, careers, and hobbies with employees.  A feature of Plymouth Harbor’s developing Employee Wellness Program, Insights will be offered the fourth Friday of each month at noon.  Open to all employees, lunch will be provided, supported by gifts to the Plymouth Harbor Foundation employee assistance fund.

Thanks to Phil Starr, each Insights presentation will be videotaped for viewing by employees unable to attend the live event.  It will also enable us to develop an archive for future employees to view.

Charles Gehrie kicked off the first Insights program on March 27th.  Mr. Gehrie’s topic was titled “Stepping Stones.”  He shared with an interested and appreciative audience (see photo at right) how his education as a mechanical engineer was one of the stepping stones to his career.

Click here to watch the presentation.  http://youtu.be/iE3_JfXYSE0

Upcoming Insights Presentations

April 24                   Don and Peggy Wallace:  Life Is a Soap Opera      

May 22                    Beverly Vernon:  Let’s Cook

June 26                   Jane Smiley:  Style—It is My Life

July 24                     Senator Marlow Cook:  Politics are Politics

August 28                Ted and Fran Rehl:  Inspired by Music

September 25         Walt Mattson:  Community College & the Newspaper Business

October 23                  Susan Mauntel:  Taking Risks and Winning


By Lee Yousri

eisner“Still waters run deep” — wow! How to begin? Harriet was born in Atlanta–now, move forward: after one year in college-marriage-followed by three children nineteen months apart-and a wonderful husband who sent her back to college and her much-loved study of the arts.  A “we’ll take care of the kids, dear,” scenario. Cool! But not exactly commonplace.

The pieces fell into place while attending school only one day a week and having a fantastic helper.  The caregiver who had helped Harriet’s mother with Harriet as a youngster volunteered to do the same for Harriet’s children. Add in Harriet’s mother who also lived in Atlanta and you have a truly charmed life.

It was the time of the Beatles – the 60’s. Harriet was 29, her college companions were 19. It was not a problem; they mixed well.  It was a happy time.

After she received her Master’s degree in Visual Arts from Georgia State, they moved to New Canaan, CT.  Her son was a student at New Canaan High School where parents volunteered their services.  Harriet taught “silk screen” and subsequently became a substitute teacher for an art professor and a part-time teacher of drawing.  She was also working at the art group, “Silvermine.”  One could say Harriet was immersed in all areas of artistic pursuit.

And there was Lincoln Center in New York City, the “educational” arm, offering an in-depth look at the performing arts and helping to develop future participants as audiences in music, dance, and theater.

After several years in New Canaan, the Eisners moved to Pittsfield, MA, where Harriet’s husband became CEO and president of Shaeffer pens.  These were more popular in Asia and Europe than in the U.S. – their days of world travel began!

Then Harriet’s Dad gave the couple a house on Oahu in the Hawaiian Islands where they spent time off and on for seventeen years while commuting back and forth between Asia, Japan, and Australia.

How on earth did Sarasota enter into the picture?  One of their sons had always had a respiratory problem.  His doctor’s simple prescription:  the “beach life” and so, for years after discovering Lido Beach, they had made it a part of their very busy life. Added to the beach benefit, Sarasota offered a continuation of life in the arts which had always been so important to Harriet.  Son Dean now lives on Longboat Key.

Here is a brief summation of all the parts:  two sons, one daughter, five grandchildren; five abstract paintings by Harriet in a Sarasota gallery; a past study of the arts, a continuing love of the arts.

We welcome Harriet!

Plymouth Harbor Players

Front row L-R: Don Wallace and Bobby Broderick, with the rest of the Plymouth Harbor Players.

Bobby Broderick’s seven decade love affair with Glo began and ended with a winning smile and a shared passion for performing. As a youth, Bobby sang quite a bit with male quartets and choirs at church and on a local Saturday morning radio show. Glo was a chorus girl and dancer who also won the drama award at Reading High School in Pennsylvania where both she and Bobby graduated. “She could knock you dead with that smile,” says Bobby wistfully as he shared the story of how Glo first pulled a chair up alongside him. Reportedly, Glo went home and announced to her father that she had met the cutest little boy in Sunday School. “When I grow up, I am going to marry him!” she declared. And so she did. That smile, as well as sharing those youthful good times, was the first glue that bound these two together until she passed at age 90, just 72 years and 2 days after they were married.

Not long after the happy couple moved into their home in Plymouth Harbor in 2002, Glo’s health began to decline. Bobby was always a doting caregiver, but Glo encouraged him to get involved with life in the community even though her energy was limited. When the indefatigable Naomi Wittenburg grabbed him by the shoulder one day and urged Bobby to join their theatre troupe for that season’s play, his first response was, “Theater? Not my schtick!” Naomi would not take no for an answer, saying he had a good voice and they needed him.

Bobby had only three lines in that very first play, but learned quickly that it was quite fulfilling. Play rehearsals filled his time with satisfying activity—three rehearsals a week for a solid two months. “I enjoy working with the people in all facets of the production; lighting, props, sound, stage direction,” Bobby shared.

Year after year, Bobby auditioned for new roles, getting cast each time. And Glo was always a constant, helping him read and memorize his lines. In the earlier years the cast simply read from their scripts, but Bobby pushed the envelope and insisted on memorizing his part. Now everyone does it, only occasionally needing a prompt.

“Until you’ve gotten involved, even if only pushing furniture on stage, you won’t know what it’s like to get into that ‘showbiz’ frame of mind,” he said, noting that some of his colleagues got involved as a means of relieving the stress of caregiving, others to explore new facets of their hidden talents.

Over the years the plays got better and better, and now under the direction of Don and Peg Wallace, Bobby has found the “17th Floor” series very satisfying. Glo was always there for him at each performance even when that was the only activity for which she could muster the energy.

One memorable performance was in the show, “The Ghost on the 17th Floor,” in which Bobby played a ladies man wooing an old flame. This juicy part had him being thrown out of his girlfriend’s apartment, then drunkenly crying into his beer afterwards. So far so good, but when he and the gal got back together with a kiss, he had to do it with Glo sitting only a few feet away in the front row. With a twinkling laugh, he adds that Glo then turned to her friend seated next to her and said, “When we get back to the apartment, I’m gonna kill him!”

Last year, she was yet again sitting in the front row enjoying Bobby on stage as the clear-thinking attorney, Frank Dillon, in “The Stash on the 17th Floor.” She cheered one last time before she passed in March of 2014.

This year, Bobby was back on stage in “The Saint on the 17th Floor” and very happy to see an influx of new thespians to tread the boards with him. Don Wallace says he always wants Bobby in a leading role. “He’s just a natural who understands the material and his character. I don’t need to direct him,” says Don. “He’s become a real trouper!” Glo saw that in Bobby, too, and although she wasn’t sitting in the front row this year, Bobby knows that she was right there with him

William MurtaghIn a biography posted online by on the University of Maryland Archives, William J. Murtagh is called “one of the world’s leading historic preservationists” who “played a pivotal role in the establishment and evolution of the field of historic preservation for more than fifty years.”  If you ask Plymouth Harbor resident Bill Murtagh, he says simply he was in the right place at the right time.

Obviously, the International Commission on Monuments and Sites takes his contributions more seriously. At their 18th General Assembly in Florence, Italy this past November, Bill Murtagh was honored by his international colleagues as a tribute to his significant contributions to their mission of conservation, protection, and enhancement of monuments, building complexes and sites.

Born in Philadelphia surrounded by historic buildings, it’s hard to imagine young Bill not being influenced by them, but that was not initially a career motivation. He studied architecture at the University of Pennsylvania where the study of modernism and the Bauhaus movement predominated.

It was a summer job that he took with Charles Peterson, an administrator with the National Parks Service, which began to turn him in a new direction. During the Depression, Peterson had created a program called the Historic American Building Survey which provided jobs for unemployed architects. Bill’s first job was working on efforts that soon resulted in the Independence National Historic Park.

Bills work and studies were interrupted by a year-long convalescence after he sustained serious injuries in a car accident. With an undergraduate degree in architecture and enough time at a drafting table to know he didn’t want to spend a lifetime chained to it, he turned his attention to art. Continuing his studies of the next decade he completed an M.A. in Art History, and a Ph.D. in architectural history.

He also took a year to study in Bonn and Freiburg thanks to one of the first rounds of Fulbright Scholarships in 1954. His year in Europe gave him many opportunities to marvel and study the history constructed around him.

Looking at his resume, it is clear that each job he took propelled him further into the heart of the blossoming historic preservation movement.  His first job at the National Historic Trust came when it consisted of only a staff of five and just 200 members. Bill was instrumental in elevating the profile of the National Trust and helping shape the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. By 1967, Bill was the first keeper of the National Register of Historic Places.

“The buck stopped with me,” says Bill explaining that he demanded that every application had to prove the historical and cultural significance of the structure under review.

Throughout his career and particularly after he left the National Register, Bill was a educator and writer.  He was the Director of the Historic Preservation Program at Columbia University, taught at University of Florida, University of Maryland, and the University of Hawaii. Upon his retirement he wrote Keeping Time, a universally admired comprehensive examination of the development of the historic preservation movement.

“Oh, I have met some marvelous people along the way,” Bill says with a smile. His stories are sprinkled with names like Adenauer, Dupont, and Goodrich, and tales of mansions with full staffs of valets, footmen, and butlers (all the rage now in these Downton Abbey days.)

How on earth did Bill Murtagh land in Plymouth Harbor?  In fact it had something to do with B.F. Goodrich’s granddaughter, an attorney, and a lecture. The attorney for the Goodrich family had retired to Plymouth Harbor and invited Bill to stop here for a lecture on his way to Cuba.  The invitation, and its acceptance, came two or three years running and Bill came to enjoy the company of many residents, the lovely surroundings, and the food.  In an aside Bill adds that in those days, over eleven years ago, the food was not as spectacular as it is today!

For many years he has spent his summers in beautiful Penobscot, Maine and enjoys the spectacular winters in Sarasota.  Never ceasing to educate and lecture on the topics he loves so much, Bill is generous with his time and seemingly unceasing energy. If you missed his recent lecture about Glenbeigh Castle in Ireland, just ask him. You’ll love the stories.

By Helen Kelly

weissOn a sunny Saturday afternoon, I had the pleasure of interviewing the recently moved in couple, William (Bill) and Josephine (Jo) Weiss. Following a warm greeting at the door of their apartment, I was awed at the expansive view, a reaction Jo said she always gets from her recent visitors. Prior to their move to Plymouth Harbor, Bill and Jo lived at Marina Tower for the past ten years, following a lifetime of about twenty-five relocations.

After growing up in small Pennsylvania towns, Bill in Big Run and Jo in Lock Haven, their paths crossed while attending Penn State. He was majoring in engineering and she in mathematics. He enjoyed telling me how he glimpsed her across a crowded room at a fraternity party, where there were seven men for every woman, but missed the opportunity to be introduced. After locating her phone number, he called and suggested getting together. And so began a relationship at Penn State that continued on after graduation and was celebrated by their marriage in 1951, a marriage that has continued for the past sixtyfour years.

Three weeks after graduation, Bill was commissioned a First Lieutenant in the United States Air Force as a Ground and Communications Officer. He served during the Korean War from 1951-1954 in Wiesbaden, Germany, returning to civilian life in 1954. Bill began his career with The Bell Systems in western Pennsylvania, ultimately becoming Vice President of Bell Pennsylvania. Following Bell’s separation from AT&T, he became Chairman of the company, covering five Midwestern states, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin, and supervising over 100,000 employees. His meteoric career was responsible for the family’s frequent moves.

When questioned regarding the effect, if any, on their three children, Bill and Jo responded with great pride, detailing the careers of their children. David is a successful builder in Raleigh, NC. Steve is in sales, a career involving frequent travel to the Far East. Susan has been a dedicated teacher in Lancaster, PA, and retired recently. They proudly showed photos of their five grandchildren. While Bill was working up to sixteen hours each day, Jo was busy raising the children, ensuring their education and capably managing the relocation of the entire family approximately twentyfive times. It was a pleasure getting to know these two new residents. They are a friendly and engaging couple that is a welcome addition to our community.

Welcome, Bill and Jo!

By Chris Valuck

reformerThe Wellness Center has a new piece of exercise equipment, The Pilates Reformer.   Located in the group fitness room, you cannot ignore its ominous presence.  It has been met with curiosity and hesitation by residents who have never seen a Reformer,  but greeted with a gush of excitement by residents that up until now had to go off campus to receive private instruction on the Reformer.  Now, not only can we offer an opportunity for residents to have their instructor come to them, but residents who participate in a group  Mat Pilates Class at the YMCA and HealthFit, can look forward to a similar class coming soon to the Wellness Center. The Mat Pilates Class consists of a series of floor exercises that were the precursor to the Reformer.  The Pilates Method has an interesting history that I thought I would share.

Joseph Pilates was born in 1883 in Germany.  Although growing up with athletic, health-centered parents (his Greek father was a gymnast and his mother a naturopath) he was a very sickly child, suffering from many illnesses.  With early poor health being the impetus, he devoted his life to the pursuit of a strong, healthy body through physical fitness.  He grew to become quite an athlete, participating in several sports such as gymnastics, skiing, and body-building.

Joseph Pilates, 1883-1967 At the age of 29, Pilates moved to England and earned a living as a boxer, circus performer, and self-defense trainer for police schools and Scotland Yard.  Nevertheless, he was interned during WWI with other German citizens and while confined he taught wrestling and self-defense to fellow inmates.  It was here that he began developing a fitness program with minimal equipment.  Basically, a series of floor exercises that evolved into a whole system of exercises that he called “Contrology.”  He trained his fellow inmates and even incorporated yoga into their routines.  It has been said that inmates who trained with Pilates survived the 1918 flu pandemic due to their good physical health.

After WWI. Pilates returned to Germany and collaborated with experts in dance and physical exercise.  When pressured to train members of the German army, he left his native country, and emigrated to the United States in 1925.  On the ship he met his future wife, Clara.  They opened a studio in New York City and directly taught their students into the 1960’s promoting “Contrology,” which is the use of the mind to focus and control core postural muscles that help keep the body balanced and provide support for the spine. Clara and Pilates developed a loyal following within the dance and performing arts community in New York.  Their devotees included George Balanchine and Martha Graham, who regularly sent their students to Pilates for training and rehabilitation.  After Pilates became known for training ballerinas for flexibility, strength, and stamina, society women flocked to his studio on 8th Ave.  To this day, around the world, dancers and people from all walks of life continue to practice Joseph Pilates’ methods to control the movement of their bodies by creating flow through the use of appropriate transitions, building strength and stamina.

Joseph Pilates has written several books, including Return to Life Through Contrology, and as an inventor has 26 patents cited.  The content of this article was taken from the following sources: www.joseph-pilates.info/history-of-pilates.html, www.pilates.about.com/od/historyofpilates/a/jpilates.htm,www.wikipedia.org/wiki/joseph_Pilates                         –

By Celia Catlett

ApfelbachDr. Apfelbach (or Len, as he prefers to be called) is a man of wide interests: from photography, genealogy and local history to world travel and from cooking and gardening to reading about politics and current events. He also enjoys all the arts that Sarasota offers.

He was born and grew up in Chicago but spent summers in Fish Creek, WI, in a seasonal home that has been in the family since his grandfather’s time. It is located on the shore of Green Bay, a part of Lake Michigan. Len lives there four months each summer, and the family still gathers there. During our interview, he pointed out several lovely paintings of the scenery that surrounds it.

He has worked with the Wisconsin Historical Society and Fish Creek to record photographic and family history, and to video local history. Len attended Harvard where he majored in history, took all the art courses he could squeeze in and still managed to meet his premed requirements. He returned to Chicago for a medical degree and his residency in urology at Northwestern University.

During his residency, he married Claire Fleischmann, a Wellesley graduate and a talented pianist. In 1962, they moved to Janesville, WI, where Len practiced at Mercy Hospital until his retirement. He became Chief of Surgery and Chief of Staff and wrote the bylaws for the hospital. He also served as president of the Rock County Surgical and Medical Societies. The Apfelbachs’ fifty-year marriage produced three sons and a daughter and seven grandchildren.

In 1993, Len and Claire moved to Sarasota and bought a condominium at Lawrence Point, where he served as president of the condo association for three years. He lost Claire eight years ago. Len then moved to South Lakeshore Drive in Sarasota, a block north of the Field Club entrance and when that home was for sale, he chose Plymouth Harbor as the ideal place to live.

It was a privilege to talk with someone with such a lively mind and range of enthusiasms. Do yourself a favor; meet him and welcome him to Plymouth Harbor.

valentines-day-hearts-3There is something special about Valentine’s Day.  Think of “hearts” as a conservation issue.  Your heart, that is.  Insofar as you are able, exercise your heart. Walk to St. Armands Circle.  It is about one-half mile.

  • It is good for you.
  • You will not have to look for a parking space.
  • You will have saved some gas and put no nasty exhaust into the air.

Stairs are a way to get up and down.  Remember?  If you are going up and down a flight or two, use the stairs.  And do use the railings.  (That is, if you are able to climb stairs.)

Not everyone in the tower wants to climb 24 flights for exercise but, in February, the stairs are a warmer place to exercise than the great outdoors.  Elevators use electricity.  If the power should go off again (heaven forbid), it is nice to know that someone can use the stairs to get help.

And “flowers,” a conservation issue?  You can prevent plants and dead cut flowers from taking up space in the landfill by getting them to the huge dumpster in the northeast corner of our parking lot, near the Yacht Club.  If you can remember to keep pots and plastic out of the dumpster, you can take your plant stuff there.  Or you can call Jeanne at Ext 489 and she will cause them to disappear miraculously from outside your door.


Electricity costs twice as much from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday.  Please use washing machines on weekends or in the middle of the day.