How long have you lived in Hernando County, and where do you live? Where did you live previously?
My husband and I moved to Florida in August 1993 and we lived in the Heather until 2001 and then moved to Silverthorn. Prior to moving to Florida, my husband, Tom, and I lived in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Who are the members of your family?
My daughter, Beth, who lives in Cary, N.C., with her dogs; and my son, Tommy, and his wife, Monique, and their two daughters — Taylor, 13, and Brielle, 11 — and son, Thomas, 6. My husband, Tom, and I were married for 43 years. He passed away in October 2002.
Tell us about your career.
I have worked for H & R Block for 28 years, and I am an enrolled agent.
I enjoy seeing my clients each year. I'm always on top of the latest programs offered that would benefit my clients here in Hernando County.
I've been in school for 28 years. In order to maintain my enrolled status with the IRS, I must go to school each year, and that also fulfills my requirements with H & R Block. We must review tax laws and changes each year. Before that, I was a full-time homemaker. I was a Girl Scout leader and Cub Scout assistant.
What kinds of activities are you involved in now?
I am the treasurer of the General Federation of Women's Clubs, Spring Hill Service League; I am a board member of the Irish-American Society of Hernando County; I am a minister of care at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church in Spring Hill; and also a member of the Merry Widows at St. Joan of Arc. I'm on the board of the Bishop McDonnell Memorial High School Florida Reunion Chapter. I am also a member of the La Vien Roses of Silverthorn, an official Red Hat Society Chapter.
Do you have any special hobbies?
I used to paint with oils, and hope to get back into it again soon, and I crochet many blankets for family members, as well as some I give away. I also play mah-jongg and love to read.
My favorite hobby is traveling. I've been to Ireland, England (many times), Paris, Scotland, Poland, Germany, the Czech Republic, as well as many cruises to the Eastern and Western Caribbean and Alaska. I've also traveled extensively in the United States, up and down the West and East Coasts, as well as Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Arizona, Chicago and Tennessee.
I'll be spending this Easter season in Hawaii with my family. My son and daughter-in-law and grandchildren, along with my daughter and her friend, Yolanda Dejesus, will be meeting me in Hawaii for eight days in paradise.
And my home is always open to my visitors, friends from all over the world, and I love nothing more than to show them all that Florida has to offer.
What are your favorite things to do in Hernando County?
I belong to Stage West Community Playhouse, and have since it opened, so I enjoy seeing the shows. As a member of the Community Performing Arts concert series at the Mariner United Methodist Church, I enjoy their shows each year, as well as eating out at local restaurants, and, of course, the Pine Island sunsets are magnificent. And, of course, shopping at all of our new stores.
What do you think would make Hernando County a better place to live?
I have many suggestions, but the top concerns for me are homeowners insurance and real estate taxes. The extra $25,000 homestead exemption is wonderful, and they are allowing the low-income seniors to get an additional $50,000 exemption, but the homeowners insurance needs to be worked on as well.
I hear from so many people that they are going to have to leave the state because they can't afford insurance and taxes. So we need to do something about that.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don't know.
I'm really an open book. Everyone who knows me really knows me.
I share with widows about what it's like being a widow, and I always share my interests with others, including my travel experiences.
And I try to share with everyone what I know about what is out there regarding the latest income tax and real estate tax news, to help them out.
And I can't forget to say how grateful I am to all my friends, all of whom have joined one of the many groups or organizations I belong to. I'm always trying to get "new blood" into these wonderful organizations, and I'm so lucky that once I share information about a group, my friends join.
Hernando Neighbors is an occasional feature of the Hernando Times. Do you know someone who would make a good profile? We'd like to hear from you. Contact Jean Hayes, community news coordinator, at email@example.com or 848-1438.