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Longboat Key Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013 4 years ago

In Memoriam


Harry Rosenthal
Harry Rosenthal, 88, of Longboat Key, died April 17.

Born in Germany, he volunteered for the British Army during World War II and moved in 1947 to the United States. He acquired The Children’s Corner, in Peekskill, N.Y., and eventually had stores in Mount Kisco, Bedford Hills and Yorktown Heights, N.Y., as well.

One of Rosenthal’s proudest achievements was taking a Dale Carnegie course to overcome his fear of public speaking, which served him later when he served on several boards and spoke about his experiences in Nazi Germany.

In retirement, he volunteered with SCORE to help younger generations of businesspeople and also with Mote Marine Laboratory.

James ‘Jim’ Greer
James “Jim” Greer, 89, of Longboat Key, died April 19.

He served in the U.S. Army during World War II, earning a Bronze Star for his service, and went on to become general agent for Aetna Life & Casualty.

Greer moved in 1983 to Longboat Key. He was an avid golfer and supporter of the Longboat Key Club & Resort’s proposed Islandside project. He attended Mass daily at St. Mary, Star of the Sea, Catholic Church.

H. Kermit ‘Kit’ Green Jr.
H. Kermit “Kit” Green Jr., 78, of Longboat Key and Point Pleasant, N.J., died April 20. He served as a specialist in the U.S. Army from 1955 to 1957 and spent much of his career self-employed as a manufacturer’s representative for companies in the tabletop industry.

He was a member of the Saalam Shrine in Livingston, N.J., volunteered as a “shepherd” in his retirement, making more than 100 trips driving children to receive medical treatment.

Helen Linton Schweyer
Helen Linton Schweyer, 96, of Longboat Key, died April 26.

After an early career on Wall Street at the Bank of New York, she became a stay-at-home mother. She moved in 1975 to Longboat Harbour, where she was the longtime head of recreation. She loved passing afternoons at the bridge table and ending it with the perfect Manhattan — rocks on the side.

Eugene Eckman
Eugene Eckman, 83, of Sarasota and formerly of Buffalo, N.Y., died May 1. He worked for many years at Longboat Key Publix after retiring from General Motors in Buffalo, N.Y.

David Schmidt
David Schmidt, 86, of Longboat Key, died May 1.

Schmidt was a World War II veteran and an attorney who was admitted to practice in New York and before the U.S. Supreme Court. He had a career in the FBI, specializing in criminal cases, and retired with the rank of inspector.

Schmidt served as director of the Survey & Investigations Staff of the Committee on Appropriations in the U.S. House of Representatives.

In retirement, Schmidt was the first owner elected to the board of directors at Inn on the Beach and served as president for four years.

Eve Fekete
Eve Fekete, 86, of Longboat Key, died May 4.

Born in Hungary, she immigrated to the United States in 1956. She lived on Longboat Key since 1994.

Lynne Sklover
Lynne Sklover, 94, of Sarasota and formerly of Longboat Key, died May 4.

She was a former resident of Hewlett Harbor, N.Y., and lived in Longboat Key and Sarasota for more than 25 years.

Helene Diener
Helene Diener, 76, of Longboat Key and formerly of Brewster, N.Y., died May 5.

Diener was an established business owner in the Brewster community for more than 30 years. She retired to Longboat Key in 2008.

Marcelyn Jean Henrikson
Marcelyn Jean “Marcy” Henrikson, 79, of Elgin, Ill., and Longboat Key, died May 11.

She enjoyed playing tennis, baking pies, hiking mountains, volunteering for the local, regional and national Presbyterian Church, sewing clothes and Halloween costumes and teaching.

She and her husband, Hal, enjoyed wintering at their condominium on Longboat Key.

Paul Grodner
Paul Grodner, 90, of Annapolis, Md., and formerly of Longboat Key, died May 20.

He earned his CPA at the University of Pittsburgh and became regional controller assistant to the president at Clark Equipment Co. He served as a corporal in the U.S. Army Air Corps and was deployed to the Panama Canal during World War II.

Grodner was active in all of the Jewish communities in which he lived and served as treasurer of Temple Beth Israel.

Lydia Hawes
Lydia Hawes, 93, of Longboat Key, died May 23.

She was a schoolteacher in Massachusetts who was married to her high school sweetheart, Melvin, for 68 years. She volunteered at Sarasota Memorial Hospital and was a longtime member of Sarasota Yacht Club.

Joyce Harsche
Joyce Harsche, 71, of Longboat Key, died May 24.

Dr. John ‘Jack’ O’Brien
Dr. John “Jack” O’Brien, 79, of Longboat Key and North Kingstown, R.I., died May 25.

Originally from Cork, Ireland, O’Brien served in the U.S. Navy as a lieutenant commander based out of Bethesda Naval Hospital for two years and went on to found what is now Rhode Island Medical Imaging, which has offices throughout the state.

In retirement, he pursued his passion for tennis, competing in and winning several championships at the Longboat Key Club and Resort and the Warwick Heights Tennis Club in Rhode Island

Donald Sayre FitzGibbon
Donald Sayre FitzGibbon, 88, of Longboat Key and Frederick, Md., died May 25.

George Edward Frost
George Edward Frost, 95, of Sarasota, died June 2.

He practiced law in Chicago before serving as director of the Patent Law Division of General Motors Corp. from 1966 to 1983. He taught law at the John Marshall Law School and University of Chicago Law School.

Frost was a member of All Angels by the Sea Episcopal Church.

Harold ‘Pete’ Vonachen Jr.
Harold “Pete” Vonachen Jr., 87, of Peoria, Ill., and Longboat Key, died June 10.

Mr. Vonachen served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He became president of Peoria Blacktop Inc. in 1970 and purchased the Peoria Chiefs in 1983.

He earned a number of honors, including Sporting News Professional Baseball Class A Minor League Executive of the Year, Midwest League Executive of the Year, National Society of Fundraising Executives Philanthropy Award, and Ambassador of Baseball for the State of Illinois.

Joyce Kolligian
Joyce Kolligian, 76, of Longboat Key and formerly of Winchester, Mass., died June 11.

Kolligian served as executive director of the Simmons Leadership Conference for the past 13 years and established J.K. Carlyle Associates, a boutique marketing and communications consulting firm. She was an avid golfer and member of the Longboat Key Club who scored a hole-in-one in 2008.

Rita Murphy
Rita Murphy, 66, of Longboat Key and formerly of Longwood, died June 16.

Dale Elizabeth Herbst
Dale Elizabeth Herbst, 66, of Kansas City, Mo., died June 17. She was a former lay minister at All Angels by the Sea Episcopal Church and Church of the Annunciation in Holmes Beach.

Barbara Arau
Barbara Arau, 83, of Sarasota, died June 18.

She began a long writing career as an editor at Outdoor Life and Prentice Hall Publishers. She went on to work in the direct marketing business and as a writer in a public relations firm.

After moving to Sarasota, Arau published her first novel, “Someone’s in the Kitchen with Dinah,” a food and crime novel set in the Florida Keys.  She continued to write personal essays and travel stories for national magazines and newspapers.  She was a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, as well as Selby Women’s Writers. 

Elizabeth ‘Lib’ Smith
Elizabeth “Lib” Smith, 100, of Longboat Key, died June 21.

Smith taught music for seven years at Shawnee Mission Junior High School, in Louisville, Ky., and later worked for many charitable organizations, including the Red Cross, Junior League and her local church in Indianapolis.

She moved in 1973 to Longboat Key and volunteered at the Longboat Island Chapel and taught classes in crewel embroidery and needlepoint for many years.

Cynthia Segrest Hamilton Dunn
Cynthia Segrest Hamilton Dunn, 80, of Charlotte, N.C., and formerly of Longboat Key and Punta Gorda, died June 24.

A native of Baton Rouge, La., she attended Louisiana State University, where she was a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority. She had a successful career as a real-estate broker in Louisiana and Florida. She loved the genealogy, history, the outdoors, golf and captaining her boat, “The Mistletoe.”

Cyrus ‘Cy’ Bispham
Cyrus “Cy” Bispham, 87, of Sarasota, died June 26.

His family had deep roots on Longboat Key.

His father, Jackson Bispham, was a former Longboat Key farmer who relocated to the mainland after a 1921 hurricane wiped out his crop.

In 1950, Bispham helped relocate the dairy farm to the Gulf Gate area, then to property east of town in 1952, where it continued to operate until 1987. 

Bispham devoted the 12 years leading up to his retirement to developing 383 acres of the family’s 1,150-acre farm into the golf and residential community Serenoa, which opened in 1990.

He was a founding member of the County Charter Commission, and he helped found the Rotary Club of Sarasota Bay, the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce and the Argus Foundation, which in 2010 honored him with a lifetime achievement award.

Hart Wurzburg
Former Longboat Key Mayor A. Hart Wurzburg, 92, of Plymouth Harbor, died June 26.

He served as a corporal in the U.S. Army during World War II. He went on to own and operate Minna Hart, a ladies’ specialty shop in Winnetka, Ill., for 35 years.

Wurzburg was elected to the Longboat Key Town Commission in 1987, after campaigning to “continue the progress that has been made in slowing the rampant growth on the island.” He went on to serve four years on the commission, including one year as mayor from 1990 to 1991.

Louis Flanzer
Louis Flanzer, 93, of Longboat Key and Scarsdale, N.Y., died June 30.

Flanzer served in the U.S. Army during World War II as a sergeant and refused a promotion to stay with his men. After the war, he rejoined Flanzer & Son and expanded the business for his father and brother-in-law. He later became a successful real estate investor, avid golfer and philanthropist.

He conquered his fear of flying in the 1960s by becoming a licensed pilot and then giving flying lessons to both of his children.

Charles Perkins
Charles Perkins, 91, of Longboat Key, died July 3.

Perkins served in the U.S. Army during World War II and was a self-taught musician who began his career in education as a music teacher at Sarasota Junior High School. He retired as principal of Booker Elementary School, in Sarasota, in 1981.

Pamela Allen Levenson
Pamela Allen Levenson, of Longboat Key and formerly of Newton, Mass., died July 18.

Dr. Thomas Vincent Getchell
Dr. Thomas Vincent Getchell, 73, of Longboat Key and Lexington, Ky., died July 20.

Getchell earned his Ph.D. from Northwestern University and held faculty positions at the University of Pennsylvania, Yale University, Wayne State University and the University of Kentucky, he trained many graduate and postdoctoral students and received numerous awards for his research in neuroscience.

He also served as assistant dean of the graduate school at Wayne State University and associate dean for Research and Basic Science at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine.

Rae Ferguson Reasoner
Rae Ferguson Reasoner, 81, of Bradenton and formerly of Longboat Key, died July 22.

She moved in 1938 to Longboat Key and attended the old school in the Longbeach Village.

Reasoner was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Bradenton, Selby Gardens, the Bradenton Country Club and the Tropical Flowering Tree Society. She was a former board member of the Junior Science Museum, the South Florida Museum, Manatee County Agriculture Museum, a life member of Entre Nous and a sustaining member of the Service Club of Manatee County. 

Arthur ‘Art’ Falls
Arthur “Art” Falls, 86, of Sarasota and formerly of Longboat Key, died July 27.

He retired from a career in Illinois government and in 1978 purchased the Sea Stable, a resort-wear and swimwear boutique, on Longboat Key with his wife, Nancy, marking the beginning of a 28-year career in retail on the Key.

At their peak, the Fallses owned seven businesses, with stores on the Key, Anna Maria Island, Orlando and Amelia Island.

Falls was involved in a number of Key organizations, including the Kiwanis Club, Longboat Key Chamber of Commerce and several charities. He received the 2000 Kiwanis Club “Citizen of the Year” award for his efforts.

Falls is credited with spurring the Kiwanis Club to take over long-term leadership of the St. Jude Luncheon, now the Longboat Key Gourmet Lawn Party.

DeAnn Davis
DeAnn Davis, 72, of Bradenton, died July 28.

She taught at Anna Maria Island Elementary School for 34 years until she retired in 2010.

Marjorie Hammer
Marjorie Hammer, 94, of Longboat Key, died July 31.

She was an avid reader, Mahjong player and needlepoint artist who enjoyed traveling the world with her husband, Robert, although Longboat Key was the place they loved most. They built their dream house on the Key, where they lived for more than 30 years.

Charles Van Winfree
Charles Van Winfree, 96, of Longboat Key, died July 31.

He became an orphan when he was 14 at the start of the Great Depression and struck out to find work after just eight years of schooling in the grocery business, Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and National Guard.

He joined Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. in 1940 and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1943. He rose through 18 vertical promotions to become vice president of MetLife, which was the largest insurance company in the world when he retired in 1974.

Christopher Kevin Landry
Christopher Kevin Landry, 69, of Boston and Longboat Key, died Aug. 1.

Landry served in the U.S. Army Reserves from 1966 to 1974 . He worked at TA Associates from 1968 to 2013, becoming general partner in 1972, managing partner in 1982, CEO in 1984, chairman in 2007 and senior adviser in 2012.

Jeanette Helen Schoener
Jeanette Helen Schoener, 87, of Longboat Key and formerly of West Orange, N.J., died Aug. 5.

Schoener was retired from Lord & Taylor in Milburn, N.J., where she worked for 25 years, and also worked at the Holiday Inn. She lived on Longboat Key for the past 26 years.

Sherwin ‘Sonny’ Welson
Sherwin “Sonny” Welson, 84, of Longboat Key and West Hartford, Conn., died Aug. 5. He graduated from Colby College in Maine and served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.

Mildred Yasuna
Mildred Yasuna, 95, of Sarasota and formerly of Longboat Key, died Aug. 5. She graduated from Boston University with a law degree in 1940.

Yasuna was an avid tennis player and golfer who loved the ocean.

Elizabeth Poss Colebrook
Elizabeth Poss Colebrook, 90, of Aurora, Ohio and Longboat Key, died Aug. 10.

She moved to Longboat Key in 1991 and loved playing tennis, gardening and writing. She compiled her writings into a book called “Digging Up Grandpa” that was published in 2011.

Rosalie Cubbon Kobiela
Rosalie Cubbon Kobiela, 74, of Longboat Key, died Aug. 10. She grew up in Crewe, England and moved to Sarasota in 1962, then to Longboat Key in 1976.

Grace Douglass Marlow
Grace Douglass Marlow, 90, of Sarasota and formerly of Longboat Key, died Aug. 12. She moved in 1968 to Longboat Key and then in 2005 to Sunnyside Village.

Vivien Marie England
Vivien Marie England, 101, of Falmouth, Mass., and Longboat Key, died Aug. 14. She was a longtime resident of Winchester, Mass., who spent summers at her lakeside cottage in New Hampshire and winters on Longboat Key.

Thomas Bramble
Thomas Bramble, 101, of Bradenton and formerly of Longboat Key, died Aug. 17.

Bramble worked in various capacities for the Tuberculosis Foundation and became a high school counselor upon his retirement. He played tennis well into his 90s on the Key.

Gershom Ralph Cohn
Gershom Ralph Cohn, 97, of Sarasota, died Aug. 18.

He was a Bird Key resident who raised funds for a building to house the Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee, the Jewish Community Center and was a member of the Jewish Housing Council.

Orville ‘Ditto’ Andrews III
Orville “Ditto” Andrews III, 78, of Longboat Key, died Aug. 19.

Formerly a dedicated Northeasterner, he found bliss the first time he drove over the Longboat Pass Bridge more than 30 years ago and made Longboat Key his permanent home in 1984.

He was a licensed real estate broker in Florida, a member of Kiwanis, Sarasota Chamber of Commerce (including the Committee of 100), Manatee Chamber of Commerce, Longboat Key Chamber of Commerce and Florida Property Managers Association.

Marjorie Morris
Marjorie Morris, 91, of Lafayette, Ind., and Longboat Key, died Aug. 22. She spent her winters on Longboat Key and was involved with many activities on the Key and in Lafayette.

Margie Kallmeyer
Margie Kallmeyer, 85, of Longboat Key, died Aug. 28.

She worked for Michigan Bell Telephone Co. as a service representative and retired in 1980 to Longboat Key.

Kallmeyer was a member of Longboat Island Chapel and an avid tennis player who played on the Tri City Team for Cedars Tennis Club.

Constance ‘Connie’ Pla
Constance “Connie” Pla, 73, of Sarasota, died Sept. 3.

Originally from Attleboro, Mass., she proudly spent the last 21 years cooking and housekeeping at the rectory of St. Mary, Star of the Sea, Catholic Church.

Merle Warner Huntington Jr.
Merle Warner Huntington Jr., 92, of Longboat Key and Brevard, N.C., died Sept. 9.

He was a veteran of the U.S. Navy and took a sales-engineering position with Plymouth Stamping in 1953 in Plymouth, Mich., and eventually held an equity position with Warren Products, of Northville, Mich.

Eventually, he expanded his position to complete ownership of Warren Products, which he sold in 1992.
Huntington was a charter member of Christ Church of Longboat Key, Presbyterian.

Jill Felix Colton
Jill Felix Colton, 69, of Longboat Key, died Sept. 19.

Colton began her real estate career a residential agent in Chester County, Pa., then moved on to commercial real estate with Philadelphia developer Bill Rouse. She custom-developed the Great Valley Corporate Center with tenants and persuaded Rouse to expand the business into Europe.

She went on to become CEO and the first nonacademic leader of the Philadelphia-based University City Science Center in 1997.

Thomas Jacob Beckett
Thomas Jacob Beckett, 80, of Bradenton, died Sept. 20.

He practiced accounting in Ohio, then worked for 15 years for a national CPA firm in Tampa before opening his own office in the Sarasota-Bradenton area.

He was a founding charter member and elder at Christ Church of Longboat Key, Presbyterian, and served as treasurer for the past seven years.

Dr. Donald Eugene Taggart
Dr. Donald Eugene Taggart, 78, of Osprey and formerly of Longboat Key, died Sept. 22.

Taggart practiced dentistry for 38 years in Bellvue, Ohio. He retired in 1998 and moved to Longboat Key, where he became a member of St. Mary, Star of the Sea, Catholic Church.

Anthony ‘Tony’ Di Cecco
Anthony “Tony” Di Cecco, 90, of Longboat Key, died Sept. 25.

Born in Letino, Italy, Di Cecco became an American citizen in 1940 and worked at Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey during World War II. After 33 years of service at Washburn Wire Co. in New York City, he and his wife, Blanca, moved in 1989 to Longboat Key.

He volunteered with Meals On Wheels and Mote Marine and also worked at Longboat Key’s Publix for a few years.

Marcella Hazan
Marcella Hazan, 89, of Longboat Key, died Sept. 29.

The acclaimed cookbook author was known as the “godmother of Italian cooking.”
Born in Cesenatico, Italy, she held doctorates in biology and natural sciences. She didn’t speak a word of English and had never cooked a meal in 1955, when she married her husband, Victor, and moved to New York.

Hazan learned to cook and eventually began teaching cooking classes, one of which led to a fortuitous meeting with New York Times food writer Craig Claiborne in 1970.

She went on to publish six cookbooks that sold more than 1 million copies combined.

She was a Promenade resident since 1997.

Thomas ‘Tom’ Halpin
Thomas “Tom” Halpin, 88, of Naperville, Ill., and formerly of Longboat Key, died Oct. 4.

He served in the U.S. Army during World War II and was an attorney for Northern Trust for more than 40 years.

Evelyn Mader Cote
Evelyn Mader Cote, 103, of Longboat Key, died Oct. 5, one week after celebrating her 103rd birthday.

She was widowed in 1964 and moved in 1969 to Longboat Key, where she built a home that became the hub of many family gatherings. During the next two decades, she traveled worldwide, owned and operated an art store and became an avid golfer and accomplished water-colorist.

Leila Gompertz
Leila Gompertz, 94, of Sarasota and formerly of Longboat Key, died Oct. 5.

The noted philanthropist was a founder of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County in 1980 and key supporter of Planned Parenthood, Florida Studio Theatre and other organizations. She actively recruited other supporters wherever she went, including by the pool at her former Seaplace home.
Gompertz received the Philanthropist of the Year award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

Robert ‘Bob’ Tate
Robert “Bob” Tate, 89, of Sarasota and formerly of Longboat Key, died Oct. 5.

The community activist and philanthropist was one of five founders of “Mobility Now,” a citizens action committee that formed in 2003 to oppose the city’s plans to narrow the downtown highway corridor from four lanes to two lanes that later called itself the “Old Coots Lunch Bunch.”

Tate served as an officer in the U.S. Navy during World War II and the Korean War. He then returned to his native Baltimore and expanded his family’s business, Tate Engineering Inc., from a small marine parts supplier and into a major supplier of engineering components throughout the industry.

George Peters
George Peters, 81, formerly of Longboat Key, died Oct. 11.

He and his wife, B.J., cruised 50,000 miles in U.S. waters and the Bahamas. Later, they began traveling in an RV and visited every state on the continent and nearly every Canadian province.

Peters served as commander of the Sarasota Power Squadron and was a member of the Longboat Key Coast Guard Flotilla. He was serving as president of the Plymouth Harbor Residents Association this year.

Rosemarie Mildred Wagstaff
Rosemarie Mildred Wagstaff, 71, of Plaistow, N.H., and formerly of Longboat Key, died Oct. 11.

Wagstaff worked as a supervisor in the central files department for Wang Laboratories in Lawrence, Mass. She was a three-time cancer survivor who loved cooking and entertaining for her friends and family.

Lois Winett Katz Rose Miles
Lois Winett Katz Rose Miles, 83, of Lido Key and Longboat Key, died Oct. 22. She was an avid tennis player, benefactor of Israel Tennis Centers, a 2,000-hour volunteer at Sarasota Memorial Hospital and the former owner of Key Island Properties Inc.

Alan Stone
Alan Stone, 84, of Longboat Key and Chicago, died Oct. 25.

Stone was a veteran of the Korean War and a designer and wholesaler of children’s apparel.

Stone purchased Harbour Links original swan pair George and Gracie for his wife, Beverly, as an anniversary gift in 1994. Their progeny now includes four adult mated pairs and new cygnets each spring. One of those mated pairs is named Alan and Beverly.


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