Hospice gala elegant enough for a GatsbyBy MARY JANE PARK
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 15, 2003
The setting was dazzling Saturday night in the Palm Court Ballroom of the Renaissance Vinoy Resort.
Classic automobiles -- a Rolls-Royce, a Packard and a Ford -- were parked outdoors, and greeters in top hats and tails welcomed guests at An Evening with Gatsby, the annual Hospice gala.
Proceeds benefit the Hospice of the Florida Suncoast's Hospice House Woodside and Hospice Villas Woodside.
Mannequins wearing vintage dresses on loan from the Museum of History were just inside the entrance, and everywhere you looked, there was fur, feathers and baubles.
Aila McEwen wore a stunning embroidered silk tunic she acquired on a recent trip, but she couldn't recall whether she purchased it in China or Mongolia.
The ever-creative Dick Minck wore one of his hand-painted tuxedo shirts, this one with a portrait of him and his wife, Helen, riding in an Excalibur.
He also designed his shirt studs, black and white diamonds gleaming in white gold, and Helen's necklace, a South Sea pearl pendant with diamonds.
Liz Kirkman wore the Hospice Christmas ornament with a gold chain at her neck. Its message reads, "Every day is a gift." Her husband, Jim, had a bright red pocket handkerchief and braces to match the lining of his jacket.
Susan and Steven Brown organized the event, and Dr. William E. and Jeanette Hale were honorary chairs. Major sponsors were Stahl & Associates Insurance and TSE Industries.
Heading committees for the ball were Dagmar De Stefano, Carole Devine, Gail Keck, Viviane Patterson, Patty Rader, Sally Spencer, Dr. Patrick R.M. Thomas, Kathy Wilder and Anne Winchell.
In the huge crowd were Susan and Harvey Brillat; Jason Ester; David and Sandra Litogot; Dawn Lofgren; Joan Bischof and fiance Joe Clapper; Luis, Isabel and Clarisse Cibilis; Ed. Cassidy; Charles Bundrum; Robert Danielson; Dean McCane; Cam Van Noord; Bruce and Mary Ann Marger; Mary Wyatt Allen; Sue Brody; Gerald Davis and Shane Goldman; Carlos Urena and Marsha Spindler; Cary and Karen Reich; Ford and Barb Kyes; and Fred and Mary Shuh.
Michael White, whom the program listed as director and producer, said he wanted the ballroom to look like the lawn of Jay Gatsby in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby.
The band, Skylight Entertainment, performed behind a white balustrade draped with garlands of white lights and surrounded by daisy chrysanthemums, a nod to Daisy Buchanan, a character in the novel.
Images of trees were projected onto the walls, and tall lighted columns produced a veranda effect.
White cloths with sequined overlays of gold organza covered the round dining tables. Alternating centerpieces were gold columns holding white feathers, dendrobium orchids and white stock, and clear vases with palm fronds, alstromeria and curly willow. Candles floated in martini glasses.
A lighted fountain surrounded by ferns, spathiphyllum and daisy chrysanthemums burbled near the bar, and thoughtful elves provided a television so that guests could watch the Tennessee-Pittsburgh playoff game.
In another part of the hotel, the San Francisco 49ers worked out in the exercise room and held strategy meetings. Police officers made sure they were undisturbed.
The annual luncheon, style show and card party sponsored by the St. Petersburg All Children's Hospital Guild had a tropical theme on Saturday.
Hawaiian Happening, held in the ballroom at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, featured island food and decor and performances by Joseph Joseph, who bills himself as Joseph the Magician.
Guild president Ruth Gray wore a floral print dress and a camellia in her hair, and other attendees chose similar attire.
It was good to see Anne Long, Janet Raymond, Nancy Smith, Mary Katherine Miner, Betty Breedon, Zeta Bobbitt, Ruth Bissett, Bea Hayes, Betty Sowers, Fern Clayton, Ed Campbell, Mary Katherine Miner, Pat Howells, Roy Adams, Joanne Walker, Betty Lazzara, Barbara Royston, Barbara Sexton, Jean Houghton, Roy Adams, Mary Wheeler and Eileen Bellino.
Bernice McCune and Pat LaMonde brought Mickey McCune of Melbourne, who is married to Mrs. McCune's son, Jim. Greta Myers introduced Claire Mazzella, who recently moved to the bay area from Girard, Ohio.
Marguerite Dawson said she slipped in late after greeting her son, Jim, who was just in from Sarasota.
Aaron Fodiman was master of ceremonies.
Karen Pittinger moderated the fashion show, which featured clothing from Annabel's in St. Pete Beach, many of which featured butterfly, nautical and tropical designs.
Models were Diane Allan, Janet DeVegas, Sally Stull, Margaret Word Burnside, Toni Fudge, Tisha Thomas, Cat Coates, Kelly Miner and Mary Young.
Pianist Gene Cipriano provided music; Vera Brantley and Regina Venzke were chairwomen for the event.
TO LIFE AWARDS: Fourth annual Florida Holocaust Museum event honors the Newman family (J.C. Newman Cigar Co.) of Hillsborough County, Lisl Schick of Pinellas County. Special guests: actor Jon Voight, boxer Evander Holyfield. Cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, dinner, program, dancing, silent auction. Black tie. 7:30 p.m., Hyatt Regency, 2 Tampa City Center, Tampa. $200. 820-0100, ext. 249.
MUSICAL CHAIRS DINNER: Annual event for Zodiac Group of the Salvador Dali Museum. Dinner seating changes with each new course. 6-9 p.m. Mattison's Bistro, 111 Second Ave. NE, St. Petersburg. $37.50 members, $45 nonmembers. RSVP by Friday. 823-3767, ext. 3024.
WOMEN'S BEGINNER CANOE, KAYAK CLINIC: Introduction and basics, orientation of equipment, terminology and etiquette, water practice. Boats, life vests provided. Wear tennis/swim shoes, bring towel. 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. St. Petersburg Woman's Club, 40 Snell Isle Blvd. NE; ends at Spa Beach and approach to Pier. $25. 528-2270.
A WEDDING TO DIE FOR: Dinner, murder mystery entertainment benefit Pinellas Association of Retarded Citizens. 7-9:30 p.m. Sandpiper Resort, 6000 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach. $45. 345-9111, ext. 235.
-- Mary Jane Park can be reached at (727) 893-8267; fax (727) 893-8675; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731.
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