Greg and Don Fosselman have an inseparable bond. Numbers five and six, respectively, of seven children, the two live next door to each other here at Plymouth Harbor. Of their seven siblings, they had only one sister — the oldest. While Greg and Don seem to be the closest of their siblings, they led two very different lives after leaving their hometown of Waterloo, Iowa, years ago.
After finishing high school, Greg attended the University of Iowa. As he always had a keen interest in newsprint growing up, it came as no surprise that he decided to study journalism. After graduation, however, he joined the U.S. Army and was stationed in Germany from 1950 until 1952. While there, he handled logistics for field engineer units in Frankfurt, and later held an administrative position in Kaiserslautern. Soon after he returned to the United States, Greg was offered a position at United Press International (UPI), a leading newswire service. Greg was at UPI for over 15 years, serving as a newspaper and broadcast editor in Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin, and eventually Chicago. In 1968, he was offered a job at the Chicago Tribune as a headline writer and news editor, where he remained until he retired in 1989.
Don also joined the U.S. Army after he graduated from Iowa State Teachers College (now University of Northern Iowa). Like his older brother, he was stationed in Germany from 1953 until 1955. After Don returned to the United States, he accepted a teaching position in Montour, Iowa, for two years before he went on to attend Teacher’s College at Columbia University to earn his master’s degree. “I went to New York and never moved back,” Don says. He held teaching positions for several years in New York and Connecticut before he transitioned into a guidance counselor position, retiring in 1992. “I enjoyed my years as an educator,” he says. “But, as a guidance counselor, I felt that my day-to-day interactions were much more varied and meaningful.”
While Greg and Don lived states away from each other, their lives often overlapped. The two kept in touch as most siblings do and visited each other frequently. On occasion, even their professional lives overlapped, which is exemplified by the summer of 1958 when Don was working for a charity in New York City. The organization operated a barge called “The Floating Hospital,” which cruised around the New York Harbor, providing healthcare facilities and summer activities for underprivileged families.
The charity was in need of some publicity, so Don reached out to Greg, who was still at UPI at the time. Greg set to work on the story, sent it out over the wire, and it was picked up in no time by several media outlets in New York City. It received so much traction that the local outlets sent their reporters out to cover the story in person. Needless to say, the organization was quite impressed with Don Fosselman.
Don was the first to move to Sarasota. After retiring in Westchester County in New York, he spent his winters traveling to many different areas in Florida. A neighbor in New York owned a home on Longboat Key and ended up sharing the Longboat Observer with him. He answered an advertisement for a two-month Lido Key rental and the rest was history when he moved here in 2000. In 2011, he moved into Plymouth Harbor.
In contrast, Greg spent his winters on the West Coast, namely in California and Arizona, but a visit to Don convinced him to move to Plymouth Harbor in 2013. Today, the two are located on the fourteenth floor, with only a short walk down the hallway between them.
At Plymouth Harbor, the brothers enjoy dining together and exercising in the Wellness Center. Greg attends the Sit Fit class every Monday and Wednesday, while Don participates in Tap class on Wednesdays. Outside of Plymouth Harbor, Don spends his time volunteering as an usher at various venues around Sarasota. The Van Wezel, Sarasota Opera House, Historic Asolo Theater, Asolo Repertory Theatre, and the Players Theater are among the many places you might find him.
In addition to his appreciation for theater, Don has a passion for traveling. “I’ve been to almost every place I ever dreamed of going. I’ve never left Earth though,” he jokes. “Maybe if I were younger.” This year, Don went on a tour of the American National Parks, and in a few short weeks he’ll be on a Danube River Cruise through Europe. When Greg was asked about traveling, he laughed and said, “I’ve never been much of a traveler — I let Don do it for me.”
While the Fosselman brothers certainly have a mix of fascinating interests, you’ll be sure to find these two enjoying dinner together almost every night in the Plymouth Harbor restaurant.