Skip to main content
Your Town
Longboat Key Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2010 8 years ago

Black Tie & Tales


+ Family tradition makes its ‘debut’
The debutante concept started out as dealing exclusively with the social graces. It has since evolved to focus on social responsibility and an appreciation of culture, as well. And it turns out there is another, still warmer dimension: treasured family moments.

This learning comes from a chance encounter with Veronica Brady and her debutante daughter, Meredith, at Saks on the day of the big ball. They were obviously having a moment of their own together, collecting their gowns and having their makeup done. Pressed to describe what was most special to them about the deb season, they talked about things they had done together, such as selecting Meredith’s dress, which came from a former deb. Best of all, they agreed, was the quantity and quality of time Meredith was getting to spend with her dad, Jay.

Finally, the debs learn about the hard work that goes into staging the event, which benefits the youth orchestras of the Sarasota Orchestra. Meredith and her mom both had high praise for The Debutante Committee, which manages the long season involving 22 debs, from a kick-off spring luncheon until the final party of the season, typically the following February.

“They do an amazing job,” say the Brady ladies.

They certainly deserve bouquets of their own, even if only of words.

+ The Observer family is growing
It’s official. The Observer family is growing. Associate Publisher-Multimedia Emily Walsh and Julian Parry will become parents for the first time in early summer. Congratulations to grandparents-to-be Lisa and Matt Walsh and Valerie and Laurence Parry and great-grandparents-to-be Ruth (“Gommie”) and David Beliles. And be still my beating heart!

More happy news: Amanda Marshall, director of development at The Perlman Music Program/Suncoast, is also expecting on about the same schedule. Knit shops and grandmother stores should have a busy spring season.

+ 70 happy years and counting
“I don’t know many people who are married for 70 years,” said Sylvia Cohodas reporting on the amazing anniversary of her brother and sister-in-law (and BT favorites) Willard and Lois Cohodas. They wed in Lois’ hometown of Chicago on Christmas Day, 1939, and they renewed their vows under a chuppah surrounded by family at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point, in Naples, this Christmas. It is hard to imagine a more joyous item to report.

+ Holiday happenings
The happiest HanukkahGladys and Marshall Bernstein celebrated the Festival of Lights with military precision. They invited 42 guests for the seventh night and lined up six menorahs — one candle for each delighted guest to kindle ... Gumbo chez Wise … There was a Jewish Santa at Bill and Margaret Wise’s annual Christmas afternoon reception, the part played with great credibility by Jack Steenbarger. Friends got to meet Margaret’s new baby, Georgia, who is half Yorkie, half Shih Tzu — and all adorable. Nikki Nilon was there with her hubby, the Rev. Jim Nilon, and their puppy. Elaine Keating attended with the ever attentive Dr. Sid Katz, plus Elaine’s daughter and granddaughter, Myra and Kathy Beisler, on their annual holiday visit from Chicago … Christmakah dinner … another ecumenical take on the holiday, the annual beef-tenderloin-and-potato-latkes dinner hosted at their home by Ilene Friedman and her hubby, Greg GregoryHappy Birthday, LillianLillian Richman celebrated by entertaining her nearest and dearest at brunch Dec. 20, at Bird Key Yacht Club. Her son, Robert Eisler, from Mission Viejo, Calif., came to town for the event. Bob and Dottie Garner, there with their daughter, Betsy Garner Wyant, received congratulations on their 56th wedding anniversary … Grandchildren in the lobby … the Atlanta branch of the Garner family was in town for the holidays, and friends got to chat with Mistress Peyton Louie and her brother, Master Cameron Louie, Dec 23. in the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton. Their parents are Alison Garner Louie and Michael LouieNew Year’s Eve nicety … Little things do mean a lot. Elizabeth Segars, publicity point person for The Society’s New Year’s Eve Gala, thoughtfully provided a small, accessible table for this reporter’s gear, something never previously encountered and very much appreciated. More for this and all events at

Related Stories