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Fundraising heart and soul

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AMY SCHERZER'S DIARY
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By AMY SCHERZER, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 22, 2002


WINNING HEARTS AND WALLETS: Heart Ball co-chairs Guy and Debbie King seemed to be everywhere Saturday night, inside the Tampa Yacht Club, outside on the dance floor, in the bar, on the patio. They must have cloned themselves so they could talk to all 400 guests at the American Heart Association benefit. Guy's brand new tuxedo shoes were killing him.

Auction display tables set up between buffets of caviar, Brie, sushi and lamb chops kept guests on the prowl. That was the idea, to keep people continuously shopping and schmoozing.

Those who found the few poolside tables were first to find the oysters Rockefeller and grills of sizzling salmon. They also nabbed the best seats on a breezy night. You can imagine it wasn't easy for Reed and Dorrie Murtagh and Dexter and Sophia Stallworth to tear themselves away long enough to drive over to urologist Alden Cockburn's 55th birthday bash.

Hearts got pumping when the Classic Rock Allstars cranked up. This was the real deal, or used to be. The baby boomer band is made up of former lead singers from Rare Earth, Sugarloaf, Cannibal and the Headhunters and Iron Butterfly. Luckily, they didn't do the 47-minute version of a In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida or they might have needed defibrillators.

The rest of you can catch the Allstars on April 11 at Van Wezel Performing Arts Center in Sarasota.

With Heart Ball tickets starting at $250 each, the event joins Tampa's big leagues of charity balls. Pricey tickets, sponsorships and auction sales brought in $275,000 for heart disease and stroke research and education.

* * *

COLLEGIATE CHISELING: The sun came up last Friday, the Chiselers awoke, threw on old clothes and hustled over to the University of Tampa to set up the 39th Chiseler's Market. Chairmen Amanda McNabb and Beth Arthur gave the preservation club their marching orders. Hundreds of volunteers spread out through the aging lobby, salons and verandah to arrange books, clothing, crystal, china, knicknacks, furniture, plants and other stuff collected to sell the next day.

By 5, the tireless troops were rushing home to shower, dress up and get back for the Cocktail Party Preview and Auction. They didn't have time to be tired. Besides, most of these ladies can outrun their grandchildren.

Guests nibbled shrimp and tenderloin among the bargains before auctioneers Mayor Dick Greco and strawberry sylph Laura York got the bidding up to $2,500 for a week's stay in Sneem, Ireland at the home of longtime Chiseler Jane Liggett.

Ola Heath, an honorary market chairman who turns 92 on April 22, remembers when the club started in 1959. Sunny Delo, wife of the UT president back then, asked a few friends to come help chisel old paint off stacks of fireplace tiles. The restoration hasn't stopped since.

"We sat around Sunny's swimming pool, in our bathing suits, trying to come up with a name for ourselves," said Heath. Someone suggested Chiselers and that was it.

Mark your calendars. The sun will come up and the 40th Chiseler's Market will be March 15, 2003.

* * *

WEDDING BELLES AND GROOMS: Mayoral candidate Frank Sanchez introduced fiancee Mileydi Guilarte to the Chiseler constituency at the Market Preview Party. They'll wait until next year to get hitched because she's in graduate school at American University working on both a master's and a law degree.

Periodontist Rose Rosanelli says she'll take Charles Gibson to meet her parents in Cocoa Beach on May 3 and then their engagement will be official. Although someone tried to fix them up 10 years ago, it wasn't until New Year's Eve that they connected, said Gibson, president of Luscombe Aircraft Southeast in Altus, Oklahoma.

Joan Garrison and Owen Brewer will tie the knot April 14 at a small, family-only ceremony. Garrison volunteers with the Florida Orchestra Guild, Friends of the Arts, Davis Islands Garden Club and chaired last year's Chiseler's Market. Brewer is a retired U.S. Air Force fighter pilot.

* * *

MILITARY SALUTE: A USO-theme, "Stars and Stripes at the Hollywood Canteen," brought almost 300 to the A La Carte Pavilion to pay tribute to America's armed forces and the Crisis Center of Hillsborough Center.

Guests just had to check their dog tags imprinted with name, rank and table number to know where to sit. That was fine with County Commissioner Chris Hart and his wife Patricia who arrived after standing and socializing at the Heart Ball.

Special honorees Saturday night included World War II vets Yenwith Whitney, one of the Tuskegee airmen; Walter Stokes, a Triple Nickel Smokejumper; Dorothy Ebersbach, a Women Airforce Service Pilot; and Jim Hendrix, a Congressional Medal of Honor winner.

"The Franklin Howard Show" (Get it? Think bridge) added nostalgic '40s radio humor. Commercials touted the major sponsors of the event. Living up to its name, the Ten O'Clock Band had the dance floor full by 10.

* * *

REMEMBERING LISA: The second Black and White Ball to benefit the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition raised $25,000 at the Marriott Waterside, according to organizer Mark Eichenholtz. He dedicated the March 9 black-tie gala to his late wife, Lisa, who was a nurse at Brandon Hospital. The money will be divided between the coalition's research fund and a nursing scholarship at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft, N.J. in Lisa's memory.

Said Eichenholtz, geologist owner of Environmental Compliance Service: "I'm channeling my energy and knowledge of insurance and the medical world into something useful."

* * *

DINNER WITH THE MASTER: History and photography buff Frank North sat in awe last week when he and art collector-attorney Bill Zewadski were invited to dinner at the home of legendary photojournalist Burk Uzzle. North said he was spellbound all evening as Uzzle talked about photographing Woodstock (he shot the photo on the album cover) and Martin Luther King Jr.'s funeral. The former president of Magnum Photo and longtime Life magazine photographer, Uzzle recently moved to northeast St. Petersburg.

-- To pass along tips to Amy Scherzer, reach her at 226-3332 or scherzer@sptimes.com.

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