ST. PETERSBURG — Miriam Williams was a 21-year-old recent college graduate and teaching school when a phone call brought her the worst possible news.
Her parents, Oscar and Finnette Gilbart, had been struck Nov. 30, 1948, while crossing Fourth Street N. Her father was killed instantly; her mother died the next day.
She would marry Gene Williams the next year, a union that lasted the rest of her life and produced four children. Memories of the tragedy nipped at her each November, but Mrs. Williams stayed ahead of the grief. "God has a plan," she told her children, "and so far his plans are far better than mine."...
EAST LAKE — It was a borderline crazy idea, getting a hockey club together in the southernmost state of the continental United States. But a few enthusiasts made it happen in 1989 at the University of South Florida.
A critical step along the way: finding a coach.
For that, a handful of USF students turned to former minor-league player Tony Mancuso. The Canada native was nearly 60 and had operated several businesses....
01/02/15 Human Interest
Bubba the Love Sponge Clem will drop some news sure to delight fans on Monday involving his return to the Tampa Bay airwaves.
Rumors had circulated for a month that the shock jock — known for a passionate "army" of loyal listeners, and feuds with fellow disc jockey Todd "MJ" Schnitt and wrestler Hulk Hogan — might be headed for WHFS-FM in Holmes Beach. That's thanks in part to an ownership swap by CBS Radio, which recently dealt several stations, including WHFS and 1010-AM, to Beasley Broadcast Group in return for stations in other cities ....
ST. PETERSBURG — In the late 1980s, when the college scholarship offers started coming in, Derrick Golden didn't know where to turn for advice.
The Northeast High safety and National Merit scholar went to a family friend, retired educator Rubye Wysinger. Because he and his mother lived in a small apartment, Wysinger hosted visiting college football coaches, including Jimmy Johnson and Dave Wannstedt, in her living room....
CLEARWATER — That day in 1942, pulling back the joystick on his fighter plane, Lt. James Martin must have thought he didn't have a chance.
An incoming squadron of Japanese Zero planes had just let loose. Lt. Martin's P-40 Kittyhawk, which had taken off from Canberra, Australia, began falling toward the southern Pacific Ocean.
On the way down, Lt. Martin tried to stay calm and focus only on his actions moment by moment. He emptied all six of his .50-caliber machine guns, three on each wing....
LARGO — In the mid 1950s, Alan J. Snider was a middle-aged surgeon living in Maine. He had fulfilled all of his ambitions except the biggest one — to start a hospital.
When a Florida doctor he had met urged him to move to this state, he laughed.
"And treat all those old people?" he said.
Yet in 1956, Dr. Snider bought a former nursing home on Indian Rocks Road. He opened the 14-bed Sun Coast Osteopathic Hospital in January 1957. The next day, doctors removed a fatty tumor and also performed an appendectomy, a hysterectomy and a tonsillectomy....
ST. PETERSBURG — Thousands of mammals have lost an important friend and ally, and only some of them are human. Albert Few, one of the longest-serving veterinarians in Pinellas County, died Friday of pancreatic cancer, his family said.
He was 79.
Dr. Few owned Skyway Animal Hospital from 1972 until his recent illness. For more than 40 years, he helped sick or injured animals get well or, when necessary, helped them die....
NEW PORT RICHEY — Over his 30 years at the New Port Richey campus of Pasco-Hernando Community College, Michael Sadusky developed the kind of reputation many professors covet.
Mr. Sadusky, who spent 25 of those years as chairman of the psychology department at what is now Pasco-Hernando State College, was the kind of teacher around whom core groups of students planned their schedules. They argued with him and changed their majors to psychology because of him. They attended the interdisciplinary events he cofounded, including Peace Week, Art and Culture Week and a "Love Symposium" held on Valentine's Day....
LARGO — Courtney Carter launched her own YouTube channel 2 1/2 years ago, full of fashion tips and narrated with the bubbly patter of a high school girl chatting with close friends.
She was 17 then, on the way to a career in marketing and communications and who-knows-what. She admired Oprah Winfrey and Tyra Banks and envisioned creating a television show one day that would blend inner substance with a fresh, eminently presentable look on a Target budget....
ST. PETERSBURG — Arnold Argintar kept up with the times over eight decades, ushering in men's clothing to downtown St. Petersburg and then outlasting retailers who followed.
He stocked the shelves of Arnold's Men's Wear with suits, ties, hats and shoes, hanging on to inventory long after it had gone out of fashion. For Mr. Argintar, there was no useless merchandise and no customer who could not be accommodated....
SOUTH PASADENA — Most nights at Gigi's Italian Restaurant, customers could find Vergil Newberne greeting them at the door, often by name. Mr. Newberne, who started the family chain in South Pasadena in 1967, had become as familiar a sight as the red and blue globe lamps that muted the glare of the day.
He was a natural, shaking hands and hugging longtime patrons, many of whom had been coming for decades. On Friday nights he walked the floor with a serving platter, offering chunks of his country sausage, a better indicator of his roots than the three-cheese manicotti....
11/16/14 Human Interest
Health care workers in the United States are not the only ones confused over evolving government directions for treating Ebola patients.
Funeral directors, whose work and personal safety also could be affected in the event of an outbreak, are puzzling over federal edicts for handling the dead that conflict with long-standing practices and state laws.
"Everyone's taking it pretty seriously," said Robert Fells, a lawyer who directs the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association. "Our people will be on the front lines when and if there are any deaths from Ebola."...
ST. PETERSBURG — Of the men who have played Santa Claus in the city's annual Christmas display in Straub Park, none in recent memory have created lasting impressions like Tom Carney.
Over 16 years, thousands of children have lined up to sit on his lap and whisper their deepest desires. Some kept returning long after they had stopped believing. Nine or 10 times, men tricked their girlfriends into posing on Mr. Carney's lap, then dropped to a knee and proposed marriage....
ST. PETERSBURG — In the early 1940s, as thousands of Americans joined the war effort, a young woman at the St. Petersburg Times landed an opportunity.
An editor approached the woman peers called Trudy, who had joined the paper a year or so earlier as a typist, and asked if she would like to be a news reporter.
Four years as the paper's military editor followed, during which she wrote a column, the Bugle Call, under the name "Gertrude Enz." Her Germanic surname, Enzweiler, might not go over so well with readers, she reasoned....
TEMPLE TERRACE — Most days, Melissa Renahan could be found at her computer, batting out another recipe for her food blog or pithy advice for military families. The savvy freelance writer had a knack for turning most aspects of her domestic life and interests into magazine stories, all with a contagious enthusiasm and irreverent wit that gained her a loyal following.
When Maj. Tim Renahan, her husband, was stationed with the Army in Iraq, she sent care packages with cookies and chocolates. A quick study, she tackled subjects such as PTSD and military suicides in the magazines and blog posts. She researched financial tips for personnel about to be relocated, and tried to prepare career personnel about to re-enter civilian life....