+ Sarasota bids fond farewells
• Robbie Robinson died Aug. 31. John Sandefur, in hospice care for several months, made it to the celebration of Robinson’s life Sept. 4, at the Siesta Key Chapel, in a wheelchair. Sandefur’s definition of “palliative care” was “my pals are taking care of me” and he was determined to attend. Sandefur died soon thereafter on Sept. 17. Robinson’s spirit will surely be present for that memorial service Oct. 10.
It is not hyperbole to say these men were pillars of the society that make Sarasota, Sarasota. They were generous, involved and persistently present to the last. The Observer Group extends our sympathies to their beloved heroines, Mary Ann Robinson and Tana Sandefur.
• ”She never put herself in front of anybody,” said Jimmie Berthoty at the Sept. 21 memorial service for his mom, Susan Terry, who died Sept. 2. More than 200 attendees responded instantly to the grace and maturity of the 17-year-old’s comment which so aptly described the essence of the woman who co-founded Sarasota’s Community AIDS Network nearly two decades ago and grew it into a national model of comprehensive care and education.
+ I do! I do! Pop!
Monica Slater and Dr. Richard Van Buskirk were wed Sept. 11, at Domaine Chandon, in Napa Valley. The service was in the grotto right next to the vineyard’s fabulous Étoile restaurant, where they sabered (a technique used for ceremonial occassions) a bottle of champagne immediately following the ceremony. The newlyweds are co-chairing the Van Wezel Foundation gala, which takes place Valentine’s Day, 2010. Perhaps there is some order in the universe after all …
+ Birthday boys
Ed Schaye became an octogenarian this summer and celebrated with his wife, Harriet, and daughter, Elizabeth Balliss, from Chicago. Schaye is chairman of the board of directors for Community AIDS Network, a board member and the much loved “shop husband” at Designing Women Boutique and a former board member of Jewish Family & Children’s Service. So who’s counting?
Lou Marinaccio, a mere sapling, celebrated his 65th birthday at “My Big, Fat Greek Interactive Feast” benefiting UCP. Caterer extraordinaire Phil Mancini and his crew surprised the birthday boy with a cake before the guests all cooked their own dessert, which was autumn fig-and-apricot compote.
+ New dates to save
The Asolo Rep launched its “Starry Night” dinners last season with six intimate events — so successfully, in fact, that there will be 10 this season, each one associated with an Asolo production. Katherine Harris, Lee Peterson and Margaret Wise are co-chairing the series. The first dinner highlights “Contact,” which the Rep is co-producing with the Sarasota Ballet. It will be Nov. 1, at the Wise home; Mary Ann Robinson is co-chairwoman with Wise. Contact Laura Wood, 351-9010, Ext. 4712 or e-mail email@example.com.
The Sarasota Orchestra has foregone its traditional opening night dinner in favor of a season-opener brunch Nov. 15, at Michael’s On East. Mort and Bunny Skirboll are co-chairing with Don and Marsha Panuce. Marsha Panuce says the event will have “360 degrees of music” performed by the symphony’s various ensembles. Contact June Granato at 487-2742 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Senior Friendship Center, which had its last large-scale benefit some five years ago, returns to the calendar with “A Night at the Opera,” marrying performances by Sarasota Opera artists with moments from the great Marx brothers’ movie. According to Dennis Stover, vice president of resource development, “For an organization of our size not to have a signature event once a year to celebrate the service to the community is a missing link in our community.” Listen and laugh March 9, at the Senior Friendship Center. Contact Cheryl Pilch at 556-3205 or e-mail email@example.com.
Finally, The Out-of-Door Academy will celebrate its 85th anniversary by retiring its “ODA Extravaganza” and launching the Banyan Ball March 20. There are six co-chairwomen: Kitty Cranor, Mickey Davis, Kim Githler, Nora Johnson, Elizabeth Mahler and Terri Vitale. (A trend in the making?) Contact Julie Fineberg at 554-5408 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
+ BT tidbits
On the mend … An emergency appendectomy seriously interrupted Flora Major’s summer travel plans but she is happily on her way to recovery at her summer home in Manhattan. Also recuperating: Marty Fine, Bob Garner, Sanford Milter and Joy Rowe … “Hot Dogs & Cool Cats” returns … Fans of “Animal House” have a lot to look forward to Oct. 10. Co-chairwomen Dr. Anne Chauvet and Alex Miller have planned an animated evening featuring actors representing film characters, dueling pianos and surprise “live centerpieces.” (We have been reassured there will be no tabletop canines or felines.) Reservations: Cherie Morgan, 955-4131 … The more the merrier … Sarasota magazine will expand its coverage of Sarasota’s social life with a bi-weekly feature on its Web site. Mr. Chatterbox Bob Plunket will write it — he has promised to do straight social reporting. We’ll see about that … Nice lady in a new position … Ilene Fox has signed on with the Sarasota-Manatee Jewish Federation in the new part-time position of women’s engagement coordinator after running many of its events in the past. Her first in her new role will be “Women’s Day,” featuring best-selling author Iris Krasnow … We can’t write about it if we don’t know about it… Send human-interest items and news tidbits to email@example.com, calendar additions and updates to firstname.lastname@example.org.