Big turnout for Stainton Society brunch

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 Sandy and Dave Beyel and son, Dave, Jr. chat with Lou Holtz at Stainton Society brunch. Sandy and Dave Beyel and son, Dave, Jr. chat with Lou Holtz at Stainton Society brunch.

The Stainton Society of Shore Medical Center held its 25th annual brunch at the same venue as its first one, Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. When Jim and I arrived at valet parking with our neighbors, Pat and Gregg Matis and Meredith Neely right behind Mary and Bob Garrett, we all made our way up the escalators to the newly renovated grand ballroom. Steve Wallace from the foundation office welcomed guests when they arrived, picked up their table assignments and checked the seating chart where I caught up with Kate Logue. Barbara and Richard Long arrived early as did Linda and Curt Gronert. Linda, in a bright red jumpsuit, and Curt introduced everyone to Rev. Richard Carlson, the new president and CEO of the Ocean City Tabernacle. I caught up with Sue and Joe Clark, Ashley and Pete Madden and Keith Hartzell who sported a red, white and blue striped necktie similar to my husband’s Donald Trump tie.  As soon as the doors swung open to the grand ballroom, guests headed in to find their tables and I chatted with Marlene Sheppard, who is looking forward to attending her granddaughters’ graduations from Dartmouth and Penn State. Dorothy and Larry Himmelstein told me their son is opening another Surfside Casual furniture store on Route 72 in Manahawkin. Ginny and George Curtis, Paula and Larry LaMaina and Denise and Dick Schmalbach enjoyed recalling many of the great speakers, Laura Bush, Tom Brokow, Rudy Guiliani, Robin Roberts, Ben Stein and Anderson Cooper, that they have heard over the years at the Stainton Society Brunches. Carol and Jim Frisby joined their friends just after I took their picture so I promised to get them in another one. Roy Wagner joked about running into me when I’m biking and he’s running then he catches up with my husband at Mass at 40th Street.

Beth Bowman told me she and husband, Charlie, and their daughter and son-in-law, Tricia and Steve Branch, and their children, Siena and Andrew, had the experience of a lifetime when Carl Jurman, Music Director for “The Lion King” on Broadway invited them to the show and then took them backstage to meet the cast and pose for pictures.  I had a hard time catching up with Jeanne Robinson and Carol Boland because they kept table-hopping during the brunch. Marie McIntyre told me to save her a ticket for our United Methodist Women Luncheon and Fashion Show. Fred Miller was pleased with his table front and center for the brunch and happy to be back after missing last year’s. Fred Weber wore a new navy suit and light blue print tie, but as usual wouldn’t let me take his picture.  Marion and Ned McCaughey, Irene and George Reeves and Joanne Budnick arrived just in time to sit down at our table when Pauline McDaniel opened the program.  Irene and George got home from their winter home in Florida a few days before the brunch. Marion is looking forward to getting back to work at the Surgery Center after recuperating from back surgery last November. Joanne wore a black suit accented with maroon satin lapels and matching blouse. Frank LoBiondo stopped by our table to give me a hug.  I chatted with Jill and Steve Croft, Muriel and Bill Elliott, Marge and Bob Roth and Beverly and Frank McCall while checking out the buffet and I piled some extra desserts on Meredith Neely’s plate to help her eat later. Denise and Gary Jessel’s table was just starting in the buffet line when as I finished up.

I stopped to chat with Art Ford, Debby Murphy, Janie and Scott Halliday and Jay and Michele Gillian on my way back to our table and admired Janie’s Pucci print jersey dress. Mary Anne Kull flew up from Florida for the brunch, but won’t be staying in Ocean City until it gets warmer.  When I finished eating I was off and running to talk to as many people as I could before the speaker was introduced. Kathleen and Bob Dusz and Joan and Tom Shaiko thanked me for a recent article about Rotary’s Spring Fling. Kelly and Frank Donato, Kelly and Dean Adams and Kristi and Gregg Swartz were at the next table, however I was embarrassed when Gregg reminded me about the promise I made to him to take his picture at the brunch, but I forgot and had already taken all my pictures, so I still owe Gregg a picture in the column. Ginny and Carl Scheetz figured attendance would be off at St. Peter’s this morning as many members were at the brunch and Alice Wolf showed me pictures of her granddaughters, Ashley and Rose. Bill Hughes, who was the speaker at the first Stainton Society Brunch, and his wife Nancy Hughes attended this year’s event with their son and daughter-in-law, Bill and Stephanie Hughes and Bill told about his busy schedule attending his son’s sports activities, working at his law office and spending time on the campaign trail.     

I hurried back to my table as Bill Elliott stood at the podium to introduce guest speaker, Lou Holtz, the football coach and motivational speaker. Bill told the audience Lou signed a football for Joe DiOrio, who wasn’t able to attend the brunch.  There were no notes for Lou as he stood on the stage and regaled the audience with tales of his long and storied career.  Lou touched on his school days, his family and his coaching career and all too soon he was receiving a standing ovation. Everyone thanked Amy Waters for coordinating everything with the Taj Mahal and taking care of seating arrangements for the brunch. While some guests lined up to chat with Lou, many headed for valet parking to get their cars and head home. I spotted Bob Blevin carrying home a lovely hydrangea centerpiece by Harry Hasson’s Atlantic City Flower Shop for his wife, Gail.  I chatted with Mark Reimet and his parents as we walked along the long corridor to the escalators. I stopped to chat with Cathie and Ed Kane who were waiting for their car and Ed was keeping an eye on his grandson’s soccer game on his iPad. Jen Bowman was easy to spot in her bright turquoise top. Ann Richardson waved as she walked by to order her car.  Jim and Gregg were still waiting in line to get our car so I chatted with Joan Walker who told me about the centerpieces was she working on for the UMW Luncheon and Fashion Show.  When we all settled in for the drive home I pointed out landmarks old and new as we drove through Atlantic City, Ventnor, Margate and Longport as I recalled the first 21 years of my life growing up on Absecon Island.   

Pete and Ashley Madden, Keith Hartzel and Linda and Curt Gronert arrive at Stainton Society brunch.  Pete and Ashley Madden, Keith Hartzel and Linda and Curt Gronert arrive at Stainton Society brunch.

 Meredieth Neely, Gregg and Pat Matis, Rev. Richard Carlson and Cathy and Jim Finnegan arrive at the Stainton Society brunch. Meredieth Neely, Gregg and Pat Matis, Rev. Richard Carlson and Cathy and Jim Finnegan arrive at the Stainton Society brunch.

Larry and Dorothy Himmelstein, Sandy and Bill McMahon and Maura and Bill Primus locate their table at Stainton Society brunch.  Larry and Dorothy Himmelstein, Sandy and Bill McMahon and Maura and Bill Primus locate their table at Stainton Society brunch.

George and Ginny Curtis pose for a picture with Paula and Larry LaMaina and Denise and Dick Schmalbach.   George and Ginny Curtis pose for a picture with Paula and Larry LaMaina and Denise and Dick Schmalbach.

 Beth Bowman, Carol and Jim Frisby, Jen Bowman, Fred Miller and Jill Croft line up at the Stainton Society brunch. Beth Bowman, Carol and Jim Frisby, Jen Bowman, Fred Miller and Jill Croft line up at the Stainton Society brunch.

 Bob and Gail Blevin, Carol Boland, Jeanne Robinson and Homer and Dorothy Gerken are ready to get in the buffet line for the brunch. Bob and Gail Blevin, Carol Boland, Jeanne Robinson and Homer and Dorothy Gerken are ready to get in the buffet line for the brunch.

Irene and George Reeves, Joanne Budnick and Ned and Marion McCaughey enjoy this year’s Stainton Society brunch.  Irene and George Reeves, Joanne Budnick and Ned and Marion McCaughey enjoy this year’s Stainton Society brunch.


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