Last Saturday evening, Barbara Nichols gave a dinner dance at her home in Hurstbourne Estates. It was the perfect evening. The men were told not to wear ties, and they didn’t.
Guests gathered on the expansive walled front lawn for cocktails and delicious tidbits. The evening was catered by the Gabriele brothers, Vincenzo and Agostino.
Tom Musselman, Lindy and Bill Street, Julie and Laman Gray, Sug and Dan Schusterman, Charlene Verdi, Ben Small and Donna and Hank Wagner were there. As were Douglas Riddle, Stephen Lewis, Mary F. and Ed Glasscock, Peggy and Don Duane, Debbie and Bob Westerman, Faye and Dick Thurman, John Malone, Brenda Light, Dot Patterson (Jim was at a car show), Cissy Musselman and former Gov. John Y. Brown.
And of course Barbara’s girls, Kim and Kara and Holly were there. So was her sister, Pat Brasch, and her husband, Bill (“the other one,” people are never sure which Brasch twin they are speaking to!).
Betty and Bill Whitaker celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last Sunday at the site of their wedding, Douglas Boulevard Christian Church. After the church service, they were surprised by a luncheon given by Melinda and Ivan Melendez.
In 1995 the Whitakers went on a mission trip to Guatemala. While there they met a young man, Ivan Melendez and said to him, “If you ever have the opportunity to visit the U.S., give us a call”.
A few years later, Ivan was in an exchange program that took him to Opryland where he began working in the banquet hall. While there, he did call Betty and Bill. They were preparing to leave for their winter home and invited Ivan to come to Florida.
Anxious to learn to speak English more fluently, he jumped at the invitation.
As time passed, Bill and Betty realized Ivan’s potential and ability and encouraged him to further his education. He went home and earned a master’s degree in applied mathematics.
While back in Guatemala, he met his future bride, Melinda, from Montana. She was fulfilling her obligation, working as a missionary for the Baptist Church. As a missionary, Melinda was not allowed to date Guatemalan men; however, they were introduced to one another by a mutual friend at the church where Ivan’s grandmother was a member.
There were many twists and turns before they were married. In 2006 Betty and Bill were happy to make the trip to Guatemala to witness and be a part of the marriage.
Ivan applied for a Fulbright Scholarship through the University of Arkansas. The award brought them to Louisville, where he studied at U of L and Melinda taught in the school system. After two years at U of L, they returned to Guatemala City to fulfill his duties for the Fulbright. Because Melinda is fluent in Spanish, she was able to teach at a school there.
The next event was the birth of their child, Anna Elizabeth, named after Betty Whitaker.
They wished to return to the U.S. to work and raise their family. At present, they are staying in the Whitakers’ home in Fort Meyers and have just had Emma Sophie. Ivan has been offered a teaching position in Fort Myers at Edison State College.
While Betty and Bill did not have children of their own, they have reached out and helped many children on their own.
The International Festivals and Events Assoc., the premiere association enabling festival and event professionals worldwide, has announced the 2011 IFEA/Zambelli Fireworks Volunteer of the Year Award. Drum roll please … and the award goes to Alex Freeman from the Kentucky Derby Festival!
Alex has been an integral part of the Derby Festival for 41 years!
As this year’s winner, Alex will be the guest of the IFEA and Zambelli Fireworks at the IFEA’s 56th annual Convention & Expo Oct. 3-5 in Fort Worth, Texas. She will be recognized and presented with her award during the IFEA Hall of Fame Luncheon on Oct. 2.
The Kentucky Derby Festival has submitted a Volunteer of the Year award nomination each year since the inception of this prestigious honor. To have Alex recognized is a testament to her story and all of those individuals who give of their time so generously to make the Derby Festival possible. Congratulations, Alex!
FASCINATING FLAME RUN
Flame Run Gallery hosted a fascinating evening at the gallery to benefit the Association of the Louisville Orchestra last week. Flame Run has put Louisville on the map as a destination for contemporary glass artists, educators and collectors, and it is one of the largest art glass facilities in the country.
ALO Patrons enjoyed an evening of touring, glass-blowing demonstrations, cocktails and an artistic supper. Winona and Joe Shiprek, Nancy and David Laird, Jo Ann Gammon, Linda Weeter, Dave Watkins, Rob Duncan, Davie Palmer, Gloria Bailey and John and Mary Tierney all had a wonderful time.
photos by CARLA SUE BROECKER | contributing photographer
About the Author (Author Profile)
A fixture in Louisville society, Carla Sue Broecker has been writing her weekly column for more than two decades.