Welcome to the Women’s Legacy Fund Gallery of Angels

On this page you will find the photos and descriptions of some very special Angels who were presented to “angelhood” by equally as
special Angel Makers. Click on the photo to read a little bit about each unique angel and how she or he got the halo!

If you’d like to find out how to make an Angel to add on this Gallery page, please click here.

Sue Ackert

Sue Ackert

Honored by her husband, Richard Ackert

Sue Ackert is a graduate of the University of Tampa and retired from a successful career in banking in 1999. Sue is past President of the Zonta Club of Fort Myers; member of the Advisory Board of Royal Palm Ministries Christian Counseling. She is a member of the Board of Directors of Lee Mental Health, the current Corresponding Secretary for the Green Thumb Garden Club, and a member of Town and Gown for FGCU.

She is a proud Christian member of McGregor Baptist Church and has served on the Women’s Council and has been a facilitator for the Women’s Ministry classes.

Sue believes passionately in the sanctity of marriage and family and for the past several years has been the Coordinator for McGregor Baptist Apples of Gold Ministry. The program equips older women to lovingly and supportively train younger women through biblical lessons and a weekly sharing of time together. Apples of Gold preserve traditional values. It rebuilds marriage relationships, offers insight on overwhelming parent-child relationships, and emphasizes the importance of spiritual development. Apples of Gold is building up mothers, marriages, and lives.

Sue gives back to our community, is reverent in the way she lives, loves her husband and family, and practices kindness and purity.

My Mother, Rachael, once said to me, “Son, you have married an Angel. ” Mom was right.

Maureen Bashaw

Maureen Bashaw

Honored by Rusty Brown

Maureen Bashaw led a prominent role in Fort Myers theatre for three decades. She also prodded the community and the school system to meet the needs of autistic children. For these reasons, she was nominated as a Women’s Legacy Fund Angel.

Maureen came to Fort Myers as a British war bride. She had met U.S. Air Force Lt. Richard Bashaw at a ballroom dance in London. Romance blossomed and they were wed in 1956 before he took his final post at the Air Force Base in Blytheville, Ark.

The cultural shock was traumatic. “Nobody could understand my accent, and I cried a lot,” she recalled.

Life got better when Richard accepted a job offer in Fort Myers and she became active in the Fort Myers Little Theatre. “I had parts in many plays and also did publicity for the theatre.” That led to a job at the News-Press where she became the respected drama critic, a position she thrived on for the next 31 years before retiring in 2001. She also is a founder of the Lee County Alliance of the Arts.

Meanwhile, she had three children, and Richard opened an insurance office and was elected to Fort Myers’ City Council. “He really pushed the city to back Florida Repertory Theatre downtown,” said Maureen.

A “surprise” fourth child, Ian, was born when she was 42. He was diagnosed with autism at age six. “There was little being done for these children,” says Maureen, “so we, and other parents fought to have the Lee County school system create special classes for autistic kids, first, in elementary school, then, in middle school and high school. ”

In her soft-spoken manner, she confessed, “The challenges of autism consumed our lives. ” Richard died of heart problems at age 72 in 2001. Ian is now 32 and lives in a group home. Now, Maureen‘s daughter, Beth Bashaw Cameron, is involved as president of the Adonis Autism Center of Southwest Florida. “Our current mission,” says Maureen, “is to give grants to families or organizations working with autistic adults. ” For this tireless Angel, the crusade goes on.

Cello Bennett

Cello Bennett

Honored by Dawn-Marie Driscoll, Norman Marcus, and the Southwest Florida Community Foundation

Today we honor a surprise Angel, with a story. Our new foundation offices are large and wonderful, but they also had miles of bare beige walls. Now, thanks to the energy, imagination, passion and professional skill of a treasured Foundation volunteer, Cello “Mary Carlene” Bennett, the walls are not only an art gallery for artists, but we have a new Fund for the Arts in SW Florida.

Some of you know Cello as the widow of one of our most famous local artists, Gale Bennett. You might not know that she lived in Europe for over 20 years, is an opera and concert singer, a vocal coach, was director of ArtStudy Giverny, and represents artists here. She is also a scholarship reader for the foundation and a member of the grants advisory committee!

When Cello heard about our bare walls, she simply said, “Let me take a look”.

First, Cello presented to the board a donation of two Gale Bennett paintings, one for our “permanent collection”, the other to be auctioned off for the new Arts Fund. Then she hung a summer gallery display of many Bennett paintings, launched with her idea for an elegant coffee/musicale — sales proceeds to benefit the Arts Fund, Then she volunteered to curate our first juried art exhibit from artists across Southwest Florida – no small undertaking, as we all discovered! The selected art has now all been hung in our new space (for sale), and we are having open houses on the first Friday of the month. Save December 6th for our special party to auction the gorgeous Bennett painting.

What can we say about such a gift to all of us who love, appreciate and want to support the fine arts organizations that so enrich our lives?

There’s a saying: that the best volunteers give you work, wisdom or wealth. Cello has given us all three, making the foundation an Angel for the Arts – and so we honor her as an Angel of the Women’s Legacy Fund.

Alexandra Bremner

Alexandra Bremner

Honored by Berne Davis

On July 6, 1958, my sister Eunice and her husband Alex brought into the family their baby girl, Alexandra Ross Bremner. Sidney and I had no children, so we were looking forward to a baby in our family. Eunice immediately encouraged Sidney and me to enjoy and participate in Alexandra’s life and afforded us the status of “add on” parents.

As we have gone through life’s cycles, Eunice and I have lost our husbands. Our years have continued together. We’ve traveled together, cried and laughed together, and celebrated most holidays and birthdays together.

About 20 years ago, Alexandra began to assume responsibility for running errands, taking us to appointments from hair and nails to doctors. More time has gone by and she now reviews our personal calendars, keeping us on schedule, attending events with me and or her mother, and just making certain everything is right in our world! Alexandra drives us to dinner (almost) nightly. She attends events with me, sometimes co-hosting, entertaining and representing me on local boards, etc.

She also is a teacher of Allen Park’s Head Start children and works tirelessly with them and their parents. Alexandra checks on her mother and me every morning before she leaves for school, making sure we are awake and ready for the day.

Alexandra watches over us. She has given much of her life to the effort of loving and caring for her mother and me.

Alexandra is a very special angel to me.

Eunice Bremner

Eunice Bremner

Honored By Berne Davis
Eunice Barfield Bremner: my sister, an angel!

We spent our very young days growing up in a North Fort Myers community known as Slater. Eunice was my little sister, so I was always assigned to look out after her.

We moved across the river to Fort Myers when Eunice was about five. As we became young adults, Eunice became quite a proficient legal secretary. Eunice was office manager for a law firm. She worked hard, and even with her arthritis progressing, she rarely missed a day of work. She retired long after customary retirement age.

Along the way, Eunice married Alex Bremner. In a few years, to all the family’s delight, Eunice announced she was going to have a baby. They were blessed with a little girl, Alexandra, on July 6, 1958.

Sidney and I loved children but had none. Eunice always shared Alexandra with us. We were somewhat like “add on” parents. Eunice always encouraged us to participate in Alexandra’s life.

Eunice’s attributes are many. She is known by her friends as the talented one to call for creative luncheon table settings and favors. She has a kind, loving heart. Even with her painful arthritis, she continues to deliver Meals on Wheels each Friday. When the driving and delivering became difficult, Eunice just recruited a friend to go with her!

I admire her determination and “stick-to-it-ness,” her work ethic, and her loyalty to family and friends.

Eunice is a very special angel to me.

Rusty Brown

Rusty Brown

Honored by Kathy & Gary Bernardo, Carolyn & Herbert Conant, Honey Costa, Dawn-Marie Driscoll & Norman Marcus, and Gayle & Jim Sheets

Rusty Brown turned to acting and playwriting after a distinguished career as a prize-winning journalist and nationally syndicated columnist.

A feminist historian, she brings outstanding women to life on stage. When she plays Mina Edison, audiences are transported to Mina’s garden in the early 20th century. As Anne Morrow Lindbergh, audiences are with Rusty on Captiva, writing “Gift From The Sea” and agonizing over life’s challenges. Listeners are rapt when she portrays Katharine Hepburn talking about Spencer Tracy or Clara Barton tending the wounded by candlelight on a Civil War battlefield. Her viewers are moved to tears when, as the President’s beloved companion, she witnesses his sudden death in “The Four Loves of FDR.”

Rusty is perhaps the only actor who has performed in a wide variety of venues across Southwest Florida, reaching thousands who otherwise might not enjoy live theatre. From gated communities to retirement centers, from public libraries to historical societies, Rusty has literally taken her original plays “on the road.”

Finally, Rusty combines her love of history and performing with an abiding commitment to our community. Many of her performances are fundraisers for nonprofits such as Uncommon
Friends, Southwest Florida Symphony, the Edison Festival, AAUW, Juvenile Diabetes Association, and the Library Systems Foundation of Lee County.

That Rusty Brown, as a performing artist, has used her talents to help nonprofits is truly a gift to the community, for which we honor her as “an Angel.”

Carolyn Conant

Carolyn Conant

Honored by her husband, Herb Conant.

Of all the people in the world, my wife Carolyn is a real genuine angel. She is always there to make things easier and better for people. No task or effort is ever too much if it makes it easier or better for someone. We’ve been married now for 26 year and I have had a true angel all that time.

She is constantly doing things for my family and they all think she is wonderful. When they visit no task is too much to make their visit more enjoyable. Besides being super thoughtful, she is a great cook and we all enjoy the food. A few years ago we made Carolyn’s mother an angel and it is only just and proper that we continue the tradition.

Interesting enough, I am not the only person who thinks she is an angel. A few years ago, Carolyn decided that Cape medians needed landscaping. She formed GreensCape, raised the money, put together the landscaped for over 7.5 miles of Del Prado Blvd. and adjoining streets. This was followed with Christmas lights and decorations for Cape Coral Parkway and a complete renovation of the entrance to the Cape on Cape Coral Parkway including the Veteran’s monument and fountain. She is now involved in expanding and improving bike routes through the Cape Coral Bike-Ped program. She of all people deserves this honor.

My life has been fuller, richer and the world has been so much better for me because of Carolyn.

Maureen Cull

Maureen Cull

Honored by her daughter, Carolyn Rogers

Today I honor my mother.

The one who has always been there for me–through the joyful times, and the times of sorrow. She’s always been there with encouragement, a listening ear, a shoulder, a hand.

She has been a big part in helping Bill and I to raise our two sons, especially when they were young, taking them two days a week so I didn’t have to put them in day care full-time while I worked.

She reminds me to celebrate and enjoy the goodness in life…to have no regrets.

She has always been there, too, for my three brothers. She was always at our games, our plays, our practices, our graduations–there to cheer us on.

I watched her look at us with a mother’s pride.
I watched her feel our pain and enjoy our accomplishments.
I watched her help my dad to succeed, and be the supportive wife playing her role with such class.

At one point, I also watched her world fall apart — but then most importantly, I watched how she put it back together again and with such Grace.

I was watching, and today, I am so proud to honor my mother who has showed me how to live and taught me how to give… with her special light of love.

Sara Darehshori

Sara Darehshori

Honored by Gholi and Georgia Darehshori
Speaking of role models, our daughter, Sara Darehshori, presently, Legal Counsel for Human Rights Watch in NYC is exactly that. She plays on the global stage. She absorbed the lessons of her family and not only recognized injustice, but as early as high school, peacefully organized forces to combat it. She knew her own mind and made her own rules. Upon graduating from Columbia Law School, she joined the prestigious NY law firm Cravath, Swaine and Moore, but only on the condition that they would allow her to spend 25% of her time on pro bono work. While there she was given a two year leave to work with the world court as co-prosecutor for the Rwandan genocide trial wherein (among other things) sex crimes, were, largely thanks to her lobbying on the subject , finally recognized as war crimes and were summarily fairly prosecuted.

Among her numerous accomplishments is a booklet she wrote on Peace vs Justice. This is a well-documented research project clearly pointing out that there cannot be a lasting peace without accountability, thus justice. She has traveled the world presenting it to world governments. When asked about her recent whirlwind trip to Helsinki, hoping to get a lofty explanation of the high level meetings with the government officials, she said, can you believe that Helsinki has one of the finest French restaurants in the world? Who would have imagined it in Finland? Among her many gifts has always been her humility and ability to keep things in proper perspective as just demonstrated.

Berne Davis

Berne Davis

Honored by Julia East and Tammy Surratt Marino

Berne’s time, and hard work serving on the boards of several charitable organizations over the years, and her generous contributions to so many worthy causes has been an integral part of her long and amazing life. (96 years!)

In 2007, Berne was honored as Lee County’s Outstanding Philanthropist of the Year, but her contribution to this community and those in need started long before that. This included: a scholarship program with the Uncommon Friends Foundation to honor her beloved husband Sidney; her donation of $1 million for the restoration of the historic Federal Building on First Street, now known as the Sidney and Berne Davis Art Center; The Edison & Ford Winter Estates where Berne and her husband Sidney dined at the Thomas Edison home; and Florida Gulf Coast University. These are but a few recipients who have benefited from Berne’s ongoing generous contributions.

All her life, Berne has also been passionate about gardening, and her gift to the Lee Cancer Center of the Lee Memorial Health System has made a Healing Garden possible. Because her husband and several of her relatives and friends have passed away from cancer, she thought that the garden might help to bring some peace and comfort to those who are ill with this awful disease.

These are but a few recipients who have benefited from Berne’s ongoing generous contributions. She is a true role model and her dedication in the area of philanthropy is an inspiration to us all.

When we each relocated to Lee County we watched for women in the community who we believed were role models. We didn’t have to look far before we saw the vibrant, energetic, caring Berne Davis. We have been in awe of her vibrancy, her enthusiasm, her passion, and her commitment to helping those less fortunate. Berne always has an encouraging word for everyone. She never ceases to amaze us with her dedication and commitment. If we can do in our lives just half of the things Berne has accomplished in hers, we will be pleased! We also marvel at her sense of style and have named her the snappiest dresser we have ever seen!

Berne’s amazing spirit and heartfelt generosity has improved the quality of so many lives and we feel very fortunate to know her. We say thank you for blazing the trail for younger women in Southwest Florida and for setting such an amazing philanthropic example for us to follow. In this small way, we honor your many decades of service. You truly are an Angel!

Nicki Davis

Nicki Davis

Nicki Davis, memorialized by Melinda Isley in honor of Stephanie Davis.

A very caring individual has made a gift to the Women’s Legacy Fund to memorialize an Angel today. This gift was given in honor of her special friend which is the daughter of the Angel.

Although very few of you, if any, know this Angel, I think everyone of you, as well as all of Lee County, knows the Angel’s daughter. The caring individual is Melinda Isley. The Angel is Nicki Davis, who is the mother of Melinda’s special friend, Stephanie Davis…known to so many as Lee County’s “Diva”.

The presentation of this Angel is going to be in two parts as Nicki, like most of us, was a hard working mom who always wanted the best…not only for her family, but her co-workers. I had the pleasure of working with Nicki and seeing her through the eyes of her co-workers.

One would think with me being up here today that it was a strong and mutual working relationship from day one. Well, it wasn’t… but at the end of the day that is what made it so priceless. I met Nicki in October of 1983 as I was hired as the second team management of a struggling community bank known as First Independence Bank. This bank primarily serviced Fort Myers Beach and the beach, as bankers say, was Nicki Davis’ territory.

Nicki, although always cordial, protected her co-workers from the day I entered the door and little did I know had branded me with the name “Hershey” as I was never referred to by my name…it was either “her” or “she”. Nicki always had a sense of humor and was known for her spunk and if you only spoke with Nicki on the phone you would think she was 10 feet tall and you dare not challenge her because she spoke with a purpose. Yet, Nicki was all of 4 foot 10 and could collect a loan better than anyone I had ever seen, especially on Fort Myers Beach. Although she endeared the “shrimpers” and all the restaurant’s workforce, they knew to pay their loans or at the end of the day it would be Nicki they would have to answer to.

Nicki was just the type of person that would do anything you asked her to do and if you were her friend or co-worker, you wouldn’t even have to ask her to do it….it would already be done. When I left First Independence in 1987 it was only then that I knew about “Hershey” as Nicki had given me one of the huge, silver-wrapped Hershey kisses as a departing gift. She explained to me that the purpose of the Hershey kiss was an apology for not calling me by my name and for having ever doubted there could be a friendship.

You know you have a friend for life when they confess something upon your departure which could have been left unsaid…yet it shows the warmth of their heart.

It now gives me great pleasure to ask Liz Abbott to join me to share a more personal and family side of this Angel.

Jane de Lisser

Jane de Lisser

Honored by Brenda Tate, Ann Smoot, Lalai Hamric, Kathy Sturgis, Carl Barraco, Arlene Knox, Julia East, and John Sheppard

Jane de Lisser settled in Fort Myers in 1990, but was born and raised in England. As an active independent appraiser of fine arts and antiques, she has spent much of her career specializing in appraisals of entire homes to valuations of single articles of fine and decorative merit.

Jane joined Christie’s in 1980 and is highly respected among professionals in the appraisal and estate industries. But it is her endearing personal style that makes Jane a likely choice to become a Women’s Legacy Fund Angel. Creative and stylish, Jane has lived her life by cultivating and sharing with her family and friends, the beauty of fine antiques, decorative arts, and everyday objects. Walks through the gardens surrounding her home reveal an artistic flare for color, design, and detail. This attention to detail is not lost on her friends, to whom she sends thoughtful notes and spends time in conversation and fellowship over a hot cup of tea.

English and classy to her core, Jane is an Angel because she reveals beauty in everyday living and is a joy to her friends and to the Fort Myers community. Thank you, Jane, for your life of service and for your friendship and kindness.

Dawn-Marie Driscoll

Dawn-Marie Driscoll

A number of friends of Dawn Marie Driscoll–Rusty Brown, Gail Markham, Faith Leavitt, Julia East, Amy Gravina, and myself, Carolyn Conant – decided to honor her as an Angel, because as the refrain in a song by Alabama that goes…

“Oh, I believe there are angels among us. Sent down to us from somewhere up above. They come to you and me in our darkest hour. To show us how to live, to teach us how to give. To guide us with the light of love.”

Well, for me that angel is my dear friend, Dawn Marie Driscoll. Many of you know her as the Vice Chair of Southwest Florida Community Foundation, but for me she is a friend who in my darkest hour, when my husband was very ill was there for me, in spite of having a hectic schedule, not once, but, over and over again, until the crisis passed.

Dawn Marie Driscoll is an impressive woman on many levels. Professionally, she is President of Driscoll Associates, an Executive Fellow at the Center for Business Ethics at Bentley College and a nationally respected ethics expert. She is an independent trustee at Scudder Investment’s mutual funds. She graduated cum laude from Suffolk University Law School. She was a Vice President and General Counsel for Filene’s, a Federated Department Store. She has written two important books on business ethics and numerous articles on various topics. And, she is Vice Chair and Trustee for our very own Southwest Florida Community Foundation and a valuable member of the Women’s Legacy Fund.
All of that and more is important to know about Dawn Marie, the professional list goes on and on, but far more important is the fact that she is a bright, caring, kind woman, a fabulous baker and gourmet chef and a true friend to me and many others. She is always trying to make others feel good and knows how to get to the point while phrasing things within a positive context.

Dawn Marie was instrumental in initiating the angel idea, so it is only fitting that she is now one. So, for that reason and many more, a group of her friends…Gail Markham, Rusty Brown, Amy Gravina, Julia East, Faith Leavitt and myself, Carolyn Conant have gotten together to make sure that everyone knows that Dawn Marie is an Angel “sent down from somewhere up above”.

or Rusty Brown, their friendship began 20 years ago, on a tennis court. As Rusty said, “It was not a good experience. She served to my backhand and lobbed me when I was at the net. She was taller, younger and swifter. I wasn’t sure I liked her, but our husbands were friends. What could I say? And then we played against men! We became the queens of mean, a formidable team and buddies from that moment on. But tennis is the least of it. She always has time to listen to the woes of friends and offer a relevant remedy. I’ve never introduced a one-woman show without trying it out on Dawn-Marie and Norman, veteran theater buffs. ”

Gail Markham states quite simply, “She is my “go to” person when I need someone to talk to about sensitive business situations, ethics, decisions, etc. She always has the right answer. I value her friendship and opinions so much!”

Faith Leavitt say, “We’ve shared one pair of well used Stuart Weitzman shoes, great wines, gourmet dinners, international travel, family tragedies, kayaking, tennis and golf. Her love and dedication to family, to friends, to her community and to her nation are evident in how she lives every day, an ethical legacy that never fails to inspire and amaze me. I consider myself blessed to call her my friend.

Julia East remarks that, “it seems that my entire life I have been the female among the males. While the glass ceiling is supposedly broken, in my experience it is still intact in so many ways. Along my journey I have been surprised that the successful women I have encountered were not doing more to help the next generation of female executives. Moving to Southwest Florida I expected more of the same, but this time I was pleasantly surprised. While she may not know it, Dawn-Marie became my mentor and role model the first time we met. I admire her ability to show strength without being hard, to be assertive without appearing aggressive, and to be feminine without seeming weak. She is graceful under pressure, can cut to the heart of the matter in seconds, and communicates in a style that simplifies complex issues. I feel incredibly blessed to have her as my mentor, role model, Trustee, and friend. ”

Amy Gravina sums it up by saying, “Dawn Marie is an accomplished business leader, a dedicated advocate, a devoted friend and an incredibly loving wife, mother and grandmother. Whether it’s walking door-to-door registering voters, working tirelessly to advertise an organization’s mission or mapping out an incredible itinerary for a friend traveling abroad, Dawn Marie never ceases to amaze us with her passion, devotion and selflessness. For all this and much more, Dawn Marie’s friends honor her as their “Angel”.

So, please raise your glasses in a toast to a wonderful lady, a mover and shaker in our community, an active member of the Women’s Legacy Fund and Southwest Florida Community Foundation, our friend and colleague…Dawn Marie Driscoll.

Marcella Joy Driscoll

Marcella Joy Driscoll

Honored by Dawn-Marie Driscoll

Marcella Joy Driscoll — wonderful daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, friend, is honored by her sister Dawn-Marie Driscoll and her family. Marcella is generous and kind, always remembering others with exactly the right sentiments. She is a powerful role model for everyone who comes in contact with her, demonstrating by her own life her deep belief and trust in God, prayer and spirituality. Marcella is smart, funny and a joy, and her family loves her very much.

Beth Drouin

Beth Drouin

Honored by Michael McNally

Beth Drouin began her quest for “angelhood” very early in her life. At a tender age she began to identify challenges in the world and pointed out angels who flew on their way to handle them… she was viewed as an “eccentric” child!

Throughout Beth’s life she has been a champion for all people who need a hand-up. She is an ardent advocate for at-risk children and has mentored, coached, and doled out tough love. She is a champion for early literacy initiatives. She has given the gift of self reliance, personal pride, and love of life to countless children who may well have been lost in the shuffle had Beth’s life not touched their own lives.

I have watched Beth be the voice of reason in difficult professional and personal situations and marveled when chaos became consensus and when anger became accord. I have watched her consistently place service to others above self never expecting any recognition or accolades. She is the classic “flying under the radar” angel.

She looks for assets and strengths in all people and situations and always has her eye on the solution. Her heart knows no bounds when it comes to compassion and unconditional love.

She is a hero to many who may not even know her name, and she is the light of my life. It is with deep pride that I am able to honor her today… and each and every day.

Julia East

Julia East

Honored by the board of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation and Ronald E. Penn

Julia East came to Southwest Florida in 2003 with a personal background including such diverse interests as ballet, skiing, Rotary, and the DAR, and a corporate involvement associated with the banking, specialty steel, non-profit and educational fields. When asked, she will tell you that she has been particularly proud of her international teaching trips where she lectured MBA students.

Since appearing on our Southwest Florida horizon in 2003, however, Julia has been focused on the world of philanthropy and endowments. During her tenure with our own Southwest Florida Community Foundation, which at the time of this writing has $61 million in assets and more than 330 endowed funds, she led the most comprehensive strategic visioning and implementation process in its history and achieved the coveted accreditation of National Standards from the Council on Foundations.

It is certainly fitting that the WLF Angel hono,r which the Community Foundation Trustees are bestowing on Julia, be presented at a WLF luncheon. Julia was instrumental in the formation of the WLF in 2007, reaching out into our community to involve women in philanthropy directed from a woman’s perspective. Many in the community have recognized and appreciated this initiative which, combined with other Community Foundation assets, has given away more than $50 million dollars in its 35 year history.

The WLF, its many volunteers, contributors and Angels, are a living testament to Julia’s energy and focus, and so from the Board of Trustees, we honor Julia East as a WLF Angel.

Cynthia Fetterhoff

Cynthia Fetterhoff

Honored by Curt and Lalai Hamric

My daughter, Cynthia Fetterhoff is my special Angel. I admire her very much. She is a good daughter, a good mother, a good wife, a good teacher, and a good community volunteer, following the trails blazed by her grandparents.

Cynthia’s grandparents, Chet and Janet Perry, and James and Sara Sapp, were pioneer families of Fort Myers, coming here as children. Chet Perry served as President on Goodwill Industries Board of Directors, was a District Governor of the Rotary Club of Fort Myers, and Commander and charter member of the Royal Palm Yacht Club. His full time profession was publisher of the local News-Press newspaper.

Janet Perry was President of the Woman’s Relief Society, President of the Rotary AnnClub, and a member of the Woman’s Community Club, Collector’s Club and Garden Club. She was the Social Secretary for Mrs. Thomas (Mina) Edison. The Perrys were always community servants and were members of the Edison Pageant of Light.

My parents, James and Sara Sapp, were also active in the community, especially with the First Baptist Church. James was the Sunday School Superintendent and Chairman of the Board of Deacons. Sara belonged to the Lydia Sunday School Class and was the Cradle Roll and Nursery Director. James became the owner of the family grocery business, which began on Guava and Cranford Streets in the Dunbar Community as J.C. Sapp and Sons, and later became Tice Foodway. He was active in the Kiwanis Club of Fort Myers and was President of the Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce and served on the SAL Army Board for many years.

Sara taught 3rd grade at Andrew D. Gwyne Institute. It was short lived, however, as she became a stay-at-home mother and grandmother until Cynthia was about ten. Sara was also a charter member of the Periwinkle Garden Club and was active in the Women’s Community Club. She and James also were members of the Royal Palm Yacht Club and Cypress Lake Country Club and remained faithful members of the First Baptist Church.

Cynthia married Charles B. Fetterhoff 27 years ago. Both his grandmother, Beth Burgess, and mother, Betty Fetterhoff, were active in St. Luke’s and St. Hilary’s churches as well as in community service.

Cynthia completed college and obtained her BA degree after her first son Steven was born. She also has a daughter, Molly, and another son, Benjamin. She taught at Gateway and now teaches at Allen Park School and has earned her Master’s Degree along the way. She has been nominated for a Golden Apple Teach Award and made it to the semi-final selection group. Their family is very active in Boy Scouts. Charlie has been a Scout leader for years, Cynthia for the Cub Scouts ,and their eldest son, Steven, became an Eagle Scout.

Cynthia is active in the Women’s Community Club. She is an officer on the Edison Pageant of Light board and still excels in all she undertakes. Every year–as one, two, or three of her children were eligible–she thought of the theme, designed costumes, made costumes, and entered the kiddos in the Edison Pageant Children’s Parade. I am very proud of all she does and of their family.

From the time Cynthia was 2 to age 9, I was a single mother and all that went with that. We faced some difficult financial times and I had to work days and a couple of nights a week. From my very first day of work, I did not want to leave her. Providentially, God provided us with neighbors across the street who loved and cared for Cynthia and became part of our extended family while I had to work. When Cynthia was 6 years old, I began the job that I still hold today–41 years later.

Curt Hamric and I married when Cynthia was 9 years old and we moved across the river from North Fort Myers to Fort Myers to be closer to family, but we kept in touch with our extended family. Cynthia was a “latch key kid. ” She always behaved, did her chores and homework, and graduated from Fort Myers High School with honors.

In the last 10 years, my job made it possible for me to do less traveling and become more involved in the local and community service clubs. So, now I am following family tradition and following in Cynthia’s footsteps!

Aline Flynn

Aline Flynn

Honored by Johnny and Ellen Sheppard

Aline was born and raised in Dorchester, Massachusetts. Aline married Paul B. Flynn on February 11, 1961 and they had four children: Bonnie Flynn Lombardi, Laureen Flynn Smith, Elizabeth Flynn Namm, and Bernadette Flynn McFarland. Paul and Aline made a number of moves over their married life, following Paul’s career in newspaper and publishing. Paul was Publisher of the Fort Myers News-Press newspaper, and rose to President of USA TODAY. Aline felt her first calling was that of wife of Paul, mother of her children, and grandmother of her grandchildren, who are 12 in number.

Aline is not one to hog the spotlight. In fact, she is the one who lights it for her loved ones, friends, and community. She is not one to set expectations, yet she always surpasses them. She is not a martyr, a hero, or even a saint, for those words don’t do her justice. She is, simply stated, an angel on Earth.

Throughout her life, Aline Flynn has done much more than just facilitate greatness; she has created some of her own. Her invaluable contributions to the Southwest Florida Community Foundation have made Fort Myers a better city. Her numerous investments in collegiate scholarship funds spur the growth of our youth nationwide. Her Eucharistic Ministry at St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church brings the gift of faith to those in need of her loving touch. Her many hours of volunteering as a cuddler for neonatal infants brought comfort and love to distressed babies and families.

Aline has been the friend of many, a consummate friend to those in need, and a counselor of others in difficult times. Always thinking of others, she often comes to visit, offering her time and her love. She often comes bearing a thoughtful and meaningful gift.

By her example as a beacon of faith, kindness, and generosity, Aline’s influence spans into the rising generation of America’s new leaders. Her four children and twelve grandchildren are all distinctly unique, but they are joined together and ultimately defined by the same goodhearted, fun-loving nature that Aline epitomizes. All have been encouraged and challenged to make a difference in the lives of others by living the golden rule–treat others as you would want to be treated. Even more, treat others as they should be–with respect, dignity and love. Hence, she is living proof that who you are as a person and who you choose to be day in and day out makes a difference in the world. She may not realize it, but she has changed thousands of lives for the better. She brings love and sunshine wherever she goes. Never asking for anything in return, never complaining about the burdens she may be carrying, she is a shining example of what being a hero in today’s world is and making it a better place to be.

Scripture tells us in Matthew 5:14-16, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. . . Let your light shine before others in such a way that they may see your good works, that they may glorify God, your Father in Heaven.” Aline Flynn personifies that verse and that light to the world around her every day, through her daily gifts to others bringing light, love, and peace. She truly is an angel.

Barbara “Dena” Geraghty

Barbara “Dena” Geraghty

Honored by Susan Bennett, Kay Holloway, Kathy Adams, Donna Caruso, Christin Collins, Kathy Hoffay, Alice Brunner, Kathy Galloway, Pat Geraghty, the Geraghty Family, Anne Rose, Gail Markham, Patricia Bell, Melissa Simontis, Gay Thompson, Margaret Depew, Nancy Humphrey, Eleanore Kleist, Amy Sanford, and Cora Molloy

Barbara “Dena” Geraghty is a loving mother, wife, friend, confidant, and grandmother. “Binky” as she is known to her grandchildren, has dedicated her career to helping others recover from addiction. She was born and raised in Jacksonville, where she married her high school sweetheart, Patrick, in 1961. Dena and Patrick moved to Fort Myers in 1968. While raising her four children, Dena earned her registered nursing degree from Edison Community College in 1985.

In 1991, Dena began her career treating addiction when she opened Auricular Therapy, Inc., a smoking cessation clinic. Over the years, Dena has fulfilled her passion for treating addiction by serving as the Coordinator of the Lee County Family Dependency and Juvenile Drug Court, an instructor for the National Drug Court, a long-standing member of the Florida Lawyers Assistance Board of Directors, and a member and Vice-President of the SWFL Addiction Services Board of Directors. Dena is also a certified Chemical Dependency Nurse, a certified Addiction Prevention Professional, a NADA certified Detoxification Expert, and a certified Auricular Therapist. In 2008, Dena was bestowed the honor of serving as the only Florida Delegate for the Recovery Project sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.

Currently, Dena serves on the Board of Directors of the SWFL chapter of PACE Center for Girls, Inc. and the Edison-Ford Winter Estates Board of Trustees. She has successfully chaired the PACE Grande Dame Tea for several years, for which she received the 2009 Image Award from the SWFL Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association. Additionally, Dena was selected as a citizen member of the News-Press Editorial Board in 2009.

Dena’s passion for people and unselfish service has defined her life, and her children and grandchildren have been shaped by her example. She truly is an Angel to many!

Nahid Ghashghai

Nahid Ghashghai

Honored by Gholi and Georgia Darehshori

The first Nahid Ghashghai truly earned her wings. Nahid grew up halfway around the world as the very privileged daughter of the head of the Ghashghai tribe. As heads of state, the family was once revered in the country of Iran. She lacked nothing materially. However, Nahid recognized innately that material things were temporal and that only love and human relationships endured. Her life story proved that.

Through cruel and unjust political upheaval, the family’s vast holdings in Iran were confiscated and converted to parks and museums. Some family members were persecuted, others were exiled.

At the end of her life, Nahid was living in a rent-controlled studio apt in NYC. She was honored by a cast of thousands in Iran when word of her death in November of 2010 reached that country through Facebook. This humble woman had three other memorial services as well in Canada and in the US.

What was the gist of the tributes? Even though she had literally nothing, she continued to give to anyone who needed anything. Her generosity and open heart, in spite of all the bitterness that could have eaten away at her, was her legacy. She understood the nature of ignorance and felt only compassion for those with a lack of understanding. Whenever anyone gave anything to her she immediately recycled it, giving it to someone whom she felt was more in need. Nahid Ghashghai was a leader not only in the tribe but also in the fine art of giving.

Kitty Green

Kitty Green

Honored by her husband Charlie Green

Part of sponsoring a candidate for the Angel Award is writing a short paper saying why you sponsored them…Well, it would be easy if I were writing solely to Kitty, but I am writing to you all and that makes a big difference and makes it so much more difficult.

I can say, however, what a wonderful spouse she is, I can tell you how fantastic a person she is, what a terrific mother she is, I can tell you she has more compassion for people and their needs than anyone, also Kitty is not one to take tasks or jobs lightly…stay out of the way if you are not going to help make a positive difference. Oh, she is also extremely smart.

Most important to me is that for the 31 plus years I have been in love with her she has only made one mistake and every day I am so very happy she did… she married me! Thank you for the 10,000th time, Kitty!

Beulah Gustafson

Beulah Gustafson

Honored by cousins Grace Carlson & Family and friend Belle DeKoff

Beulah Lettie Gustafson was born on June 21, 1928 in New Haven, Kentucky. Raised in America’s heartland, Beulah followed her stepfather into business, working with him at the country clubs he managed in Indiana and Illinois. It was while working at one of the these clubs that Beulah met the lover of her life, Carl Gustafson. Beulah and Carl married in 1962, and, when Carl retired, the couple moved to Cape Coral, Florida where he could play golf year round.

Beulah was a friendly, vital, active woman. She loved entertaining, music, and shopping, and she loved spending time with friends and family. Although she never had children of her own, Beulah enjoyed being around young people. In her final home, Beulah adopted the four young children of her caregivers, serving as their surrogate grandmother. Beulah died in 2010, but, as a WLF Angel, Beulah will live on, giving to others through the Women’s Legacy Fund.

LaLai Hamric

LaLai Hamric

Honored by Family Health Centers

Lalai S. Hamric’s service to Lee County and Southwest Florida spans over 42 years. From 1970 – 2009, she served as Executive Director and President/CEO of Family Health Centers of Southwest Florida. Upon her retirement on September 30, 2009, she was named President CEO Emeritus. Family Health Centers provides primary and preventive medical and dental care to Southwest Florida’s most vulnerable and needy residents.

Lalai is a member of “Who’s Who Worldwide” for Leadership and Professional Achievement, a founding member and former Vice-Chair of Health Choice Network Inc.’s Board of Directors, a past President of The Florida Association of Community Health Centers, and has served as a resource for health and community health issues to our elected officials, local, state, and members of The United States Congress. Her most recent awards include the Connie and Priscilla Mack Cancer Advocacy Award and the national Jessie Trice Excellence in Leadership Award.

She is a Past President of the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce, song leader for 15 years of the Rotary Club of Fort Myers, a member of the Fort Myers Women’s Community Club, the Edison Pageant of Light, Alumnae Chapter (founding member) Sigma Sigma Sigma, and the Women’s Legacy Fund of the SWFL Community Foundation. Lalai was recently named as one of the “125 Most Influential Locals in Southwest Florida” by the local News-Press newspaper in celebration of their 125 years in business. Lalai is a lifelong resident of Fort Myers–born in the original Lee Memorial Hospital on Victoria Street. She was baptized and brought up at First Baptist Church. Now, she is an ordained elder, past Clerk of Session, Sunday School Teacher, and Choir member-soloist at First Presbyterian Church where she and Curt were married 40 years ago and are active members. She cherishes being a wife, mother, grand-, and great-grandmother.

Anne Harper

Anne Harper

Honored by Sharon Thompson and Danah Harper Cooper

Anne Harper was born in Mansfield, Arkansas in December of 1926 to Lloyd and Ora Presson. She graduated from Baylor University in 1947. She married Daniel Harper in 1948 and they moved to Fort Myers in 1951 where they lived together for 59 years.

You would think that a husband and three children would be enough, but the lives of many people were woven in and out of our tapestry. There was always room for one more. There was room for one more on vacation, room for one more for Easter dinner, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, and always room for one more in the house on Christmas morning. She’d make sure there was a stocking and a gift waiting for whomever was meant to join us. All were welcome and wanted. All were family when they were there.

Mom bravely battled cancer for more than five years. The many cards and letters that we received during the course of Mom’s illness and then her passing on August 3, 2008 confirmed to us that others saw in her the same qualities that we had lived with. She lived with grace and dignity through the best of times and the worst of times. Her pastor said, “Anne was the epitome of a gracious, classy, southern lady. Heaven is sweetened by her presence.”

Her sister spoke of her memory saying, “The precious memory of Anne will be with us. That is one of God’s greatest blessings to us.” It is for all of these reasons and more that we honor her as an Angel.

Virginia Hartshorne

Virginia Hartshorne

Honored by Marty Howard

My mother would be shocked to be called an angel because she often commented that she was “just an ordinary person.” However, her friends and family knew that she was anything but ordinary. Instead of being misguided by a difficult childhood, she purposefully chose a positive path. She went to school, had a happy marriage, three children, and surprisingly began a great career in her fifties.

All ordinary things, I guess. However, anyone who knew my mother, Virginia Hartshorne, smiles when they think of her. There is always a story about something they learned from her or loved about her. For example, during her eulogy, my mother’s best friend said of her, “I was first charmed by her outrageous wit and soon after by the whole package. She blurted out remarks, testing her thoughts, provoking her friends, inspiring good talk. No pretense, straight Virginia, that’s what you’d get. Virginia—always curious, thinking, questioning, tasting, reflecting, living…”

A lover of books, nature, cooking, friendship, and great conversation, she was always striving to learn and grow. All that, and in the end, she dealt with a painful illness before her death with astonishing grace and dignity. All were stunned when she died at only 61 years old. All that life and love! Twenty years later, family and friends still say things like, “If only Virginia could be here, see this, do this.” Clearly, this angel lives on in our minds and hearts. What a wonderful gift!

Myrtle Robinson Hearn

Myrtle Robinson Hearn

Honored by Dewey and Brenda Tate, Brandi Hammond, and Jennifer MacLean

Go Granny Go–“She’s the little old lady from Acworth, Georgia. She drives real fast and she drives real hard. She’s the terror of Interstate 75”. That’s the song my sister and I used to sing about our grandmother, Myrtle Hearn. She turned 80 this year and is by far the youngest 80-year-old I have ever known.

For almost as long as I can remember, our family has enjoyed snow skiing in the winter. She joined us on the trips from time to time so that she could spend time with the family and watch us all ski. When she turned 70, she decided to join us and learn how to ski. She skied for several years until a knee injury ended her ski career. I am extremely fortunate that she has always been such an active part of our lives. She takes very good care of herself and doesn’t think that there is anything that she can’t do. (Jennifer)

“Go, Granny, Go!” My grandmother always has been and continues to be the life of the party. She’s fun-loving, incredibly physically fit, and full of energy. She’s always acted at least 20 years younger than she actually is. When we were growing up, she was always involved with our lives, and I so appreciate all the great memories we created together. She taught me how to ride a moped and water-ski. Later in life we snow-skiied together, and I even cheered her on paddling a dragon boat! Even now, she has more energy for her great-grandchildren than the parents do! Then there’s the caring, nurturing side. She’s was always the person I most wanted around when I was sick. She would fix me chicken soup, check on me, and give me plenty of sympathy. Even while I was away at college, I’d always call her first to get sympathy and advice. The wonderful thing about my grandmother is she’s so many things rolled into one!(Brandi)

I can only echo, and add just a bit, to my daughters’ words about my mother, Myrtle Robinson Hearn. Thanks to my parents, I have principles and values that serve me every day. Mother has always been there for me at just the right time; always ready to help solve any problem and celebrate every achievement. I treasure the relationship that Mother has with my own two daughters and now their children. She never hesitates to get right on the floor to play with all her great-grandchildren or say yes to a cross-country road trip with them. My mother has a gift of always making young people feel important and worth her complete attention. For all these reasons and many more, we are proud to name Myrtle Robinson Hearn as our Angel. (Brenda)

Sister Therese Higgins

Sister Therese Higgins

Honored by Norman Marcus and Dawn-Marie Driscoll

Sister Thérèse Higgins, CSJ, Ph.D, President of Regis College in Weston MA for 18 years, was an inspiration, a leader, and a persuader. Committed to social justice, she devoted her life to making the accomplishments of women possible by educating and encouraging thousands of students and friends.

Although diminutive in stature, she was widely known as a trendsetter and a powerful intellect with a sly sense of humor and vast interests. Sister Thérèse was an English professor whose favorites were St. Thomas More and John Donne, and she treasured the friendship of her spiritual adviser, the Spanish Hindu-Buddhist theologian Raimon Panikkar. With her lifelong friend, Sister A. Catherine Murphy, CSJ, she expanded the campus and programs at Regis College, laying the foundation for future women leaders to carry on her ideals.

Margaret Hoorneman

Margaret Hoorneman

Honored by Gholi and Georgia Darehshori

Margaret Hoorneman, mother-in-law of Gholi Darehshori, was a member of the greatest generation (strong, proud, and wonderfully witty) and in many ways well ahead of her time. Her light was her intellect, her grace, and her humor.

She, too, understood (and chose not to tolerate) the existence of ignorance. She and her beloved husband Morse felt very strongly (and modeled this) that to be a passive consenter was the same as advocating for the other side. So, no matter how socially uncomfortable this could be, humans were duty bound to speak up in the face of adversity. It was the very least thought they, that a single individual could do for society at large.

She hit her stride at the age of 82. Earlier in her life she had taught her 9th graders to love literature through the Charles Dickens novel “Great Expectations” and was convinced that it would make a fine musical. She adapted the book to that format herself and with the help of her family, the summer of 2010, all summer, it premiered at Utah Shakespearean Festival in Cedar City Utah. She was, against all odds, in the audience for the opening performance, signed autographs, and gave a press conference at the age of 96, just 6 months before her death. She taught us all that it is never too late to pursue our dreams. She was a role model for young and old until the end.

Susan Johnson

Susan Johnson

Honored by Rusty Brown

Eighteen years of opening nights, sold-out shows and standing ovations have filled the life of Susan Johnson.

She was not in the spotlight or on stage, but she was there in the theater seeing to it nobody missed a cute in the box office, kitchen or dining room.

Until bowing out last fall, she was general manager of the Broadway Palm Dinner Theater. For 10 years she kept the pulse on 19 departments and 135 to 150 staff and actors. Before that she was head of advertising and public relations for eight years, so she warned her associates, “I know enough about each department to be really dangerous.”

Looking back, the unflappable Susan says the most fun show was The Full Monty: “audiences just laughed their heads off.” Most ambitious: Cats, with its huge cast.

Most wacky night: “The power went off for a sold-out performance of Will Roger’s Follies. “An impatient audience jammed the lobby until we gave up and sent them home. Ten minutes later the power came on.”

Susan Johnson is named an Angel for her theater leadership and her civic role as president of the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce, the Florida Publix Relations Assn. and the Harborside Council and Convention Center. “You can call me Miss Bossy Pants,” she says with a laugh.

At age 57, she was ready to re-invent herself. In January, she and her popular artist mother, Jean Porpora, opened The Nest Home and Garden Shop on First St. in downtown Fort Myers. Plants and herbs as well as bright ceramics, pillows and candles fill the shelves and Porpora’s artwork lines the walls.

It’s a new scenario for Susan, but given her track record, she will get a winning review.

Khanom “Kay” Kanaan

Khanom “Kay” Kanaan

Honored by Samira Beckwith

Khanom “Kay” Kanaan was proud to be a United States citizen for 49 years before passing on to heaven on April 13, 2004. As an immigrant, she understood the value of hard work and education, which she instilled in all of her children. She also remembered her beautiful town of birth, B’int Ishbail, Lebanon, whose town’s name translates as “daughter of the mountains” and shared her proud legacy with her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and many friends. Kay was a beloved mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. We thank her for her unconditional love, comforting ways, spirit, and total devotion to all.

Eleanore Kleist

Eleanore Kleist

Honored by Kathryn Kleist-Derheimer

Eleanore Ann Pottman Kleist was born of German immigrants who arrived in America at the end of the first World War. She witnessed ethnic intolerance, which taught her respect for all people. She opened her home to exchange students and adults, offering to sponsor any race or religion.

The difficulties her family faced learning a new language and establishing a business, influenced her involvement in education. She, along with her husband, supported various colleges and universities and established numerous scholarships in many states and abroad. She worked with Literacy volunteers of Lee Country as a tutor and board member from its beginning and read for the blind at Edison College’s radio station.

Because of her mother’s ongoing health issues and the early death of her father, she was very aware of the importance in health education. She conducted seminars for smokers to quit, volunteered in the children’s burn unit of the hospital, and has supported many organizations, especially the building of the Kleist Health Education Center at FGCU.

Eleanore has made valuable contributions with her time, talents and gifting and has given to us a memorable legacy of how to live with tolerance, compassion, patience, humor, service and love.

Pat Limegrover

Pat Limegrover

Honored by her husband, Max Furbringer

Pat came to Fort Myers August of 1979 and made an immediate impact on our community. The Burdines Department Store had appointed her not only the youngest, but also the first female store manager. She was tasked with getting the store up and running by early September.

For the store opening, she was “requested” to make it a big bang event. She and the event coordinator from the store made the mistake of running into Barbara Mann. There was no stopping the three of them. The opening was a great success.

From that introduction to Barbara, Pat became involved with the Lee County Alliance of the Arts and served two terms as its president. Later, she expanded her interests and with three other ladies started the Lee County Women’s Forum and the Fort Myers Women’s Network. As a member of the Fort Myers Pilot Club, she has served as a board member and president—twice. She has been president of the Town and Gown Organization, served on the board of Impact Early Childhood Development, Inc., and, since that wasn’t enough, she was a member of the United Way board for several years.

Meanwhile, back at the store, she was a member of the management board; named vice president (one of three store managers in the corporation). After a fifteen-year career at Burdines, she was ready for something different. That almost resulted in a move to Chicago. With the Chamber of Commerce propaganda package in hand, we found a fatal mistake—they included a chart listing the average temperature per month. Pat said she could only go outside three months a year! The store was Saks 5thAvenue on Michigan Avenue, the largest branch store outside of New York.

Pat’s father, a State Farm agent for decades, as it turns out, had planted a seed that took a while to germinate. She became an agent who had a twenty-four-year lifespan with many awards and wonderful trips.

Pat is fully retired (Halleluiah) and is now serving as a trustee of the Peach River Presbyterian Church of Fort Myers.

Somehow, she found the time to allow me to chase her until she caught me. Then she had the nerve to make me wait for three days for the “yes” answer, thirty-one years ago.

Pat is a blessing to me, and I am proud to honor her as WLF Angel.

Peggy MacDonald

Peggy MacDonald

Honored by Gail Markham

Peggy MacDonald is a role model for her four children, raising them as a single parent with courage, strength and dedication despite desperate circumstances. She worked at many jobs in order to make ends meet, yet always encouraged her children to reach for their dreams and to be true to themselves. She nurtured her son after he suffered a severe head injury at seventeen and, thanks to her, he now lives independently.

She’s a beautiful picture of grace, always a lady, a constant, a friend, and a giver of love. For all this and much more, her children are proud to honor her as their “Angel.”

Barbara B. Mann

Barbara B. Mann

Honored by Deirdre Mann, Mary Lee, Jena, Michelle, Christina, Janene, Shelby, Haley, Melanie, Jessica, Savanna, Hailey, Kennedy, Natalie, Karlie, and Marylee Grace

Barbara B. Mann, born Barbara Kingsbury Balch, spent her early years in Topsfield, MA and moved to Fort Myers, FL as a young child. Something fun to note is that she received her 1929 Fort Myers High School diploma from Thomas Edison. She has remained here in paradise ever since.

Barbara’s (“Bob” to classmates) senior yearbook quote, quite apropos to who she is and always has been, read: “Her voice is ever low and sweet, her manners gentle to all she meets. ”

Many Southwest Florida residents are familiar with our Angel’s unending love for her late husband, George T. Mann; their successful family business, George T. Mann Contracting; and their two well respected sons, George, Jr. “Pat” and Franklin, who also became loving husbands and fathers themselves and who, along with their parents, live the Rotary ideal of “service above self. ”

Barbara’s love of family, passion for sharing arts and culture with all who can be touched, and her humble appreciation of those around her offer just a glimpse of her tremendous female spirit. We learn from Barbara to maintain a strong sense of self and how women are best served lifting one another up.

“B” as we call her, has a knack at engaging others to labor and commit financially towards important projects for the greater good and inspires us to get involved. This does not require a great deal of direction; we merely need to follow her lead. Things like seeing Barbara keep education among her personal fulfillment goals, then earning her bachelor degree at age 77 tacitly instills importance of education. Watching as she tirelessly gives back to those around her, and then tell us it is she who has actually received a true gift is truly contagious. These fine examples continue to guide us, as we leave our best “Mann Girl” mark on the world around us and as we endeavor to follow Barbara’s example.

If we can leave even a fraction of the legacy Barbara B. Mann has created, we will surely be honored to call ourselves the Barbara B. Mann Angel understudies!

Gail Markham

Gail Markham

Honored by the partners of Markham Norton Mosteller Wright, Dena Geraghty, Dawn-Marie Driscoll, Wendy Newman and Amy Gravina

We honor a very special community and business leader, one who has perhaps done more for women and girls in Southwest Florida than anyone, Gail Markham.

Leadership can come from the position you hold, from volunteer activity, or from philanthropy. But the most difficult kind of leadership to attain is reputational leadership —a special individual who only has her energy, vision and integrity that propels her to do something, and as a result, she inspires followers into making things happen. This leader becomes a role model for others.

As an abused and underprivileged youngster, she kept moving forward, uncomplainingly, to college and beyond. As a young professional who did not tolerate second-class treatment, she had the courage to found her own firm. As her business grew, she mentored women in every field.– business clients who first called her for tax advice, then business planning advice, then strategic growth advice – all now successful, thanks to her expertise and counsel.

“Gail Markham’s determination and dedication to Lee County PACE Center for Girls, which she founded, is matched only by her compassion for its young women. She has volunteered countless hours, dollars and services to the Center and without her vision, commitment and sheer tenacity, our PACE Center would not be here today. Gail encourages all of us to become inspired by the story of each PACE girl and to think of ourselves as philanthropists to help future girls. The result has been so remarkable that the state PACE leaders have come here to learn how she has achieved such community support and success in such a short time.” – Dawn-Marie Driscoll

“Gail has been my role model and mentor. From the moment I met her I knew that “I wanted to grow up to be like Gail.” She recognized my potential when I began working for her as a receptionist in high school. She encouraged and guided me, provided learning opportunities, and worked alongside me to help me as I grew in my career. We have worked together for 26 years and she still motivates and inspires me to be the best I can be, both professionally and personally. I am thankful to have Gail in my life.” – Karen Mosteller

“Gail has been a mentor, an inspirational leader, and a great partner to work for and with. I am amazed by how many people she knows in the community and the passion she has for PACE. I am honored to know her and work with her. I hope we have many more years together.” – Randy Wright.

“Whatever Gail does, wherever she is, she is an inspiration; from her personal life, her community, her friendship s and her profession. She gives 100% in every aspect. You may call her the cheerleader as her energy transforms to everyone she encounters. Her enthusiasm motivates everyone to be the best that they can be. Unknowingly, she mentors and encourages others and gives them the direction to reach goals both professional and personally. Her integrity is unmatched.” – Joni Norton

“When I think of Gail Markham I think of PACE, and when I think of PACE I think of Gail Markham. Prior to my involvement with PACE, Gail was someone I admired from a purely professional point of view. Since my introduction to PACE my admiration has turned to reverence, as I have watched this woman, equipped with the strength of a Lion, and the heart of an ANGEL take on the mission of PACE. As we are all aware, strong leadership begins at the top, and filters through an organization, and Gail is the epitome of that statement. Her passion for the PACE girls is palatable, her enthusiasm contagious, and her devotion enviable. From time to time I think we all wish for an angel to assist and guide us through life to a better place, and without a doubt PACE has found theirs, in a woman by the name of Gail Markham.” -Dena Geraghty

“I believe an angel is a friend who lifts you up when you’ve forgotten how to fly and no one epitomizes this more than Gail. She brings passion, energy and commitment to everything she does whether it is offering unconditional support to the Pace girls, mentoring her co-workers or always being there for her friends. She truly is an Angel and it’s an honor to recognize her today.” – Amy Gravina

Lorraine Miller

Lorraine Miller

Honored by Louise and Stu Senneff

Lorraine Miller is a native Southwest Floridian who has lived in this area the majority of her ninety years. During that time, she has shown what a truly generous and caring person she is through her constant caring for others. While she also gives to many charities, it is through her actions that people fondly think of her. Not a birthday, a new baby, an illness, a hospital stay, or life in a nursing home passes without Lorraine reaching out to celebrate or comfort. She drives her many friends to church, to birthday parties, and to doctor appointments and shares her love of life with them. She keeps up with all the family news.

Life has not always been easy for Lorraine. She has weathered tragedy and hardship, loss and change, but her strong faith and her naturally positive attitude and resilience seem to pull her through whatever life throws her way, all the while taking care of someone else before she worries about herself.

Our children consider her a surrogate grandmother and proudly share our grandchildren with her. She was there for our daughter’s wedding, sitting in the front row where grandmas should sit. “Our” grandchildren happily destroy her living room when they visit her, knowing there are plenty of toys and plenty of patience in her home. For Stu and me, she is the Mom we no longer have in our lives. We are proud to say she is our angel, our cousin, and our daily comfort.

Mavis Miller

Mavis Miller

Honored by T. Wayne Miller

Mavis Miller, a native of Lakeland, FL, moved to Fort Myers in 1956 with her husband, Wayne Miller, when he accepted a job with an embryo mosquito control program for Lee County. Her first local affiliation, the first Sunday she was in Fort Myers, was to join the First Baptist Church of Fort Myers. She has been a worker and dedicated supporter of First Baptist for fifty-four years.

Mavis has supported numerous charitable causes throughout Southwest Florida, both personally and since 1983 as a Trustee of The John E. and Aliese Price Foundation. She pursued a long time interest in education through more than twenty years as a member of the Board of Directors of the Edison Community College Foundation.

A registered Real Estate Broker and Graduate of the Realtors Institute, she was well prepared to pursue a business career, but she always chose to make her family her primary devotion.

Mavis Miller is Wayne Miller’s very special angel.

Melvin Morgan

Melvin Morgan

Honored by: John W. Sheppard, J. Tom Smoot, Jr. and Judge Archie Hayward

Though she has retired as an educator in the Lee County School District, Melvin continues to give of her time and talents to help others and spends time involved with her church, Mt. Olive African Methodist Episcopal Church, and as a Trustee on the Board of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation. Melvin joined the Board in 1992 and has held positions as Secretary-Treasurer and Vice Chair while serving on various committees. As a teacher, she has been most involved with the Scholarship Committee in awarding scholarships to deserving students.

Mrs. Morgan is a Fort Myers, Florida, native attending Dunbar High School where she was Class President and Class Salutatorian. Then, she graduated with honors Summa Cum Laude from Allen University with her BS degree and went on to get her Masters degree in education from Florida A & M again graduating as an honor student and Kappa Delta Pi. Her teaching career began in South Carolina and then Oklahoma as a physical education teacher until she moved back to Lee County where she later became a school teacher/social worker in that district.

She has been a strong presence in the community and served as the first and only black Lee County Commissioner. Many others organizations have been associated with her over the years, including the Opti-Mars of the Florida District as their President, as a Board member of the Edison Ford Estates Foundation, Juvenile Justice Board, Children’s Services Council, Executive Board of the Southwest Florida Council of Boy Scouts, Southwest Florida Symphony, United Way of Lee County, Drug Free Lee County, Private Industry Council, Florida Committee on Aging, and numerous others.

Numerous prestigious awards have been presented to Melvin, some of the more notable are:
Kappa Alpha Psi Humanitarian Service Award and Community Service Award
Ida S. Baker Minority Educator of the Year
American Legion Community Service Award
School Social Worker of the Year
Private Industry Council Award
Zonta Club Woman of Achievement Award
Lee County Woman of the Year—Fort Myers Junior Woman’s Club
Melvin and her husband Frederick are the proud parents of two children: Frederick II and Felicia.

Lou Pontius

Lou Pontius

Honored by Steve Pontius

A Texan born and raised, Lou attended TCU where she studied mathematics and where we met and were married in 1973. After graduating, she went on to teach high school math in Texas and St. Louis for 13 years as she and I moved in the broadcast business, ending up in Fort Myers in 1985. That’s when Lou decided to take some time off to do some volunteer work in the community.

She is currently active with the Alvin A. Dubin Alzheimer’s Resource Center, Women’s Legacy Fund, and Susan G. Komen of Southwest Florida. Most recently, Lou was recruited by the National Headquarters of Chi Omega Sorority to organize a chapter at Florida Gulf Coast University where she has been active with her Chi-O girls for the past four years. She also continues to be a sustaining member of the Junior League of Fort Myers (and was president JLFM in 1990 and 1995).

Lou has also been active with the United Way of Lee County (Campaign Chair in 2000 and Board Chair in 2002) and has a passion for heart health, volunteering with the American Heart Association as Co-Chairman of the Lee County Heart Ball in 2003 and in 2005.

She has served as a director of Hope Hospice, Ronald McDonald House, Fort Myers Woman’s Community Club, and is a graduate of Leadership Lee County.

Lou has been honored with a number of recognitions, including the American Red Cross Clara Barton Humanitarian of the Year Award, the Junior League’s President’s Award, their Community Service Award and their Volunteer of Distinction Award in 1994. Nationally, Lou was a nominee for the President’s Service Award and has been finalist for the J. C. Penney Golden Rule Award.

Regionally, Lou was recognized (along with me), by the Boy Scouts of America as the 2003 “Distinguished Citizens of the Year” for Southwest Florida and by Gulfshore Life Magazine as one of their 2004 “People of the Year. ”

Breast Cancer survivor, tireless volunteer, community leader…Lou’s dedication to the improvement of Southwest Florida is why she is an “Angel” to others and an inspiration to me.

Bonnie Olsen

Bonnie Olsen

Honored by Pam Nulman

In the fall of 2005 I was struggling with how to help my mother who was battling metastatic breast cancer; along with my own feelings at the thought of losing her. I just couldn’t imagine my life without her.

At that moment, a very special person entered my life who has since become a confident, a shoulder to cry on, a fountain of knowledge, a pillar of strength – a dear friend.

Bonnie Olson had recently been hired as the first executive director of the Susan G. Komen Southwest Florida Affiliate when I called in October of 2005 to see if I could volunteer in some way. Everyone who knows Bonnie will understand when I say this… within no time Bonnie had me involved up to my ears and then some.

It’s important to note that when I first met Bonnie that fall, she was fighting her own battle with breast cancer. Not that you would have ever known it was a challenge for her as she attacked it head-on and I never once saw her in any other mode than positive and brimming with energy and enthusiasm to help women facing the challenges she knew so well.

I lost my mother a year later, but during that difficult time I gained a lifelong friend.

Today, a 10-year survivor, Bonnie has become a crusader and a shoulder to lean on for literally thousands of women who have faced breast cancer.

She radiates hope, and still has that tireless energy and enthusiasm that she generously shares with our community. As executive director emeritus of the local Komen Affiliate she continues to be involved in local activities, as well as is frequently asked by Komen National to serve on various committees to improve outreach and services. She has even taken the fight to Washington, DC to advocate for continued funding for breast cancer research.

In addition to her continuing work with breast cancer survivors and Komen, Bonnie is on the board of directors of Interfaith Charities of South Lee and is helping residents in the San Carlos area who are struggling to provide for their families.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that she also is blessed to have her wonderful husband, Don, along side for this journey. She’s also Mom to two terrific children and probably her most important role these days – she’s “Grandma” to four beautiful grandchildren, all of whom I have no doubt believe she is every bit as special as I do.

Bonnie is an inspiration, a friend, an Angel. I am very honored to be able to recognize her and add her name to the list of Angels amongst us.

Eva Reynolds

Eva Reynolds

Honored by Ginny Yates, Susan Johnson, and Rick Reynolds

We, the children and family of Eva M. Reynolds, celebrate her life and her legacy of love she so openly shared. Born and raised in the small town of Edgemoor, South Carolina, a cherished family home, Eva spent the next 60 years in Miami Springs, Florida as a devoted wife, mother, and family caregiver. She married the love of her life, “Dick,” and they happily shared over 56 years together.

It was one year ago at the age of 88 that she suffered a massive stroke, and up until that time lived an active and independent life in the same home in Miami Springs. Mom was the ultimate homemaker, or as we would call her today, an accomplished “domestic engineer.” Life was the attention to doing things in detail. As her children, it became our privilege to care for her during some most challenging of times. We children became that three legged stool in providing her care with one of us being with her each day. Beneath all the ravages of the stroke, Mother was still there as she could still give us “the look” if things were not right and could point that finger when she needed something done. We marvel at the opportunities we had to see different sides of Mother during this time and the time we had with her; say the things we wanted to express and to say goodbye.

She loved her church, had a deep and abiding faith, and we chuckle as we remember Mr. Bill and his harem of women he would bring on Sunday’s to see Mom. How her face would light up when they walked in the door and we knew how much they loved her. Mother left us such a gift, her life, all the details spelled out the way she wanted to finish the earthly journey and most of all, the gift of love and gift of family. We love you, Mom.

Marian Roelant

Marian Roelant

Honored by Patricia Bell

My mother is the heart and soul of our family! Mother of 16 children; grandmother of 52 and great grandmother for 51 children! Mom’s giving spirit and Christian beliefs are role model for everyone she touches. She has taught the family and so many extended family members that giving is greater than receiving. At 86 her earthly body is fighting many maladies but her spirit is stronger than ever! Our family is so blessed by her love and prayers; she is our angel.

Carolyn Rogers

Carolyn Rogers

Honored by her husband, Bill Rogers, and by John W. and Ellen Sheppard

Carolyn is a devoted and loving daughter, wife, and mother and is a trusted friend to many. She is a senior advisory trustee of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation and a founder of the Women’s Legacy Fund, having committed hundreds of hours of her professional time and advice to the work of the Foundation.

Carolyn surprised her mother Maureen Cull by making her a WLF Angel and she also produced the Book of Angels last year to honor all of the beautifully winged and inspiring angels of the Women’s Legacy Fund. She is the proud owner of the original cover art painted by Ellen Sheppard, which she displays it in her office.

Carolyn typifies the perfect wife and mother as found in Proverbs Chapter 31: “Strength and dignity are her clothing, She opens her mouth with words of wisdom–and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue and actions. Her children rise up and bless her and her husband also saying Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all–and let your works be praised at the City’s gates.”

Ellen Sheppard

Ellen Sheppard

Honored by her husband, Johnny Sheppard

Ellen Sheppard–committed wife, loving mother, wise grandma, teacher of young children, art teacher of ill children and elderly, award winning artist, counselor to those in grief and trials, church and charity involved, community leader… Living Angel!

Having a difficult childhood, Ellen resolved that her marriage and family would be one of unconditional love and commitment by her, evidenced by her 56 years of blessed marriage. Ellen dedicated her early married life to serving her husband and raising her three children, being actively involved in all of the family’s adventures, following the same course with her six grandchildren.

Always having been an arts and “crafty” lady for children’s activities, some ten years ago Ellen took up a lifetime ambition to become an artist. Today, she is a recognized and award-winning local artist and has donated countless of her impressionist artistic creations to local charities for auction, including The Winefest & Children’s Hospital, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, Abuse Counseling and Treatment Center, Children’s Advocacy Center, Lee County School Foundation, Lifeline Family Center, and many others, raising many scores of thousands of dollars for charities.

Ellen says that nothing brings her more joy than to share the artistic gift God has given her with charities and friends who find pleasure in her work.

Ellen knows that each day is a gift, and she takes each as an opportunity to help, comfort, or bring joy to others. Each day, then, adds to the growing legacy of her life lived out. Proverbs 31 describes a multitalented, excellent wife and mother. The passage concludes with these words: “Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her. (There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but Ellen, you surpass them all.) Charm is deceptive, and outer beauty fades, but a woman who loves the Lord will be greatly praised. Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise. ” This describes Ellen Sheppard, an Angel in the life to many.

Belle DeKoff Shouse

Belle DeKoff Shouse

Honored by J.D. Shouse, Radford and Kathy Sturgis

Community service is a learned behavior. For our Mom, the idea of helping others was learned at the knees of her mother and grandmother whose dedication to assisting those in need was as much a part of their make up as breathing. Her civic involvement likely started before we were born, but we saw it in action. We remember our mother with three toddlers and a seven-year-old in tow, walking the neighborhood to raise money and awareness for mental health.

The child of a young, widowed, immigrant single mother, she was the first of her family to attend and graduate from college. She graduated shortly after the birth of her first child. She dedicated herself to her children until a physical injury left her unable to do housework, so she went back to college and obtained her master’s degree in special education from Teacher’s College, Columbia University.

For the next thirty years, Belle DeKoff Shouse’s vocation was education, but for mom, work was never just a vocation, it was and is her life. She was devoted to the developmentally disabled children she taught in New York’s inner city–sometimes we thought they were more her children than we were. She was an award winning pioneer in the field of adult and community education, originating and running highly successful programs at both Riverdale and Cape Coral High Schools. When the school district decided it was time for her to retire, she began a second career as a professional guardian, which she continues to this day.

Even though work was her life, she found time to serve the community. Health organizations were her passion. She served as President of both the local chapters of the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association, and as President of the Florida Lung Association. She also served on numerous other health and education related boards and councils in Southwest Florida.

And like her mother before her, she developed a lasting legacy of community service in all four of her children. Mom, we love you. –Kat, Andi, Bill, Bruce, and your loving husband J.D.

Ann Smoot

Ann Smoot

Honored by her children, Tom Smoot, III and Susy Mertz

We adore our Mother, Ann Kinsey Smoot. She is hard-working, perceptive, encouraging, humorous, and compassionate. Mom is a fourth or fifth generation Floridian, depending on how you count. Born in Fort Myers, she graduated from Fort Myers High School and Florida Southern College. She taught reading to elementary students in Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale, and Fort Myers prior to marrying Tom Smoot, Jr.

When she left teaching with great regret upon the birth of her son, Tommy. Two years later, she had her second child, Susy (Mertz). While working in the home, Mom was a founder of the Fort Myers Junior League with Jan Brown. She was the first unpaid administrator for the Southwest Florida Community Foundation and a member of the Lee Healthcare Resources Board for many years. She has long been an active member of the First United Methodist Altar Guild.

Mom’s Joie de Vivre peppers our fond childhood memories. We remember trips to our many beaches despite Mom’s loathing of heat and sand. Mom would make us pick up cans before letting us play.

Nothing gets in the way of Mom’s preparations for soulful holiday celebrations. Flu, mersa-of-the-thumb, broken foot, loss of front tooth–none are obstacles. She’s so energetic that you just want to dart her–but not until that tray of pecan tassies has been safely placed.

On the advice that “boys don’t like silly girls,” Mom keeps her elegantly irreverent sense of humor under wraps until all of you have left. In our house growing up, Mom was the first one up and last to bed. Mom wakes up every day and connects to the needs of those surrounding her. She might leave you a basket of heart healthy food if you just had bi-pass, or she might invite you to the neighborhood Fourth of July party if you just moved to town. The truth is, our Mom is a compulsive nurturer. She has always made us feel loved and blessed and has taught us the love of nurturing others through compassion.

Vera Stephens

Vera Stephens

Honored by Lalai and Curt Hamric and Cynthia Fetterhoff

An angel she is! Halo Shining and always on straight!

Vera and I have known of one another since we were little girls. Her mom worked as housekeeper for Dr. Whisnett, who was the first Lee County Health Officer. Sometimes Vera would come to work with her Mom. That was in his big house on Linwood Avenue and I lived in a little house on Cordova Avenue. The streets were a block apart. She was about 13 and I was about 3.

We met again when I was 27. I worked in a special program in the Lee County Health Department and she was a school nurse. Having that experience with Dr. Whisnett influenced her life’s educational choice. There were not many African American RNs around the state in those days. She might have been one of two in Lee County. About two years later, she and I worked in the same program and from then on we were together most of our work lives. Vera became the nursing director for the migrant health/farm worker health program, which became Family Health Centers. I was its president and CEO. Vera went back to nursing school and became a registered nurse practitioner while still our nursing director. The company grew and she had to focus on taking care of patients as a nurse practitioner.

She became my mother’s nurse practitioner and my teen daughter’s nurse practitioner and my confidant. We knew each other’s toils and cares. We had office socials and gatherings as families.

Then twists and turns taught us some of life’s sad lessons.

Vera nursed her son, Kim, through a terminal illness. She taught her husband, “Coach Steve” (big ‘ole sports guy and community leader, Jim Stephens) how to lovingly give that care to Kim also. Kim was an artist, a successful dancer, dance teacher, professor, and graduate in the arts from Wichita State University. He died at home in his parent’s loving care.

I remember when she delivered her first grandchild, a girl, Kiki. This also happened at home. So very much more my heart remembers.

Steve died suddenly and Vera had to be the family rock, at that point grand mothering about 3, one of whom lived with her. The other stayed with daughter, Stephanie, next door.

Vera continued her nurse practitioner work in the women’s heath department of Family Health Centers. She was always my “go to” person for the “real truth” of how things were. I sought her calm, sagacious advice often.

The Dunbar community lovingly knows her as “Miss V”. I met many wonderful people in her family through the years. All are community servants. The James C. Stephens Academy is named for Jim and we all know her favorite sister in law, Melvin Morgan, the first African American (and only, so far) County Commissioner, and the Fredericks, both Senior and Junior.

Vera and I were growing older. She retired for a while. But the next thing I knew, she was serving almost full-time as a volunteer on the alter guild at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, quietly serving God and His people. The people of the church love Vera. She was singled out and sponsored for a Crusillo weekend, interestingly by friends of mine who are fellow members at St. Luke’s.

Vera went back to work part time at the School Board’s nursing department. Back to the future!?

Vera attended my retirement celebration with Melvin and Frederick. It was like a family reunion. We don’t see one another often, but I can guarantee you that she is letting her little light shine for God and His people. She is, indeed, an angel.

Kathy Sturgis

Kathy Sturgis

Honored by Radford Sturgis, Sandra Weintraub, Julie Corbett, Karen Benson, Andrea Meyer, and Andy Sturgis

If you ever wondered why a light shines out from Kathy, it is because she has the heart of Christ: Loving, Patient, Kind, Humble and Forgiving. For 21 years we have walked, talked, dined, designed, danced, played and prayed together. She is diligent and thorough in her duties as a Judge, is patient and loving as a daughter, as a mother and as a wife. As a friend, she is trustworthy, thoughtful, forgiving and generous. Her faith has molded her to be this Angel that she is and has given her a servants heart; Christ’s heart. That’s why Kathy shines! — Karen Benson

It is such a pleasure to be counted a good friend of such an awesome woman. Her enthusiasm for life, and being involved in the lives of others is contagious and invigorating. To work beside her on a project is to have fun, accomplish a lot, and socialize in a positive atmosphere and makes the time fly.
Kathy encouraged me to stay involved AND to make a difference in the lives of OUR kids. Although our boys have gone in different directions, our friendship remains intact. I count myself blessed to be included in the sphere of the heavenly light she spreads wherever she goes, and her being designated an Angel is a most fitting tribute to this marvelous woman. — Julia Corbett

If a person is judged by the good friends they keep, then Kathy is a true winner. She is loyal, generous, and a friend in deed when a friend is in need. She is trustworthy, spiritually grounded, kind, friendly, devoted mother to our son and a great dancer. She is my best friend. — Rad

Hey, Sis! We’ve made it through… a broken arm (mine when you, er, watched me roll off the bed), putting on plays to entertain anyone who would watch Snow days with Cousin Brucie on the radio, Ballet classes at the Met, California dreaming and California living…in the worst house on the block (sky blue). Family trips, singing, and playing I Spy. 6,000 plus miles in a car with four kids, a cat, and NO VIDEO GAMES! MHC – Mountain Day, Chanticleer cookies, Tab (ugh). Parties at Chi Phi. Marriages, children, careers… half a lifetime, because there’s still so much ahead! After everything we’ve already been through, I can’t think of anyone more worthy of being an Angel than you! Love you! –Andy

I met Kathy at the dance studio, but aptly bonded with her over the jewelery counter at Saks.
Little did I know that she was not just a dancing fashionista, but a life friend; a woman who is articulate, intelligent and involved. Her outer beauty grabs you, but her outstanding trivia knowledge holds you! Thank you, Kathy, for being my friend, during both joyous times as well as trying ones. — Sandra Weintraub

Madeleine Taeni

Madeleine Taeni

Honored by Pamela Templeton

Madeleine Taeni is an “angel” for her friendship and generosity. I met Madeleine along with Berne & Barbara B. when I began sponsoring the S.W. Florida Symphony Children’s Chorus almost ten years ago. I have been delighted and blessed to enjoy this friendship.

Madeleine is best known by her trademark red hair, brilliant smile, and infectious laugh. She is direct and one is never in doubt when it comes to Madeleine! If I ever need a right wing woman Madeleine is my choice.

She sponsors the wonderful Stained Glass series of concerts for the S.W. Florida Symphony. The series takes place in churches all around our community. Madeleine shares her love of music and arts with her friends while ensuring it is accessible for the general public. She is a faithful supporter of the Florida Repertory Theater. Madeleine never misses an opening night or party.

Lee Memorial and Barbara’s Friends are just a couple of the many organizations she supports. She has endowed scholarships in business ethics and another to fund students pursuing degrees in teaching, nursing, emergency medical, or paramedic training.

In recognition of Madeleine’s contributions, the student center at the Fort Myers Edison State College campus is named in her honor. A beautiful portrait of her resides in the atrium. The student services, food service, and bookstore are located in one central location; the 67,000 square foot building also provides meeting space for community and civic groups.

Madeleine is an angel in our community.

Brenda Tate

Brenda Tate

Honored by: Dewey Tate, Jane de Lisser, Tara Paluck, Anonymous, and Radford and Kathy Sturgis

Brenda came into my life 25 years ago as she rose from the Okefenokee Swamp in south Georgia. She was successfully raising two daughters as a single parent. Now both are thriving in their own way and with their own wonderful families. We have been happily married since 10 years after that first swamp encounter.

One of my favorite Brenda stories is about farmer J.C. Hyde. While working with the Trust for Public Land, Brenda learned that a treasured local farm, still being plowed by a single mule and an elderly man living in a log cabin, was about to be taken by the IRS. She immediately went into action and helped TPL convince the National Park Service to buy the farm and allow Mr. Hyde to farm the land as long as he lived. There are many other special park lands & greenways preserved in Georgia communities today because of Brenda’s involvement.

She is also an outdoor person, always keeping her family & friends active in various activities such as white water paddling, camping, skiing and mountain climbing. I learned that you have to snow ski to be in Brenda’s family, so at age 45 I found myself on the bunny slope. Same was true for her sons-in-law, Adam & Jimmie. Proudly today, we can all keep up with Brenda, Brandi & Jennifer on the slopes.

Brenda has been my “Angel” for all of those years and will be for the remainder of my life.

Mozelle Tate

Mozelle Tate

Honored by Dewey and Brenda Tate, and Cindy Jones

Mozelle Tate is an extraordinary woman. After marrying at 14, she raised four children and several grandchildren. Though not formally educated, she was one of the smartest and most ambitious people we’ve ever known. An avid reader and a quick study, she did whatever was necessary to support her family. “Never say can’t,” wasn’t just something she said, it was something she lived.

An exceptional gardener, she planted a 3-acre vegetable garden each year to feed her family. The beautiful flowers she grew alongside gave her great joy and she gladly shared both vegetables and flowers with her neighbors.

In 1944, when few women worked outside their homes, she took a position with the U.S. Forest Service in Alabama as a Fire Spotter, a career that lasted over 30 years. This was quite an accomplishment AND very hard work. Each day, she climbed to the top of a 125-ft. tower, where she scanned the surrounding forest for fires. Early detection was crucial to extinguishing fires before they grew out of control. She also gathered and recorded weather data, requiring her to climb up and down the 172 steps of the tower every two hours. She did this to take care of her family.

“I love you,” wasn’t a phrase we heard often from my Mother and my Grandmother, but she DID love us. She showed it every day through hard work and sacrifice.

Pamela Templeton

Pamela Templeton

Honored by Bruce Bauman

An Angel for our family, friends, and community, Pamela’s energy and passion for life are captivating. My wife’s deep love for the visual and performing arts as well as her heart for those who are disadvantaged, particularly the youth in our community, is an inspiration. In the 20+ years I have known Pamela, she has taken on many challenges, meeting them with determination, intelligence, and more often than not an amazing sense of humor. Her approach, while businesslike, is also combined with her sense of fun and joy.

Pamela is generous with her time and resources. She uses her unique perspective as a mother, daughter, wife, and businesswoman to advance her causes. A sampling of her involvement would begin with the S.W. Florida Symphony, her tireless promotion for the restoration of the federal building downtown–the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center. She is a Founder of the Uncommon Friends Speaker Series and a supporter of countless health & human service organizations. She’s a top fundraiser for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.

Pamela has handled current times with grace, lifting the spirits and giving reassurance to her employees, clients, and others. She did not hesitate to take on the political and bureaucratic machine that threatened her business and many others. She successfully gave a voice to the opposition in the city and surrounding area. My appreciation of Pamela is shared within the community.

Pamela is not just my angel… she is our angel.

Gay Rebel Thompson

Gay Rebel Thompson

Honored by Bob Beville

Gay Rebel Thompson was born in the fifties in Tampa when the west coast of Florida was just beginning to take off. In 1953, Gay’s father, William Brown Thompson, recognized this and moved the family to Fort Myers and along with his partner Harvey Woodruff Bamman started Cement Industries.

Gay speaks fondly of her early days in Fort Myers, accompanying her father downtown and shopping with all the well known merchants. She was always dressed smartly and was very proud of her “saddle shoes. ”

The family grew along with Fort Myers and soon included 5 brothers and sisters. Gay was the oldest and always looked after her siblings. To this day, Gay refers to herself as an “eldest child” and brings it up often when making decisions. The family would travel frequently, loading everyone in a convertible Pontiac and touring the country. This is a trait that Gay retains to this day; she loves to travel and is proud to say she has been to 62 different countries.

Growing up in central Fort Myers, Gay went through the local school system and of course was very active at Fort Myers High School and you could sense even then that she was going to be very involved in the community.

Gay left Fort Myers for higher education and Graduated (B.A.) Phi Beta Kappa from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

In 1976, Gay returned to Fort Myers and joined the family business on the accounting side. As the company grew so did her responsibilities. Gay took over as President and CEO of Cement Industries in 1987, a role she still maintains today. Four of the family members are still active in the business and share the entrepreneurial sprit and hard work ethic instilled in them by their father.

Gay recently finished her term with the Miami Branch of Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, where she was selected as Chairman three times. She was extremely proud of the time she spent with the Fed.

Sometimes you measure an individual’s contribution to the community by asking, “What would we be like without them”? If Gay Rebel Thompson was the subject of that question, the answer is that we would all be missing something. Many people would not have been guided by her intellect, touched by her kindness, aided by her philanthropy, and refreshed by her captivating smile.

She is truly an angel.

Stephanie Webb

Stephanie Webb

Honored by Webb’s Fort Myers Prescription Shop, Inc. (Ross Webb, Richard and Lisa Lawrence)

Words that come to mind when describing Stephanie are: advocate, relentless volunteer, leader, learner, mentor, friend. Growing up in Indiana, she was surrounded by a family involved in their community – politics and music played major roles in her youth. She received her undergraduate and post-graduate degrees from the University of Miami. An honor graduate in the field of education, she would further her studies with two post-graduate degrees in curriculum and leadership while teaching with the Lee County School system. Early in her career, Stephanie collaborated with local children’s theater, youth orchestra, and children’s choirs.

Retiring after thirty years with the school system – teaching PK Headstart to high school – she pursued teaching college students at the then new FGCU campus. While teaching at FGCU, she also commuted to the Dept of Education in Tallahassee monthly, where she worked with beginning teachers and the Florida League of Teachers, developing state programs for educators. Stephanie worked with administrators and educators from across the US and British Columbia with the National Staff Development Council. Over the years, she touched the lives of more than 5,000 teachers and as many students.

She has served and led 20 plus years on the Salvation Army Advisory board; was named Honorary Alumnus for the University of Florida having assisted in establishing a scholarship endowment; served on numerous education and civic boards and councils; volunteers at St. Michael’s Lutheran School; loves to read, travel, and sail with family. Her greatest gifts: a grounded family – husband of 43 years, Ross Webb; a daughter, Elizabeth; son, Bret; and three precious granddaughters. She lives by the passage from Luke: “to whom much is given, much is required.”

Margareta E. West

Margareta E. West

Honored by Carolyn & Herb Conant, Jim West & family, and Nancy West & family

Margaret E. West looked at life as the glass half-full, never half-empty! She was raised in Germany by her grandmother with the help of aunts and uncles. She arrived in America at age eighteen, speaking little English.

Margaret loved being a wife, mother, and grandmother. Her home was famous for after-dinner debates by those sitting around her table, which was filled with wonderful food prepared with love. Even with the diagnosis of dementia, she tried to look at the glass as half-full. She got others at the assisted living facility to get up, dance, laugh, and have a good time. She tried hard to enjoy every bit of life. No matter what cards Margaret was dealt, including the terrible card of dementia, she always tried to make the best of life.

She enriched all of our lives. She was a wise lady who gave counsel only when asked, but then always hit the nail on the head, sometimes to our chagrin. She knew how to listen and provide good advice and she knew when to keep quiet and just let us make our own mistakes. She was always there to pick us up and tell us that she loved us. She quietly helped many people.

She was a wonderful lady with many friends and admirers throughout her life. Margareta West lived, loved, and toiled with a zest for life. Her infectious laugh and giggle, and her bright smile made life with her a pleasure.

Isabelle Barbara Haznar Wojnar

Isabelle Barbara Haznar Wojnar

Honored by Dawn-Marie Driscoll and Norman Marcus, Catherine Farrell , Anna and Marek Zajkowski, Rusty Brown and Bill Tanner, Pamela Haznar, and Dana Martin

Isabelle died on April 5, 2008 after a courageous battle with heart disease. “Aunt Isy,” as she is known by her numerous nieces and nephews, leaves behind a rich legacy of instilling love and practicality throughout her large family and the thousands of students she empowered as a professional educator.

The daughter of the late Jon and Mary (Kawalec) Haznar of New Bedford, MA and wife of the late Lt. Col. Edward Wojnar for over 50 years, Isabelle graduated from Framingham (MA) State College and secured her Masters Degree in Education from Bridgewater (MA) State College. During her tenure as a home economics instructor, relaying a love of cooking and food to her students, she met and later married her loving husband, Edward. The two raised a family of five while sharing a passion for traveling throughout the world, entertaining friends, and transmitting the couple’s true appreciation of life with many.

Mrs. Wojnar taught in the New Bedford Public School System for 16 years before she and her family relocated to Baldwin, Long Island, New York in 1964. For the remaining 20 years of her professional career, Mrs. Wojnar was a vital member of the Levittown Union Free School District.

Upon retirement, the Wojnars moved to Cape Coral while continuing their numerous journeys throughout North America via motor home and then to many corners of the world. She was a member of the St. Kazimir Catholic Parish in New Bedford, St. Christopher’s Catholic Church in Baldwin New York, and later St. Andrew’s Catholic Church in Cape Coral. She was an enthusiastic member and supporter of such organizations as the American Association of University Women, the Cape Coral Retired Officers Association, and the Cultural Park Theater Company of Cape Coral.

The WLF recently gave special recognition to Mrs. Wojnar: “As a daughter of immigrants, she understood the value of hard work and education. As a public school teacher for many decades, she supported the importance of helping young people succeed. In her retirement, she contributed time and money to many Southwest Florida Community groups. As a world traveler, she conveyed her respect and interest in many communities, cultures and creeds.”

Connie McCormick

Connie McCormick

Honored by Betteann Sherman and Winnie Ballinger

Connie McCormick was born in Greenville, Ohio and came to Fort Myers with her family in 1974. She was an office, hospital, and home health nurse, patient care coordinator, children’s’ book co- author, charter/ board of directors member of the Uncommon Friends Foundation, Lifetime Achievement Laureate, organizer/ administrator of UFF scholarship program, lifetime member of FGCU Town and Gown, and board of directors member of Moral Re-Armament/Initiatives of Change in Washington, DC.

Connie has been a loyal, steadfast, nurturing friend, a model parent, and loving partner while facing her share of life’s trials and tribulations with faith, grace, a smile, and a sense of determination to always be there for her precious family. Her seven extraordinary children are Cathy Knapp, Englewood, FL, RN, John McHugh Dennis, computer manager, Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA, Douglas Dennis, Attorney, Cincinnati, Ohio, Ann McHugh Brinson, teacher, Fort Myers, FL, Dr. Julie McHugh Persellin, assistant professor of accounting, Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas, Judge Michael McHugh, 21st District Court, Fort Myers, FL, and Dr. Danielle Dennis, associate professor, USF, Tampa, FL. Connie taught her children to be there for one another, but she showed them, by example, how to serve their community and humanity.

Connie’s husband and friend, Dr. David McCormick, summarized it best when he said, “Connie is a true angel, a thoroughly good person who has devoted her life to helping others.”

KELLIE BURNS

KELLIE BURNS

Honored by Amy Gravina, Carolyn Rogers, and John and Ellen Sheppard

Kellie Burns is a woman’s woman in what has been a man’s world.

She is both a 21st century woman— in that she is a part of the business world and the charitable and community service world, and yet she is also a 21stth century Mother totally devoted to husband Ed and her two children, son Jack , and daughter little Elle, and stepdaughter Kara.

Kellie, is from Endwell, NY. How appropriate. Everything Kellie does is posted on the “Banner of Life” as “Ends Well.” She graduated from State University in New York, with majors in communications, political science and International Relations.

She began work as a TV reporter with WBBH in 1994 and as a primary anchor 1996. She took off of work for three years to begin her family, but came back as a NBC 2 Anchor. She has 18 years as News Anchor which says a lot about her as a person, and as a professional journalist.

Professionally in her broadcast career she has won 2 Edward R. Murrow hard news feature Awards, the Florida Associated Press a Long series award, as well as for Achievement and Investigative reporting. . In 2011 she won the Florida Associated Press award for her stories on the 2010 Haiti Earthquake Disaster.

Awards of recognition: Gulf Shore Life “Woman of the Year” award for 2001, the Woman in Style Award Humanitarian of the year Award from Saks 5th Avenue, Media Award 2000 & 2001 from American Cancer Society, and Honorary Chair of the 3 Strides against Breast Cancer. Kellie was named “2010 Power Women in Lee County”, and one of the “Power Players for 2010 Gulf Shore Business. “

But she is so much more than a successful business woman, but she is a devoted Mother and wife, and gives of her talents to works of charity and community. She Hosts willingly and gracefully various charitable functions for Carson Scholars, Arts for Act, Abuse Counseling Center, Carson Scholars, Lee Collier Heart Ball, Conservancy, the SW Fl Wine fest, Neighborhood Health Center, and others. She serves on Exec Boards of Guadalupe Center Immokalee, Canterbury School, and Children’s Advocacy Center.

But Kellie is much more than a devoted Mother and wife, a very talented News Reporter and anchor, one who gives many hours to the work of the community and serves on Community Boards.

Kellie is even more, in that she is a genuinely kind, loving and generous person, who exudes joy for life, love of people, and inspiration. I have had the privilege of being on various charitable programs, more than I can count, with her. She is even nicer in person than she appears on TV, full of enthusiasm, humble and caring, just as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside.

Kellie Burns is what the Bible refers to as a “Proverbs 31 Woman”: Here is how Proverbs describes the ideal wife, mother and woman:

“An excellent wife, her worth above jewels, the heart of her husband trusts her—she does him and her children well all the days of her life—she rises while it is still night and gives food to her household—she extends her hands to the poor, and to the needy—From her earnings she plants a vineyard (of good and love))–Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue and in her actions—Her children rise up and bless her—her husband also praises her—many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all— And let her works be praised at the city gates.”*

AND THAT IS KELLIE BURNS!
*Selected verses from Proverbs Chapter 31.

Shirley Losch

Shirley Losch

Honored by Maggie Stevens, Danna Breeden, Nancy Starr, Gilda Duran, Kim Gerbasio, Melanie Holaway, Donna Thompson, and Carolyn Rogers

Shirley Losch was a strong, thoughtful and passionate woman who lost her life to pancreatic cancer in August. It’s perfectly fitting that we get to honor Shirley today in this Fall Season. She loved Fall! Especially in the Adirondack Mountains.

Shirley was an experienced RN holding many different public health nursing roles in her life, but in a sense she was a nurse to all who knew her. She listened, coached, mentored, guided and challenged us all to be the best we could be. She was honest and had a passion and drive to strive for the best in everything she did and instilled that in each person she knew. Whether she was giving a child care provider advice on best practices on health & safety in child care, guiding one of her three daughters through life challenges or mentoring a co-worker to strive for the highest standards, she did this in a trusting way, full of passion, and honesty and with hopes to push us all to a higher goal. We may not have liked what she had to say at the moment, but in the end we appreciated her perspective and respected her for seeing each of one of us for our unique strengths and challenges. She was knowledgeable and professional while caring for us all, including caring for her parents who are in their 90s living today. Her consistent care and compassion for people with a genuine heart set her apart. We also remember her smile, her laugh, and her hugs. We remember the practical things she taught us, like Disaster Preparedness or how to handle an abuse or neglect allegation. I know she would be the person right now to have an in depth conversation with about Ebola. She always went the extra mile and put 200% into everything she did.

She loved DISNEY, Broadway Shows (she must have seen Wicked at least 4 times). She enjoyed listening to NPR and loved the arts. She touched the hearts of everyone which is a true measure of her life. She was a warm and caring friend who will be greatly missed, especially by the early learning community of Southwest Florida. She was a part of so many people’s lives and will live on in our hearts forever. Shirley will be forever missed but always remembered for those who had the opportunity to know her.

Gloria R. Whitesman

Gloria R. Whitesman

Honored by Guy Whitesman and the Whiteman Family

Gloria R. Whitesman, born Gloria June Rothstein, in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania on March 1st 1926, and known to close friends throughout college as “Pixie” is as close to an angel as you can be and remain vertical.

She is a child of the depression and the beneficiary of parents who worked themselves out of modest circumstances during the depression.

A proud graduate of Wyoming Seminary in Kingston, PA and Wilson College in Chambersburg, PA she maintains her lifelong desire to learn about World events, politics and most notably every person with whom she comes into contact.

Married to Norman I. Whitesman until his death in 2009 and the mother (in her own words a status next to the angels) of three sons, Barney, Guy and David, she was a working mom, long before it was the norm. She worked as a substitute teacher in the Chicago area schools and later as a social worker in Flint, Michigan working for HUD in assisting folks displaced by urban redevelopment. While being retired for over 25 years, she still maintains close friendships from her days on the “streets” of Flint.

She is amazingly proud of her children and grandchildren, Louie, Joey and Jena. She encourages them to live their dreams and spends countless hours constantly worrying for their health and well-being. In fact, we are pretty sure that the vocation of worrying about others will sustain her life force for many years to come.

Honey Costa

Honey Costa

Honored by Bill, Betty, Donna & Chris Beegle, Robert and Audrey Beegle, Roy & Dorothy Bennett, Kathy & Gary Bernardo, Rusty Brown, Carolyn Conant, Jack and Lucy Costa, Dawn-Marie Driscoll, Cheryl Fausel, Daniel Hogan, Drew Hogan, Anita Jenkins, Paul Lowman & Diana Lowman, Anabel Perna, Phyllis & Arthur Reiser, John Wood & Ronald Nobles, Ginny Yates

To paraphrase Gloria Steinem, “This is what 80 looks like.” Honey, as your big birthday approaches, your friends knew there was nothing they could get the woman who truly has it all – except for a very public, sincere appreciation with this “Angel Honor” of all that you are and do for Southwest Florida. Mother, grandmother, aunt, sister, neighbor, friend, artist extraordinaire – Honey Costa is a woman we admire at any age. You are a giving and generous friend, always enthusiastic and positive. Your spectacular art and your tireless work promoting the arts community here has made Southwest Florida a special place to live. Your commitment to improving the lives of the women of our area, in your work and your support of the Women’s Legacy Fund, makes us all proud to know you. Happy Birthday from your family and friends!

Dear Friends of my mother Honey. Thank you all for your kind and loving words. I know that she is truly blessed to have such a wonderful group of friend surrounding her. Though she is far away from me and her grandsons Drew and Daniel, she is with us in our thoughts and hearts daily.

And today Mom I guess your secret is out! This is the celebration of your 80th Birthday!!!! Who knew! You are an amazingly young, energetic, vibrant woman with so much life to live and share and give!

I wish I was with you and all of your friends today to share in this wonderful occasion. My wish for you is many more years of creating, loving, caring, giving, travelling and following your passions and dreams.

I have always seen you as a butterfly; beautiful, bright,flitting from flower to flower, dancing through life. May you always be as happy and fulfilled as you are today.

With Love and Peace, Your daughter, Anabel

John Leonard Hawker

John Leonard Hawker

Honored By Barbara Hawker Yeomans

Everyone has a story and every family has a story.

Like everyone, my parents have many stories too but I am not going to bore anyone with those.

I wanted to honor my parents because they were among the unsung heroes of their time. They dealt with life as it came, not blaming anyone or complaining to anyone. They just got on with it, the British Credo.

I thought my father could do anything, he was a very charming man who knew how to act in every situation and had the best manners. He was chronically ill but he still worked hard. He was a page in the house of parliament at age 14 and then became a butler at a very young age. I remember that he would always explain everything to me and he was a great gardener.

My mother was from Scotland and was the oldest girl of 12. She always wanted an education but because of circumstances it was not available to her so she left home at age 14 to begin her adventures. To ease all situations and tough times my mother would say “Let’s have a nice cup of tea.” She had a saying for all occasions “A stich in time saves nine” “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” and many, many more. She gave me my sense of adventure and that Scottish strong will.

My parents allowed me to be me, and taught me to be responsible. If I joined a group, I had to get myself there and back.

They never made me feel that there was something I couldn’t do because I was a girl. What I wanted was up to me to figure out. I didn’t grow up with any judgements.

I was always a very creative person. When I was in nursery school at 4 years old- my teacher told my mother that I needed to be an artist. So, when I told my parents I was going to art college they weren’t surprised. They never discouraged me or asked me how I would make a living.

They also taught me to be polite and treat everyone with dignity, to be kind and to have empathy.

My parents both had their adventures, and that’s what I always wanted too, was adventure.

Jean Bail Hawker

Jean Bail Hawker

Honored By Barbara Hawker Yeomans

Everyone has a story and every family has a story.

Like everyone, my parents have many stories too but I am not going to bore anyone with those.

I wanted to honor my parents because they were among the unsung heroes of their time. They dealt with life as it came, not blaming anyone or complaining to anyone. They just got on with it, the British Credo.

I thought my father could do anything, he was a very charming man who knew how to act in every situation and had the best manners. He was chronically ill but he still worked hard. He was a page in the house of parliament at age 14 and then became a butler at a very young age. I remember that he would always explain everything to me and he was a great gardener.

My mother was from Scotland and was the oldest girl of 12. She always wanted an education but because of circumstances it was not available to her so she left home at age 14 to begin her adventures. To ease all situations and tough times my mother would say “Let’s have a nice cup of tea.” She had a saying for all occasions “A stich in time saves nine” “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” and many, many more. She gave me my sense of adventure and that Scottish strong will.

My parents allowed me to be me, and taught me to be responsible. If I joined a group, I had to get myself there and back.

They never made me feel that there was something I couldn’t do because I was a girl. What I wanted was up to me to figure out. I didn’t grow up with any judgements.

I was always a very creative person. When I was in nursery school at 4 years old- my teacher told my mother that I needed to be an artist. So, when I told my parents I was going to art college they weren’t surprised. They never discouraged me or asked me how I would make a living.

They also taught me to be polite and treat everyone with dignity, to be kind and to have empathy.

My parents both had their adventures, and that’s what I always wanted too, was adventure.

Ginny Yates

Ginny Yates, CSA®, Registered Professional Guardian, Elder Services Consultant

Honored By L. Gail Markham, Karen Mosteller, Randy Wright, Joni Norton, Dawn-Marie Driscoll, Rusty Brown, Carolyn Conant, Honey Costa

Ginny Yates, CSA®, Registered Professional Guardian, Elder Services Consultant
“Angel” doesn’t begin to describe Ginny Yates. We have all had the pleasure of knowing Ginny personally and professionally for many years. Ginny is a Certified Senior Advisor by the Society of Certified Senior Advisors and a Registered Professional Guardian. During her 32 years in the banking industry she developed a passion for helping people get their plans in order and maintain a quality lifestyle as they age. She provides a unique concierge service that not only requires professional skill and knowledge, but also requires compassion, empathy, and most importantly, an ability to connect with people and earn their trust.
With these qualities, Ginny is able to provide personalized assistance to her clients who are unable to manage their daily tasks. She has a gift for putting people at ease when they are faced with difficult life decisions, and she understands how important it is for her aging clients to be heard. She is a willing listener, is patient, thoughtful, and consistently goes the extra mile to make both her client and their family’s lives less stressful, all the while maintaining a positive, optimistic attitude.
Whether it’s financial assistance, escorting her client to their doctor appointments, or even taking them to the salon for a little lift, Ginny is a ray of sunshine; a welcome comfort to her clients as they face the realities and navigate the decisions that need to be made as they age. Her dearest friends echo that sentiment – she is a ray of sunshine to all of them! They have known her for over 20 years, from her time in banking to today — she has always been kind and true, willing to give selflessly to her friends, family and community.

Dorit K. Solomon

Dorit Krause Solomon

Honored By Gene R. Solomon

My Angel, My B’shert, Dorit K. Solomon

Dorit Krause Solomon was born in Dusseldorf, Germany. During World War II, the U.S. military arranged passage for her father (an engineer) to come to the United States. Her mother then fled Germany with her and her brother and made their way to New York. Growing up in Pittsburgh with parents who spoke German was challenging at times. She once told me a story of when she was a little girl how she was feeling sad and alone. Then, she saw the most beautiful figure in her room and she knew that she was being visited by her guardian angel.

Dorit has a zeal for life and a spirited nature. Over the years, she has skydived, skied the mountains of Europe, North and South America and trekked the trails of Tibet. On the Amazon River she spent two weeks on a ‘boat’ that was the predecessor to the ‘African Queen’. She has traveled to parts of the world where friends and family would question why she would want to go there.

As my wife of over 50 years, a mother to our two children, and Oma to five grandchildren, Dorit’s love of family shines in every aspect of her being. She is the most extraordinaire lady you will ever come across.

She is a person that will not speak of actions, but actually puts them into motion. Her endless volunteer work through the years has spanned into many organizations. She is not a lady that is idle and wondering how to spend her time. Dorit is always striving to see the best in people, do the best for people, and to live her life to the fullest.

For over fifty years she has been my angel and will continue to inspire not only me but all of her family, friends and acquaintances.