THB, Banditos, Wayward and more confirmed for Cosmic Cocktail!



THE ARTHRITIS Foundation's Lifetime Achievement Award is given to individuals who have distinguished themselves through service to their profession and community. This year's honoree, Joe Blair Jr., recently retired as president and CEO of Baltimore Life Insurance Co., though he continues as its chairman of the board.

Joe certainly meets the award's criteria. He is the first chairman of the Insurance Marketplace Standards Association, a board member of the American Council of Life Insurance, chairman of the board of Visitors of the University of Baltimore and chairman of the board of the United Way of Central Maryland.

Joe was surrounded at the dinner by more of his achievements -- his family. At his side were his wife, Tina, and their children, Joseph III, Michael, Barbara and Mary Beth. Also there were Joe's mother, Mary; his sister Joan; and his young grandson, Joseph IV, who, I am told, managed to eat all the desserts at the table of honor.

It was Joe's son Michael who spoke for the family. He talked about the time his busy father gave to him and his siblings. One example was when the entire family went on a 10-day sailing vacation on the Chesapeake Bay.

Others making remarks about the honoree were L. John Pearson, who succeeded Joe at Baltimore Life (and talked about Joe's business acumen), and Ben Griswold IV, who co-chaired the dinner with George McGowan and Henry Rosenberg.

Joe was given a portrait of himself, done by local artist Tammra Sigler, an Arthritis Foundation board member, and a citation from Baltimore County Executive Dutch Ruppersberger, which was presented by Robert Hannon of the Baltimore County Department of Economic Development.

Others at the party were Ruppersberger, who welcomed MBNA America Senior Vice President Frank Otenasek and his group from MBNA back to the Baltimore area; Pat and Art Modell and son David, who held forth at the Baltimore Ravens table; and Raymond W. Snow, who's with Alex. Brown & Sons in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and who won the Arthritis Foundation's highest volunteer award last year.

Rites of Spring

Union Memorial Hospital's annual gardening and landscape extravaganza keeps getting bigger and better. The 11th annual Rites of Spring event had an international theme, which landscapers brought to life with gardens from around the world. Other highlights were the array of boutiques and merchants selling garden accessories and the floral-arranging demonstrations.

First-nighters filled the 4-H Building at the Maryland State Fairgrounds for the preview party, chaired by Roman Hynson and Susan deMuth. Some who were spotted enjoying the evening were Kenneth Buser, president and CEO of Union Memorial, and his wife, Jane; Ed Brody, Brody Transportation and chairman of the hospital's board, with his wife, Barbara; Dr. E.F. Shaw Wilgis, chairman of the board of the Union Memorial Hospital Foundation, and his wife, Betsy; Patricia Smyth, chairman of the board of directors of Helix Health; Carl Stearn, CEO of Provident Bank, and his wife, Peggy; Dr. John Walsh, a surgeon in Union Memorial's open-heart surgery program, and his wife, Mary; and Dr. Keith Segalman, a surgeon at the hospital's Raymond M. Curtis Hand Center, and his wife, Paula, who was one of the event's organizers.

Kudos to all the people who worked on this event, especially Cheryl Hoblitzel, whose committee landed all those wonderful vendors.

Fun and games

With a roll of the dice, Bill Couper, president of NationsBank Greater Baltimore, kicked off a fast-paced Monopoly tournament featuring teams from area businesses. Couper also provided real bankers and a vault full of funny money for the tourney.

The fun and games were only part of the reason Bank on a Cure -- an evening to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation -- was so successful. Guests began the evening with cocktails, dinner and a silent auction. Next there was an awards ceremony with WJZ-TV's Marty Bass as host. Bass was there with his wife, Sharon.

Also on hand were Marcellus Alexander, WJZ's GM; Janet Bouton, Helix Health; Roy and Beeny Finkelstein, JDF board member; Harlow and Eldora Fullwood, Fullwood Foods; Dr. Mort Goldberg and his wife, Myrna (he's a JDF board member and the director of Johns Hopkins Hospital's Wilmer Eye Clinic); Margaret and Dick Himelfarb (she received the 1997 JDF Humanitarian Award); Gloria and Jim Lighthizer, former Anne Arundel County executive and Maryland secretary of transportation who is now a partner at the law firm of Miles & Stockbridge; LuAnn and Byron Lundell, president of the JDF board; Wes Unseld, executive vice president and GM of the Washington Bullets and the JDF's 1997 Man of the Year; Terry and Mimi Neimeyer (Terry is chairing the JDF golf classic in May and Mimi worked on the benefit committee); and Wally and Mary Ann Pinkard (he's president of Colliers Pinkard).

Having their say

The opening-night performance of "Having Our Say, The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years" (at the Mechanic Theatre) was the perfect time for Planned Parenthood of Maryland to end its latest fund-raising effort, which netted $65,000. The play is about the lives of two strong-willed women, and the fund-raiser ended with a gala tribute to two strong women in the Baltimore community.

The event, a pre-theater dinner that was chaired by Mary Baily Wieler and co-chaired by Dorothy Baker, attracted more than 175 people to the grand ballroom of the Baltimore Hilton and Towers, formerly the Lord Baltimore Radisson Plaza Hotel. Cocktails, dinner and an awards program were part of the festivities.

Sylvia Eggleston Wehr, chairwoman of the PPM Board, and Sana F. Shtasel, president and CEO of PPM, were among those celebrating with the families of the winners of PPM's Tall Women Awards. Unfortunately, the awards had to be given posthumously, because both honorees died within the past few months.

Those honorees were Dr. Arista Garnes-Butler and Annette "Netsie" Lieberman, who spent their lives promoting women's reproductive-health rights in Maryland. Garnes-Butler, an ob/gyn, was an attending physician at Liberty Medical Center and assistant commissioner of Health for Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology for the City of Baltimore. Lieberman, who joined PPM in 1962 as its community director, had much to do with the old Welfare Board's ruling that caseworkers could tell welfare mothers that Planned Parenthood existed.


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