Wednesday, February 21, 2018
News Roundup

Roberta Golding, who used strong personality to get results, dies

TAMPA — For Roberta Golding, beliefs mattered.

What she believed determined her actions, which affected a lot of people in the Tampa Bay area.

When she wasn't sure what to believe, she found out.

What she learned she enlarged, mixed together and dispersed in myriad ways.

A women's treatment center, an endowed chair for arts at the University of South Florida and sizable donations to numerous arts, nonprofit and cultural organizations number among the results.

Mrs. Golding — an artist, philanthropist and political activist — died Dec. 21, of congestive heart failure. She was 91.

She was a tall, striking woman who mixed sharp opinions with charm and empathy.

Drivers along Interstate 275 in August, including thousands of visitors to the Republican National Convention, got a dose of her style and humor with a billboard she helped fund. "Welcome to Tampa," the sign read, "where the mayor and all city council members are Democrats."

"She wasn't ashamed of her beliefs," said Sara Scher, her daughter. "She was proud of them and was able to talk to people in a clear way, in a comfortable way about her own beliefs."

She was a staunch atheist who supported Congregation Schaarai Zedek; who sought to improve her understanding after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks by seeking out Muslim leaders; a woman who started a chair in African art for the sake of diversity as much as the art itself.

Mrs. Golding took risks for her beliefs.

A dislike of Richard Nixon led her to manage the Hillsborough County campaign of George McGovern in 1972; and she was hounded by the State Department after smuggling medical supplies to Cuba.

"She was the only grandmother I know who feels comfortable dropping F-bombs," grandson Simon Scher said at her memorial service.

She hungered for new experiences, once asking a granddaughter to make pot brownies. They made her feel lethargic, so she crossed the item off her bucket list.

She enjoyed Woody Allen movies, lavender flowers and walks on the beach at a summer home in Marblehead, Mass., where she served an enviable brisket on mismatched antique plates. She took refuge in her painting, weaving and quilting, filling her studio with work.

Roberta Markowitz was born in Tampa in 1921, the daughter of a traveling shoe salesman. She graduated from Plant High and the Florida State College for Women (now Florida State University).

In 1943 she married Stuart Golding, an aspiring businessman. The couple and their three children moved from Brookline, Mass., to Tampa in 1959.

Her husband bought property on Davis Islands, and later developed numerous area shopping malls.

In 1977 with former state Rep.Helen Gordon Davis, Mrs. Golding helped establish the Women's Survival Center (now the Centre), one of the first substance abuse treatment centers specifically for women.

"She really believed in social justice and helping those who could not help themselves," said Davis, the first woman from Hillsborough County to serve in the Florida Legislature. "I just can't say what a great woman she was and what a great friend."

In 1990, two years after her husband's death, she established a chair for African art at USF, now known as the Stuart S. Golding Endowed Chair in Modern and Contemporary Art.

Mrs. Golding also gave generously to the Florida Holocaust Museum; the Straz Center and Planned Parenthood, among many other causes.

"Finance was not Roberta's thing," David Scher said in a eulogy for his mother-in-law, "Each time she had to make giving decisions, she would call and ask me to explain how she could afford it. Thank God she was blessed with the ability to give, and she did."

She read multiple newspapers, eating dinner with a TV tray and the evening news.

Sara Scher, 56, said her mother influenced her to stand up for her own convictions.

As a young child, she said at her mother's memorial service at Congregation Schaarai Zedek, she asked her mother to assure her she would communicate with her after she died.

"She said there is nothing after death so that wouldn't be possible," Sara Scher recalled. "But I insisted there was, and she promised to talk to me if she could find a way."

Andrew Meacham can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 892-2248.

Comments
Evangelist Billy Graham, preacher to presidents, dies at age 99

Evangelist Billy Graham, preacher to presidents, dies at age 99

MONTREAT, N.C. — The Rev. Billy Graham, who transformed American religious life through his preaching and activism, becoming a counselor to presidents and the most widely heard Christian evangelist in history, died Wednesday. He was 99. Graham, who l...
Updated: 16 minutes ago
In theaters this week: ‘Annihilation’ based on Florida author Jeff VanderMeer’s book, ‘Game Night,’ ‘Every Day’

In theaters this week: ‘Annihilation’ based on Florida author Jeff VanderMeer’s book, ‘Game Night,’ ‘Every Day’

ANNIHILATIONAuthor Jeff VanderMeer told me at last year’s Times Festival of Reading that Annihilation (R) is going to blow everyone’s mind. The Tallahassee author is biased, of course, having written the novel it’s based on, but there’s some reason t...
Updated: 25 minutes ago
Largo police investigating fatal hit-and-run crash on East Bay Drive

Largo police investigating fatal hit-and-run crash on East Bay Drive

LARGO — Police have identified the pedestrian in a fatal hit-and-run Wednesday morning.According to Largo police, 75-year-old John William English Jr. was struck and killed by a car about 6 a.m. at Wertz Drive. The crash shut down the eastbound lanes...
Updated: 25 minutes ago
Jam Packed with Excitement

Jam Packed with Excitement

 
Updated: 28 minutes ago
This week food fests celebrate collard greens and Jewish foods

This week food fests celebrate collard greens and Jewish foods

FIELD OF GREEN: COLLARD FESTOn Saturday you can devote your whole day to the beauty of collard greens. Well, that’s the jumping off point. Collards are the "central ingredient" at the Tampa Bay Collard Green Festival at St. Petersburg’s Historic Deuc...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Clearwater Beach named No. 1 in U.S. by TripAdvisor

Clearwater Beach named No. 1 in U.S. by TripAdvisor

A reigning champion for sand and sunshine, Tampa Bay is once again home to one of the best beaches in the United States.Clearwater Beach was named the best beach in the U.S. for 2018 by the popular travel site TripAdvisor.This is the second time this...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Top 5 at noon: Florida’s third-biggest fire rescue department has a problem; evangelist Billy Graham dies at age 99; and more

Top 5 at noon: Florida’s third-biggest fire rescue department has a problem; evangelist Billy Graham dies at age 99; and more

Here are the latest headlines and updates on tampabay.com.FLORIDA’S THIRD-BIGGEST FIRE RESCUE DEPARTMENT HAS A PROBLEMHillsborough County has a documented history of drug issues — and alcohol abuse — among first responders. A Tampa Bay Times investi...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams comedy ‘Game Night’ is more fun than it deserves to be

Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams comedy ‘Game Night’ is more fun than it deserves to be

Good movie comedies are in short supply these days, making Game Night more fun than it deserves to be.There are laughs, a couple from the belly, and none of the lazy scatological, narcotic or pubic humor Seth Rogen’s crowd prefers. The cast is appeal...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Three Pasco cities will have contested council races

NEW PORT RICHEY – It will be a hotly contested election April 10 in several Pasco cities as 16 candidates vie for a total of six seats in New Port Richey, Port Richey and Zephyrhills. All races are nonpartisan.Meanwhile, Dade City Mayor Camille Herna...
Updated: 1 hour ago

New Port Richey moves toward ban of clothing donation bins

NEW PORT RICHEY – The New Port Richey City Council made a bold reversal Tuesday of an initial plan to regulate clothing donations bins, moving instead toward an all-out ban.The council voted unanimously to reject an ordinance it had approved on first...
Updated: 1 hour ago