Monday, January 11, 2016

Dr. Geraldine Burchard Nobles Honored By PACE Center

PACE Center for Girls of Lee County has selected three more women to be honored at the Eighth Annual Grande Dames Tea honoring some of our community’s most revered women, including Dr. Geraldine Nobles of LaBelle.

This year’s honorees are:

● Dr. Geraldine Burchard Nobles of LaBelle – Geraldine, 78, went from bussing tables at her mother’s famous LaBelle restaurant, Flora & Ella’s, to becoming a successful mental health counselor in private practice and bringing Hope Hospice services to LaBelle and Hendry County. She is the first certified abuse counselor in Florida. A fifth generation Floridian and descendant of the LaBelle pioneer Poole and Forrey families, Geraldine and her husband, the late L. J. Nobles, Jr. worked in their Collier County agri-business raising fresh produce and operating the largest tomato packing facility in Southwest Florida. The LaBelle Senior Center is named after her late husband L. J. Nobles.

● Betty Anderson of Fort Myers– Betty, 86, is a Fort Myers native who spent 15 years in Africa as a missionary with her husband, the late Dr. Robert Anderson. The couple sold their Fort Myers home and his dental practice in 1976 to move to Africa to provide dental care to Africans who had never seen a dentist. The Andersons spent four years in the bush villages of Ghana followed by 10 more years in Nigeria. Sometimes the lines were 75 people deep waiting for care. The couple retired from their missionary work in 1991 and returned for Fort Myers, where Betty dedicated her time and talents to First Baptist Church as part of a team assisting the homeless.

● Rusty Brown of Fort Myers – Rusty, 86, is a writer/dramatist who has reinvented herself again and again as a musical comedy singer, journalist, greeting card company publicist and adjunct professor. In Fort Myers, she’s best known as a playwright and actor, bringing to life remarkable women such as Mina Edison, Clara Barton, Katharine Hepburn and others in her popular and original one-woman shows. As a journalist with The Cleveland Press, she launched a column on women’s concerns and the Women’s Movement that was nationally syndicated and appeared in 200 newspapers. She also wrote for Women’s Day and Ms. Magazine and published a book, “Women As We See Ourselves.

“These three outstanding women come from varied backgrounds and are sure to have some insightful advice for the audience and the PACE girls,” said Deanna Hansen, chair of the Grande Dames Tea.”

This is the eighth year of the historic Grande Dames Tea. Previous honorees have included Berne Davis, Eleanore Kleist and the late Barbara B. Mann in 2009; Jeanne Bochette, Helen Hendry and Veronica Shoemaker in 2010; Myra Daniels, Kathleen Nealon and the late Mimi Straub in 2011; Michel Doherty, Mavis Miller and Anna “Boots” Tolles in 2012; Thelma Hodges, the late Helen O’Rourke McClary and Ettie Francis Walsh in 2013; Barbara Norris Brown, the late Sarah Sciple and Margaret Sirianni in 2014; and Sharlene Hamel Dozier, M. Jacqueline McCurdy and Melvin Morgan in 2015.

The Grande Dames Tea was originated by PACE Center for Girls of Lee County to honor women who have played major roles in Southwest Florida history through decades of service, philanthropy and helping others.

The Grande Dames Tea honoring the three women will take place Tuesday, March 22, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Broadway Palm at 1380 Colonial Blvd. in Fort Myers.

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