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Grande Dames Tea

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PACE Center for Girls of Lee County has selected three more women to be honored at the Fifth Annual Grande Dames Tea honoring some of our community’s most revered women. This year’s honorees are: ● Thelma Hodges of Naples – Philanthropist and namesake of Hodges University with her husband Earl, Thelma Hodges was one of the first three nurses hired at Naples Community Hospital. She retired from the hospital after a 22-year career, but continued to devote herself to the hospital as an auxiliary volunteer. She is the longest-serving volunteer, accumulating more than 15,000 hours of service. The Community Foundation of Collier County named her one of its “Women of Initiative” in 2011. ● Helen O’Rourke McClary of Matlacha – Known as the “Charity Watchdog” on the national level for developing national standards for charities for the Better Business Bureau, McClary has dedicated her life to raising money for charities, including Project HOPE’s overseas program. She is the recipient of the Better Business Bureau Hall of Fame Award and was honored by The Salvation Army for her 60 years of volunteer service. She is now known as the “Doll Lady” of Matlacha. ● Ettie Francis Walsh of Fort Myers – From picking cotton to working in The Capitol, Walsh has led a varied life full of love of country, family, friends, fishing and farming. Walsh served as a WAVE in the U.S. Navy during World War II and worked in the Office of Naval Intelligence in Washington, D.C. After moving south to follow her husband’s career, Walsh was the office manager and bookkeeper for Kelley’s Gardens and A. W. Kelley’s Gardens in Fort Myers for more than 25 years. The Grande Dames Tea honoring the three women will take place Friday, March 15, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Broadway Palm at 1380 Colonial Blvd. in Fort Myers. Co-chairs of the Grande Dames Tea are Sandy Stilwell and Cheryl Komnick. Attendees are encouraged to wear their favorite tea party hat. The agenda for the tea will include interaction between the PACE girls and the three Grande Dames, in a question and answer format that Stilwell and Komnick said “is sure to be thought-provoking and poignant.” Mei-Mei Chan, News-Press Media Group President and Publisher, will once again serve as mistress of ceremonies. For information about the Grande Dames Tea or to become a sponsor, please contact PACE Director of Development Melissa Cofta at (239) 425-2366, ext. 25, or visit

Occurs once: Mar 15, 2013 (1:00 PM to 3:00 PM)
Contact Name: Susan Bennett
Contact Phone: 2392775255

Broadway Palm
1380 Colonial Boulevard, Fort Myers, FL 33901

Ticket Price: $50.00
Ticketing Phone: 239-425-2366
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