Thursday, Jul 28, 2016
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Barbara Hendel

Best Valentine party, ever!

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All the human emotions struck a chord at the Toledo Opera Gala Saturday night in the Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle. It was a nearly full house as 1,700 opera buffs were ready and waiting to experience the Greatest Wagner Concert Ever!


IN KEY: Ann Sanford and Bernie Leiter chitchat during the Toledo Club event for the opera gala.


Well, they were almost ready. The gala performance started a half hour late to accommodate guests and participants en route. But the show must go on and it did, with gusto and passion after the last of the performers slid into her seat and Maestro Thomas Conlin finished talking.

After the dramatic performance, several guests were bused on back to the Toledo Club, where they had started. They wanted to make a night of it with The Greatest Valentine Party Ever! which included dinner at the Toledo Club, bus transportation to the opera and back, and a party afterwords complete with dancing to HepCat Revival.

Classy and elegant was the dinner as well as the guests, all gussied up in tuxedos, suits, cocktail dresses, and gowns. There was a little bit of everything, and a lot of red in honor of St. Valentine's Day. Pink, red, and white flowers from Bartz Viviano centered the white linen-covered tables set with red napkins and black-covered chairs. Chocolate hearts, compliments of Schakolad, were at each place setting and orchids garnished the dinner plates. Just the right touch was piano music by Jim Gottron during dinner.


SAY IT WITH FLOWERS: Bruce Mason and his sweetheart, Rhonda Mrock-Parks, admire the towering flowers at the Toledo Club.


A wide variety of patrons joined the party, including Jonathan Aring of Chicago, who came home just to see the Wagner performance: He enticed longtime friend Jeffrey Hodges of Toledo to join him. Also seen was new Toledo Edison President Trent Smith and his wife, Lori, with former president now head of Ohio, Jim Murray with his wife, Kay. Jim Pope and Sally Coulter were there too, as were Bruce Mason and Rhonda Mrock-Parks, who came from Michigan to attend the performance and party. Board president Peter Garforth and his wife, Valerie, were delighted that their son Sam came all the way from Sherman, Texas.

Also among the about 180 dinner guests were Ann and Alan Goodrich, Norma Weiher, Patrice and Lyman Spitzer, Barbara and Dick Baker, Sandra and Chris Seiple, Marie Vogt, Myron Welch and Paula Norwine, Sarah Bertram, new Toledoans Tony and Donna Hurley, Barbara and Lou Tartaglia, Jan Skunda and Chuck Krueger, Phyllis and Ford Cauffiel, Bob Hadley and Roiann Alozaibi, Ernest Weaver and Althea Kaul, Denise and Richard Hasbrook, Jerry and Dortha Baum, and association president-elect Hussien Shousher and his wife, Randa. Michael and Patricia Brinker donated a custom tuxedo for the auction at the party that included a St. Valintin Love Birds piece by Baccarat, a Swarovski crystal and silver necklace, earrings, and bracelet set by artist Barbara O'Brian, a Lynx coat, and more.

Ann Sanford, there with Bernie Leiter, hosted an intimate soiree in her home a few days prior for guest star Erin Wood. Among the privy at that party were philanthropists Posy Huebner and Tom Tank.

Event chairman were Judit Gabor and Wafaa Hanna. Sponsors included Toledo Edison, Promedica Health System, and Eastman&Smith Ltd. Totals aren't in yet, but past galas have netted up to $8,000.

St. Valentine's Day is tomorrow, but several folks got an early start by opening their hearts and pockets for charity.


HAVING A HEART: Sally Binard and Tony Rasczyk know that the event at Fifth THird Field has hit a home run for the community


LOVE isn't always measured in dollars and cents, but at the Heart & Soul 2006: Caring for our Community, patrons dug deeply into their pockets to help others. The event, in the Roost at Fifth Third Field Saturday, was the second annual benefit for Harbor Behavioral Healthcare and the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Greater Toledo.

The $75 per couple, $40 per person admission included grazing and music by Ed Levy and a silent auction, sponsored by Signature Bank, N.A., that featured athletic event tickets, and items donated by area artists, designers, restaurants, and specialty stores. Betty Lou Rowe picked up a Toledo Mud Hens package, a sterling silver ring, and a cheery print titled "Things are looking Up."

Everything was, red, pink, and white, from the table linens to the flowers and the flashing red hearts guests could buy for $5. Muddy The Mud Hen flirted with the ladies during a special appearance.

Among the 140 guests were David and Roberta Patridge, Ken White, Chad and Sherry Sudderberg, Laura Draheim, Mary Jo and Barry Swartzberg, Mike and Ann Pistilli.

Guests took home goodie bags tagged, "Thank you from the bottom of our hearts." They were filled with heart-shaped cookies and saving certificates from sponsors. Michael Gurtzweiler baked about 400 cookies and other treats, including the tempting Russian tea cakes.

Guests basked in the Afterglow that followed at the Leslie Adams Studio, also downtown. Those who paid $20 to the event, sponsored by Consign-It Home Interiors, Styl-Rite, and Socrates Cafe, Ltd., enjoyed art, coffees, sweets & eats, and a cash bar.

The planning committee - chaired by Sally Binard - and Tony Rasczyk included Denise Benton, Gayle Campbell, Kate Haessler, and Carol Paul. Among the vast list of volunteers were Darlene Rasczyk, Francine Lewandowski, and Kim Gibson. The committee estimates the net will be at least $6,000.

Harbor Behavioral Healthcare and NAMI help the mentally ill and their families.

SERIOUS cat and dogs lovers gathered at The Clarion Saturday night in support of Maumee Valley Save-A-Pet "My Furry Valentine" gala presented by Sylvania VET. Guests purred over cocktails and hors d'oeuvres as their shopped the silent auction. After grazing over a delectable gourmet dinner, it was time for some serious barking as they vied for their favorite items on the live auction block. Going, going, gone! Dave Borkowski, who just signed on with the Houtston Astros, bought a Las Vegas vacation package.

From Sterling Heights, Mich., Mr. Borkowski met his wife, Jill, a Toledo gal, while playing for the Tigers. Mrs. Borkowski was among the committe members that included Gale Bishop, Janet O'Brien, and June Remley, head of Save-A-Pet, an all-volunteer organization.

The event sold out at 200 capcacity, and the estimated net is about $12,000. That's thanks to the sponsors, the guests, and the TICA cat show, which booked the hotel for the weekend and donated the use of the Atrium for the event.


HERE'S TO TRADITION: From left, Larry Davenport, Molly Pearson, the Rev. Michael Billian, and Joe Herman enjoy an evening of tradition at Cardinal Stritch High School.


ALSO pouring their hearts out for a cause were the guests at Cardinal Stritch High School's 18th Annual Reverse Raffle and Silent Auction presented by Fifth Third Bank, Saturday in the school gym.

It was the first time the event was held on campus, which received a $1.5 million makeover this summer. A red-carpet entrance lined with ferns and twinkle lights led guests into a sea of red, black, and white from the crisp linens, candlelight and champagne buckets on each table, to the sheer drapery and the chandelier hanging from the ceiling.

Among the nearly 450 gadders were Ron and Ronny Zak, Dale and Phyllis Seymour, Buckey and Verna Demko, Bud and Teresa Zsigray, Joe and Amy Herman, Bernie and Michelle Quilter, Dick and Cindy Draeger, Jim and Kim Gasser, Al and Tina Huntermark, Jim Jaros and his uncle, the Rev. Joseph Jaros, and Bob and Bobby Reynolds.

"Go Cards!" A cocktail hour gave people plenty of time to peruse the silent-auction items, including five desks painted and designed by the school's art students. The princess desk, a pink creation complete with a tiara, was designed by Senior Kara Jaegly and went to Ann Gallaher for $350. A weekend in Steamboat Springs, Colo., raised $1,000, thanks to David and Amy Barton, both from the Class of 1980.

The dinner by Michael's Gourmet Catering was delish. The Rev. David Reinhart, school president, led guests in a champagne "Toast to Tradition." Alumnus Gino D'Emilio and the Maxx Band provided musical entertainment.

A live auction sparked bidding wars. A special auction to benefit the Father John Stites Scholarship Fund, a special tuition assistance program, raised more than $60,000. A $25,000 matching gift contribution by the LaValley Foundation matched every contribution dollar. High bidders were Phyllis and Dale Seymour, Larry and Susie Davenport, Drew and Terri Gocsik, and Rebecca Ware. Teachers Kelleen Reed, Amy Morrow, and Father Stites bid as well.

The Reverse Raffle included 250 certificate numbers that were sold in advance then drawn that night. The grand prize was $6,000 cash. The winning ticket holders included Oregon Mayor Marge Brown, Paul and Elaine Raglow, Rick and Kathy Niehaus, and Jim Intagliata.

Not including the scholarship auction, the net is roughly estimated at $30,000.


SEND IN THE CLOWNS: From left, Jim Murray, Wendy Gramza, and Bob Savage enjoy the festivities.


Gab, gab, gab. You get a bunch of clowns together and that's what they do. The Clown Corps, which walks in parades and visits children in the hospital, gathered Friday at the home of Kay and fellow member Jim Murray to just have fun. And no joke: Wine, beer, soft drinks, and plenty of fabulous food from stuffed mushrooms and shrimp to tasty heart-shaped cookies were on hand.

Leading the pack was Bob Savage, president, gave a short presentation. Painted portraits of each member are available; Larry Boyer had one painted. Because he sold his for the cause for $1,000, he is having another one painted. Group posters are also available.

Sue Morgan is organizing the group to appear in conjunction with the opera Pagliacci in the spring. The clowns will nix their regular costumes for mascot gear to wear at the Hens All-Star game in July.

The program over, Mr. Savage joked, "Stay as long as you want, the Murrays stay up late and always have lots of lights on!" Of course, Mr. Murray is the big chief of Ohio for Toledo Edison.

Season Steelers ticket holder since 1972, Mr. Murray had plenty of team memorabilia; He's been to every Super Bowl in which the Steelers have won. When they've lost, he has not been present.

Among the about 40 clowns and guests present were John and Johanna Hull, Rolly and Jane Able, Pam Herschberger, Crystal Jordan, Stacy Fowler, Larry Schmakel, Keith and Susan Burwell, Marcia Rubini, Bill and Diane Kitson, and new members Nancy and Mike Miller.

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