Patti Ewald, Times Staff Writer

Patti Ewald

Patti Ewald joined the Tampa Bay Times in January 2012 after working as a correspondent covering Gulfport for two years. She is a features writer and the editor of the monthly LifeTimes section. A graduate of Ohio State University, she has a hard time rooting for the Gators, but beyond that, she loves everything Florida. She's a lifelong journalist — having last worked as the managing editor of a suburban Cleveland newspaper before moving to Gulfport in 2008.

Phone: (727) 893-8746


  1. Dad fights way back from stroke with pluck and laughter

    Life Times

    My dad had a slight stroke — an oxymoron if ever there was one.

    He's recovering from the cruel trick his 81-year-old body played on him, rendering his left arm and leg almost useless. Six months later, that hand and foot still seem to have minds of their own but the 6-foot-4 father of five with a heart of gold and a full head of silver hair will not be defeated.

    When he reaches for something with his left hand, it's as if he's a human claw machine, his brain deliberating its movement the way in which one determines the direction to move the claw hovering over a pile of plush toys. When his hand hits its mark, it clamps on just the way the claw does....

  2. A bike tour of all 50 states? Retired teacher, 71, did just that

    Human Interest

    Dressed in a blue Bike Around Kansas souvenir T-shirt and capri pants, Dianne Franz, 71, moves her 5-foot-9 frame gingerly about her tidy Palm Harbor condo.

    The retired middle school teacher, originally from Long Island, points to a map of the United States that takes up most of one wall in her study. It's dotted from east to west and north to south with dozens of yellow Magic Marker lines — and that's what she wants to talk about....

    Dianne Franz, 71, standing in front of a wall map on which she traced the routes of all her bike tours, holds a keepsake map laden with charms and pictures that her best cycling and Scrabble-playing (note the letter tiles) buddy, Linda Tilley, made for her. Franz biked her 50th state, Kansas, in June.
  3. Things to do for August

    Life Times

    Mr. Maddon Head

    Get your Joe Maddon Mr. Potato Head when the Tampa Bay Rays take on the Anaheim Angels at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg at 7:10 p.m. Aug. 2. You can put him on the shelf next to your Joe Maddon Bobblehead and your Zim Bear. Find tickets at

    Ready for some football?

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers preseason football, that is. The Bucs take on the Miami Dolphins Aug. 16 and the Washington Redskins (this may be the last time you can see them under that name) Aug. 28 at 7:30 p.m. at Raymond James Stadium, 4201 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. Tickets are available at

    Michael McDonald is in Clearwater on Aug. 19.
  4. Sarasota artist talks about dad, works in PBS documentary

    Life Times

    “Art is long and life is short."

    That's how Gale Fulton Ross, 68, an acclaimed African-American artist in Sarasota, begins Baby Artist, a PBS documentary about her life. Baby Artist is the nickname her father, Herman Fulton Jr., who was an artist and designer himself, gave her when she was growing up.

    In the film, she talks about her dad and the depression that led to his suicide. She said he was the original designer of fins, popular on the back of cars in the 1950s, and it is her mission to see that he gets credit for it. ...

    Artist, educator and philanthropist Gale Fulton Ross, featured in a WEDU documentary, began her career as an art historian. See her works at
  5. Neighborhood Profile:

    Neighborhood Profile: The Pink Streets, St. Petersbur

    Home and Garden


    Some swanky neighborhoods are so pretentious they seem to have "rich person lives here" signs in the front yards.

    Others are quietly swanky. People lived tucked discreetly away in hidden treasures without telling the world they can afford to do so.

    The Pink Streets of St. Petersburg, located on the most southern tip of Pinellas Point, is one of those places, and Nancy Appunn, the 82-year-old retired owner of a marketing agency, is one of those people. From her mid-century home on the shore of Tampa Bay, she and her little-dog-of-unknown-lineage, Lulu, have a 180-degree view of the bay with the Sunshine Skyway in the middle of it. Paradise found....

    Nancy Appunn looks out over Tampa Bay from her home in St. Petersburg’s Pink Streets. “We’ve had plenty of great parties here,” she said. They included her 80th birthday bash with a band that the deck accommodated along with the guests.
  6. Seniors take to the road while feeling at home in their RVs

    Life Times

    It's the time of year baby boomers take to the road driving or dragging RVs. • Moving down the open highways with their homes on their backs. Human turtles off to see their kids or see the world.

    Industry reports that credit boomers with the explosion of RV travel — manufacturing of RVs in the first quarter of this year was up 13 percent and that of motor homes up 31 percent over the same period last year, according to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association — aren't hard to believe judging from the clientele roaming in and around the hundreds of vehicles that were on display at the Florida State Fairgrounds Expo Hall on Thursday, the first day of the Tampa Bay Summer RV Show. The only people who appeared to be under 50 were the people selling the vehicles....

  7. Still turned on to idea of sex

    Life Times

    Women over 50 like sex.

    Now, that's a news flash. To everyone except women over 50, that is.

    "There's this popular public perception that as women age, sex becomes unimportant and that women just stop having sex as they get older," said Holly Thomas, a University of Pittsburgh researcher. "From our study, it looks like most women continue to have sex."

    For four years, Thomas tracked 354 women ages 45 to 60 who said they were sexually active. One in 10 ranked sex as extremely important. Half said it was moderately important. At the end of the four years, 85 percent of them remained sexually active....

  8. 5 Things to Do in July

    Life Times

    Hey, 'Big Spender'

    That's just one of the familiar songs in Sweet Charity, based on the Neil Simon book, being performed July 18 to 27 at Carrollwood Cultural Center. Charity Hope Valentine is a dance hostess who always gives her heart and dreams to the wrong man. $18 to $24. See for exact times and dates.

    Inventing van Gogh

    Jobsite Theater at the Straz's Shimberg Playhouse presents a haunting drama about the making of art. Patrick Stone, a contemporary painter, is hired to forge Vincent van Gogh's final masterpiece — and finds himself squaring off, across the years, with van Gogh himself. It runs July 9 through Aug. 3. Tickets start at $28. 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. See for exact times and dates....

  9. Meet GF Joe, gluten-free baker and cookoff show participant

    Life Times

    There's show biz in his blood and gluten-free biscotti in his oven.

    And finally, Joseph Camerieri, a 50-year-old from Clearwater with a Brooklyn accent and the energy of a battery-run bunny, got a chance to marry the two.

    He fought with the fury of a grilling wildebeest Sunday on the premiereof Home Chef Showdown, a summer cookoff series on ABC's digital Live Well Network. Camerieri was chosen over hundreds of home chefs because producers liked his energy and the gluten-free angle in the videos he submitted, said Cindy Connors, the show's co-executive producer....

    Joe Camerieri kneeds the dough for his gluten-free sesame seed sticks for the 5 Questions With feature in LifeTimes.  Joe Camerieri, a baker of gluten-free products (biscottis mostly), has been in cooking contests, most recently on an online cooking show.
  10. Neighborhood Profile: Sunset Park, Tampa

    Neighborhood Profile: Sunset Park, Tampa

    Home and Garden


    Heather Wakefield fell in love with the lush streets of Sunset Park when she started teaching chemistry at Plant High School 14 years ago.

    Then she met construction company owner Rob Vollmer, who was living in Lakewood Ranch, and they found they had some chemistry of their own. Fortunately, it didn't take much persuading to get him to fall in love with the neighborhood, too.

    "The South Tampa area reminds me of where I grew up on Long Island," said Vollmer, 45. (He not only grew up there, but he also goes back for a long weekend once a month to visit his parents.)...

    A chandelier hangs in the Vollmer-Wakefield home’s master bathroom.
  11. No matter the age, breaking up is never easy

    Life Times

    How do you break up with a really nice person?

    I mean, nice is great. But, like handsome or beautiful, it's just a curtain. And, as we learned on Let's Make a Deal, a curtain is only as good as what's behind it.

    Right now I'm working through how to tiptoe and not tromp when ending a relationship.

    The Dalai Lama didn't return my calls so I turned to the next best spiritual adviser — the great and powerful Google....

  12. Send your kids to summer camp in the kitchen


    When school is out for the summer, it's a tricky parent who can keep the learning going and get dinner on the table at the same time.

    Consider turning your kitchen into a summer camp, with the activities (don't call them chores) tailored to the age of the campers. Little kids are able to measure flour and stir a big bowl of ingredients, while older teens can handle knives if they've had some direction and practice. Everyone can help with the meal planning....

    Pizza Muffin Mummies are fun and easy to make.
  13. Athletic inspirations of 82 and 92 keep on moving

    Life Times

    Keep moving. Keep moving. Keep moving. To stay healthy.

    To keep your weight down.

    To strengthen your heart.

    Keep that body movin'.


    That seems to be a constant in the countless theories on how to lose weight and stay fit.

    Last year, a research project conducted by Ball State University and several Swedish researchers found that older people who exercise regularly have the same aerobic capacity as folks half their age....

    Vinny DiFilippo, center, is the elder statesman in a pickup tennis league. DiFilippo practices a blend of activity, a largely vegetarian diet and a positive attitude. “We always try to look at the pleasant side of things even when bad things happen.”
  14. 5 things to do in June

    Life Times

    1 Get down with some Motown

    The Sounds of Soul returns to the Carrollwood Cultural Center, 4537 Lowell Road, Tampa, at 8 p.m. June 14 to debut the new summer show, Motown Heat. The Motown tribute group usually sells out, so act fast. Tickets are $24 to $30.

    2 Everything reptilian

    Learn about and buy reptiles (like Buttercup, the bearded dragon above), amphibians and other exotic animals and all the supplies you need to go along with them at Repticon, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 14 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 15 at the Florida State Fairgrounds, 4800 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. Tickets are $10, or $5 for ages 5-12....

    Times (2008)
  15. Retired college professor took Habitat teams to 16 countries

    Life Times

    Bernard Parker of St. Petersburg and his band of Habitat for Humanity altruists were fast asleep in a remote village in Nepal when he was roused by the sound of something thrashing around in the bamboo out in the garden.

    In Nepal, a mountainous country the size of Illinois nestled between China and India and home to Mount Everest, the team members were building the house, as they do everywhere they go, out of materials indigenous to the country. In this case, bamboo. ...

    Bernard Parker, who will turn 75 Thursday, has led Habitat for Humanity Global Village teams of 10 or 12 people to 16 countries in the past 10 years. “It should be a basic human right that everyone has a safe place to live,” he said.