Talent lights up Lourdes' Luminations

Susan and Allan Block with Tim Shew at Luminations featuring Toledo Ballet, Opera, Symphony, and former Toledoan,  Mr. Shew of Broadway fame, at Lourdes College, Saturday,  April 27, 2013.
Susan and Allan Block with Tim Shew at Luminations featuring Toledo Ballet, Opera, Symphony, and former Toledoan, Mr. Shew of Broadway fame, at Lourdes College, Saturday, April 27, 2013.

Lourdes University's signature fund-raising event Luminations on April 27 in the Franciscan Center showcased Toledo's performing arts while raising more than $260,000 for scholarships.

The featured performers for the 13th annual event received thunderous applause after their performances, who were introduced by Chrys Peterson of WTOL-TV, Channel 11, a Lourdes Masters Organizational Leadership graduate. The Toledo Ballet, Toledo Opera, and Toledo Symphony Jazz Trio impressed everyone. Former Toledoan Tim Shew received a standing ovation after singing a medley of Broadway show tunes. He took the night off from his starring role in Evita on Broadway. He also has an upcoming role in The Little Mermaid.

Presented by Sylvania Franciscan Health, MassMutual, and The Blade's parent company Block Communications, Inc., the gala netted a record $264,000 for the scholarship fund. That brings the total to nearly $1.9 million in 13 years.

Honorary chairmen Allan Block, chairman of Block Communications, Inc., and his wife, Susan, joined Lourdes President Janet Robinson and her husband, Gene, in welcoming more than 530 guests to celebrate Lourdes and the treasured performing arts of the Toledo area. Mr. Block said he and his wife were humbled to be honored and he gave accolades to the university as an outstanding values-centered educational institution in northwest Ohio, transforming students to become leaders of tomorrow.


Supporters sipped cocktails and nibbled hors d'oeuvres as the Berlin Brothers played tunes. Mingling at the $125 per person event were U.S. Rep. Bob Latta (R., Bowling Green) and his wife, Marcia; board chairman Tom Geiger and wife, Paulette; Sharon Speyer and Dean Monske, John and Yolanda Szuch, Mike and Carol Anderson, Jerry Jones, Dick and Fran Anderson, Mary Jo Anderson, and Jim Findlay and Pam Schaefer.

A silent auction included a 3-month lease on a Mercedes convertible donated by Paul Devers and bought by Jim and Mary Pope.

Incoming president David Livingston, who officially starts July 1 and will be inaugurated Sept. 22, was there with his wife Joan. They were part of an auction item for Dinner with the President.

Nicole Cappelletty, a Lourdes student, gave heartfelt thanks to guests for their generous support. That enticed the bids for the live scholarship auction which raised $135,000. The first bid was by Mr. and Mrs. Block, followed by Gary Thieman for Medical Mutual.

Desserts and dancing followed. Seen were Keith and Susan Burwell, Bob LaClair, Dick and Robin LaValley, Ann Galloway, Paul and Pam Hollenbeck, Scott and Robin Libbe, Jim and Anna Hartung, and Jon and Arleen Levin.

"Don't Give Up the Ship," a commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Lake Erie, was the theme for the third annual Admiral's Ball to benefit the Maritime Academy of Toledo. The April 27 event presented by Eastman & Smith Ltd. and held in the Fifth Third Center lobby was attended by more than 160 supporters who helped raise $20,000.

Uniformed cadets escorted everyone into the evening's festivities where school superintendent Renee Marazon and her husband, David, welcomed everyone.

Retired Interlake Steamship Capt. Russ Brohl of the Perry Group talked about the Battle of Lake Erie re-enactment planned for Labor Day weekend in Port Clinton. Emcee Lou Hebert, local veteran news caster, kept the evening on target.

New this year was the honorary committee that included Toledo Mayor Michael Bell, chairman, Jim Brennan, Jr., Larry Burns, Paul LaMarre III, George Sarantou, Lance and Dee Talmage, Paul Toth, Jr., Dock D. Treece, and Dock David Treece.

Among the guests at the $150 per person event was salty dog Mary Dalby, owner/operator of the Sandpiper boat for cruises on the Maumee River.

The elegant and talented Elinor "Ellie" Shutts Baker will be remembered Saturday from 5 to 7 p.m. at Carranor Hunt and Polo Club. Friends are invited to attend the soiree hosted by her son, Bernard R. "Robin" Baker III, and her niece, Eleanor M. "Sis" Hight.

Mrs. Baker, who died at the age of 93 on Sept. 1 was a former Blade writer for society, music, fashion, and interior design under the pseudonym Lynn Stevenson. Her father was the owner of the Miami Herald.

She had many connections to The Blade. Her husband, the late attorney Bernard Baker, president and chairman of B.R. Baker Co. menswear retail shop, was a Blade corporate secretary. As close friends of Paul Block, Jr., co-publisher of The Blade and his wife, Marge McNab Block, head of the Features Department, Mrs. Baker was the godmother of John Robinson Block, publisher and editor-in-chief of The Blade.

But she was also much more, and will be remembered as a talented, charming, and generous woman.

The classically trained lyric soprano sang in the Toledo Opera, with the Toledo Symphony, and for numerous musical organizations in the city. She helped found the Toledo Opera Guild and was its first board president.

Other active community involvement included the Junior League of Toledo, Family Services in Toledo, the Toledo Society for the Blind, Toledo Council of Social Agencies, the Toledo Hospital Women's Auxiliary, Toledo Animal Shelter Auxiliary, and the Country Garden Club.

A Perrysburg resident until she and her husband moved to the Palm Beach area in Florida, she and her husband were members of Belmont Country Club and St. Timothy's Episcopal Church. Mrs. Baker formed the Ladies Non-Athletic League of Perrysburg.

Soooo, cute. Puppies and kittens, held by volunteers, caught the hearts of guests at the 12th Annual Paw Hoorah! benefit for Planned Pethood held April 27 at Toledo Country Club.

The event netted $58,000 thanks to presenting sponsors Dr. Bob Esplin of SylvaniaVET and Dr. Steve Reece of Anthony Wayne Animal Hospital, and Petco Foundation, Trifexis and Yark Automotive Group, along with numerous other sponsors.

The group's mission is to reduce the overpopulation of dogs and cats through education and low-cost spay/neuter programs and to rescue, rehabilitate, and place adoptable dogs and cats into good permanent homes.

Emcees Tony Geftos and Christina Williams of WTVG-TV, Channel 13 kept the evening barking along as the Gene Parker Trio played background tunes.

The leaders of the pack were event chairmen Doy DiNardo, Jen Fry, and Merlin Schrinel, assisted by a baker's dozen committee. Board president is Laurie Cantrell.