Know Your Neighbor

The CRTN residents featured here in alphabetical order have been highlighted in The Tower News since it began publication in August of 2018.  In an ongoing effort to become better acquainted with our neighbors, we are repeating the articles here.  Enjoy getting to KNOW YOUR NEIGHBORS!   Those who have moved or are deceased have been deleted.

Ron Bourgeault #1004

By Charlie Isola #408
Published April 9, 2022 The Tower News
This is a quote from the March 16, 2016 “Antiques and the Arts Weekly”
 
Ron Bourgeault, founder and owner of Northeast Auctions, has built one of the most successful auction companies in the United States.  He sells millions of dollars of antiques annually and has grossed almost one-third of a billion dollars since his first auction in 1970.
 
That’s a lot of antiques - even if you had started in the business at 8 years of age.  Yes.  Eight (8).  And how does one start in a business?
 
Well, for Ron, his interest in objects older than himself started when he was 7.  A neighbor in Hampton, NH gave him some out-dated calendars printed with Currier and Ives images.  Then, at 8 years of age a windfall: a school teacher who lived down the road from his house passed away and her husband said that since she had been so fond of him, wanted him to have boxes of things she had kept all her life.
 
So - from their basement to his basement, where, with the support and encouragement of his parents, he organized his first antiques shop. A regular customer was his babysitter. (He was the seller and his babysitter was the phantom buyer).
 
The next year he applied for a job at an antiques shop in his hometown and was hired to dust the place for one dollar a day.  He was told to wait on and help “old ladies,” but to send dealers to the store’s owner, whom he described as a shrewd businessman. Ron’s education in the business had started, mentored by many dealers who saw that something special in him.
 
At 14, he was the youngest dealer to exhibit his wares at antiques shows where he began to develop clients, several of whom he would work with in the ensuing years.  At 24, he became the youngest licensed New Hampshire auctioneer.
 
During his career, he had the opportunity to work with some famous people: He sold a table to Vladimir Horowitz and his wife, Wanda, the daughter of Arturo Toscanini.  He delivered the table to their townhouse in Manhattan and Horowitz thanked him with a check - accompanied by a rendition of “The Stars and Stripes Forever.” (They both appreciated Americana).
 
Ron auctioned the American folk art collection of the noted American playwright Horton Foote, whom he described as a “very kind and interesting” man.
 
Ron established Northeast Auctions in 1988 and gave up exhibiting at antiques shows.  At the height of his auction business, he was selling more early American antiques and paintings than either Sotheby’s or Christie’s, conducting between two and five auctions a year.   These auctions demanded a 24/7 focus, which was fueled by a love of the pieces he was selling, and the thrill of seeing an important piece go to a museum or collector. One of his favorite pieces was a ceramic teapot with the inscription “No taxation without Representation” which is now in the Smithsonian Museum.
 
His national reputation was not earned exclusively because of his hard work but also his honesty.   He tells the story of visiting a client who wanted to sell two large pieces of furniture that had little value. Ron explained they would not bring much money but the little table in a corner would bring a lot of money.  She said  she would sell him that table with the ugly bowed legs for a few hundred dollars.  Ron told her not to sell it outright, but that she should include it in the consignment.  The Queen Anne table with the “bowed legs” was included in the consignment and brought forty-two thousand dollars; the two big pieces brought under one thousand dollars. Both he and his client were happy.
 
 
There were several reasons why Ron came to Fort Lauderdale and Coral Ridge Towers.  A longtime antiques dealer friend moved to Oakland Park and invited Ron to visit several times.  Two other antiques dealer friends had bought apartments in the Original CRT building and Ron saw their apartments.  The most important reason is that he became acquainted with Bonnet House when the executors of Evelyn Bartlett’s estate asked him to auction the contents of  “Whitehall,” the Bartlett summer home in Beverly, Massachusetts. Ron worked with Libby Bartlett Sturges who was Evelyn’s step-granddaugher.  Libby then worked with Ron at Northeast Auctions for almost ten years, and three years ago stayed with Ron and Jim Horan, his lifetime and business partner.  They all attended Holiday Magic events at Bonnet House.
 
Ron has continued his interest in Bonnet House and last year helped the board of directors consign a painting to Christie’s in London where it brought 2.7 million dollars.  When you tour the house, you’ll see a giclée copy where the original hung.
 
Oh yes…and while Ron was running his business, he was also featured on the PBS program “Antiques Roadshow” 2 or 3 times a year for 19 years.
 
How/why does someone leave a business that has been a part of one’s life for more than fifty years?  In March, 2020, Ron and Jim were flying back to New Hampshire from Fort Lauderdale and overhead a stewardess talk about the outbreak of the Corona virus in Italy. A couple of days later, the Covid shutdown began.  That, and his brother’s illness made him decide that it was time to close the business.
 
Ron reflected on sitting with Horton Foote for a production of his play “The Trip to Bountiful.” Its theme is that “Bountiful” doesn’t exist anymore. The auction business as Ron knew it doesn’t exist anymore; it has gone from live bidding to internet bidding.   
 
He and Jim bought in CRTN six years ago, and this year they have been here since the first of December.  They plan to head north in early April where they have places in New York City and New Hampshire.
 
After meeting Ron, I began to reconsider our furniture.  When Dan and I moved into CRTN 21 years ago, we bought our furniture from a dealer in Wilton Manors who specialized in pieces from the 1970’s; we liked the look.  It was only after listening to Ron that I began to think the of 30 years’ worth of stories that the tables, chairs and lamps held.  And I wonder if they will accrue more stories when they leave our place.

Jutta Bove #309

As told to Charlie Isola #402 and Margie Geasler #105
Published October 2019 The Tower News
 
We had little knowledge of the Camino de Compostela, a pilgrimage route leading to the
cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in NW Spain, until we talked with Jutta Bove. Jutta did the French Camino route during the summer of 2019. This route starts at Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in the southwestern most part of France at an altitude of 200 m in the Pyrenees. It ends at Compostela, 500 miles later after traveling up and down “hills” reaching to 4550 feet at one point! She was happy to acquaint us with the walk and to share the challenges and emotions she experienced while on the walk. 
 
Many think of a “pilgrimage” as having a religious purpose: to atone for sins, to thank God for favors granted, or to beg God for protection. Jutta made clear that she walked it, not for religious motives, but because it was there: a challenge that she dreamed of since she was a young girl living in East Germany. Her reason brought to mind Mark Twain’s comment on attending the Bayreuth festival in 1891, among the “true believer” Wagnerites, “...a pilgrimage is what it is.” 
 
In 2018, she decided to do something about that dream. She and her sister and brother-in-law signed up for a 7-day Backroads “Taste of Camino de Santiago” tour . The taste turned into a desire to experience the entire 500 mile route. Ask her why and she will tell you “It’s there, I’m 80 years of age, and I’m here. So why not?” 
 
Jutta’s preparation for the trek began in September, 2018. Every Sunday for 9 months she walked A1A 9 miles or more with an 8 lb. knapsack on her back, the bare minimum  of gear, water, snacks, extra shoes etc.. On her route, it weighed 12-15 lbs. She trained for the hills by climbing the stairs, even up to the 17th floor and took 3 or 5 mile walks during the week.) 
 
Her adventure was well planned. She engaged a company, “Walk the Camino” , that specializes in obtaining hotels (with showers) and carrying luggage from point to point on the route. Caroline Diaz was Jutta’s contact in case you want to plan the walk for yourself. Jutta told them how many miles she wanted to walk per day and how many rest days she would need, and they did the rest. They reserved hotels and shipped her luggage (which she says was superfluous because she overpacked) from hotel to hotel. The entire plan would take 40 days. 
 
June 6, 2019, she began her camino, with thoughts and emotions as her only companions. The first two days were the hardest: she had to get to the top of the Pyrenees at 1400 m (4200 ft), with more up-than-down hills, on a very uneven surface and then descend the same day, to get to the next stop: Roncesvalles in Spain.. She breathed hard, taking short breaks, while the younger “peregrines” (pilgrims) ‘breezed’ (get it?) past her. That first day took 11 1/2 hours. By Day 3, she had settled in and walked about 15 miles per day. Each day she would start early and end in the afternoon or early evening. 
 
Most of the time, Jutta walked alone, taking in the scenery and experiencing the walk. Occasionally she would walk with another “pilgrim” for a few hours. When she arrived at the evening’s hotel, she would relax, massage her feet, do some sightseeing, have a bite to eat and drink the region’s wonderful wine. Then early to bed. Sometimes she would attend a Pilgrims’ Mass, available in several small towns. She was even a lector for one of the Masses. 
 
Jutta was born in East Germany. When she was 14, she, her mother and her two sisters escaped to Berlin where they lived in a refugee camp. After several moves within West Germany, she arrived in New York City. There she took English lessons, earned her GED and worked as a secretary. 
 
She and her late husband Ernie came to Lauderdale-By-The-Sea in 1983 where together they started a small business creating blown glass objects d’art w hich they sold in three malls. She and Ernie moved into CRTN in 2005. 
 
Jutta talked about walking the Camino as a challenge: an opportunity to be more open, to admit weaknesses and to face them. Seems to us that there have been quite a few challenges that have been met and overcome. She has a 5-year plan that includes 2 trips next year: a January trip, a trip to Italy, and maybe another challenge. So why not? 
Oh, by the way, Jutta cleans the tiles around the pool too! 

Dean Brown #817

Know Your Neighbor - Dean Brown #817
By Terry Johnson  #809
Published in The Tower News April 10, 2023
 
 
Sunrise, Sunset…Swiftly flow the days!

Florida’s East Coast Sunrise Boulevard welcomes the sun each morning.  Conversely Sunset Boulevard on America’s west coast watches the last remnants of each day fade away.

On occasion, like many of you, I’ve viewed both sights (on separate days).  Yet a rather small number of our residents (maybe three) see the alternating views on a regular basis.  I recently chatted with one of our newest owners — Dean Brown, unit #817 (homes at CRTN and San Diego) — about his bi-coastal life.

Dean bought in CRTN in 2022 after 43 years in San Diego and a childhood in the Catskills of New York.  With Polish-German ancestry, he grew up the youngest of three children in Kingston, New York (population 24,000 — think Peyton Place with more people and less gossip).  Scores of people, including relatives, worked with nearby IBM.  Lots of his friends and relatives considered south Florida the ideal place to avoid the harsh northern winters.  In idyllic Florida the sun was always (well virtually always) warm year round.  It was a rite of passage.  And the germ of an idea was born which would hatch for Dean after an almost half-century incubation.

But rather than journey as a young adult directly to South Florida from New York — Dean took a “slight" detour with his then wife to the west coast of America (not Florida’s west coast).  That San Diego stopover lasted 43 years!  Since then he and his wife are no longer together but share two children — a 31-year-old daughter and a 29-year-old son.  His daughter recently presented the family its first grandchild — Palmer Maeve.  (Congratulations granddad!) 

Now back to our original question — how did he make it to Fort Lauderdale — America’s retirement haven (not heaven!).  According to Dean — “I have a cousin who lives in Palm Are.  Over the years he spoke often of how wonderful south Florida is.  Since I officially retired a couple of years ago (from the medical insurance industry), I visited him and thought — Palm Aire was very nice, but I wanted to be near the ocean (and away from the rather enormous population of mosquitoes there!).  My cousin mentioned the Coral Ridge buildings.  I hooked up with a real estate agent — checked out the locations and immediately eliminated those directly on highway A1A.

“Ultimately I toured CRTN and was persuaded.  This building looked very solid, a perfect location on the intracoastal, and had lots of activities (editor’s note:  thanks to Karen Skinner - Social Committee Chair — as well as Jan Pozzi for keeping the lobby bulletin up-to-date and visually impressive).  CRTN just had the vibe (OK, Dean spends most of his life in California).  It’s just what I was looking for.”

Now changing the tenor of the interview somewhat, your intrepid reporter was bold enough to ask Dean if there’s any pattern to the numerous tattoos that are clearly visible on his body (see photo!).  “The first one was very small.  It’s on my left ankle.  I got it done in my hometown in honor and remembrance of my father who passed away in 1999.”  Enough said.

Dean describes his visits to CRTN as completely random time wise.  But while here you may catch him by the pool or the shuffleboard court with friends.  “You’ll also find me at our Knitting Club or playing Canasta or Ping-Pong (not all at the same time mind you!).”

Say hello if you can watch this whirling dervish.  A man of the lands of sunrises and sunsets.  And like Norma Desmond before him — Dean Brown was clearly ready for his Tower News closeup!
 
 

Dan Clancy #408

By Kevin Winkler #1409
Published January 10, 2022 The Tower News
 
The theater has been a lifelong passion for CRTN resident Dan Clancy, and it continues to be a source of artistic expression and deep satisfaction.  Middletown, his funny and touching four-character play that follows a pair of married couples through the highs and lows of a decades-long friendship, recently closed an engagement at the Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables.  It was the first production of the play since the COVID-19 pandemic, though Middletown had already established a successful track record of engagements around the country, and Dan expects more to follow.  
 
Dan’s professional background led directly to his work as a playwright.  As an actor he performed off- and off-off-Broadway, while also working for more than thirty years as a drama teacher and administrator in the New York City public school system.  It was there that he began writing large-cast plays for students to perform in school assemblies.  “Wouldn’t it be nice to write for just a few characters,” he remembered thinking, and from there he began writing smaller-cast plays.  
 
Dan, who with his husband Charlie, splits his time between Ft. Lauderdale and New York City, has developed several plays, and a musical, here in South Florida.  He has become a favorite at Jan McArt’s New Play Reading Series in Boca Raton, which is devoted to developing new plays by South Florida playwrights.  “It’s a true gift,” Dan says of the series.  “When you just have readings, the actors can cover up flaws.  But in a workshop, you have time to discuss it with the director and actors, time to rewrite, and get feedback from audiences.”  
 
Middletown was developed at McArt’s series, after an unusual birth.  For a number of years, Dan and Charlie had a house in Cherry Grove, on Fire Island.  Dan was asked to write a brief play as a fundraiser for the local theater.  “It couldn’t be more than fifty minutes,” he was told, because there was to be a cocktail party afterwards. “And they said I had to use people from the community since it’s easier to sell tickets if there are locals in it.  And they didn’t want to memorize anything.”  Because the local actors were all longtime friends in their 60s and 70s, Dan wrote a four-hander charting the friendship between two couples over the years.  
 
The play was a great success, and soon Dan was asked to present Middletown as a fundraiser for a theater in California’s Napa Valley––but with new requirements.  “People had to drive there and they wouldn’t drive to see a short play,” Dan remembers.  “So they asked me to add about twenty minutes to it.”  Another success, and soon, another request to do the play, this time in Asheville, North Carolina.  Dan developed the play further at McArt’s series where it was optioned by commercial producers who liked its simplicity.  With four actors standing and reading from music stands, its production values were modest and easy to recreate in a variety of venues.  
 
The producers added a further twist to Middletown:  its four characters are played by actors from vintage television shows and movies of the 1970s.  The Coral Gables engagement featured Didi Conn (Grease), Adrian Zmed (T.J. Hooker), Loretta Swit (M*A*S*H), and Donny Most (Happy Days).  The actors’ familiarity immediately eases the audience into the story and adds a strong element of identification to both the comedic and dramatic turns of the couples’ friendship.  
 
Despite his ongoing success, Dan is most proud of a project he undertook during the pandemic.  Thirty years ago he created a reading curriculum for children who are dyslexic.  In 2020, the New York City Department of Education reached out to him about developing a similar program for middle school and high school students.  Dan and the department trained forty teachers via Zoom for the two-year pilot program which started this September in New York City public schools.  
 
Dan is at work on a new play and has just finished a first draft.  He speaks with great affection about the CRTN community, many of whom traveled to Coral Gables to see Middletown.  He noted that the residents have been very supportive of his work and always turn out to see his plays, for which he’s most grateful.  Stay tuned for more from this prolific CRTN playwright!

Gloria Constance #705

By Margie Geasler #105
Published February 8, 2021 in The Tower News
 
Gloria Constance, AKA Mrs. Mother Goose, has entertained us and our grandchildren at Easter, Halloween and Social group Sing-A-Longs. She is featured in this February issue of The Tower News because of her love for making people happy. Gloria has been teaching Sunday school for 50 years and her favorite thing to do is to bring a bible story, or any story, to life with images, songs, and by dressing up.
 
 
 
 
 
Here is how Gloria explains her love for story telling:
 
“A favorite childhood pastime of mine was playing dress-up. I could often be found wearing my mother’s old skirt, toting one of her purses, wearing a pill box hat, and clomping around in a pair of her old high heels.  At my grandma’s house, it was even better. Grandma would let me wear her brightest red lipstick and her amber dinner ring!  Soon I discovered how much fun it was to rhyme. I began trying to rhyme everything. Add to that my desire to play the piano. It’s a recipe ripe for the appearance of Mrs. Mother Goose!  What could be more fun than entertaining children? I enjoyed performing at several libraries and day care facilities in the Detroit area. Being Mother Goose lent itself well to my 50 year career of teaching Sunday school.”
 
Gloria has written a children’s book for her 5 grandchildren (ages 1 - 11) called “The Constance Kids Magical Hummer Adventure” and is getting it ready for general publication. She has written this poem especially for CRTN Residents.
 
Have yourself a loving heart
Especially on this Valentine’s Day
Always be a loyal friend to those you meet along life’s way.
Reach out to others and practice kindness
Today and every day!
 

Len Constance #705

By Charlie Isola #402 
Published April 2019 The Tower News
 
When I was a kid in Astoria, NY in the 50’s, every car parked on our block was made in America. There were lots of Chevy’s (my family’s first was a two tone BelAir sedan), Dodges, Plymouths, an occasional Buick, a very occasional Lincoln or Oldsmobile, but never, no where, was there a Cadillac to be seen. Well, you would see them in a wedding or funeral procession, but no one we knew owned a “Caddy.” 
 
I’ve never owned one, but Len Constance has. Len and his wife Gloria, apartment #705 have owned Cadillacs - many of them - and you may have seen one of their Cadillacs “under wraps” in the parking lot. It is a 1990 Cadillac Allante. I had the chance to take a look at it and it is quite the Caddy - a sleek two-seater, with a body designed and built in Italy by Pininfarina. The Allante was flown to Detroit in specially outfitted 747’s, 56 at a time. (You can read more about that beautiful car on Wikipedia.) 
 
Len grew up in Flint, and later in Detroit in what he described as a “GM family.” His dad worked for the A.C. Spark Plug division of GM, and was able to get a new Cadillac every year with his employee discount. Len was a Cadillac person from his earliest years. He was also a visitor to CRTN - his parents retired here in the 80’s, and knowing how much he loved being here, his dad left the apartment to Len. 
 
After high school, Len had considered getting into the car business as a designer, since at that time, the car designer was the driving force in car production. (Remember how in the fall of the year, each car division would introduce its new models with lots of hype - and each year car designs would change, sometimes radically?) 
 
But as the design of the car began to become less important, in the late 70’s, Len decided to focus his interest in building and design of structures, and became an architect, designing and renovating many hospitals. He retired in 2017. 
 
His work was in architecture, but his hobby was always cars and his main interest in cars was always the Cadillac marque - and its emblem which always looked so impressive. That’s because its beginnings go back to the French founder of Detroit - the original Cadillac emblem was the family crest of Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac. The crest has been modified several times, and for more info on that, check out jalopnik.com . 
 
Cadillac lost some its luster (maybe more than “some”) in the early 80’s when GM downsized the car, and made parts that were interchangeable among its then five divisions. Its high-end allure, meant to attract older, richer customers faded, and that niche was filled by foreign models. Today, Cadillac has a smaller share of the prestige cars than it had in its heyday, but its status as a stylish and prestigious car is on the rebound - especially among its SUV models. 
 
Keeping the Cadillac history alive has been on Len’s radar for years: he is the past president of the Cadillac and LaSalle Club, Inc., in Detroit and S.E. Michigan. The club was founded in 1958, and is dedicated to preserving and enjoying Cadillacs and LaSalles. He is now working with the president of the newly formed club for the South Florida region. (Check out the club on Facebook, or go to CadillacLaSalleClub.org .) You don’t have to own a Cadillac or LaSalle - or any car to be a member. Oh, and if you just love cars in general - check out the woodwarddreamcruise.com 
 
The need to keep history alive seems more important to me than it did five years ago. Today, we have a lot more brands of cars to choose from, and “loyalty” to a brand (or to a job) is not the same as it was twenty years ago - don’t know whether that is good or not. But it is always good to know and remember what things were like - “back in the day.” Thanks, Len for helping to keep American car history alive.

Robert Croan #1019

Know Your Neighbor - Robert Croan #1019
By Terry Johnson  #809
Published in The Tower News July 10, 2023
 
[Photo - Left: Michael Feldman (Robert’s husband.  Right:  Robert] 
 
In 1937, the most popular song in America was Benny Goodman’s “Sing, Sing, Sing (With A Swing) — the perfect song for this issue’s featured resident — a man whose life has revolved around music and singing.  Dr. Robert Croan was born in 1937 in Brooklyn, New York, an only child.  His father — a photographer, worked in midtown Manhattan — while his mother (previously a bookkeeper) stayed home with Robert when he was a child.   When he was 10 years old, the family moved to Laurelton, an area of Queens close to what is now Kennedy Airport. 
 
Robert inherited his parents’ love of music, especially opera.  “My parents played classical music and opera on the record player and we listened each week to the Saturday afternoon broadcast from the Metropolitan Opera,” he says. 
  
During the 1940s and ‘50s, New York’s Great White Way  (Broadway) was at its absolute brightest.  Robert recalls that as an eight-year-old, he saw the original cast of Oklahoma, with Alfred Drake and Joan Roberts:  “They were wonderful!” 
 
In 1946, he saw a movie called It Happened in Brooklyn, in which Frank Sinatra and Kathryn Grayson sang a duet from the opera Don Giovanni.   The following year, his parents took him to see that opera — still his favorite — at the New York City Center.  “And in 1949,” Robert continues, “they bought me season tickets to the Saturday afternoon performances at what is now referred to as ‘The Old Met’ — located between West 39th St. and West 40th St. in Manhattan.   “My father worked six days a week, and my mother would drop me off at the Opera while she passed time in town.  At the end of the afternoon, both parents would pick me up as we headed home on the Long Island Railroad.  They were very generous to me, but frugal with themselves, saving their money to later send me to Columbia University.  They were wonderful — sacrificing so that I could do what I loved!” 
 
By 1959, Robert had earned his B.A. degree (cum laude, no less) at Columbia, as well as a Master’s degree there — both in music.  Later, he earned a Ph.D. in musicology at Boston University on a graduate fellowship.  While in Boston, Robert began a lifelong career as a music critic, starting at the Christian Science Monitor, then Opera News, and for 36 years, the chief music critic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  (He also served two terms as President of the Music Critics Association of North America.) “As music critic of a major daily newspaper, I traveled to performances all over the world, and interviewed every major classical musician.  It was a great life.” Robert says. Now retired, he still writes regularly for the Post Gazette and Opera News, as well as for newspapers in South Florida. [Editor’s Note:  And of course, for The Tower News!]

In 1962, after a brief stint in the U.S. Army Reserves, Robert left Boston to become a full Professor and chair of the voice and opera department at Pittsburgh’s Duquesne University.  Over the years, he won various prestigious awards as he juggled two jobs — professor and music critic, for most of his working life.
 
OK — that’s his “professional” life.  But there was (and is) a very personal aspect of his life as well.  In 1967 he met the man with whom he would share the rest of his life — Michael Feldman.   Their mutual love of music, cooking and each other has endured for over 55 years.  They were officially married on July 3, 2014 in Pittsburgh.  Michael was born one year before Robert near Boston, and earned his B.A. and M.A. degrees before obtaining his Ph.D. from Northwestern University in audiology.  But Michael’s interest in audiology was surpassed by his love for music, opera and Robert.  Like Robert he was (and is) an accomplished singer as well (I guess it can work — having two opera singers in one household!).  

From the late 1960’s till 2021 Robert and Michael lived primarily in the Pittsburgh area called Shadyside, east of Downtown.

When Michael’s father retired to West Palm Beach — Michael and Robert bought a condo there.  Yet they grew to prefer Fort Lauderdale and bought at CRTN in April 2013.  They sold their Pittsburgh home in 2021 — consolidating their lives to CRTN.   Both continue an abiding interest in music and theater, as well as cruising the world’s oceans.  Since 2013, Robert has served twice on the CRTN Board of Directors, as well as vice president of the Board and member of numerous CRTN committees.  
                                                                                                                                                                                    
Back to those popular songs of 1937.  The second most popular song that year was Fred Astaire singing to Ginger Rogers “They Can’t Take That Away From Me”— a song that exemplifies the most important aspects of Robert’s life:  “Michael, singing, music and living life as a proud, out, gay man,” he says.   And now for an encore Robert?
 
 

Beverly Egan #1012A

Know Your Neighbor - Beverly Egan #1012A
By Terry Johnson  #809
Published in The Tower News May 8, 2023
 

Life Comes full circle for CRTN resident 
 
Almost half a century ago, CRTN resident Beverly Egan earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in western civilization art — focusing on Greek and Roman art (known amongst the literati as Greco-Roman art).  She hoped to teach the subject on the college level.  “However, economic conditions in the early 1980s forced students and colleges to downplay ‘the arts’ and concentrate instead on ‘more practical’ occupations,” she remembers.

Facing that, Beverly was essentially forced to consider fields with more openings.  “After getting my Master’s Degree from Florida State University in Greco-Roman arts — I actually began working for Florida’s state government.”  The HR people told me: “you’re overqualified, but I persuaded them with: ‘I need a job.’”  Her job — screening citizens seeking health care,”.  With that she began a 25 year career in state government both in Florida and later in Virginia.
 
Let’s move back in time.  This baby boomer came into the world a few months premature — a factor that has negatively affected her eyesight ever since.  She grew up near Richmond, Virginia while Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower occupied the White House (otherwise known as ‘The Fifties’).  She was the third child of  parents who worked for the U.S. Defense Department.  Her oldest brother lives in Virginia and her other brother was killed in a car accident in 1984. Ultimately, Beverly’s parents retired to the Jacksonville Beach (Florida) area.

In almost 70 years, Beverly’s life has come full circle.  A lifetime of interest in Greek, Roman and Renaissance art — with a career in government mixed in. She had her Masters in Greco-Roman studies from Florida State University, then began work for  Florida State Government. And now, after a career diversion in government and home health care (caring for both her parents) — CRTN’s Beverly has returned in spirit to the love of her youth and academia — ART!
 
Her CRTN unit today certainly doesn’t have the “typical” Florida look.  There’s a significant collection of bronzes, paintings, etc. that  have fascinated her throughout her life.  If you toured her unit during January’s ‘Tour Of Ten’ you’ll know what I mean.
 
Beverly now shares her life with her beloved Macaroni.  She received this adorable 9-year-old Chihuahua from Debbie Puglisi’s (#915) parents three years ago.  Beverly’s life now, quite simply, revolves around Macaroni and art.  In 1980, Barbara Goldsmith wrote a book about the life of Gloria Vanderbilt in “Little Gloria…Happy at Last.”  Beverly’s journey has come full circle and could be entitled “happy again.”
 
 

Margie Geasler #105

By Karen Skinner #815
Published in The Tower News May 10, 2021
 
Without Margie’s skills and talent, our home community of Coral Ridge Towers North would not have the informative and interesting newsletter that you are now reading. Nor would CRTN have an awesome website full of “everything you need to know” in our building, our neighborhood, and our county. When asked about her life story, she describes it as one of many blessings in seven chapters.
 
Chapter 1 was growing up in the late 1940s-50s on a Michigan farm (without indoor plumbing) and going to a one-room schoolhouse for her first 3 grades. Margie enjoyed playing “school” - the seed of her lifelong desire to teach. Her involvement in the local, county and state 4-H championships exposed her to Michigan State University and scholarship money that ultimately offered her the opportunity to go to college.
 
Chapter 2 began in 1959 when she was the first of her family to attend college. She married early, had two children, and helped her husband earn a PhD. Meanwhile, with her mother-in-law’s encouragement, she finished college. What a wonderful blessing that turned out to be. However, after 28 years of marriage with her children grown, Margie was not happy.
 
So Chapter 3 began with her going back to school, ending her marriage, and finally earning a PhD in Family Studies and Child Development at Virginia Tech. As her reward for finishing her degree, with her daughter’s encouragement, and her share of the profits from the sale of their home, she bought a round-the-world ticket on Pan Am.
 
Chapter 4 (1990) was a 2 1⁄2 month education in self-discovery that most people experience while still in their 20s!! The PanAm ticket and a Eurail pass provided her transportation. She had reservations in Delhi, Bangkok, Hong Kong, and Sydney, but while in Europe, she found places to stay on railroad station bulletin boards. Flying into Delhi, India late at night was an unforgettable experience. The only transportation available to her hotel was a bus ride through dirty streets full of cows and people sleeping under trees; it was hot, humid and smelled bad. Safely in her room, she vowed to stay put at the hotel until her flight to Nepal five days later. Fortunately, an English woman she met at the pool encouraged her to arrange with the hotel concierge for safe day trips - one of which took her to the Taj Mahal (see photo).
 
In Katmandu, Nepal, she booked a “luxury” jungle safari with the hotel concierge. This turned out to be another learning experience when it didn’t agree with her concept of luxury. Drowning her disappointment with bourbon beside the campfire would have been fine, if she hadn’t asked for ice - a serious mistake! She became quite sick. Fortunately, she had made friends who got her to a local medical office for treatment. A few days later, still sick, but trying to keep on schedule, she boarded a flight to Bangkok, Thailand. Standing in line to disembark, a friendly doctor suggested a sulfa drug easily obtained at the hotel pharmacy. That turned out to be another learning experience when she broke out with hives, finding out for the first time in her life that she is allergic to sulfa! Fortunately, she lived and continued on to Hong Kong, Sydney, New Zealand, Hawaii and several states before arriving back in DC.
 
Chapter 5 began when she accepted a teaching job at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo in the fall of 1991 teaching Adolescent Development, Intimate Relationships and Human Sexuality, among other things. There were 3 major blessings in this chapter: 1) she became very close to her sister and family who lived in Kalamazoo, 2) she met her soon-to-be husband, Jim Achterberg, and 3) she learned a lot about using a computer to teach. The need to publish and earn tenure led her to write a grant to establish an online class in Basic Research Methods for her Family Studies department. When she retired, she was asked to teach the online class and ended up creating and teaching 2 more online classes for the next 15 years.
 
Margie retired in 2001 and Chapter 6 began. She and Jim moved to Maryland where they got married and began their many travels and cruises. In 2005, they moved to Zephyrhills, Florida, to help her aging Mom and Dad. After Dad and Mom passed, they started looking for a place near a cruise port with a beach nearby and restaurants they could walk to. Invited for Thanksgiving 2015 to her ex-husband’s Fort Lauderdale place (Unit #102 Coral Ridge Towers North at the time), they found the perfect place!
 
Chapter 7 began in 2016 when she and Jim moved into #105. Meeting so many wonderful friends has been the blessing of this chapter of her life. Once here, she found a way to use some of her skills. Editing The Tower News and creating the crtnfl.com website have filled a void left when she quit teaching online classes.
 
Margie’s life has revolved around her desire to teach and her love for her family. Ask her about stories she can share from her blessed life. She says that she and Jim remark every day how lucky and grateful they are to have found their home here!

Ellis Guernsey #1504

By Charlie Isola #402 
Published March 2019 The Tower News
 
Ellis Guernsey #1504 lives with his parents, and is probably the only resident who is working towards his Bachelor’s degree in science, teaching tennis and training to become a professional tennis player. 
 
He explained that being engaged in two very different fields: learning how intermolecular forces bond atoms together and learning how to become a ranked tennis player, gives him insights needed to balance the demands of both fields and excel in both.  When I met with Ellis a few weeks ago, he described a typical day: 4 hours training; 2 hours teaching tennis; 3-5 hours attending classes; and 3-5 hours studying. (I listened with that nostalgia that comes from memories of the “good old days” — then remembered the good old days are now.) 
 
Ellis grew up in Poughkeepsie and now attends Florida Atlantic University five days a week, class of ‘21, . He is a science major and is not sure if his post grad work will be in pre-med or chemical and biological research. He wants to keep his options open if he continues in the field of science. 
 
And then there’s the world of tennis. His father and brother are tennis players, and Ellis’ interest in the sport kicked in big time when he was 15 years of age. (He’s now 20.) Up until then, baseball was his favorite sport; but a dislocated thumb kept him in the dugout and pushed him towards tennis. He thinks he got the tennis “bug” at the right time: the strongest players - physically and mentally are in their 20’s. 
 
He still enjoys baseball, but tennis gives him the challenge of being solely responsible for the game’s outcome: it is up to him alone to focus on controlling his game emotionally and physically in serves and volleys. 
 
Ellis explained that control, the ability to execute a shot consistently, is fundamental to winning a match. Control comes from hours of practice, repetition of serves and returns, and from the ability to enter an internally quiet place before walking onto the court. He finds that quiet place every day with a period of meditation and visualization. The “place” he finds in those exercises is where he “goes” before he walks onto the court and during the game. With other matches going on during a tournament, he uses his meditation technique to block out distracting noise and focus on his game on his court. 
 
Ellis has achieved the balance he wants by careful planning: he graduated high school a year early, took a gap year before starting college, and played and practiced full time. 
 
That old Latin saw, mens sana in corpore sano (a sound mind in a sound body), is inherent in Ellis. 

Jeffrey Hansen #412

ONE THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-FIVE DAYS AT SEA
By Charlie Isola #408
Published July 2020 The Tower News
 
If you’ve been interviewed by a member of the CRTN Screening Committee (and who hasn’t), Jeffrey Hansen, #412 was probably in on the interview. 
 
He moved into CRTN in 1989 after having lived in various cities in South Florida for 10 years.  Originally from New Jersey, Jeffrey worked in real estate investing, and retired when he moved to CRTN.  
 
But he continued working: he served three three-year terms on the Board of Directors (1991-1999) and was appointed for another one year term, for a total of ten years.  In addition to his BOD service, he has been on the screening committee for 25 years - its Chairperson since 2001.  He also co-ordinates parking space changes - another volunteer position he has held for 25 years!
 
“Impossible” to know how many residents he has met, but he did screen all nine current Board of Directors members. How many hours volunteered at CRTN?  “Impossible” to count.  Obviously, he has no outside life.  But wait - there’s something about thousands of days relaxing at sea… 
 
Before moving to CRTN, he dipped a toe into what would become a passion: cruising.  His first cruise was in 1985, on a cruise line no longer in existence.  As of this writing, he has been on one hundred and seventy five cruises (yes, 175!) on various lines.    
 
As enjoyment in cruising increased, Jeffrey began choosing Norwegian Lines for the majority of his trips (Norwegian cruises usually leave from either Miami or Port Everglades).  In February of this year, 2020, Norwegian honored him for having achieved the distinction of being, not just an Ambassador level guest, but one of its most valued and loyal guests.  
 
That February cruise was his favorite, until he reached a level that no other Norwegian traveler  has reached: 101 cruises.
 
When he works, he works.  When he travels on Norwegian, he travels “like royalty,” according to him. These pictures certainly do attest to that: this is how Norwegian celebrated his birthday last June.  
 
Each of Jeffrey’s 175 voyages has been with David Sensky, who lives in the East building.  Jeffrey’s sister and brother-in-law, Ronny and Richard Kadash #1610, (residents since 1992) have taken many cruises with him, but never on Norwegian Cruise Line. 
 
Will there be other cruises?  Ten were already booked for June 2020 through October 2021 before the coronavirus pandemic. His June birthday cruise and one other have now been canceled.  The rest?  On hold, as is everything else.  

Eugene Leary #1112A

By Charlie Isola #408 
Published January 2020 The Tower News
 
What do you do with some “down time” you find at your job? Especially when that is usually sandwiched in between hi-pressure hours that entail making quick decisions involving multiple agencies and sometimes hundreds of people? Eugene Leary, apartment 1112A, found a relief valve which still occupies his time in retirement, and brings excitement to the kids in his family.   
 
Gene and his wife Georgette are snow birds who travel back to Edison, N.J. in the summer. They met at Cabrini Hospital in New York where they worked as radiographers prior to his work with the PAPD (Port Authority Police Department) of New York and New Jersey. 
 
Eugene was Desk Sergeant, Central Command, midnight to noon shift, for the NYPD for 27 years. Any type of problem related to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PATH), the organization that runs three international and two regional airports, four bridges, two tunnels, and a bus terminal at 42 Street and 8th Avenue in NYC, would find its way to his desk during his 12 hour shifts. He was the guy responsible for finding personnel to help a woman giving birth at the 42nd Street bus terminal, while a robbery was on-going at the same location, to dealing with the horror of 9/11.  
 
After working the shift for months, he realized that he could do something with his “down time” at his desk; so he began painting model soldiers in authentic period colors. It was solitary work that took the same attention to detail and focus that his “all hands on deck” work as desk sergeant required. 
 
When he talked about creating these worlds (where the soldiers are 1/72 in scale), there was a clear sense of excitement - the same excitement he described in the faces of his nieces and nephews who get to travel to periods of history thanks to his love of history and his ability to make it come alive. 
 
This is the part where one picture is worth a million words, so enough with the words; take a look at two of his dioramas. 
 
 
Battle of Waterloo - 1815 Rorke’s Drift         
 
 
 
 
 
The Anglo Zulu War - 1879 

Maddy Lombardy 1412A

By Charlie Isola #408  
Published November 2019 The Tower News
 
Meet Maddy Lombardi, apartment 1412A, a CRTN resident since 2016.  If, on one of these Tuesdays, you’re in the mood for some good Dixieland Jazz, replete with brass, winds and accordion, served with some of the best BBQ in Broward, head north to Pompano Beach’s “Spanx and the Hog”  at 147 S. Cypress Road.  You’ll find Maddy there, playing banjo and sometimes singing, with the Gold Coast Banjo Band, from 7:30 - 9:00 Tuesdays.  Click on this link to hear Maddy play and sing that always popular song “Crazy”.  
 
She also performs with the Broward Mummers, a string band, which invites everyone to sit in on their rehearsals on Thursdays at the Moose Lodge, 6191 Rock Island Road. The Mummers play for special events, and usually donate any money raised from their performances to charities.  (The Broward Mummers allow women; but the Philadelphia Mummers is still an all-male group).  
 
Maddy, a native New Yorker, worked in the garment district as a production manager for a dressmaker back in the day when women were employed in the industry as sewers  - but never as a manager.  She began as a secretary and through lots of grit, succeeded in the industry for twenty years. The owner of the company saw two qualities in her that he knew would serve him and the company well: drive and honesty.  
 
When she and her late husband both retired to Jacksonville, he encouraged her to find something to do.  She had always liked the sound of the banjo - a “happy sound”, so she started taking lessons and joined the Gold Coast Banjo Band.   
 
I saw four beautiful banjos in her apartment. The B and D Company produced banjos from 1887 - 1939, when a fire destroyed its factory. The Gresch Company bought the pieces that survived the fire.  The Gresch Company’s banjos became known as “Sweep the Floor banjos” because they were made from the remnants of the B and D company that could be “swept up.”  
 
Photos on the right show the front and back of the original B and D Banjo.  It has a beautiful finish, great hand crafting on the frets and elegant mother of pearl inlaid design on the back.
Maddy wanted to be a commercial artist, but her Dad didn’t think that would be in her financial interest.  She never let go of her art, however, and several of her sketches and colored pencil drawings grace the walls of her apartment. 
A necessary ingredient for life after work: Follow your passions, now that you have the time.  Maddy does!

Nancy Loughlin #1507

By Charlie Isola #408
Published December 2019 The Tower News
 
The holidays.  Time to look back over the past year and its changes, and then (maybe) make some plans for the upcoming one.  This column looks back a little longer than a year, and focuses on the building we live in, and changes in the way we live.  
 
That was the plan when I met with Nancy Loughlin, #1507.  During our conversation though, something happened which gave me an insight as to why I enjoy being here more and more.  But to that insight later.
 
Nancy has been coming to Ft. Lauderdale since 1968 to visit her mother-in-law, who bought the apartment she now occupies, in 1966.  During those visits she would stay at either the Galt Ocean Mile or the Beach Club Hotels which were situated where L’Hermitage now sits on 12 acres.
 
The Jets stayed at the Galt Ocean Mile Hotel when they won the Super Bowl III in 1969 - and Nancy met them and their coach.  (Remember Broadway Joe?)
 
She remembers that many things were different at CRTN in those days: 
 
Our building had a path to the ocean. (Wonder where it was exactly?)   
 
We did not have a club house on the beach, but did have first “dibs” on what is now the East Building Club House located directly to our north.  Our building passed on the purchase, so the East Building bought it.  
 
Dress styles were very different too, going out for dinner in the evening meant dressing up: dresses for the ladies, and suit jacket and tie for the gents.  The fashion label of choice for men and women was Lily Pulitzer which featured lime green and bright tropical colors, and linen slacks for the men.  
 
Amenities of CRTN included valet parking.  When you pulled up to the lobby, an attendant would park your car in its assigned spot, and hold the keys. When you needed the car again, he would drive it to the front door.  
 
Rules were strictly enforced - often by Maybelle who was the building’s secretary.  When you returned to the building in beach wear, entry to the freight elevator was via the doors at the north or south end of the building, never the lobby.
Swimmers with long hair had to wear swim caps in the pool - and if Maybelle saw you not properly “dressed”, she would demand that you get out.  Sounds a little draconian —- but I bet the rule helped keep the drains clear.  
 
As we talked, there was a knock at the door.  Two of Nancy’s friends came in;  just to check and see that she was OK since they noticed that her car hadn’t moved in a couple of days. Then the conversation turned back to the building and their memories and thoughts about it.  (I began to wonder about an oral history project of CRTN…) 
 
But to go back to change, there was a time (as late as February 2001, when I was approved by the screening committee with my now-official husband) that I would have considered their knock on the door intrusive.  On the day of the interview with Nancy, however, I considered it thoughtful and neighborly.
 
It made me realize that their knock at the door may be one of the reasons I enjoy spending more time here.  Besides the ease of getting around, it’s about the neighbors and the community we’ve made, and continue to make, in the building: something that never occurred in the six co-ops Dan and I have had in NY. 
 
Change.  It’s a funny thing, and the more things change, the more they change
 

Dermot Meagher #302

By Charlie Isola, #408 
Published January 2019 The Tower News
 
Dermot Meagher (#302) was a judge of the Boston Municipal Court of the Trial Court of Massachusetts from 1989 to 2006. Two issues ago, you were introduced to Bill Walk, a judge of table tennis at the Barcelona Olympics among other venues. Dermot Meagher is another judge in a different kind of court. 
 
Governor Michael Dukakis was the first person to interview Dermot for a judgeship in 1983. Neither at this interview, nor those that followed, did Dermot hide his sexual orientation. So, when he was eventually appointed in 1989, he was the first “out” gay Judge in the Commonwealth - no small accomplishment. 
 
Dermot graduated from Harvard College and Boston College Law School and later received a Masters degree in Public Administration from the Kennedy School at Harvard University. In 1970 he was awarded a Ford Foundation funded Fellowship to the Center for Criminal Justice of Harvard Law School. 
 
He began his professional work as an Assistant District Attorney in Worcester County, Massachusetts. He taught Criminal Constitutional Law to police officers, and in 1970 co-authored his first book, Drugs and Youth, with Robert Coles, M.D., and Joseph Brenner, M.D. The authors addressed the problem of drugs and addiction from both a legal and medical science perspective. I have not read the book, but based on my social work background, it is the necessary way to look at addiction and sentencing issues. In his free time, he did volunteer work on addiction, sentencing guidelines, and equality issues. 
 
Dermot hails from Worcester, MA., where the Meagher family can trace its roots back to a time just after the Great Hunger in Ireland and before the American Civil War. His great grandfather, after being mustered out of the Union forces, opened a tavern. Subsequent generations have worked in the law, as trial lawyers and judges. 
 
In addition to scholarly legal works on Bail and Human rights, Dermot wrote several stories about his time as a judge that were published in Boston Magazine and Doubletake Magazine . Those stories became a book published in 2010: Judge Sentences/Tales from the Bench (available for sale at Amazon). I read some of them for this article, and while they are all based on actual events, they resonate with the humanity, insight and warmth that is a big part of the first openly gay judge in the history of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 
 
Dermot has written two novels, two books of poems (available at Amazon), and two books comprised of his drawings. He has shown his art at museums and galleries in Florida and New England. For more information on his work click here . 
 
Dermot retired from the bench in 2006. He and his husband Renato Cellucci moved into #302 in 2017. They spend the summer in Boston and Provincetown. 

Rosemary Meskiel #1201

 
BLESSED YESTERDAY; BLESSED TODAY; BLESSED TOMORROW
By Charlie Isola #408 
Published March 2020 The Tower News
 
When I reread the notes I took during a fascinating and busy 90 minutes I spent with femme engagée, Rosemary Meskiel of #1201, Candide’s final words in Voltaire’s eponymous novel came to me:  one has to “tend to one’s own garden”: tend and nurture the people and places near and dear to one’s self - help others grow, and grow with them.  
 
That’s something which Rosemary Meskiel has been doing, whether in her hometown of Niles, Ohio, where she was born on March 26, 1921, or in any of the fourteen places she lived with her now deceased husband of sixty years, John Francis, and her three children. I have the sense that whomever she meets, no matter where, she helps that person grow, on that person’s terms, and a friendship is established.  
 
As mentioned, Rosemary is a widow, but her husband entered the conversation as soon as I walked into the apartment.  A beautiful needle-point doorstop moved as she closed the door.  I commented on it, and she noted that her husband had done it, and that he had created kneelers for their church, All Saints Episcopal, in Fort Lauderdale. 
 
Rosemary and John Francis were married September 16,1942, and in their sixty years of marriage, he always reminded her and their three children that the guiding principle of life was the need to nurture “Family, Friends, Faith.”  Her love of family is evident in the pictures in her apartment and the way she spoke with pride about the achievements of her three children, her seven grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren. 
 
Her constant granting of friendship  was evident in her actions, taught by her family from an early age.  She grew up during the Great Depression, and her family was “blessed” to have a bit more than most.  Many mornings there would be homeless men sleeping under a large tree near her house; her mother would tell her to go to the men, tell them to wash up at the pump, and then come in for breakfast.  Eventually her dad put a bathroom and shower in their basement for them. 
 
She described her young self as something of a “tomboy,” and she loved being active and playing sports: she earned Varsity Letters in basketball, baseball, swimming and hiking in her Sophomore year - two years earlier than usual. But she did not get to play football or join the aeronautics club.  The football boys devised a fail-safe strategy to keep her off the team: they piled on her and made sure she gained no yards.  When she showed up for the flying club, the pilot “welcomed” her by having her experience all the dare-devil stunts he knew. It was the first and last flight she took with the club.  She seemed to enjoy telling the story - she gave it a good try - trying to break other  “glass ceilings.”
 
Her volunteer work created - and continues to create - more lasting friendships and blessings.  After 35 years, she still answers the phone at All Saints on Mondays.  She ushered at the Broward Center, Lower Left Orchestra, for 26 years - but her children encouraged her to stop when she turned 95 - driving late at night was a concern;  At the Portland Art Museum, she was trained to be a docent for an exhibition of Japanese Internment Camp photos; she continues to teach Bridge on Tuesdays, makes it a point to have her church friends in for dinner - and keeps a bottle of liquor especially for one of her priest friends.
 
Rosemary was the first president of the Federated Club of America in Poland, OH (a philanthropic educational organization founded in 1869), was president of the Banyan Club in Florida two times, and started Women’s Clubs in most cities she lived in.
 
“Blessed” is a word that she used many times during our talk.  It is a word I am not always comfortable with - too religious-sounding maybe.  But I am very glad - maybe grateful - that I had the opportunity to get to know this engaged woman who had the table set when I walked into her apartment: cheese, crackers, fruit, coffee: friendship.   
 
Oh, and in case you wondered about the highlighted date in the second paragraph:  She turns 99 on March 26 [2020].  Happy Birthday, Rosemary, and thanks for pointing the way to be.

Don Murphy #1609

Know Your Neighbor Don Murphy #1609
By Terry Johnson #809
Published in The Tower News March 13, 2023
 

No Regrets here…

Years ago, Don Murphy was sitting at his office desk in Ottawa when the phone rang — “The Prime Minister wants to see you NOW!”

Damn he thought. Only the day before, a prominent Canadian businessman and political friend of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau had mentioned to Don — “we need your expertise for the university in Sri Lanka....I’ll send a letter to the Prime Minister immediately.” Obviously “that” letter had been delivered. (Trudeau had recently given a speech encouraging people in the “north” to be more supportive of those in the developing nations. The businessman told Don, “I’ll see how faithful the Prime Minister is to his words!”)

The letter clearly had an impact. Don entered the PM’s office with its occupant initially ignoring him and then looking up, eyes blazing — waving a letter in his hand — “What the Hell is this?”

Long story short, Don did leave Trudeau’s team in the early 1980’s for a few years and headed to Columbo, Sri Lanka's capital, where he was professor in the postgraduate faculty of Business Administration. He loved every minute of it. Yet soon afterwards he was again working directly for Trudeau in Ottawa. (But let’s step back a bit in time.)

Don was born before World War II (he emphasizes it was World War TWO and not World War ONE) in Toronto, Canada. He was the second child of three.  His father was an engineer, his mother a nurse before the arrival of three children. He attended the local elementary school in Toronto. However, high school was spent in Montreal at Westmount (the school US Vice President Kamala Harris would later attend). He gained his undergraduate BSC degree at McGill University and an MBA at Western University in London, Ontario.

The first part of his career was generally in management consulting and marketing in Canada and later London (U.K.). The second part was primarily in various branches of the Canadian government.

 So how did he become Pierre Trudeau’s Director of Communications?  “Actually, I had a friend who alerted me that the PM was looking to fill such a position — I got recommended — interviewed — and the rest is history,” he says. “Pierre Trudeau was brilliant. He was always a gentleman. But he was always unpredictable. There were no dull days.” [In the photo, present day Don is next to a photo of Queen Elizabeth II beside him on her 2002 Golden Jubilee visit to Canada.]
Yet all good things inevitably come to an end. Eventually Don retired from government and various organizations such as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Foundation.   No, Don was not on a horse — he was actually much higher in the organization.

In the late 1990’s he began actively looking for an apartment in South Florida. In the spring of 1999 he visited all four CRT buildings — quickly eliminated the two on A1A and decided upon CRTN. He’s lived in the same unit (#1609) ever since.  Well almost — he also has homes in Ottawa and at Mont Tremblant, north of Montreal. His time is now spent among them as well as in Munich, Germany,  home of his architect husband. “Munich is actually a beautiful city as well as a great jumping off place to all of Europe.”

While he acknowledges a few changes in the past quarter century at CRTN, he’s seen a good deal of stability. “They had completely replaced the balconies the year (1998) before I moved in, so it always felt good to know they’re not the original balconies. One rather interesting change: “I do not remember ever having a board with all the officers being female — which is the current case. (BTW — he considers this a positive change!)

In summary, Don is really grateful that, as a visiting Canadian, he feels so welcome and so comfortable in this country, this city, and in the CRTN community. “No two countries are better neighbors,” he concludes.
 
 

Patricia Myles #1115

A MANY-CAREERED WOMAN
By Charlie Isola, #408 
Published February 2019 The Tower News
 
If you haven’t been in the library/game room on the first floor, take a look. It was designed, paid for, and given to CRTN as a gift by Pat Myles. Pat is ending six years on the Board of Directors Feb. 19, and if the past is a paradigm to predict the future, she’ll still be busy. Take a read. 
 
Pat and her late husband bought #1115 in 1998, and decided to renovate. On their drive back to Virginia, they wondered if they would have the money needed to do the work and design new furniture for the apartment. Their answer came quickly. In a  true “deus ex machina” moment, the Wheel of Fortune program showed up at the Potomac Mills VA Mall where the show invited people to try out as contestants. 
 
Pat was one of thousands who showed up. First she was selected at random, then, got called, won the rounds, went with 99 other contestants to the Mayflower Hotel in D.C., won again, went to Constitution Hall to film the show with 2 other contestants and won again. This time, she won big: 7K in cash AND an Audi sports car, totaling $52,400. 
 
Pat was working in her second career as a licensed interior designer by this time so they didn’t have to look for a designer for “the house that the wheel built”. Renovations and furniture designs went forward, and the winning results shine in #1115. 
 
Her first career was as a Washington D.C. police officer. Pat was a true pioneer when she joined the force. It was still a requirement to have a B.A. and women on the force were segregated from the men’s force in the “Women’s Bureau.” 
 
Later, the Women’s Bureau was integrated into the male force, and Pat worked in the youth division which handled arrests for minors under 18. “How does it feel having to deal with youth who committed felonies?” I asked. “No problem”, she said; except for one time when a minor was told that he couldn’t go home until the next morning. He suggested that he would find her where she lived when he got out and her response was that there would be a .38 on the other side of the door. He never showed up! 
 
After working on the police force, Pat put her interior design license and expertise to good use. She designed many houses and apartments and was careful to incorporate her clients’ interests, tastes and uses of their homes into her designs and choice of fabrics. And that’s what she did with her design for our library/game room. 
 
The library is a small room that had collected lots of books, mismatched bookshelves and game tables before her makeover. Pat’s goal was to design a room neutral in design that would complement the new hallway design. Since the room would function as both a library and a card and game room, there needed to be space for walkers and canes to maneuver easily around the card and puzzle tables. This was accomplished with custom built shelving for books. I wondered what had made her decide to give us the new room. “I just love puzzles and card games, and a well designed space just makes me feel good. I wanted to give that feeling to my neighbors in this building.” We agree, she attained her goal. 
 
Pat is a snowbird, and when she heads back to Virginia in the spring, she’ll be ready to head back to work - not as a police officer or interior designer - but as a substitute teacher, something she has been doing for thirty years. (During some of those years, Pat also worked as a real estate agent.) Oh, and by the way, she is still on the board of her VA townhouse complex. Born under the sign of Gemini, with Pat, there is never a dull moment. 

Sue Neff #303

Meet Sue Neff # 303
By Charlie Isola #408
Published November 2020 The Tower News
 
Sue Neff and her husband Thom (who contributes to the newsletter) moved into CRTN ten years ago and still maintain places in Sandwich and Boston MA.  Like many residents here, the Florida apartment was seen as a place to spend a few months away from New England winters.  (Anyone else remember the blizzard of 1978?)
 
They got here via a more circuitous and adventure-filled route than many of us have.  And Sue has had in her experiences, four very different “jobs:” (1) a mother in Boston, Portland and Churchill Falls, Labrador; 
(2) a social worker in a Boston-based agency for abused children; (3) a psychotherapist in private practice, and (4) a painter of botanical art.  
 
Thom’s studies and work made for a peripatetic life - living in four different states - when their three children were younger.  While Portland, Oregon was a long way from Boston, and where Thom was a professor, their most adventurous move was to Churchill Falls, Labrador.  Thom was a geotechnical engineer working on a project to dam a lake, and it was there that he, a pregnant Sue, their 2 and 3 year old lived for two years in a trailer 12,200 miles from Montreal.  Her memories of those days: 50 inches of snow a day; a shovel always at hand; no stores; a weekly wine run that meant meeting a plane that had flown in from Nova Scotia with groceries - and wine. I Wikipedia’d the place, and even with the amenities described, I don’t think I’ll be visiting anytime soon.  
 
As their children reached their teen years, Sue felt the need to do something more, so she enrolled at Portland State and received her Bachelors of Social Work (BSW) in 1980.  When they returned to Boston, she enrolled at Boston University at night and received her Masters in Social Work (MSW) in 1983.
 
Her first job was at a residential school for emotionally disturbed children, dealing with the effects of their having been sexually and physically abused.  As her own children became more independent, Sue began seeing private patients in the evenings, and her practice grew into a very full  25 patient hours per week.  She worked in traditional talk therapy and the newer and very powerful EMDR therapy.  She loved the work, in spite of the fact that the majority of her private patients were dealing with having been sexually abused.  It was, she said, both very rewarding and emotionally draining work.  
 
As Sue and Thom began spending a longer amount of time in Florida, she started seeing patients on FaceTime or on the phone, and found that since either one was as efficacious a modality as face to face therapy,  she decided to close her office.   One might say she was a trail blazer…now, with coronavirus concerns, most therapy work is being done via screens, and she continues to see patients virtually while she is here or on the Cape.  She has no plans to retire, and enjoys the flexibility that virtual meetings give her - and her patients.
 
But…with fewer patient hours…more free time.  That free time led to yet another practice which demands great concentration: a watercolor artist.  
 
When she turned 70, she returned to drawing, and took a class at Wellesley in botanical illustration.  That led to enrolling in a four year program and her being awarded a Certificate for Botanical Art and Illustration from the Wellesley Botanical Garden.
 
Sue is currently a member of the New England Society of Botanical Artists; to see some of her finely detailed and beautiful work,  click here.  One of her watercolors takes between 20 and 30 hours of intense concentration and she describes the time she gives to her art as a  sort of meditation.  It demands fine brushes and detail, she explained, so the work comes to fruition in small increments - something akin to the process of doing or being in therapy. 
 
If you haven’t met Sue in person, you’ll now recognize her from the photo at the top of the article or in the photo below while she is at work.
 
And, if she ever stops seeing patients, what will she do with that extra amount of time?  
 

Richard Passmore #1715

By Charlie Isola, #408
Published November 2018 The Tower News 
 
Richard and Susan Passmore, # 1715, have been full-time residents at CRTN for two years after snow-birding for ten years. Richard was a dentist with a private practice in Macomb, Illinois where he and Susan lived with their three children. 
 
In August, 1980, at the age of 38, he was piloting his private plane when it crashed a mile from the airport while landing. His injuries were so severe that doctors believed he would never work - or walk again. He proved the doctors wrong, and during the five months he spent in the hospital, he did all the rehab (and more) that was prescribed for him. He walked again and regained the use of his right hand. 
 
Once he was strong enough, he traveled to New York for special courses to help him get ready to return to his dental practice that was kept open by friends. During the course, he learned strategies for continuing to work and even originated techniques that would be passed on to others. Primarily, he learned how to use his right hand and have dental assistants to do the work of his left hand. He returned to his practice 12 months after the accident and treated patients for the next thirty years. 
 
His “disability,” didn’t slow him down. He was a Rotary member for 25 years, district governor for 4 and traveled to Nigeria where he distributed polio vaccine to children. Sometimes, you just d o things. 
 
In May, he fell while making the bed, ripping the tendon in his upper muscle. He needed surgery; during rehab he could not bend his knee for two months. Rehab continues in the apartment - both physical and occupational. He is convinced that he will be walking again, with the continued encouragement and support of his wife of 52 years, Susan, (add seven years as high school boyfriend/girlfriend.) 
 
I’d bet money that this Navy veteran will do just what he plans to do. He is convinced that his purpose on earth is to work hard and inspire others. 
 
Personally, he inspired me to not focus on my own neuropathy problems...but do a little more exercise, and keep moving. Thanks Richard. 

Ed Powers # 803

By Terry Chicotelli, #802
Published December 2021 The Tower News
 
When I ask someone, “what’s the most interesting thing about your life so far”, and they reply “I was lucky,” that’s intriguing. As I listened to Ed Powers tell me his life story, I appreciated what he meant.
 
Ed was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts where his father worked for the Boston Naval Shipyard (think Rosie the Riveter), overseeing the installation of sonar and radar into warships being built at a rate of one ship every month.  In 1938 and after, the USA shipyards were busy!
 
Ed was taught at Boston Latin School by strict Latin and English scholars and then by Jesuit priests at Boston College (when tuition was $600 a year). After a stint at the University of Chicago, where he earned a Master's degree, Ed enrolled in a PhD program at NYU. He met his future wife in Spain and although the marriage was short-lived, he did manage to keep the apartment in Peter Cooper Village for 40 years.
 
Ed began a long career in the greater banking and brokerage world, beginning at Grace Bank, which kept him mostly in the New York area, with a side assignment in Thailand.  As the banking world ebbed and flowed, Ed made lasting friends who, along with Uncle David, introduced him to the world of Kennedys, Bushes, Archbishop Tutu and Margaret Thatcher.
 
Uncle David introduced Ed to Jack Kennedy when JFK was running for a spot in the US Congress. The Kennedy family often visited for parties-or teas-and Ed also volunteered in the JFK and RFK Presidential campaigns. He occasionally bumped into Jackie - and even Rose - as well as others in the family who were in the news in the 1960s and 1970s.
 
Ed met his partner, Mike Diodati, forty-seven years ago in 1977, during the July 14th blackout. They lived in Peter Cooper Village, Ed worked on Wall Street and Mike worked at the New York Public Library. Both visited Fire Island on the weekends, where they volunteered at the neighborhood theater and waited tables. They both traveled to the ferry on the Fire Island bus called “The Islanders”, dressed in tuxedos and bartending on the three hour bus ride, as well as at fancy parties in the Pines.
 
Ed met lots of Wall Street bankers on The Islanders, but he also met an elderly woman who always sat in the front of the bus with her little dog Cherry on her lap. She told Ed that she had survived internment in a French Vichy prison camp during World War II. Because Ed was kind to her dog, and after she learned that besides being a bartender, he was a banker, she entrusted him with a large bag of German bank books that listed all the possessions she and her German friends had lost to the Hitler regime. Ed introduced her to a lawyer who spoke Yiddish and together they recovered $1.5 million from Germany which she donated to LAMBDA and SAGE.
 
Twenty-five years ago, when Ed and Mike retired, clients invited them to visit Fort Lauderdale. They took one look at the view of the ICW and were able to move into CRTN. Ed has not just spent his time doing morning laps in the pool. He’s also established foundations for people suffering from PTSD and is proud to report that his son Michael has left Wall Street and is working with the Deborah Foundation. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Jan Pozzi #1505

By Charlie Isola #408
Published January 11, 2021
 
A new year, another artist.  This month, this column focuses on Jan Pozzi, a full-time resident since 2014, who lives in #1505 with her husband Ron.
 
Jan has always had an interest in art, and studied it through her high school and college years; she studied at Rockford College and Northern Illinois University.  
Upon graduating she continued private studies with professional artists as she developed her own singular style of art which can be seen on several balcony walls of CRTN apartments (see photos below).  The fluid lines of her art beautifully compliment the light and color of our South Florida surroundings.
 
Her style, like that of so many artists, evolved from an early impressionist style to one she calls a modern style, when she moved to CRTN.  In the Midwest, landscapes were popular.  She painted soft, impressionistic scenery.  Now modern art is the craze.  When decorating her condo, she changed her style to the bold colors of modern art.  She finds inspiration for her paintings in the objects all around her: landscapes, still-lifes, portraits and the freedom that modern art gives her.
 
Jan also loves to paint serving trays and boxes.  She sells many of these during the year, especially during the holidays.  Some of her work is sold at Jon Paul Jewelers here in Ft. Lauderdale.  Jan paints with acrylic so she can achieve her bold colors and prefers to paint on large canvases.
 
Jan’s art can be found in a myriad number of places: office buildings, movie theaters, bowling alleys and private homes.  Sometimes she had to use scaffolding to paint murals on walls and ceilings. She was in numerous art shows and fairs where she received commissions for canvases and murals. Examples of Jan’s work are posted on the CRTN website under Photo Albums in the Social tab.  Or just click here. 
 
CRTN has been part of Jan’s life since 1984 when her parents bought #1505.  Her sister, Judy, also an artist, moved in to #1617 in 2020.  She loves doing art and if you have any interest in beautifying your balcony walls - give her a call. 
 
[Due to covid concerns, Jan and I “wrote” this article together; she sent along her professional work bio, then she and I tweaked it a bit.  Thanks, Jan, for your understanding and help.]
 

Len Seelig #1003

KNOW YOUR NEIGHBOR - Len Seelig #1003
By Charlie Isola #408
Part 1 and 2 published in the September and October 2022 issues of The Tower News.

This column usually focuses on a CRTN resident;  this time it is focused on Len Seelig’s German relatives who died in the Holocaust, and how those events impacted him and his immediate family.  This is Part I of Len’s family story.  Part II will come next month.

Siegfried Kirchheimer and Frieda Marx, a married couple, opened a shoe shop in Eisenach, Germany in November, 1919 and had two daughters, Ingeborg and Ruth. Their daily family life was no different from any German citizen until 1935 when Jews were forbidden to use public baths or restaurants, and then on the night of November 9/10, 1938, when “Kristallnacht” swept through Germany and their house and shop were destroyed and a round-up of German Jews began.

 The Kirchheimer family fled the city on November 10; Frieda and her daughters returned weeks later, but Siegfried was sent to Buchenwald. He was returned to his family 3 months later.  Their shop and apartment had been destroyed and confiscated by the government, forcing them to separate and live with friends.  They were now homeless and without means; so the state government decreed they had “left their business”  and a “voluntary business deregistration” notice was published on December 1, 1938 - while Siegfried was in Buchenwald. Photo is from Eisenach Archives of Frieda being sent to the transport.  

When she was 18, Ingeborg found work and emigrated to England.  Fourteen-year old Ruth remained with her family.  The family made several attempts to emigrate, but without work, and with no funds for the requisite bribes, their passports expired.  Then on Oct. 31, 1941 the Nazi government imposed an emigration ban on all Jews.  

 Ruth managed to escape in 1942 with the help of her aunt Minna, and uncle Abraham Bargeboer, who had emigrated to Nice, France.  Ruth was enrolled in a convent school, part of a Resistance network organized by the Bishop of Nice.  Less than a year later, the Vichy government, under pressure from the Nazis, increased its arrests of Jews.  A nun from Ruth’s school,  Sister Marie-Gabrielle Guigues, knowing Ruth was no longer safe, hid her in a convent 93 miles from Nice, where she remained until Liberation.  (Sister Marie-Gabrielle helped save many Jewish children and was posthumously declared “Righteous among the Nations'' by Yad Vashem in 2002).  (Photo on the right is Ruth’s travel documents issued in 1938.)
 
 Ruth’s aunt Minna and uncle were arrested by the German armed forces three months later.  Their apartment, its contents (which included a 17th Century  Dutch School painting owned by the Louvre Museum and now on display at the Museum of Jewish Art and History in Paris), and all of their savings were confiscated. (See photo of painting now known as “Boats on a Rough Sea Near a Rocky Coast” on left.)

Siegfried died in a Nice prison in 1944; Minna was sent to Auschwitz where she died 6 months later. The Bargeboer’s will, drawn up 4 weeks before their arrest, stated that Ruth was to inherit their estate, since they were childless. Mr. and Mrs. Bargeboer’s will was read in February 1947.  “Ruth Kirchheimer,” the Commission wrote, “took no interest in this bequest. Likewise, no action was taken with the French and German authorities to recover Mr. and Mrs. Bargeboer’s property after the war.”

Ruth converted to Catholicism in 1944, and after Liberation, took vows as Sister Marie-Thérèse. She worked both in France and Cameroon and died in 2003.  Ruth’s sister Ingeborg married, had three children, and died in the United Kingdom in 1987.  

In the next edition of The Tower News, we will complete the story by looking at the documents Len received this year which describe the French Commission’s investigation into the deportation of his family and to the restitution the French Government is making to his families’ descendants.

Editor’s Note: For more information about the Holocaust see “A History to Be Reckoned With:  The U.S. and the Holocaust”, a film by Ken Burns, Lynn Novick & Sarah Botstein to be broadcast on South Florida PBS stations in three parts.
 
Part II 
You will remember that in September, we introduced you to Siegfried and Frieda Kirchheimer, who owned a shoe shop in Eisenach Germany in the 1920s and 30s.   Neither Siegfried nor Frieda survived the Holocaust, but their daughters did and that is why/how this story became part of Len Seelig’s story.

Len had no knowledge of Siegried and Frieda and their daughters until January 2021 when he received notice from the New York State Department of Finance, Holocaust Claims Division, that he would receive compensation for the confiscation of his family’s estate in World War II.  He had been identified by the Commission for the Compensation of Victims of Spoliation Resulting from the Anti-Semitic Legislation in Force during the Occupation, part of the French Prime Minister’s Office.

In the first of two Commission reports, the Rapporteur/Magistrate recommended that restitution be made to 23 individuals, or their descendants, in the amount of €153,000.  In his penultimate paragraph the Magistrate wrote, “These reparations, although of a rather substantial overall amount, are somewhat derisory….. in view of the terrible tragedy .… in which 27 members of these families perished.” 

The final determination, made by the 13 members of the commission, was that the total amount would be €39,400 divided among 26 descendants of the Bargeboer/Kirchheimer family.  This amount is the final word regarding restitution for their lives, their apartment, its contents, and their savings - or about €1,515 per person. 

After writing the article, Charlie asked Len to respond to some questions.  His answers are a summary of his oral and written responses.

Q. Where did you grow up in NY, and did you have any sense of the Holocaust’s direct impact on your family?
“I grew up in the Washington Heights neighborhood of northern Manhattan in the 40s, 50s and 60s.    Before it was made  famous by Lin-Manual Miranda’s musical “In the Heights,” it was often referred to as “Frankfort on Hudson” because It was a neighborhood of many immigrants, especially a large number of German Jews who had fled Nazi Germany.

“Among the soon-to-be well known families were those of Henry Kissinger, and the radio personality who promoted “good sex,” Dr. Ruth.  Members of the Seelig/Kirchheimer family also settled there.  My grandmother was a Kirchheimer, and this history is about the Kirchheimer family.  

“My mother was born in Germany, and arrived in New York in the ‘30s, thanks to a sponsorship by a much older cousin.  Her mother, Henrietta Kirchheimer, unfortunately, due to lost paperwork, was not able to escape, and was sent to Theresienstadt in 1942 until Liberation in 1945.  When the camp was liberated, she was sent to a displaced person’s camp and arrived in NY in May, 1946.

“My parents only spoke English at home, so my brother and I never learned German.  My grandmother Henrietta did not learn English, so a language barrier prevented us from speaking in depth with her. She never talked about what happened to her family.  My mother too was obviously affected by what had happened in Germany, and would change the channel if anything about WWII or the Nazis was on.

“My grandmother  was an extremely strong woman, which is probably why she survived the concentration camp. The only time I remember her crying was when we went to a cemetery In New Jersey that had a memorial to the Holocaust. This image of her remains vivid in my memory.

“I knew that family members were lost in concentration camps, and that some family members had escaped to Brazil, Palestine and the USA.  I did not know there were close relatives like aunts, uncles and cousins until January of this year, when I received notice of the French Government’s restitution plans.

“I did know that my mother had a relative who was a nun, and I remember my mother saying she was saved by a convent.  The fact that a family member was a nun was not spoken about, either positively or negatively, nor did I know she was my mother’s first cousin. I knew nothing of Ruth Kirchheimer being smuggled out of Germany by her aunt, nor did I know that I had relatives who had lived in France. I believe I remember Inga coming to this country for an afternoon visit when I was a child. 

“I knew my grandmother had received some compensation from the German government when she lived in New York.  These payments were referred to as “Wiedergutmachen” - reparations paid to German citizens interned in camps run by the Germans. The jewelry and money taken from her were, OF COURSE,  never returned.” 

Q. Do you plan on contacting any of the people listed in the commission’s documents? 
“I received a ‘family tree’ from NY State, along with the French Commission’s reports, and discovered that I was the last of the family who had a relationship with my grandparents’ generation.  The “tree” also listed other relatives, some of whom live in Brazil.  Will I contact them?  Perhaps.  But so much time has passed….I need more time to think about it.

Q. What do you think about the amount the French Government has allocated for the laws enacted by Vichy?
“What do I think about the restitution the French government is paying?  I think the only real value to this history is the History itself.  Reading my families’ history, I know that I value the term “Never Again” more than before, and  the plight of refugees is closer to my heart than before.  

“I understand better now why my mother could not speak of those times; I am saddened that I did not try harder to discover these stories when my relatives were still alive.

“The lesson to be learned from all this is: ‘Learn from History.’”
 
 

Karen Skinner #815

Meet Your Neighbor:  Karen Skinner #815
By Terry Johnson #809
Published in The Tower News July 12, 2021
 

The autobiography of Miss Karen Skinner
or
The Boring, Dull (her words, not mine) Life of a Mother, Grandmother, Secretary, Bookstore Clerk, Print Salesperson, Honors College Graduate, Country Line Dancer, Motorcycle Owner/Rider, Painter, Cancer Survivor, Twice-widowed, World-Traveling CRTN Shareholder. And “Boring?”
You Decide 

While World War Two was raging in Europe and the Pacific, Karen Skinner (# 815) was born in Brookings, SD, (population 5,000), home to South Dakota State University (“which meant that our high school had excellent teachers/high standards for kids of SDSU professors,” Karen says). 

Karen learned early on — life has its ups and down — but she has “always persisted!”  By the time she graduated high school, her  older sister had finished college (on a full academic scholarship) with a pharmacy degree.  Her brother later earned an engineering degree using the GI Bill.  And Karen — “Well our family had no money for my college ambitions. I just wanted out of that little town….maybe be a flight attendant or a Radio City Music Hall Rockette.  Unfortunately both required a height of 5’7” and I was only 5’5”,” she says.  Instead she used money she saved from odd jobs and spent one year learning to be a secretary at Mankato Minnesota Commercial College.

In late 1962 she became an early version of Mary Tyler Moore as a secretary in Minneapolis (and this was ten years before Mary Tyler Moore’s iconic TV series).  Then the obvious next steps — marriage in 1964 and baby Scott the next year.  By the time the stork brought Scott, Karen had moved with her husband to Kansas City where she worked with Owens Corning.  (Your intrepid reporter will not repeat Karen’s description of these particular years…)  In 1968 a newly divorced Karen (with Scott in tow) returned “home” to Brookings where she worked in the SDSU Bookstore — the “biggest mistake of my life” she says.  The next year she returned to Kansas City.

From this point on, Kansas City essentially became her hometown (1970-2019). It was there she ventured into the world of advertising.  Eventually she became the first woman elected (twice) to the Board of Directors of the KC Advertising Club.  Ultimately she moved into sales (commercial printing paper and then 4C printing) “…because the money was so much better!”

By 1983 she met the love of her life — M-R Horst (thereafter and forever  known simply as ‘M-R’).  Life was good — very good —  but tragedy struck in 1990 when M-R developed pancreatic cancer and died in October 1991 (“…the lowest point of my life…what we didn’t have in time we had in intensity…”).  She claims 8 grandchildren - full, step and half.  “They have awesome talents and I’m super proud.”

Starting with a trip to London in 1986 - “I was blessed to have like-minded friends with a good, inexpensive way to travel and began living my long-held dream.”  Travels eventually took her to over twenty countries — (plus several Caribbean islands).  Her favorite of all — Italy…the language, scenery, food, arts, culture were (and are) perfect.  

So what does a bright, energetic widow do now?   Karen always wanted a college degree, and she eventually graduated with honors in May 2000 with a BLA degree from UMKC  — she loved the learning process and says she  “was usually the oldest person in class and frequently older than the professors themselves.”

She discovered “two-stepping” and country line dancing in 1993.  “I bought a pair of jeans and cowboy boots and had over a decade of dancing, partying and discovering a different life style.  Bought my first motorcycle in 1995 and rode my own big Harley Davidson for 20 years,” she says.  Her longest ride with a group of other riders was up north and all around Lake Superior into Canada and back to KC. 

She met a man who would become her husband — Terry Skinner — and they married in 2007.  Sadly Terry was killed in a car accident on his way to work in June 2008. 

In the early 2010’s, Karen began dipping her toes in the ocean around Fort Lauderdale. When she decided to buy here at CRTN in 2015, she sold her Harley.  As an acknowledged “professional, persistent volunteer” she jumped into countless activities here.  Her leadership of the Social Committee, as well as the Book Club have made her known to most of the building’s residents. She volunteers at Poverello Food Pantry and hopes to volunteer at the Broward Performing Arts Center.

“Growing up in a one-horse town in South Dakota inspired me to want to see the world and I’m working on that”.   Covid-19 has put something of a crimp in her touring this past year, but she’s getting ready to visit Boston, Philadelphia and Portland — the major cities left she’s never visited. 

During her (not) boring life Karen has lived far and wide, experienced highs and lows, and yet is always looking for the next adventure.  Pretty good for such a boring person! 
 
 

Richard Stimpson # 1414

By Charlie Isola #408
Published December 2020 The Tower News
 
I’ve always wanted “the eye” of an artist. The eye that can make a design appear from space. Richard Stimpson, apartment 1414, has that eye, that gift, and during a 31 year career working in architectural firms, he has used that skill and turned architectural renderings into visual representations the layperson can understand.
 
His dad, an engineer who designed ships, saw the gift. He used to bring his students’ designs (blueprints of ships) home to correct them. Richard took them and filled them in - drawing exactly the way the ship would look when assembled. His dad thought someone had helped him...but no, he “saw” and drew the ship, based on a bunch of lines.
 
Richard grew up in a tiny coastal town on Casco Bay, Maine, and from an early age, sketched the islands which faced his family’s house.  He graduated from the Maine College of Art and for the next 31 years worked for several architectural firms, helping clients see what the designer’s blueprints for chairs, desks, office buildings, private residences would look like when completed.
 
His skills kept him in high demand with several firms, and it didn’t hurt that he did his own marketing at the beginning of his career. (I love the following story.) After graduating, he packed lots of drawings, a baloney sandwich (which he ate on Cadillac Mountain and heartily enjoyed), and as he crumpled up the sandwich bag, a piece of paper fell out. “Nicholas Holt,” the name of an architect in Ellsworth, ME was written on it. Even though it was close to 5 PM on a Friday, he called, and got an invitation to come in for an interview. The interview led to dinner with Nick and his wife that evening, and then an eleven year relationship with the firm.
 
As we talked (we met masked and socially distanced), it was evident from the inflection in his voice and his facial expressions that he had loved working there. In addition to the “celebrity clients” with whom the firm worked, they designed federally and state-funded senior housing projects and schools. “What is a big deal for me,” he said, “is just seeing the good that architecture can do - art and architecture making people’s lives easier.”
 
His desire to work in as many environments as possible brought him to New York during sabbaticals from Maine. Among several projects, he worked with Benjamin Baldwin’s firm, and produced the sketches for Louis Kahn’s Mellon Center at Yale, and for I.M. Pei’s design of a private home for the owner of Radio Shack. (Kahn is responsible for the FDR Memorial in NYC; I.M. Pei is responsible for the Pyramid at the Louvre, arguably his most well-known work.)
 
Richard spent the largest part of his career in Cambridge, MA with a large architecture and engineering firm, and retired in 2012, He continues to pursue his passions, here or in Provincetown, painting, sketching, and riding his “trusty old bike.” His paintings are inspired by Cape Cod, and by his travels in the U.K., France, Germany, Greece, Scandinavia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
 
If you didn’t have the chance to see Richard’s art at the Broward Art Guild Gallery in October, check it out: ‚Äčhttps://www.crtnfl.com/about-us/?view=list&album=11
 
During our time together we wondered about art, music, etc., and still have not answered these questions: “What determines value in art?” and “Do colors make noise?” We did agree with Paul Klee that “A line is just a dot that goes for a walk.” Sounds so easy.

Bill Walk #1710

By Charlie Isola # 408 
Published October 2018 The Tower News
 
Have you ever -
officiated at an Olympic event? 
won state championships when you were 40, 50 or 60? 
been invited to the White House? 

Bill Walk, #1710, can answer yes to each of these questions! 
Bill and his wife, Marilyn have lived in CRTN since the mid 90s. He started playing table tennis (AKA ping pong, as it was called by Parker Brothers) in the basement of his family’s home in Pittsburgh when he was 11, and played in his first tournament when he was 17. Bill has won state championships in Pennsylvania in his age class (40s, 50s & 60s) and made it to the national semi-finals for players over 70 in 2006, and over 75 in 2010. 

During his table tennis career, Bill became an accredited umpire and in 1972, umpired matches between the US and China teams, and then was invited to the White House, along with both teams, to meet President Nixon and his National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger. Those games, coined “ping pong diplomacy”, and his White House visit are among his favorite memories. In 1992 he umpired at the Barcelona Olympics and was inducted into the USA Table Tennis Hall of Fame in 2010. 

Locally, Bill has played at the Broward County Table Tennis club in Davie, a professional venue with regulation tables (6 feet by 9 feet) and 40x20 rubberized flooring under the tables. Bill, 82, is still an international referee, but has had to take a break for surgery to fix a spinal stenosis problem. He plans to return to the sport once rehab is done and he and Marilyn return to Fort Lauderdale in January. Thanks, Bill for letting us share your story with the CRTN community. 

Kevin Winkler # 1416

A LIFE IN THREE ACTS - SO FAR.  
Meet Kevin Winkler, Apartment 1416.
By Charlie Isola # 408 
Published September 2020 in The Tower News
 
Prologue:
Kevin was born and spent the first 16 years of his life in rural Oklahoma.  He was a junior in high school when his family moved to San Diego.  He had always wanted to dance, and the move gave him the opportunity to begin studying professionally.  He majored in theater in college and did summer stock through his college years.
 
Act I - Dancer
He  moved to New York after college and danced professionally until his mid 30’s in Broadway shows (Little Me revival, Wind in The Willows), summer stock, regional theaters, industrials, and the national tour of Cats.  (See photo below).
 
Act II, Scene 1 - Librarian
In his mid 30’s Kevin made a career change and enrolled in the School of Library Science at Columbia University, which at the time was the oldest library school in the United States.  His was the next to last class to graduate from the school before it closed.
He described the experience as one akin to being “shot out of a cannon.”  While dancing takes an incredible physical discipline and stamina, he had to regain the discipline of being back in a classroom after so many years. 
 
He was able to marry his passion for theater and the arts during his internships, and worked at the Film Study Center at the Museum of Modern Art in New York where he was responsible for cataloguing a collection of materials from Martin Scorsese’s early career. 
 
Upon graduation, he took a “slight” detour from the arts and joined Citibank as an entry level research librarian.  While the subject matter was far different from that at MoMA, he enjoyed working with corporate research materials.  It was also the dawn of online database searching, which his job required, and something he particularly relished.  
 
Act II, Scene 2 - Librarian/Author
In his second year at Citibank, Kevin applied for an opening at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center.  So, another marriage: his interest in musical theater and research.  There he found himself inside a library with a rich collection of all things theater.  He held a series of archival and administrative positions at the library, and for several years taught a popular class on performing arts librarianship as a visiting instructor at the Pratt Institute’s library school.  
 
While working at the library, Kevin wrote and presented a conference paper on Bob Fosse.  An editor for Oxford University Press was in the audience and asked if he were interested in writing a biography of Fosse.  Fosse created such memorable shows such as The Pajama Game, Damn Yankees, Sweet Charity, Pippin, Chicago, the movies Cabaret and All That Jazz, and Liza With a Z for television.  
 
He thought, why not do some research on a giant in the musical theater world for a prestigious publishing house?  Kevin started work on the book in 2010, the same year he was promoted to Deputy Director for all New York Public Library branches.  
 
Act III - Author
Kevin retired from the Library in 2015 and was able to concentrate on the biography, which was published in 2018.  Kevin was determined the book would not focus on the sensational aspects of his life.  (If you’ve watched Fosse/Verdon on HBO, you know what he’s referring to.)  The most rewarding part of his research was going through Fosse and Verdon’s business and personal papers at the Library of Congress.  His mantra is, “The archives never lie.”  People may lie, or forget things, but the archives always tell the truth.  And Fosse’s papers revealed unexpected aspects of his personality.  For instance, Kevin discovered many letters from dancers thanking Fosse for the generous spirit he showed them during auditions.  The book is titled Big Deal: Bob Fosse and Dance in the American Musical, and is available in hardcover, paperback, on Kindle, and as an audiobook.  
 
As a result of his work on the book, Kevin was invited to be an on-camera commentator for the recent documentary, Merely Marvelous: The Dancing Genius of Gwen Verdon, available via Amazon Prime.  
 
Next up: Kevin is working on a book about 5’18” Tommy Tune (The 6’ 6” Tune’s description of his actual height.)  As Kevin explains, Tune is a transitional figure between the great director-choreographers like Agnes de Mille, Jerome Robbins, Bob Fosse, Gower Champion, and Michael Bennett, and a new generation of director-choreographers now working on Broadway.  
Kevin and his husband Richard Schneider (a singer and member of a European tour of Evita) moved to CRTN in 2019, are now Florida residents and plan to return to their apartment in New York during (normal) summers.
 

Greg Zorbas #1112

From Near Nothing to the Hall of Fame 
By Thom Neff #303
Published February 2020 The Tower News
 
Unit owners at CRTN are extremely fortunate to have many unusual and eclectic neighbors.  These special people do not automatically reveal themselves, but if we pay attention, mingle and talk with each other, great surprises result.  Greg’s story is special.  Greg and Suzanne Zorbas are Canadian snowbirds from Toronto who reside in Unit #1112.  Greg and Suzanne have three married sons, two live in Toronto and the third in Saskatoon.  Their sons’ families, including 9 grandchildren visit annually.  Greg and Suzanne are active in the social life at CRTN and in the many programs at Saint Demetrios’ Greek Orthodox church in Ft. Lauderdale. They have been coming to Ft. Lauderdale since  2008, and purchased at CRTN in 2013.  
 
Greg’s story begins in 1944 in Zevgolatio (Corinthias) Greece.  WWII was ongoing, and Greece was occupied by the German army.  Greg was the last of 6 children (3 sisters and 2 brothers), the oldest 15 years ahead of Greg.  There were no jobs, no money, and little food. In the late 1940’s and early 1950’s many Europeans immigrated to the US, Canada, Australia and other countries to pursue a better life for themselves and their children. Two of Greg’s sisters used the sponsorship program in 1954 to get to Canada, his brother followed in 1955, and the other sister in 1956.  Greg and his two parents followed in 1958, and settled in Belleville, Ontario, about 80 miles east of Toronto.  Greg was 14 years old and spoke no English.  But, he had one passion: soccer.  Growing up in a very poor country where the only sport for people was soccer, he played barefoot with a tennis ball sent from Canada by a relative - and he was hooked.
 
Greg worked in a diner run by his parents and organized, played on and coached his high school soccer team (which won a championship).  After high school, he went to Ryerson University where he studied business and played for the varsity soccer team which won two championships.  After he married Suzanne, he took a job at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario where he coached and played on their newly organized soccer team.  Greg finished his BPHE and MA degrees in Physical Education, and coached the soccer team for 28 years.  
 
His teams won 12 Ontario (state) championships, 2 National championships, and 3 national  bronze medals. The team made the playoffs 24 consecutive years and ranked in the top 10 nationally most of the time. Many of his players were named All-Canadian and pursued professional careers. 
 
Suzanne was a key part of Greg’s success; she supported him in raising three sons who played on the varsity soccer team.  She also invited the team, family and friends for home-cooked meals on Sunday nights while maintaining a full time teaching position. This was part of Greg’s recruiting approach as he would promise potential players, and their families, that they would find a second “family” with his team.  Recruiting was not easy as they had no scholarships for soccer!  Greg achieved much in academic roles: in addition to teaching full time, he served as Director of men’s Athletics, Director of Sports Administration, and instructor for coaches and managers across Canada.  He was inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame at Ryerson University, Laurentian University, the City of Sudbury and named coach of the year on numerous occasions.  There are many other awards and achievements, but one would have to conclude from reviewing just what’s noted here, that Greg’s “story” falls into the category of, “You can’t make this up!”
 
What a community we have here at CRTN!!!
Thank you to the residents who have shared their stories with us.  We would like to tell your story too.  Contact Terry Johnson #809, or use the Contact Us form on the Home Page of the website to submit your suggestion.