Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Big Hug Back to Betty at the Hyatt

Who doesn't love Betty Schoenbaum?  Sunday night the Hyatt was filled with Betty's friends, fans, and family as we celebrated what she and her husband Alex, along with Kay Glasser did to enrich some of Sarasota's non-profits by creating the Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center with the Big Hug Back to Betty dinner.

The ballroom at the Hyatt never looked prettier with a solid wall of rich red drapery, lushly lit with spotlights.  The adorable Kelly Morrell from Gulf Coast Community Foundation was the emcee and she did an amirable job keeping things on track.  The event was co-chaired by Bunny Skirboll and Dr. Lou Bertha McKenzie-Wharton, who did a yeoman's job of putting several working pieces together for this evening.  Gerri Aaron, Bea Friedman, and Sally Yanowitz were honorary co-chairs, with a huge executive and honorary committe of 78 people! 

Welcoming remarks came from USF's Dr. Arthur Guilford, who is the G/S board president, blessing was done by Rabbi Jonathan Katz, followed by performances by the Sarasota Youth Opera and the Spotlight Kids Dance Troupe.  There was a very moving video featuring people whose lives have been changed through the generosity of Mrs. Schoenbaum.  As the 94 year-old Betty later said in her remarks, "the joy of giving is the joy of living." 

Also during her remarks, the very modest Betty tried to reflect most of the glory back onto the late Kay Glasser whose determination was the driving force for starting the center.  She said that she decided to give during her lifetime so she could see the joy and have contact with the persons her donations helped and commented that she is part of the lives of people all over the world. 

A hug sculpture by Irwin Leibowitz was presented to Betty.  The sculpture was inpired by a photograph taken by Molly Schechter of Betty and Bunny hugging at the orchestra's Season Opener Brunch two years ago.

Another honor for Betty was Mayor Suzanne Atwell and County Commissioner Nora Patterson each proclaming Sunday as Betty Schoenbaum Day in the city and county. 

I believe the program book for the evening might be the largest I have ever seen.  It was literally the size of a magazine at 60 pages of full color glossiness and page after page of loving tributes!

A note about the food - yes, I know the Hyatt is a convention center, but for goodness sake, the dinner, and especially the dessert, were, ahem, not quite the same caliber as the lady we were honoring, and there is absolutely no reason for that.  I was so disappointed with the offerings, I actually had to eat when I got home.

Finally, I would just like to say, does anyone look more dashing than G/S Executive Director, Phil King?  I don't think so.  I love, love, love that he always wears an ascot.  Tres chic!  I think everyone should have a style signature and he wears his with elegance and grace.

Among the faces in the crowd were those photographed below and also Jewel and Mike Ash, Margaret and Matt Callihan, Marjorie North, Dr. Larry and Pat Thompson, Diane McFarlin and Lee Wetherington, Margaret Wise, Dennis Stover, Tana Sandefur, Roxie Jerde, Scott Anderson, Alexis Upham, Julie Milton, Melba Jimenez, Joy Weston, Jocelyn Stevens, Jeremy Lisitza, Brian Lipton, Janet Hunter, Iris Starr, Aundria Castleberry, Jay Berman, Marjorie Peter, Harry and Victoria Leopold, Leslie Loftus, Anne Weintraub, Vicki Rollo, Alfred and Adela Rose, Carol and Howard Phillips, Carolyn Michel, Kathy Coffey, Linda DesMarias, Julie and Phil Delaney, Zoltan Karpathy, Estelle Crawford, Joyce Tate, Ina Schnell, Carol Green, Pedro Reis, and Carolyn Johnson.

As I mentioned yesterday, I bought a new camera on Friday.  I was unaware at how quickly the battery charge ran out and with only the few photos I took below, it just stopped.  So...my apologies for not getting a photo of the co-chairs and especially of Betty, as she look absolutely beautiful that night in her black cocktail suit with the spectacular buttons.

Graci McGillicuddy and G/S Executive Director, Phil King

Margaret Barberi, Ian Webb, and Hillary Steele

Lisa Walsh and Molly Schechter

Alan Quimby and Susan Brainerd

Flori Roberts

Dolly Jacobs Reis and Pam Daniel

Norma Savin and Lee Peterson

Sandy Loevner and Myrna Band 

Jennifer Saslaw, Jim and Nikki Nilon

Graci and Dennis McGillicuddy

1 comment:

  1. Debbie,
    I loved "The Paris Wife" and reading about the literary greats of the early 20th. century was wonderful. Like you, I imagined what it would have been like to have been there in the same cafes. I liked this book so much better than Mary Hemingway’s " A Moveable Feast” based on her collection of Ernest's letters and notes to Hadley during their living together in Paris.. The author of "The Paris Wife", Paula McLain lives in Cleveland Heights where Sam and I maintain our house for summer and Christmas. It seems just that Hadley got the royalties for "The Sun Also Rises" in their divorce.
    Have you read "Bonjour Happiness" by Jamie Cat Callan. It goes along with your blog "The Civilized Life in Sarasota". I met Jamie in Prague last summer. Our husbands are both geoscientists and were attending an international geochemical conference. Sam is treasurer of this society. Jamie and I had one of those fabulous lunches in which two people just find out so much about each other, just sharing ideas. It was unusual.
    Jamie came to Cleveland this fall to speak to the 21st. Century Club. We then met at the Cleveland Art Museum for a whirlwind tour and a glass of wine. She is speaking in Palm Beach this winter. Could there be a consortium of book clubs in Sarasota that might be interested in bringing her here?
    It was really nice to see you at the "Big Hug Back to Betty “gala. Thanks for sending me a link to your blog. My response is old. Until Lisa came down for Thanksgiving, I did not know how to post it.