• Sally Gerak

Social Lights July #2, 2019

In this issue:

  • Alzheimer's Association Spring Fling

  • Spirit of Manresa Banquet

  • Motor City Lyric Opera Puccini in a Pink Cadillac

  • Variety Hearts & Stars

  • SKY Foundation Women's Event

  • Women of Tomorrow Inspiring Detroit Dinner

  • Friends of Preservation Bloomfield Spring Fling

  • Starfish Family Services Great Hearts Gala

  • Life Directions Spark of Hope Gala

  • Women’s Division Project HOPE SOS Luncheon

  • Schoenith Celebration

Alzheimer’s Association Spring Soiree

Neiman Marcus once again embraced the Alzheimer’s Association mission by hosting Spring Soiree for 225 supporters ($75 & up tickets). Guests, including 10 caregivers, sipped, nibbled, sampled spa services, bought raffle tickets for luxury shoes and shopped while DJ Jared Sykes made music. The stylish evening raised nearly $70,000 for the local association’s care and support programs.


1. Event co-chairs Andrew & Danielle Petcoff, Nicole Gopoian Wirick & Adam Wirick Not pictured: co-chairs Whitney & S. Eliot Weiner


2. Sarah Deson, Jack Sights

3. Host committee member Debbie Stein, sponsors Tara Grekin and Hillary Shaw

4. Sponsor Alex Barnett Wertheimer, Jenna Klar

5. Sponsors Larry & Lori Rapp, Alzheimer’s Association’s Emily Remington, invitation artist Laurie Tennent


6. Sponsor Dr. Randy Shaw, Steven Stein, sponsor Dr. Steven Grekin

7. Ken & Mari Barnett

8. Sue Kleinpell, Katie Valenti

9. Alzheimer’s Association’s Maureen O’Reilly, Renee Cortright

10. Christina and Janet Morelli

11. Carolyn Carroll, Trish McElvoy’s Dayle Kolb

Spirit of Manresa Banquet

The annual fundraiser for Manresa Jesuit Retreat House attracted 325 supporters ($150 & up tickets) to Shenandoah Country Club for cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, silent auction bidding and touring the

Chaldean Cultural Center before WJR’s Marie Osborne emceed the dinner program. It starred keynote speaker Fr. Bernie Owens, SJ, who was introduced by Isaac Hanna, a friend made during Fr. Bernie’s 19 years at the Bloomfield Hills facility. His remarks focused on his recent five years working in Kenya and contained moving stories that illustrated “…we humans, no matter what culture or century, are far more alike than different.” Manresa does not make fundraiser proceeds public.


1. Clark Durant; Jerry & Kathy Smith, board member Frank Migliazzo

2. Theresa Weber, bidding in silent auction

3. Caroline & Robert Dempster, Mara Hart Filo

4. Keynote speaker Fr. Bernie Owens, SJ, (center) with Balsaam & Isaac Hanna

5. Jan Wade, Bob & Whitney Shapland, honorary co-chair Kathy Wagoner, Scott Ballard, Tim Currier, Dennis Wade

6. Chris & Beth Mergel, Kevin Dean, event committee members Debra & board chair Keller McGaffey

7. Allyson Bakewell, Jack McInerney, Carol Chisholm

8. Mike & Kathy Doonan, Moira & Leonard Prekel, Mary Lee & Bob Stoessel

9. Honorary co-chair Lori Hiltz (center) with Diane & Paul Widlak

10. Holy Name Parish Pastor Msgr. John Zenz, Allen Wall

11. Nawal Shallal, Max Shayota, Dave Nona

12. U of D Mercy’s Fr. Gilbert Sunghera, SJ, Maureen Beckman, Pope Francis Center’s Fr. Tim McCabe, SJ

13. John & emcee WJR’s Marie Osborne

14. Sergio & Jackie Pagés

15. Sponsors

16. Benefactors

Motor City Lyric Opera Puccini in a Pink Cadillac

The MCLO, which takes opera to the public schools, attracted 150 supporters to Puccini in a Pink Cadillac at the Stanley Kresge and Fred Fisher mansions in Detroit to salute the late Aretha Franklin. Performers included tenor Rod Dixon and sopranos Caitlin Lynch and Alaina Brown plus the Detroit Schools for the Arts Ladies Ensemble, which did a vocal tribute to the legend. Thanks also to Erskine Law’s sponsorship, the event raised some $35,000 for MCLO’s mission.


1. Patrick & MCLO Founder & Artistic Director Mary Callaghan Lynch, soprano Caitlin Lynch, event co-host Paddy Lynch

2. Tenor Rod Dixon (center) with event co-hosts Brian St. Germain (left) and Jim Draper

3. MCLO board member Donna & Dusty Rhodes

4. Soprano Caitlin Lynch, MCLO board member / Title sponsor Erskine Law’s Natalie Yaw

Variety’s Hearts & Stars

Memories linger from this annual charity gala that attracted 250 supporters ($250 & $500 tickets) to the Townsend Hotel and honored Joe and Rosie Vicari…During cocktails, Variety president Lois Shaevsky reminded emcee Paul W. Smith that one of his first events after taking over the WJR morning show was a Variety benefit - the reveal of the Vicaris’ Bloomfield Township Andiamo Restaurant renovation…Presenting sponsor Lincoln of Troy’s Paul Sabatini got a tad chocked up telling how meaningful it was for his team to build a swing set for a Variety child with spina bifida…Executive director Michelle Murphy reported that her 12-year-old Annabelle can tie her shoes, play the piano and has an amazing tennis serve with her myoelectric arm from the Variety Myoelectric Center. The applause for Annabelle matched the standing ovation the Vicaris got when they accepted the award for their legendary generosity. The event raised $240,000 for the local Variety chapter. A week later, at the Variety World Conference in Quebec, it won an International Care Award for its innovative food and nutrition programs - Variety Feeds Kids and the Variety Produce Rescue Mission.


1. Sponsor Lincoln of Troy’s Paul Sabatini & co-chair Rhonda Sabatini, co-chair / Wish Upon A Star Club members Laurie & Dr. Jeffrey Fischgrund

2. Sponsor / Variety president / committee member Lois Shaevsky, committee member Kim Smith, honoree / sponsor Rosie Vicari

3. Honoree / sponsor Joe Vicari, his daughter Theresa & her husband Chris Ahee

4. Sponsors Graham & Sally Orley

5. Marti & committee member Ruthie Seltzer, sponsors Ed & Felicia Shaw

6. Sponsors Tom & Vicki Celani

7. Donna & sponsor PNC Bank’s Ric DeVore

8. Wish Upon A Star Club members Dan Gliniecki & committee member Susan Cohen

9. Wish Upon A Star Club members Paul & Jan Hoge

10. Wish Upon A Star Club members Joann & Steve Gordon

11. Wish Upon A Star Club members Peggy & Dr. Mark Saffer

12. Dan Walsh, Dr. Ora Pescovitz, Wish Upon A Star Club members Maggie & Bob Allesee

13. Committee member Susan Kehoe, Wish Upon A Star Club member David King

14. Committee member Francine Wunder & Ed Donnan

15. Nick & Lauren Aloisio, emcee Paul W. Smith

16. Nick & Lauren Aloisio, sponsor Lincoln of Troy’s Paul Sabatini

17. Sponsors

18. Sponsors

19. Club membership = $500 donation

SKY Foundation Women’s Event

Sheila Kasselman’s Sky Foundation moved its annual Women’s Event from a private home to Bloomfield Hills Country Club and 180 supporters ($100 ticket) turned out to hear about the latest in Pancreatic Cancer research. The University of Pittsburgh’s Dr. Aatur Singhi got everybody’s attention with the computer chips he put at each place. Explaining that they were DNA sequencing chips, he detailed how they represent the future of research into Pancreatic cancer, which he declared to be genetic. The evening’s main message was: “Exciting new technology offers a promising future.” The speakers all praised “Sheila’s shoulders” and her dedication to finding an early marker for detecting the disease.


1. Foundation founder Sheila Kasselam, her physician Henry Ford Hospital’s Dr. Shiri Levy, pioneer supporter Char Terry

2. Emcee Channel 7’s Alicia Smith, board member Lauren Eaton

3. Committee member Wendy Powers, Sally Mezey and Nancy Smith

4. Linda Hayman, board / committee member Janice Steinhardt

5. Honorary committee members Edwina Davis and Gerry Barrons

6. Committee members Tracy Mohaidheen and board president Carol Quigley

7. Mary Lou Serb, Charlotte Sypitkowski

8. Elayne Steinhardt, Marianne Pesick

9. Nanette Carmick, Judy Weiner, Jane Jacobson

Women of Tomorrow Inspiring Detroit Dinner

“Women of Tomorrow became my family,” one of the successful participants told the crowd of 200 supporters ($175 tickets) gathered for the annual fundraising dinner at the Detroit Athletic Club. It was emceed with good humor by Paula Tutman and honored Mentor of the Year / Kelly Services’ Leslie Sheidler, philanthropist Katie Valenti, Kellogg Foundation’s Faye Nelson, McCann Worldgroup’s Bill Kolb and M1 Concourse founder Brad Oleshansky. The over-riding theme of the remarks and a video confirmed that mentoring an at-risk high school girl for 24 hours over three years can “truly change a life.” Thanks also to generous sponsors and a silent and brief live auction ($16,700), the third annual event raised more than $206,000 for mentoring and scholarship programs. With 125 mentors they reach more than 1,200 young women in 48 schools.



1. Sam & honoree Katie Valenti

2. Sponsors Laurie Cunnington and Julie & Beaumont's John Fox

4. Honoree / sponsor MRM/McCann’s Bill Kolb and sponsor Kate MacNevin

5. 2018 Mentor of the year / sponsor Schiff Hardin’s Joanne Faycurry, 2019 Mentor of the Year / sponsor Kelly Services’ Leslie Sheidler

6. Sponsors Therese Peace-Agboh, honoree Faye Nelson and Florine Mark

7. Mary Okray, sponsor Henry Ford Health System’s Mary Jane Vogt, emcee WDIV’s Paula Tutman

8. Sponsor / host committee member DSO’s Anne Parsons, Jill Elder, Katana Abbott

9. Marcia Nodel and sponsor Skinnytees’ Linda Schlesinger-Wagner

10. Sponsor McCann’s Ash Farr and Matt Canzano

11. Renee Read, Susanne Dicker Forbes

12. Hilmara & Dr. Samir Noujaim

13. Alan and Colin Sheidler

14. Sponsor Henry Ford Health System’s Denise Brooks-Williams, Tiffany Goode and Lola Aré

15. Heather & Aaron Pishalski




Friends of Preservation Bloomfield Spring Fling

The accent was “in the bag”, so to speak, at Pine Lake Country Club when historian Judith Coebly spoke to the 80 friends of PB about the history of purses. With examples, she explained how their style reflects the political, economic and social factors of the time they are in vogue. Her intriguing descriptions followed an exhibition of purses, some up for bids, and organization founder Pat Hardy’s cogent remarks about the power of friendship. The luncheon that followed was notable for the mouth-watering dessert, a Mud Pie covered with chocolate caramel sauce. The affair was chaired by Contessa Bannon, Patricia Hardy, Patti Jessup, Judy Kelliher and Danielle Rendziperis. More information about the Friends organization, which is responsible for the "second lives" of the historic Barton Farmhouse and Craig Log Cabin, is available at www.preservatiobnbloomfield.org.


1. Co-chair Judy Kelliher, Rosemary Bannon, Friends president Mia Materka

2. Carol Hill, co-chair Patti Jessup, Joy DiCenso, Meredith Bezak

3. Claudine Bacher, Linda Kmit, event co-chair Dannielle Rendziperis

4. Carol Hearrell, event co-chair Pat Hardy

5. Kathy Dalton with one of the auction purses

6. Alice Buckley, Diana Cohen, Jane Buckley

7. Josie Sosa, Julie Oldani

8. Gwen LeVeque, Sharon Jacobs

9. Guest speaker, historian / preservationist Judith Coebly holding a vintage Judith Leibler purse

10. One of the centerpieces, all made by Judy Kelliher

Starfish Family Services Great Hearts Gala

Lauren & Phillip Fisher, Emily & Henry Ford III, W. Howard & Karla Morris and Eileen & Mark Petroff chaired the eighth annual Great Hearts Gala that brought a record number (513) of Starfish Family Services supporters to Ford Field. A highlight of the upbeat evening was the presentation of Great Heart Awards to education innovators: The Kresge Foundation, Detroit Public Schools Community District, Marygrove College and the University of Michigan School of Education. Thanks also to a record number of sponsors, the gala raised a record $1,002,097 for programs that create brighter futures for families.


Life Directions 2019 Tribute Gala

More than 300 supporters of Life Directions’ peer to peer mentor programs gathered at the GM Wintergarden for the 46th annual Spark of Hope Tribute Gala. It honored two women who are outstanding role models for young people - Roman Village-Antonio’s Cucina Italiana owner Enrica (Mama Rita) Rugiero and United Road Executive Chairman Kathleen McCann. In addition to the award program, cocktails, dinner and entertainment, auction action enlivened the event, especially when the use of Rugiero’s ancestral home in Italy brought in $7,000. Thanks also to generous sponsors, the gala raised nearly $300,000 for Life Directions’ unique programs that empower Detroit youth to stay in school, improve their academics and take responsibility for their futures.



1. Tommy (Hit Man) Hearns with honoree Enrica (Mama Rita) Rugiero

2. Honoree Kathleen McCann, sponsor Lear’s Terrance Larkin, Life Directions CEO / co-founder Fr John Phelps

3. Event chair Jim Schmid, sponsor Clean Planet Foods’ Jack Aronson

Women’s Division Project HOPE SOS Luncheon

The Women’s Division Project HOPE hosted its annual SOS Luncheon celebrating the nautical heritage of the organization’s namesake – S.S. HOPE, the first peacetime hospital ship. The event, co-chaired by Laurie Balian Aiello, Patty Ghesquiere, Bettina Gregg, Cheryl Hall Lindsay and Linda Juracek-Lipa, attracted 60 to Bloomfield Hills Country Club. Cocktails and beauty touch ups on the veranda preceded lunch in the ballroom where the red-white-&-blue nautical tablescapes included ring-buoy life-savers. Sea-worthy tunes from film, stage and television by MOT’s Kate Connolly, Benjamin Henri and Brandon Gauvin preceded lunch (creamy cucumber soup with parmesan crisp, the famous Palm Beach Ta-Boo salad entree, Sander’s Hot Fudge Cream Puff sundae). After lunch, the 2019-2020 Board Members were elected and installed: Contessa Bannon, Irene Davis, Bettina Gregg, Cheryl Hall Lindsay, Linda Juracek-Lipa, Tina Prevas, Sherry Saginaw, Diana Shoushanian and Susan Willis-Reickert. All applauded treasure Contessa Bannon‘s report. It noted that when the WD’s donation to Project HOPE's global medical programs is matched five times by a contribution program it totals $76,000.

Schoenith Celebration

When Tom and Diane Schoenith hosted a joyous celebration of their only daughter’s wedding at their historic Roostertail establishment, the current inland lakes’ high waters threatened to strand some of the 260 guests on the pavilion. (They had gathered there for the Hawaiian-themed cocktail hour. When that ended, the 400-foot-long floating bridge to the pavilion was covered with water. A Tiki boat to the rescue. It ferried six guests at a time to terra firma for the main party inside the establishment that has been hosting special celebrations since its founding in 1958.) The guest list included many of the family’s friends from the Detroit area charity circuit, which the hosts have generously spearheaded for decades. The bridal couple met in and reside in Orlando, Florida. Their April wedding was a very small family event in Hawaii, so the Happily Ever After celebration was an opportunity for people who have known the bride since she was a child to meet her life partner. The Roostertail’s Amber Sharp and her team displayed white hydrangea’s with pink roses everywhere, including the eight small plates stations (which offered such savories as roasted tenderloin, red snapper, scallops, foie gras, smoked salmon, lobster mac & cheese and pork belly all deliciously accented). John Schoenith, who was his brother-in-law’s best man, led the toast to the “perfect for each other” couple. It was followed by fireworks, the couple’s dance and the daddy-daughter dance to “I Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You”. Souvenir bags contained among other things – a Roostertail staple, old fashioned, wrapped candies.


1. The newlyweds – Mary Kay & Chris Allen (Mary Kay said she is happy to have a last name that is easy to spell.)

2. Mother-of-the-Bride Diane Schoenith, Shel & Harriett Fuller

3. Mary Kay Schoenith Allen, her father Tom Schoenith, during the Daddy-Daughter dance

4. Lucia Zurkowski, Doug (Chef Duglass Duglass) Grech

5. Mother-daughter duos: Contessa and Rosemary Bannon, Mado Lie and Tamara Fobare

6. Annette & John Kolon

7. Sharon Katz, Cindy Katz Hayman, Constantina, Patricia Rodzik

8. John Booth & Curtis Posuiak

9. Sandy Duncan, Maggie & Bob Allesee

10 Cheryl Lindsay Hall, Katie Valenti

Please send Social Lights story ideas by email to SamGerak@aol.com or by snail mail to 28 Barbour Lane, Bloomfield Hills, MI, 48304

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by Sally G.

Sally G.

©2019-2020 Sally Gerak
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