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2007 Queen of Hearts noted for volunteerism

Published March 4, 2007



It was a coronation for Catherine McGarry at the 49th annual Queen of Hearts Ball at the Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront, a recognition of her activism in numerous volunteer activities.

A team of community leaders selects the queen and her court each year from resumes submitted from a number of charitable organizations.

McGarry was nominated by the Lupus Foundation of America, Greater Florida Chapter.

This year's princesses are Louise Chapin and Susan Romero, sponsored by the Florida Orchestra Guild; Nikki McQueen, Lupus Foundation; Elise Minkoff, Junior League of St. Petersburg; Shirley O'Sullivan, St. Petersburg Museum of History Guild; and Evelyn Wilty, St. Petersburg Women's Chamber of Commerce and the Interlock Club.

The 2006 queen, Mary Shuh, and princesses Mozelle Bell, Fern Clayton, Joyce LaRue, Claire Mazzella, Nora Pearson and Beth Timberlake, also were honored.

Carol Russell chaired the event, which benefited Community Action Stops Abuse and the Science Center of Pinellas County. Judy Cunniff is president of the gala sponsor, the Queen's Court.


Battle of the Minds, an Evening in Tuscany, drew about 350 patrons to the Hilton Carillon Park and raised more than $109,000 for the St. Petersburg Free Clinic.

The Seratonins team, headed by Dr. Eric Tridas and Greg Matthews, beat out all other trivia buffs to take home the Master Minds Cup. Committee chairs for the fifth annual gala were Trish Thomas and Betsy Owens.


You had to love the floral tributes to various New York theater hits at A Night on Broadway, the annual Poetic Justice benefit for Operation PAR.

Two centerpieces created by Hayes Florist in Pinellas Park intertwined pink sponge curlers and aerosol cans of Final Net with roses and greenery, an homage to Hairspray.

Joe Saunders, who is president of Operation PAR's board of directors, did a bit of multitasking, greeting guests from the piano bench where he played with the TomKats, an 18-piece big-band orchestra.

The annual event, held in the Renaissance Vinoy Resort, offers a silent auction with a twist: Many of the items were seized by law enforcement agencies and donated to the charity. The "poetic justice" of making drug dealers and criminals pay for the fight against drug abuse was the brainchild of former board member Mary Critchfield, who attended the gala, along with Operation PAR founder Shirley Coletti, event chair Karol Bullard and Malindy Bengston.

Operation PAR provides addiction and mental health services at sites in five counties.


The Denim and Diamonds Great Party held at the Feather Sound Country Club raised $35,000 for St. Petersburg Great Explorations, the Children's Museum.

More than 200 patrons attended the casual gala. Committee members planning the event were Leah Adams, Janet Allweiss, Eva Herdegen, Janette McCurley, Heather O'Neil and Sandy Sembler.

[Last modified March 3, 2007, 20:01:09]

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