• Sally Gerak

Social Lights June 2019

Updated: Oct 18, 2019

In this issue

  • Preview of "Call Me Bill: The William Davidson Story": story & photos

  • Kathy Broock's Celebration at the Robert Kidd Gallery

  • ORT Michigan WINGO: story & photos

  • Brother Rice Irish Nite: story & photos

  • Junior League of Birmingham Little Black Dress Lunch: story & photos

  • Questers Looking Back Luncheon & Vintage Fashion Show: story & photos

  • The Roeper School Kaleidoscope Auction: story & photos

  • Alternatives For Girls Role Model Dinner: story & photos


Preview of "Call Me Bill: The William Davidson Story"

As a part of the 30th Anniversary celebration of the Detroit Pistons Bad Boys championships, Gretchen and Ethan Davidson hosted a screening of “Call Me Bill: The William Davidson Story” (which they produced) for more than 500 people at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Guests included family, friends and Piston Bad Boys Isaiah Thomas, Bill Laimbeer, Mark Aguirre, John Long, Vinnie Johnson, James Edwards and Gerald Henderson. After the cocktail hour when all were settled with popcorn in their Detroit Film Theatre seats, Ethan allowed, “My father would not have stood for this…but he’s not here to stop us.” The documentary directed by Deb Agolli, Nathan Hardecki and Travis Reynolds that followed was, above all, a testimony to the importance of family. The filmed interviews - be they with colleagues from Guardian Industries, Palace Entertainment, the Detroit Pistons, or his sister Dorothy Gerson - all noted that the billionaire philanthropist, the son of Ukrainian immigrants, treated his employees as “family.” In the film, Joe Dumars, who worked for Davidson from 1985 when the Pistons drafted him, until Davidson’s death in 2009, recalled Mr. Davidson’s advice to value goodness over qualifications. “(He was) one of the best givers I’ve ever seen…I’m talking about his time, his spirit, his heart…an incredibly good person,” said Dumars.


1. Dorothy Davidson Gerson, Ralph Gerson, Ericka Gerson Ward

2. Doreen Hermelin, Ethan Davidson, Patti Sharf

3. Film director Deb Agolli, Gretchen Davidson

4. William Davidson Foundation Director Eli Saulson, Allan Nachman

5. Mark & Josee-Anne Wakefield, Ashley & KC Crain

6. Sonia & Guardian’s Tom Pastore

7. ‘Bad Boys” Bill Laimbeer and Isaiah Thomas


8. Emily Camiener, Kris & Andy Appleby

9. Barbara & Michael Kratchman

10. Joseph Saker posing with the 30 -year-old NBA Championship Trophy

11. Rabbi Daniel & Jill Syme

12. Josh Douillard, Asher Davidson

13. Zevi Davidson, Enzo Cannarsa

Kathy Broock Celebration at Robert Kidd Gallery

At the Robert Kidd Gallery in Birmingham, Kathy Broock greeted the 75 friends and customers who accepted her invitation to be “celebrated”. The gallery is near where her grandfather moved the Max Broock real estate office in 1936 from Detroit where her great grandfather founded it in 1895. This reporter has had a special regard for the firm’s values ever since 1975, when the late Mo Brown sold my husband and me their family home in Birmingham’s Quarton Lake Estates. At that time, Mo told us how he had been able to buy in Birmingham in 1958 even though he was Jewish and anti-Semitism dictated Birmingham real estate sales. “…Ferd Broock, who had the listing, told us he could not deliver our offer if he wanted to keep doing business in Birmingham…But Ferd (operating on a higher level) passed up the commission and gave our contact information to the owners to pursue on their own,” Mo explained. Kathy’s success in the family business tells this observer two things: 1) integrity continues to win into the fourth generation at Max Broock Realtors and 2) Kathy has not had to spurn many commissions.


1. Elaine Kelly, hostess Kathy Broock, Clay Kelly

2. Gallery owner Gerard Marti and Roger Luksik discussing “Porsche #6”

3. “Porsche #6” by Nikola Rousselet

4. Mark & Amy Webberly, John Koppin

5. Katherine Schuerman, Allie Betz, Jennifer Margherio, Alex Faranso

6. Hostess Kathy Broock, Adele Acheson

ORT Michigan WINGO

Nearly 400 women representing at least two generations gathered at Knollwood Country Club for ORT Michigan’s annual WINGO event. (ORT is an acronym for the original Russian name of the 138-year-old, non-governmental education organization with chapters in 35 countries.) In addition to 10 rounds of bingo with squeal-evoking prizes, diversions at the Girls Night Out party - chaired by Lisa Rothberger, Carly Sanfield and Joy Levran – included a generous buffet, signature beverages, a silent auction and raffles ($17,401). It raised $68,000. And director Nicole Miller’s brief remarks about the big winners of the event – the robotics team of 27 kids from one of Israel’s most disadvantaged communities – made everyone feel good. The team, which is dependent on ORT support, was one of thousands in Detroit for the 2019 FIRST Championship celebrating STEM at Cobo Center. They were one of three teams to win an International Engineering Award and the only team to win the Nicest Pit Award.


1. Lauren Rubin, Ashley Nathan, event co-chair Carly Sanfield, Samantha Foon

2. Event co-chairs Lisa Rothberger and Joy Levran

3. Elli Wish with back massager from sponsor Henry Ford Health

4. Faye Adelson, Julie Nelson Klein

5. Doreen Hermelin, Angie Vangelderen

6. Jodi Rodnick, Judi Scheinfield, Rebecca Lincoln

7. Vivian and her daughter / event co-chair Carley Sanfield

8. Pauline Feldman, Shari Turnbull, Brenda Pensler, Lauren Anchill, Lindsay Mall

9. Dina and her daughter Marlee Shifman

10. Dana and Laura Ellentuck

11. Elizabeth Witkin, Janice Traison, Rachel Devries

12. Kris Mathis, Lauren Aronoff, Julie Hirsch

13. Premier sponsors

Brother Rice Irish Nite

For 42 years, the Brother Rice High School community has been celebrating its mission with good cheer at a most congenial auction party. This year it attracted nearly 400 to Birmingham Country Club where the VIP reception featured words of gratitude to leadership chairs Ron and Katie Gantner and toasts to two recently deceased, dedicated supporters – teacher / administrator Brother David MacIntyre and alum / attorney Chuck Taunt. (Both would have liked the humor-laced tributes by Development director Brian Dilworth and president Tom Reidy.) Folks dined on the stroll, imbibed, bantered and bid in the silent auction before convening for the live auction conducted energetically by school president Tom Reidy and principal Ed Okuniewski. Thanks to the four bidders who each paid $14,000 for the use of Danielle and Dan Allor’s private plane, and the silent auction, raffles and generous sponsors, the annual happening raised more than $300,000 for the Catholic college preparatory school for young men.


1. BRHS President Tom Reidy, leadership chairs Ron & Katie Gantner

2. Auction coordinator Megan Devlin Marderosian, her mother Pat Devlin

3. Sponsor Tommy Betrus ’77, Brian Condit ’88, Ajay Chawla ‘93


4. Sponsor Maria Glod, Katy Leonard Dudley, James McNulty ‘84

5. Alumni Association president Matt Taunt '99, Jonathon Brinke '84, Dan Nye '84, David Dewar

6. John Conway ’80, sponsor Charles Gleeson II ’80, Tom Chisholm ‘80

7. Bob Stark ’64, Bob Reaume ‘83

8. Susan & Lou Reid, Chris & Michelle Lievois

9. Julie Hamathy, Ann Jordan

10. Chris ’84 & Maureen Cosgrove, Jeff ’89 & Amy Mesano

11. Kristin & Rick Claar, Chris Schwartz

12. Phil Dailey & Bernadette Donohue

13. Jim ’85 & Suzanne Nelson, Amy & Sean Landis

14. Carol & Brian Rooney ‘82

15. Brad Simmons ’75, BRHS counselor Bro. James McDonald, CFC, BRHS Advancement Officer Brian Dilworth ‘83

16. Jim Devlin, Joan & Terry Page

17. Kristin Claar, leadership co-chair Katie Gantner

18. Tara Reidy, Suzanne Okuniewski, Susan Natale

19. Maryanne Zavagnin, Lori Poughty

Junior League of Birmingham Little Black Dress Lunch

The Little Black Dress Initiative, started by the Junior League of London to salute the fashion item that liberated women from corseted dressing, aligns with the JLB efforts to aid women in crisis. It was the theme for the third annual lunch that attracted more than 150, including 12 past presidents, to The Townsend Hotel. A silent auction ($2,500) and shopping at four vendor booths were diversions. Two speakers were the big story. Keynote speaker / chemical engineer Blessing Adesiyan’s main message was about her mother empowerment organization www.MotherHonestly.com. But this reporter was most struck by the Nigerian immigrant’s description of her own mother who encouraged her to go to college in America. She also put herself first, ahead of her eight children whom she left with their dad because “…Kids benefit when mom leads an exciting life,” said Adesiyan. The second speaker was Amy Peterson, co-founder and CEO of www.RebelNell.com. The successful, graffiti art jewelry-making company employs and educates disadvantaged women to achieve. Her perseverance is best understood when you know that previously she was the Detroit Tigers legal counsel. This in spite of advice she had received from a baseball executive for how best she could get into Major League Baseball: “Marry a ball player,” said he.


1. Event chairs Melanie Esland and Kristen Hall

2. Mother Honestly’s Blessing Adesiyan, JLB president Anne Neche, Rebel Nell’s Amy Peterson

3. Past presidents Susan Foley, Kathy Walgren, Alice Currier and Priscilla Perkins

5. Past presidents Maggie Allesee and Katie Marinelli

6. Past president Michelle St. Andrew, Molly Johnson, past president Martha Johnson

7. Presidents elect Sarah Todebush and Alyce Robelli

8. Sponsor Dry Bar’s Erinn Moss and McKenna Witt

9. Bridgette Morris, past president Nikki Bradford, Bridgit Hermann

10. Committee members Sammy Sant, Nekita McKee and Heather Santos

11. Wendy Bauer, past president Noelle Schiffer

12. Bridgett McDowell, Heather Zane

13. Susan Brice, Dee Wright Masilotti

14. Elizabeth Smith, Alisen Willhoft

15. Jenny Atkinson, Carol Robison, Gena Conti

16. Sponsors

Questers Looking Back

The John W. Hunter Quester chapter is one of 900 throughout the US and Canada. They study, conserve and preserve historical objects. The Hunter chapter staged a luncheon to benefit the restoration of the 1835 Greek Revival Broughton House in Franklin. Jane Roberts chaired the committee that found a great caterer, culinary instructor Chef Tony at Wayne-Westland Community School’s William D. Ford Career Technical Center. Committee member Gennie Hunter collected 35 fashion Barbies to display on the luncheon tables before joining four themed baskets on the raffle table. The highlight of the sold out (120 - $40 ticket) event was the informally modeled show of fashions from 1770 to 1960 narrated by very knowledgeable Questers Pam Yockey and Carol Brichford. Chapter president Julie Matthews noted the two women personify Quester activities – research and sharing.


1. Committee member Rita Kerr, event chair Jane Roberts

2. Committee members Rita-Ann Lindstrom, Sue Davis, Judy Lindstrom

3. Chapter president Julie Matthews in Gibson Girl attire, Lavon Cook in Flapper Girl beaded dress

4. Committee member Gennie Hunter with “My Fair Lady” Barbie

5. Mary K. Thomas in lace Flapper Girl dress, volunteer Peggy Kerr

6. Committee member Barbara Hailey, volunteer Judy Shagena

7. Historical costume expert / designer Pam Yockey in a silk taffeta 1770 reproduction gown, 1770 embroidered cotton fichu, 1790 mop cap of silk lace

8. Suzy Bone in Civil War-era dress

9. An 1840 cotton gauze maternity gown with ties in the front for adjustments to the needs of an advancing pregnancy

Roeper School MOSAIC Auction

A sold-out crowd (nearly 200) of Roeper School boosters ($125 ticket) gathered at Pine Lake Country Club for the school community’s bi-annual MOSAIC Auction chaired by Beth Vens. Susheilla Mehta, Donna Silk, Julie Cotant, Jesie Qi, Molly Diemer, Elizabeth Klee, Laura Karmanos, Sarah Miller and Brittney Guven comprised her committee. The creative class projects on the silent auction tables dominated the cocktail hour conversation. After dinner, Mike Maltese directed the bidding for the 12 live auction items that included a NYC weekend and great getaways, to name but a few. Thanks also to generous sponsors, the evening raised $100,000 for financial aid grants named after the late, beloved Mariann Hoag and for faculty and staff professional development at the school for gifted learners.


1. Tim & trustee Molly Diemer

2. Development director Denita Banks-Sims, event chair Beth Vens

3. Christine Lyon, Mike Girolami, Gina Levy-Adams, Marcy Sznewajs

4. Trustee Colleen & David Allen

5. Melissa Bihl, Dana Aronson

6. Sponsors

Alternatives For Girls Role Model Dinner

The 30th annual dinner, chaired by Faye Nelson and Pam Rodgers, attracted 375 AFG supporters ($200 ticket) to the MGM Grand. In her invocation for the dinner program that followed the reception and silent auction ($19,780), Sharon Jackson set the tone. “AFG helped me turn my life around,” she said. Jackson is in two programs - one that helps women exit sex work and one that teaches them to sew and sell their products. The three AFG participants who presented awards to the role models - Dr. Althea Simpson, Lashinda Stair and Linda Taliaferro - and the one who gave a testimony were all right on track with the evening’s theme - Deep Discovery: Revealing Rare Strength. This set the table for Chris Aslanian to generate $11,500 for three live auction items and $57,750 for Fund the Mission pledges, bringing to $290,710 the event total for the agency that Crain’s Detroit Business named the 2017 Best-Managed Nonprofit.


1. Co-chair Pam Rodgers, emcee Rhonda Walker, co-chair Faye Nelson

2. Malayshea Dickerson gave testimonial

3. Yasmine Cooper presented Dr. Althea Simpson

4. Role Model Dr. Althea Simpson

5. Daija King presented role model Linda Taliaferro

6. Role Model Linda Taliaferro

7. Role Model Lashinda Stair presented by Miriah Davis

Please send story ideas and requests for free copies of photos to SamGerak@aol.com


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