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Longboat Key Wednesday, Jun. 7, 2017 2 years ago

Longboat Key Obituaries: June 8, 2017

Nancy Freeland, Sharon Oper, Marie "Jackie" Resnick, Hank Cassen, Janet FitzGerald, Audrey Regen and Dr. E. William Reiber II died.
by: Katie Johns Community Editor

Nancy Lucille Dye Freeland

Nancy Freeland, 80, of Longboat Key, died May 14.

She was born in Lafayette, Ind., on Jan. 8, 1937. She graduated from Purdue University in 1958 with a Bachelor of Science degree in microbiology. She was a pin-wearing sister of Kappa Alpha Theta and a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Nancy loved to be creative and was drawn to many art forms. As a stained-glass artist, avid reader and world-class hostess, Nancy drew the most joy in life from her loving family and vast array of friendships nationwide, including many close friendships in the Gulf Shore community. The family would like to offer a special thanks to her confidant and advocate in care, Clara Washington.

She was preceded in death by both her parents, Charles and Inez Dye; brother John Dye; niece Mary Beth McCaffry; and nephew John Cockerman.

She is survived by her husband of 53 years, Jerry Michael Freeland; brother Charles Dye; sister Alice; sons James, John and Andrew; and their spouses and children.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Tidewell Hospice House in Bradenton, 2504 34th Ave. W., Bradenton.


Sharon Elspeth Oper

Sharon Oper, 76, of  Longboat Key, died June 2.

She was born on Jan. 16, 1941, in New Jersey to the late Joseph Oper and Sara Hafkin Oper. She died surrounded by loyal friends, with whom she shared her passion for international cultures and cuisines, tennis and support for the Democratic Party.

She was a member of Temple Beth Israel and a former member of the synagogue in every country she lived in throughout her career.

Sharon’s entry into public service began in the early 1970s when she was hired as an aide to U.S. Rep. Bella Abzug. She joined the U.S. Foreign Service a few years later and enjoyed foreign postings in Chile, Spain, Zaire, Pakistan, Thailand and Kenya.

She lived in Africa for seven years and became an aficionado of African art and African grey parrots, one of whom, Two two, has survived her and was adopted by friends.  Sharon loved animals, including hundreds of birds she photographed on the beach near her home.

She was active in many local organizations, including the tennis center, several book clubs and a mahjong group.

A celebration of her life will be held at a later date.

Memorial donations can be made to Save our Seabirds, 1708 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota.


Marie “Jackie” Resnick

Marie “Jackie” Resnick of Longboat Key, and formerly Lincoln, Mass., died June 5.

She was born in Old Town, Maine, in 1926. She graduated from Old Town High School and the Peter Bent Brigham School of Nursing. She worked as a registered nurse for several years before marrying Charles Resnick in 1951.

She volunteered at a number of charities in the Boston area and at Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium.

She is survived by her husband, Charles; son Andrew; and two grandchildren Molly and Nathan Resnick.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Smile Train at, or to Doctors without Borders at


Henry D. “Hanks” Cassens

Hanks Cassens, 78, of Peoria, Ill., died May 29.

He was born on June 8, 1938, to the late Henry John and Frances Cassens.

He lettered in football, boxing and track and field at Roosevelt Jr. High and was a 1956 graduate of Manual Training High School.

Hank went on to serve in theArmy Reserve as a staff sergeant in the infantry between 1962 and 1967. On March 12, 1960, he married Joyce Abraham in Chicago.

He was Ford dealer in Dunlap and Wyoming, Ill. While at Ford, he was a board member of the Ford Dealer Advertising Fund, and he won many awards during his career. He worked for the Peoria County Sheriff’s Department until his retirement in 2001.

Hank was a member of the Mohammed Temple Shriners, the Masons Alta Lodge #078, American Legion #979, Creve Coeur Club, Kiwanis Club of Dunlap and a board member of Weaver Ridge Golf View Board. He loved cars and was an original member of the Slow Pokes Car Club, as well as one of the originators and sponsors of the JFL Program in Dunlap.

He loved his family and faith. He served on the St. Paul Lutheran Church council and taught Sunday school. He loved racing, the Chicago Cubs, the Chicago Bears, going to his Friday morning breakfast club and spending winters on Longboat Key.

He is survived by his wife, Joyce; daughter Tracey Head; son-in-law Brendan Head; two grandsons, Ayden and Tristan Head; and sister Cheryl Cook.

Memorial donations can be made to the Parkinson’s Foundation, 1800 N. Main St., #215, Wheaton, Ill., 60187, or to the Shriners Children Hospital, 2900 Rocky Point Drive, Tampa, Fla., 33607.


Janet L. FitzGerald

Janet FitzGerald, of Holmes Beach, died.

She was born in Ohio to Esther and Richard Murdock. The family moved to Florida in the 1970s and lived in the Tampa area.

Upon graduating high school, she attended Hillsborough Community College. She worked in the insurance field for almost 25 years and obtained the title of Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter.

After leaving the insurance profession, she worked as a data research analyst at Nielsen Media for several years in both Tampa and Sarasota. She was an active member of Christ Church of Longboat Key.

She is survived by her husband, Kevin; mother, Esther Cain Murdock; her mother’s life partner, Robert Scott; father, Richard Murdock; and brother David. She was preceded in death by her brother Michael.

A memorial Mass will be held at Christ Church at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Christ Church of Longboat Key, 6400 GMD.


Audrey H. Regen

Audrey Regen, 84, of Sarasota, died May 30.

She was an active member of the local Jewish community, co-founding a nursery school and kindergarten at Temple Beth Shalom in the 1960s. She also participated in the Hadassah and Women’s American ORT charities. Later, she and her late husband, Ezra, became members of Temple Emmanuel and Temple Beth Israel on Longboat Key.

Audrey was a lifelong theater enthusiast and was a patron of the Asolo Repertory Theatre and served as a volunteer with the Florida Studio Theatre. She was a graduate of Bard College, where she studied theater and earned a bachelor’s in sociology.

Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. June 11 at Palms-Robarts Funeral Home, 170 Honore Ave., Sarasota. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research at


Dr. E. William Reiber II

Bill Reiber, 80, of New Castle, Pa., died May 27 in Longboat Key.

Following a two-year stint in the Navy, he opened a private practice in general and vascular surgery in Tampa in 1972. Ten years later, he was appointed chief of staff at Tampa’s University Community Hospital and chief of surgery in 1985.

Bill was an exceptional athlete, playing basketball for both Duke University and Louisville. He also loved horses. Later in life, he picked up tennis and loved cooking. He once cooked a meal of crabs and fettuccine for more than 60 of his Longboat Key friends.

He taught at the University of South Florida and the VA Medical Center. He was an emeritus board member for the Foundation at University Community Hospital, initiating fundraising efforts to establish the Pepin Heart Institute, Women’s Center and Starlight Ball.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Moffitt Cancer Center Foundation, 12902 Magnolia Drive, MBC-FOUND, Tampa, FL, 33612.

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