Ocala Style | January 2023

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Education EQUINE

The Perry LEGACY

JAN ‘23

30+/- Acres close to World Equestrian Center ‘’WEC’’, HITS and The Florida Horse Park. Centrally located with easy access to Hwy 200. Bring your horses! Southern style home, 3,900+ SF of living area, 3 bedrooms, 4 baths, plus screen enclosed pool. Updates include smart house system, upgraded security system, and new HVAC. Covered front porch is perfect for relaxing or watching your horses play and graze in lush paddocks. Equestrians will enjoy the 5-stall stable, plus equipment/storage room. Various sized paddocks, run-in sheds and automatic waterers. Two 2 bedroom/2 bath guest/ employee houses. Additional features include generators, 3 wells, wrought iron fenced area for your pets.

Located in prestigious NW Marion County, just 8.5 miles to the WEC. 80+/- Acre, state of the art equestrian facility with 4 bedroom, 3 bath main residence, guest/employee housing, 4 barns - 104 stalls, ¾+/- mile racetrack, Eurociser, round pen plus plenty of lush green paddocks. 3 Updated barns with office/ tack room, restroom, and LED lighting. 4 Brand new wash racks. Additional improvements include: 8-horse Kraft Euorciser with metal roof, new round pen with viewing platform, multiple shavings pits, plus loading ramp. ¾+/- Irrigated racetrack with starting gate, 11-zone irrigation for the track and viewing stand. New 4 board fencing on the property.

Wishing You A Blessed New Year
Horse Lovers Paradise Prestigious NW Property $3,750,000 $5,800,000
Joan Pletcher,

State of the art 43+/- acre Thoroughbred and/or dressage & breeding farm in Starting Point Community. This property has it all: luxurious yet rustic 4 bedrooms and 4.5 baths main residence, 35 stall main barn, 3/1 guest home, 10 Stall concrete barn with efficiency apt, 6 stall foaling barn, plus equipment buildings. Private ½+/- mile irrigated exercise track plus deeded access to 5/8+/- dirt track and riding trails. 4 Bedroom, 3 Bath guest home, screen enclosed lanai/pool plus large garage. Additional features: arena, Eurosizer, round pen, A/C workshop, RV hook ups, 23 various sized paddocks and open pastures. This farm offers unlimited potential and great income potential. Located just 4 miles from HITS and 15 miles to WEC.

A gated
with beautiful Graddaddy
$361,725 A PA Phase III $194,500 Lot 6 4.41 AC $251,370 Lot 9 4.24 AC $254,400 Lot 10 3.30 AC $175,998 Lot 11 3.02 AC Lot 14 3.84 AC $230,400 *Access to Florida Greenways and Trails 14.50 Acres S *Bridle Trails inside Via Paradisus $1,148,626 Lot 21 22.83 AC Starting Point Farm Just Reduced Via Paradisus $4,200,000
community graced
streets, street lighting and has access to the Florida Greenways and Trails. Close to the Florida Horse Park. Deed Restricted Community. Equine Friendly. Bring your plans and build your dream home or farm of your choice. Florida’s Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway is by far one of the most treasured natural resources available. Offering hundreds of miles for horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking and just plain relaxing. Now with special cooperation, Via Paradisus will be one of the only private trail heads accessing the Florida Greenway. Lots ranging from 3+ acres.

Expect an unparalleled combination of professionalism, integrity and relentless commitment to her client’s unique needs, interests, and desires.

Joan is a residential, equine property and land development REALTOR® since 1985 and a horsewoman herself so her clients have the benefit of experience and specialized expertise.

“The Ocala region is home to the most beautiful equestrian estates and horse farms in the United States and the natural beauty of the area, along with an amazing variety of equine-centered activities and venues, such as the phenomenal new World Equestrian Center, makes this a place that more and more people want to call home,” says Joan.

What should you expect working with Joan Pletcher?
Call or Text: 352.266.9100
joanpletcher.com Gorgeous 4 bedroom, 3 bath home overlooking the 14th hole. Living area with fireplace, coffered ceilings, built-in shelving plus large window to allow natural light. Chef’s kitchen with SS appliances, quartz countertops, custom cabinets, pantry, and breakfast nook overlooking views of the property. Owner’s suite is on main floor with sitting area, en-suite bath with dual sinks, walk-in shower, large garden tub plus dual walk-in closets. Back porch with brick pavers overlooks large back yard with wrought iron perimeter fencing. Relax in the evening sitting around the firepit. Granddaddy Oaks grace the property plus there is plenty of room to add a pool, if you desire. 2 new A/C units and a new water softener. Country Club of Ocala

s we embark on a new year, with high hopes for our community to enjoy peace and prosperity, we bring you an issue filled with uplifting stories about some of the people who make Ocala such a special place.

Delee Perry and her family, starting with her father “Newt” Perry, have taught thousands of locals how to swim over the past 100 years. Were you one of those students?

Dr. Michael Torres, the good-natured chief medical officer at AdventHealth Ocala, has an amazing background that includes military service and leadership training that helps him guide the team at our community hospital.

When teacher Lori Albritton asked horseman Bobby Jones to help launch the North Marion Equine program at her school, she didn’t know that would lead to his asking for her hand in marriage. Together, the Jones’ continue to help North Marion High School students learn about the industry that makes us the Horse Capital of the World.

In these pages, you’ll also meet Ross Allen’s granddaughter Marthalynne, who has come home to her roots; IHMC mechanical engineer Dr. Gwen Bryan; and three Ocala cooks who share favorite recipes. Christopher Knife tells us about the things he can’t live without and Dave Schlenker reminds us to stay in touch with our friends while we still can.

With each new day ahead, we wish you an abundance of good people, good food, and great memories for 2023.

Publisher’s Note

Since 1919


Publisher | Jennifer Hunt Murty jennifer@magnoliamediaco.com


EDITOR IN CHIEF Susan Smiley-Height susan@magnoliamediaco.com


Bruce Ackerman Becky Collazo Meagan Gumpert Tammy Griffin Serita Hult John Jernigan Maudie Lucas Maven Photo + Film Dave Miller Clarence Simpson Photography Rachel Weber Wildalys Photography ILLUSTRATORS Jordan Shapot David Vallejo CLIENT SERVICES GURU Cheryl Specht cheryl@magnoliamediaco.com

CREATIVE CONSULTANT Nick Steele nick@magnoliamediaco.com

ASSOCIATE EDITOR Greg Hamilton greg@magnoliamediaco.com


Janet Behnke Julie Garisto JoAnn Guidry Belea Keeney Christopher Knife Scott Mitchell Yeny Rowley Mary Ellen Saladino Dave Schlenker Beth Whitehead

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Evelyn Anderson evelyn@magnoliamediaco.com Ron Eddy ron@magnoliamediaco.com

D istribution
Rick Shaw Art GRAPHIC DESIGNER Amy Harbert amy@magnoliamediaco.com
Magnolia Media Company, LLC (352)
ocalastyle.com ocalastyle ocalastylemagazine ocalastyle WILDWOOD 352.251.0418 VILLAGES CROSSING 352.987.8511 GAINESVILLE 352.661.2650 Whether it’s fine dining and luxury spa experiences or personalized care and endless events you’re seeking, our luxury senior living communities in Central Florida have you covered. This is HarborChase. Come celebrate with us. ELEVATE YOUR LIVING Explore Living at HarborChase
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Mechanical engineer Dr. Gwen Bryan is IHMC’s guest lecturer on January 19th. 23


The Boys & Girls Clubs of Marion County help youth shape their lives and futures. 30


100 years—that’s how long members of the Perry family have been teaching swimming locally. 38 ALL IN

Lori and Bobby Jones teamed up to create the North Marion Equine program—then fell in love. 45


Dr. Michael Torres, chief medical officer for AdventHealth Ocala, is committed to a pursuit of knowledge. 51 OCALA

in this issue 30 38


Janet Behnke, Yeny Rowley and Mary Ellen Saladino share a favorite recipe. 57 CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT Christopher Knife shares some of his favorite things. 58 MEET MARTHALYNNE ALLEN The granddaughter of Ross Allen has returned to her roots in Marion County. 60 SCHLENKERISMS Dave shares thoughts about keeping in touch with friends—while you still can. 63

JANUARY TO JUNE IN THE GARDEN Our garden guru offers a primer on the planting schedule for this area.

ON THE COVER: Dr Tina Chandra, Chandra Smile Designs PHOTO BY: Tammy Griffin THIS PAGE: Top, courtesy of the Perry family and middle, by Serita Hult


Dentistry by Dr. Tina Chandra

TINA CHANDRA, D.D.S., LVIF, FIAPA Cosmetic, TMJ, Sleep Dentist ... a Physiologic Approach

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Social Scene

Thousands of people were on hand for Light Up Ocala, the beloved annual tradition that helps kick off the holidays.

Light Up Ocala

The chorus of “oohs” and “aahs” reverberated around the downtown square on Saturday evening, November 19th, when thousands of holiday lights were illuminated all around the downtown square. The festivities also included the Junior Sunshine Parade.

10 ocalastyle.com
Photos by Bruce Ackerman Andres Hernandez, The Grinch and Violet Corcho Cayden and Caylee Sweet Ire and Mason Bethea



TEDx is based on a spirit of ideas worth sharing. The independently organized TEDxOcala’s more recent event, held November 12th at the College of Central Florida, included a wide variety of speakers touching on the topic of “The Power Of…”

January ‘23 11
Photos by Bruce Ackerman Wesam Shahed, Dr. Kinga Mnich and Manal Fakhoury Nilam Patel and Michelle Runck
Tanesha Mills, Consuella Shaw and Monica Bryant Guiselle Solano, Cindy Rodriguez and Trina Bowden Shekinah and Asa McCook

Ocali Country Days

The festival on Nov. 12th and 13th took guests on a journey to the past through living history exhibits. The Silver River Museum & Environmental Education Center inside the park is a program of Marion County Public Schools and is open to the public on weekends.

12 ocalastyle.com INSIDER
SILVER SPRINGS STATE PARK Photos by Bruce Ackerman Noah Lewis, Nicole Lewis, Colton Deland-Zepeda, Kyle Deland-Zepeda, Savannah Deland-Zepeda and Jeffery DeBary Cooper Paitsel and Judd Double Terri Davies and Mysteri Barnhill Kaleena Deland-Zepeda, Jojo DeBary, Molly DeBary and Emily DeBary
January ‘23 13 INSIDER
Kylee Voisine Betty-Lou Seager Don Kraemer Annmarie DeMattia and Steve Zdawczynski Chuck Stegall

Hot Cars & Cool Cats

This bi-annual event, held most recently on November 19th, helps the animals at the nonprofit Endangered Animal Rescue Sanctuary (EARS) in Citra have a forever home.

Attendees looked over numerous automobiles and also checked out the vendors and entertainment.

14 ocalastyle.com INSIDER
NASSIVERA PROPERTY Photos by Bruce Ackerman Pam and Eric Lemaster Roy Hall under the hood of his 1937 Chevrolet Debbie Haley and Wesley Koch with their 1969 Pontiac GTO Mark Bass, Margo Bass and Justin Bass Jr. Skip and Deborah Carter with their 1965 Chevrolet Corvette and their 2019 Chevrolet ZR1 Corvette

Strong and Healthy is the new Sexy !

The caring professionals at Chandra Wellness Center can help you achieve new levels of health and wellness.

Drs. Ravi and Tina Chandra are familiar and trusted names in the medical community in Ocala and Marion County. ey are well known for their compassionate care and highly regarded skills in vascular surgery/ vein procedures and cosmetic/TMJ dentistry and now have expanded their care in health and wellness.

Due to the overwhelming need for therapeutic care in bladder leakage and vascular blood ow issues, they discovered that the cutting-edge medical technology called Emsella helped in this matter. People not only complained about incontinence but also having a weakened core and abdominal muscles, back pain and poor muscle strength overall. e Emsculpt NEO is perfect for body sculpting by losing fat and gaining muscle. ese revolutionary medical devices, in addition to EmTone for cellulite and EmFace for facial lifting, have changed the scope of

therapeutic care and aesthetics. People are wanting non-invasive options to tness and health today and want to look and feel younger, stronger and healthier. at’s when the doctors decided to help their patients and opened the Chandra Wellness Center, where they promote “Strong and Healthy is the new Sexy!”

Dribbles, leaks, accidents; Whatever you call it, Chandra Wellness Center is here to help with your bladder or incontinence issues!

What is Incontinence?

Urinary incontinence is a common occurrence in women. It can be caused by vaginal childbirth, changes due to menopause or even by being overweight. Men can su er incontinence due to weakening pelvic oor muscles and in the pelvic organs, vascular issues and erectile dysfunction.

ere are two types of urinary incontinence. Stress urinary incontinence is when urine escapes due to physical activities such as running or jumping, or it can be provoked by a sneeze or a cough. It is caused by weak pelvic muscles that may be a result of obesity, childbirth or repeated strains such as lifting heavy objects or high impact exercise. Urge incontinence is di erent in that it is an unusually frequent urge to urinate. e cause is unknown, but

Dr. Tina Chandra Dr. Ravi Chandra
Emsella chair

one possible contributor could be diabetes. When a patient su ers from both conditions, it is known as Mixed urinary incontinence. All three types are quite common, especially in older women. ere is a revolutionary non-invasive solution for urinary incontinence. Say goodbye to pads and diapers and say hello to Emsella!

How does Emsella work?

Emsella is an FDA approved device that uses high-intensity focused electromagnetic technology (HIFEM) to stimulate the muscles of the pelvic oor. It is non-surgical and is performed while the patient is fully clothed and seated in a specialized chair.

For women, Emsella has been jokingly referred to as the “Kegel throne” because each 30-minute session is equivalent to doing more than 11,000 Kegel exercises, which are exercises performed to strengthen the pelvic oor muscles and involve repetitions of sustained and rapid contraction of muscles. HIFEM sends supramaximal

contractions to the pelvic oor muscles that have become too weak to control urination.

What type of results can be expected?

Emsella patients report a 95% improvement in their quality of life and a 75% reduction in the use of pads. Patients often see results after just one 30-minute session. For maximum results, a minimum of six sessions twice a week is recommended.

Results will, of course, vary by patient and by the severity of muscle weakness. Maintenance every few months is strongly encouraged.

Pacemakers and metal hip replacements are contraindicated with this treatment.

Can men bene t from Emsella?

Yes! By age 40, 40% of men are a ected by vascular blood issues and erectile dysfunction. By age 70, it increases to 70% of men.

Emsella has been approved for men su ering with incontinence

and erectile dysfunction because of weakening pelvic oor muscles. It can reduce frequency and restore back con dence.

Work (out) smarter, not harder with Emsculpt NEO

If you could lose fat and gain muscle without working out and see results in around two months, would you do it? Is it possible? Is there technology that can sculpt the body and make us look better and feel stronger?

It’s not a dream. e day has nally arrived!

Emsculpt NEO is an FDAapproved nonsurgical body contouring device that combines HIFEM technology with radiofrequency (RF) energy to heat the muscles. It strengthens and builds muscles (hyperplasia) while burning fat at the same time, which is called apoptosis.

It can be used to treat the abdomen, buttocks, biceps, triceps and calves. It strengthens the core muscles as well as the back, even your “love handles.”

How does Emsculpt NEO work? e heating of the muscles is what causes the reduction of fat in the area being treated. e HIFEM simultaneously causes thousands of muscle contractions in order to improve strength and muscle tone.

Combining these two treatments o ers optimal results.

e heating of the muscles from the RF raises the temperature of the muscles by several degrees. It is like what one would do in a warm-up activity before exercising, but much faster. is takes less than 4 minutes. When the temperature of the fat is increased, fat cells are permanently damaged and are removed from the body.

With the supramaximal contractions in the targeted areas like your abdomen, in 30 minutes, it’s like doing 20,000 crunches at the gym! It can give you back abs again!

What results can be expected?

Studies through ultrasound and MRI’s have shown that clients see an average of 30% fat loss and an increase of 25% muscle mass, leaving a smaller waistline. With 88% satisfaction, clients will normally need four to six 30-minute sessions once a week.

ere is no downtime afterwards. One can go right back to work or resuming daily activity.

For some, there may be excess cellulite and EmTone can help reduce the dimply, cellulite appearance in the abdomen, butt area, thighs, legs and arms.

Is Emsculpt NEO for everyone?

Yes, it can be! Building strength and losing fat is what everyone strives for. Being healthier and stronger is the goal.

At Chandra Wellness Center, our professionals will assess a client’s body mass index, hydration and diet.

To achieve tighter core muscles not only gives a jumpstart to do more exercise, but it can make the back muscles stronger, which reduces back pain and helps with posture. ere are many therapeutic advantages with the combination of devices used.

How do I know what I need? e professionals at Chandra Wellness Center will assess your concerns and suggest the best package of treatment.

Our most popular and most successful treatment is the “Core to Floor” package with Emsella, Emsculpt NEO and Emtone, which combines e orts to strengthen core and pelvic muscles.

Introducing EmFace. EmFace helps with facial tightening, wrinkle reduction, building collagen and elastin, and can provide an overall a lift of the face muscles for a

refreshed, enhanced you.

EmFace is non-surgical, uses no needles, is pain free and has changed the face of aesthetics.

What are you waiting for? Payment options available. Call today!

Emsculpt NEO, Emsella, Emtone and now EmFace await you at Chandra Wellness Center where Strong and Healthy is the New Sexy!

Financing options are available and health savings cards are welcome. No Medicare or medical insurance coverage.

Chandra Wellness Center

1920 SW 20th Place, Ocala (352) 861-0224



On the Scene


Florida Horse Park

Jan. 1, 8, 15, 22 & 29


Tailgating at a polo match is a charming way to enjoy an afternoon out with family and friends. You can get up close with the equine athletes and their riders. Chairs are suggested, food and drink are encouraged, and tents are available for rent. Decorate your tent/tailgate area and you might win a prize. Leashed dogs are welcome. For more information, visit ocalapolo.com



World Equestrian Center

Jan. 4-8; 11-15; 18-22; 25-29 (Wed-Sun, each week)

This hunter/jumper show series highlights divisions and class levels from pony, youth rider and adult amateur to Grand Prix

level show jumping with big-dollar prizes. Grand Prix classes take place on Saturday nights and offer spectacular competition in the world-class Grand Arena. Food and drink available onsite; parking fees vary per event. For more information, visit worldequestriancenter.com

JEFF LEESON Marion Theatre

Jan. 6

Comedian Jeff Leeson bills himself as a human fireworks display, so be ready for an improvisational show style that helps create a unique experience each time he steps on stage. His “Sorry, I’m Not Kevin Hart” show will get your new year off to a lighthearted start. Leeson is known for involving the audience. Tickets are $20-$35, available from reillyartscenter.com/events/jeff-leeson

A guide to our favorite monthly happenings and can’t-miss events
Photo by Bruce Ackerman


Downtown Ocala

Jan. 6

Start the new year off with local artists, performers and crafters. Enjoy live music onstage and buskers on the streets. Food and snacks will be available from vendors and restaurants. Some stores are open late for shopping. For more info, ocalafl.org


World Equestrian Center, Expo Center 2 Jan. 6-8

The show will include everything from pontoons and cruisers, to personal watercraft and tubing supplies, along with vendors. Online tickets in advance are $10; $12 at the gate; free for ages 12 and younger. Free parking. Food and drink options onsite. For more info, visit worldequestriancenter.com


Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale Jan. 13

Entertainer, comic and singer/ songwriter Jim Stafford returns with a set that’s sure to include hits such as Spiders and Snakes, Wildflower Weed and others. Stafford tells stories with his songs and is a virtuoso classical guitarist. Tickets are $27-$42. Check out obopry.com for more info.


March, Day in the Park and more Jan. 14-16

To honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., there are events spanning several days, including, on the 14th, a prayer breakfast at the Mary Sue Rich Center at Reed Place at 9am (tickets needed) a wreath ceremony at 11:30am at MLK Jr. Park and MLK Youth Day at 1pm at the Mary Sue Rich Center. Ecumenical church services begin at 5pm on the 15th at Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church. Activities on the 16th begin with the annual march from the downtown square to the Martin

Luther King Jr. Recreational Complex at State Road 40 and MLK Jr. Avenue, which will be followed by Day in the Park, with vendors, food and performers. For more info, email drdilworth@gmail.com or see the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Commission page on Facebook.


Appleton Museum of Art and the College of Central Florida Jan. 17 & 31

On January 17th, Victoria & Abdul, the true story of an unlikely friendship between an aging Queen Victoria and a young clerk from India, starring Judi Dench, will be shown. On January 31st, Parasite will be shown. It has been called a “pitch-black modern fairy tale” about two Korean families with greed and class prejudice at its center. Films at 2pm at the Appleton are free to museum and film series members; nonmembers pay museum admission. Films

January ‘23 19
Photo by Becky Collazo

at CF, at 7pm, are free to attend. The films may contain mature content. For more details, visit cf.edu/filmseries


Institute for Human and Machine Cognition Jan. 19

Dr. Gwen Bryan is an IHMC research scientist and focuses on augmentative exoskeletons she hopes will help laborers, military personnel and people with spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy and other mobility challenges. The lecture begins with a reception. To register, visit ihmc.us/ lectures/20230119



Tuscawilla Park Jan. 20

Hear musical performances by awardwinning artists Appalachian Road Show and opening act The Wandering Hours and enjoy Big Lee’s Serious About BBQ and Country Boyz BBQ, with desserts from Big Man’s Café. General admission is $10 in advance/online or $15 at the gate. VIP packages are available. Bring blankets or chairs for general seating. For more info, ocalafl.org


Lake Lillian Park, Belleview Jan. 27

Held the fourth Friday of every month, this festival features food trucks, live music and kids’ activities. For more info, ocalamarion. com/events/friday-foodie-fest-at-lake-lillian-8


Swampy’s Restaurant, Dunnellon Jan. 28 (rescheduled)

The Dunnellon Chamber of Commerce sponsors a duck race on the Rainbow River to benefit the Greater Dunnellon Historical Society, Believe in Santa Foundation, Family Hope Resource and Pregnancy Center and the Wil-Power Foundation. Adopt a duck and get a prize if your duck wins. Prizes

include a two-night stay at the Guy Harvey Resort, gift baskets and cash. Adoption fees range from $25-$265 for a “quacker’s dozen.” For more info, dunnellonchamber.com


Silver Springs State Park Ballroom, Ocala Jan. 28-29

This annual show will exhibit hundreds of camellias, specially picked for their beauty and hope for perfection. Entries from local growers are welcome and there is no charge to enter a flower. Judging finishes on Saturday morning and the ballroom opens to the public at 1 pm. The club will offer camellia plants for sale, advice on how to grow and enjoy them and raffles for club memberships and plants. For more info, FB.com/Ocala-Camellia-Society-100719056688048


Circle Square Cultural Center, Ocala Feb. 3

Join world champion Elvis tribute artist Cote Deonath with other award-winning tribute artists Chris Patti, George Trullenger and Tim Stamper as they pay tribute to Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Ed Sullivan, The Blues Brothers, Frank Sinatra and others. The show will benefit Habitat for Humanity of Marion County. Tickets are $15-$100; VIP packages are available. See csculturalcenter. com/events/elvis-and-friends for more info.

20 ocalastyle.com
Photo by Bruce Ackerman

Robotic Exoskeleton Improves Mobility

Dr. Gwen Bryan recalls limping off the field as a soccer player in her youth. She later worked with people confronting debilitating injuries. Now, the Stanford University graduate and researcher at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) has merged her technical talents with her love of helping others by developing a device that enables mobility when it is either extremely difficult or impossible.

On January 19th, the New Mexico-born mechanical engineer will give a talk at IHMC in Ocala, titled Improving Human Performance Through Wearable Robotics, which will highlight her work developing an augmentative exoskeleton.

“We’re targeting two areas,” Bryan explains. “One is able-bodied individuals, Department of Energy workers who have really heavy PPE (personal protective equipment), such as air tanks between 20 and 50 pounds, and we’ve designed the device to offload that warm mass.” In other words, the device is carrying the weight instead of the person, Bryan notes.

“The other area is for people with a spinal cord injury (SCI)—that’s historically what IHMC has focused on—and the exoskeletons assist people who are paralyzed from the waist down. We’ve been developing a device to help them to be able to walk.”

According to Bryan, lower-limb exoskeletons have the potential to assist a wide range of patients in myriad locomotor activities. The devices can improve human capabilities or rehabilitate

individuals with limited mobility or chronic injuries and could reduce the strain felt by those in high-intensity professions, such as laborers, military personnel or athletes.

Bryan has been working on getting the device to help a pilot who is paralyzed from the waist down achieve a more natural gait pattern.

“He is able to walk easier,” she says. “He’s been able to speed up his walking pace quite a bit with the gait change on the device.”

She also is seeking more real-time user feedback.

“So, looking at, say, muscle activity, and then tweaking what the device is doing to reduce how much shoulder activity he needs to use,” Bryan explains.

“For example, when walking with the crutches, we see if the exoskeleton can minimize how much crutch force he has to use.”

Bryan and her cohorts are investigating augmentative and rehabilitative exoskeleton technology by leveraging their expertise in robotics and human performance. Figuring out what exactly different populations need and what would be helpful is at the heart of their research.

“We’re starting to look into healthy aging and also helping older adults to stay more mobile,” she adds. “That can be translated toward a lot of pathologies that people don’t necessarily know they have.”

The lecture, which will take place at 15 SE Osceola Ave., will begin with a reception at 5:30pm. Register at ihmc.us/life/evening_lectures/ocala-lecture-series

January ‘23 21
Mechanical engineer Dr. Gwen Bryan will be the IHMC guest lecturer on January 19th.
We’re starting to look into healthy aging and also helping older adults to stay more mobile.
Photo of Dr. Gwen Bryan courtesy of IHMC
— Dr. Gwen Bryan

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Focus On Youth

The goal of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Marion County is to help participants shape their lives and futures.

An 8-year-old girl with blonde hair peers in disapproval at April Savarese’s self-portrait. “You’re making that nose too big!” offers the little girl tiptoeing over the shoulder of Savarese, CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Marion County.

Savarese knows she isn’t drawing her nose just right, but her eyes twinkle as she listens to the girl with the big, bright blue eyes, who is brimming with spunk as she instructs her in the fine art of how to use crayons.

“Your hair is not red,” says the tiny art critic. “You’re using a red crayon—you need to use an orange crayon!”

The nonprofit provides after-school constructive fun and support for youth ages 6 through 18. On this day, Savarese joins some members of the Stiletto Network, a networking group of the Ocala Metro Chamber & Economic Partnership, who are touring the facility and checking out the kids-run art program, which is

designed to let the youngsters direct the adults.

“She just took control and was bossing us around, and it was so funny,” Savarese says with a huge smile.

The girl is in her 13th foster home placement. And yet, after a lifetime of change, of floating from home to home, when the school bus drops her off at the Boys & Girls Club campus in Ocala, she bursts through the doors with a bright smile on her face, calling out, “Hey Miss April!”

“To know that the Boys & Girls Club is her stable place, where everybody knows her name, she feels safe, she feels comfortable, she feels loved and she knows that we’re gonna be there for her, I think that is really a testament to why we’re here…” Savarese says. “Our purpose is to create a safe, enriching environment for kids when they’re not in school so they have that opportunity to be the best version of themselves and be productive members of our community.”

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Marion County

January ‘23 23
Kerriell Jones, April Savarese, Jordan Bryant and Nathan Loveira

organization has been serving the community since 1967. There are campuses in Silver Springs Shores, Dunnellon and Ocala, which includes both the Dr. H.L. Harrell Sr. Club and the Ocala Teen Center. The organization serves around 1,100 kids a year between the four sites, Savarese says. The campuses offer five core programs: Education and Career Development, Character and Leadership, Health and Life Skills, The Arts and Sports, Fitness and Recreation.

The goal is to help participants shape their lives and futures and grow in good character and citizenship, develop healthy lifestyles and attain academic success.

When the members arrive each day after school, they have free time to play games, socialize and have a snack. Then they move into the program schedule and groups rotate around working on homework and activities such as learning to play basketball or how to use a hula

hoop, practicing music or seeing a Taekwondo demonstration.

The cost per child is based on a sliding scale corresponding to the family’s financial need and some children attend at no cost, which is largely made possible by donations from the community.

“Our budget is based on what revenue we drive here,” Savarese explains. “It’s a very common misconception that we are a government funded organization or that we somehow receive funding from the Boys & Girls Club of America.”

Around a third of the local organization’s income comes from grants, another third from the Just Trust foundation and donations, and the final third from fundraising, she outlines.

The group hosts two main fundraisers each year, including an annual luncheon in the fall. The spring event, coming up on February 10th, for the third year in a row, will be Bourbon in the Barn, which will take place at the College of Central Florida Vintage Farm.

“It’s a really great time,” Savarese offers. “It’s a beautiful venue.”

To learn more about the Boys & Girls Clubs of Marion County, visit bgcofmarion.com or FB.com/ bgcofmarion or call (352) 690-7545. For tickets to Bourbon in the Barn, email admin@bgcofmarion.com

24 ocalastyle.com DOING GOOD
Jordan Bryant, 6, left, and Kerriell Jones Wendell Jones, Brentley Pfouts, Natavia Drinks, April Savarese and Henry Freedburg Darcy Freedburg, Tahliea Street, Eloise Freedburg, Anderson Gomez and Hazel Wertz

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July 3rd, 2022

Venue: Ocala Golf Club

Wedding Planner and Floral: Making It Matthews

Photographer: Clarence Simpson Photography

Hair & Makeup: Zariah Cloud/Meraki Studio

Caterer: Impact Island Cafe & Mission BBQ

Her favorite memory: “When I entered the venue, I remember seeing the huge smile on Clarence’s face and how handsome he looked. I saw him with the camera in his hand, then giggled to myself as I thought, ‘He is serious about photographing his own wedding.’”

His favorite memory: “Seeing my wife in her dress and holding her hands during the ceremony were my most memorable moments. She looked so beautiful and anxious; I couldn’t wait to help ease her nerves.”



December 19th, 2021

Venue: Protea Weddings and Events

Photographer: Rachel Weber

Caterer: Let’s Eat Fresh and Marion Mobile Bar

Florals: Bride’s grandmother and Amelia’s Flower Truck

Their favorite memory: “Our wedding day was absolutely perfect. There were two moments that were a highlight for us as a couple. One was our final dance, with just us, the lights down low, slow dancing to a song we love. Another special moment was Myla performing the song she wrote for the day, called For Better or Worse. It’s a true sentiment to our love that has grown into this marriage and will continue to grow in the future.”



April 2nd, 2022

Venue: Licciardello Farms

Wedding Planner: Making it Matthews

Photographer: Maudie Lucas

Florist: Floral Architecture

Hair: Maria Agresti

Makeup: Rachel Moyer

Caterer: Hills Catering

Her favorite memory: “Finally getting to marry the man of my dreams in front of everyone we love!”

His favorite memory: “Seeing Hannah walk down the aisle.”



November 27th, 2022

Venue: Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club

Photographer: Wildalys Photography

Florist: Martha’s Commemorative Creations

Hair and Makeup: BeBeautybyAmanda

Her favorite memory: “Completing the unity cross. I could feel the Lord’s presence and it was a special moment between my husband and I.”

His favorite memory: “Seeing her walk down the aisle.”



Although their saga includes adventures with friends such as W. C. Fields, Ross Allen, Johnny Weissmuller and Esther Williams, the real legacy of the Perry family is having taught thousands of people to swim over the last 100 years.

The numbers of people who have learned to swim from members of the Perry family are as uncountable as the drops of water in the pools at Perry’s Swim School in northeast Ocala. But it is safe to say that in 100 years of teaching, thousands of Ocalans, including generations of some families, learned to swim at the venerable institution.

It all started when Newton A. “Newt” Perry was born in 1908 in southern Georgia. After his family moved to the Tampa area, lifeguards there taught him to be an even better swimmer than he already was. When Newt and his family moved to Ocala in 1922, he was enthralled with Silver Springs and would walk six miles nearly every day to swim there. He soon was teaching others to swim and came to the attention of short movie

producer Grantland Rice, who made features about Newt, whom he dubbed “The Human Fish,” and enlisted him in producing his films.

Newt also gained notoriety with movie stars and production companies and was, for example, the stand-in for actor Johnny Weissmuller from the Tarzan movies.

On an outing with his good friend Ross Allen, against whom he had competed in swimming and who had opened his reptile institute at Silver Springs in 1929, Newt discovered a Hernando County spring filled with trash. He couldn’t shake the thought that the spring had potential and he and a group of other like-minded folks cleaned it up and built an underwater theater. With the backing of his partners, Newt opened the Weeki Wachee Springs attraction in the fall of 1947—

30 ocalastyle.com
Newt Perry

which last year marked 75 years of mermaids entertaining guests using the air hose technology and underwater breathing chambers he invented.

Newt Perry’s amazing life evolved to include his second wife, Dot Perry; daughter Delee; and grandchildren Rock Perry and Tasha Perry Singleton. Delee, who recalls having a Coke and some cookies in Esther William’s trailer on a movie set at the age of 10, continues to be the lead instructor at Perry’s Swim School, teaching young and old alike, as her father did back in 1923.

Family History

Delee Perry says her grandfather on her father’s side worked with the railroad and had an entrepreneurial spirit, including farming produce to sell at the oncefamous Hampton Springs Hotel near Perry in Taylor County. When he took his son Newt and his four young daughters on vacations there, Newt and his oldest sister wouldn’t stay out of the water.

When Newt was 13, the family traveled for five days by automobile to Tampa, sleeping in a tent and crossing Paynes Prairie outside of Gainesville on a barge. After a hurricane damaged her grandfather’s brother’s garage in Tampa, where he had been working, he moved his family north.

“When my family moved to Ocala in 1922, Daddy was in eighth grade. You give him history, science, math, he’s gonna score in the top … but English, uh-uh. His English teacher told him he might as well drop out of school as he’d never amount to anything. And he did,” Delee shares. “He was already the size of a man and his youngest sister had polio and he felt he could help the family if he dropped out and got a job. He was digging ditches and carried brick when they were building Ocala High School.”

During this time, Newt’s willingness to work

hard led him to meet movie star W.C. Fields, who was in town filming It’s The Old Army Game Fields said he was not happy with the meals he was getting so Newt took him home to meet his mother, who was known for her cooking. Fields also was not happy with his accommodations at The Ritz and soon was ensconced in a garage apartment at the Perry family home.

Newt returned to school and at 16 was Ocala High School’s swim coach and star swimmer. He achieved AllAmerica status in football, swimming and diving. He got a football scholarship to Furman University but left after one semester “because the coach belittled you,” Delee offers. “My dad could not adapt to that and said he promised himself he’d never do that to anybody. All of the comments my dad would give, whether it was the smallest little improvement, it was positive reinforcement, and that played an important role in my own philosophy in teaching.”

Newt encountered Dr. John Kellogg, of cereal and sanitarium fame, when another scholarship landed him in Michigan.

“Both of my parents were into nutrition and one of the reasons my dad was, was that his second scholarship in football was in Battle Creek. He got up there and his scholarship did not cover room and board and my grandparents could not afford it so he had to tell the college he was going to have to go home,” Delee remembers. “When Mr. Kellogg found out, he said to my dad, ‘I’ll let you stay with me if you’ll teach my son to swim.’”

She says he would have stayed there but the snow and cold was too much for the southern boy.

Newt came back to Florida and started college at the University of Florida in 1931.

“In his third football game, he tore his knee.

January ‘23 31
“Dot” Perry

Football was the fall sport, swimming was the winter sport, so he told the coach he would have to drop out of school as he didn’t have a scholarship,” Delee shares. “The swimming coach created one and my dad got the first swimming scholarship ever given at UF. Daddy, who was on the tumbling team, would lead the football team onto the field by running the length of it on his hands. He was famous for making human pyramids, supporting three men on his outstretched arms. Can you imagine how strong he was?”

When movie producers began making Tarzan movies at Silver Springs, from about 1932 to 1942, Newt’s aquatic prowess made him an integral part of the process. In 1939, when he was managing Wakulla Springs just south of Tallahassee, he promoted it as a filming location and several films were shot there, including Tarzan’s Secret Treasure

“Another thing that happened while Daddy was at Wakulla was that the United States got into World War II,” Delee reminisces. “Omar Bradley, who was a general, came to my dad and said they were developing a very secretive group of men and ‘We want you to be one of the instructors.’ That was the frogmen, later known as Navy SEALS, and Daddy is in the SEALS hall of fame in Fort Pierce.”

After Newt opened Weeki Wachee Springs and became a member of the Florida Attractions Association, he was at a convention in Miami when he saw a striking high diver named Dorothy “Dot” Roederer, who was training for the 1948 Olympics.

“My dad said he couldn’t pay attention to what

was going on at the meetings because he kept looking out the window at this beautiful woman diving,” Delee recalls. “My dad was a diver also, for the University of Florida, back in the ‘30s. He ran into her coach, Katherine Rawls, and asked her, ‘Who is that woman?’ and Katherine said, ‘That is your future wife.’”

Dot, at first, was a bit cool to the handsome but older Newt. When she barely missed the cut for the Olympic team, he had a medallion inscribed with “To Dot from Newt” on one side and “Champ” on the other.

As they grew closer, she traveled with the Water Follies, which made appearances as far away as Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean Islands. Newt sometimes would book high diving shows at Weeki Wachee in order to bring her closer to him.

The two married in 1950 and moved to San Marcos, Texas, to help develop the Aquarena Springs Attraction, which featured underwater exploits. When it was time to move on, Newt asked Dot where she would like to live and she said Ocala seemed like a good place to raise a family. That is where Delee was born in 1951.

During the 1950s, Newt and Dot taught swimming and diving at city pools. He started the Boys Saturday Club to teach youngsters skills such as how to swim, start a fi re and ride a horse. He also was a teacher, coach and principal at area schools and was involved with

32 ocalastyle.com
Swimming is not something you are born knowing how to do, but something I see as a necessary skill for safety reasons.
- Tasha Perry Singleton
Tasha Perry Singleton

American Red Cross swim instruction for more than fi ve decades.

The Perrys worked for eight years to reclaim an abandoned lime rock quarry the city had been using as a dump. That is where they built a home and opened Perry’s Swim School in 1955.

“My dad’s dream was to have a pool right outside his home,” Delee shares. “The first pool was the little one, then they opened the big pool in 1959.”

The Legacy Delee Perry also was a champion swimmer and diver. Her children followed suit and were involved with Perry’s Swim School and other aquatic pursuits. Tasha is currently the assistant swimming and diving coach at Centre College in Kentucky.

“Growing up poolside in my own backyard, I would watch my mother conduct business as usual every summer,” Tasha recalls. “A few of my cherished life lessons come from watching and listening to my mother teach swimming. She has such a love, passion and devotion. I also learned how to teach with confidence, discipline and a robust sense of self-worth. As soon as I was old

enough to help, she pulled me as much as I could handle to help teach the classes. I have been teaching swimming lessons for 31 years and I am thankful she passed her love, joy and strength of teaching to me.”

When asked how many pupils she has taught to swim over more than five decades, Delee replies: “That is hard. Some years as many as 500, some years only 100, 150. I figure I can safely say 20,000.”

With the help of a co-instructor, Delee offers instruction to learn to swim and also competitive swim training for children and adults.

“Parents ask how long should I give my child swimming lessons? I tell them as long as you can afford it and sometimes afford does not mean money; sometimes afford means time,” she notes. “I ask, ‘Do you have access to a pool? Do you want your child just to know how to swim to be safe around water? Do you want your child to join a swimming team?’ I teach everything from infant swimming to triathlon athletes. I like for the parent to know as much about helping their child know how to swim as actually teaching the child to swim. The key in teaching a baby is practice, like teaching them the alphabet or colors. Both

January ‘23 33
Delee Perry

Clockwise, from top left: Newt and Dot on their wedding day; A mermaid at Weeki Wachee; Delee and her children Rock and Tasha in the ‘80s; Dot poses with two swimmers in front of the Underwater Theatre; Newt as a young man; Newt carries a mermaid. Opposite page: Dot Perry and the Junior Perryetts around 1956. From left: Nancy Bray, Delee Perry, Anna Adams and Nessie Chambers.

of my children, at 18 months, could swim 50 feet, taking a breath of air, because I practiced with them. I heard my daughter fall into the pool when she was 17 months old. I was going to dive in and get her but by the time I got to the pool she was out. I knew what I had been teaching her really paid off in that moment.”

Delee says there are some people she cannot teach to swim.

“If you don’t want to know how to swim, I can’t help you want to learn,” she affirms. “If you don’t know how to swim but you have the desire, I can teach you.”

Sadie Fitzpatrick is one of the locals, along with her two brothers, who learned to swim from “Ms. Perry.”

“That’s just where you went,” she says of Perry’s Swim School. “And she teaches the parents as much as the kids. Her style has worked for so many people. She has had three and four generations come through her class.”

Delee says one reason the school remains a local institution, even with the advent of other programs, including the massive new Florida Aquatic Swimming Training (FAST) facility in southwest Ocala, is that she keeps her prices reasonable.

Of the Perrys teaching swimming for 100 years in Ocala, Delee says the legacy “is the love that we have of swimming and the delight

seeing a child go from not being able to swim to being a really good swimmer. Or that infant who can fall in and turn around and go back to the wall and climb out by themselves; that is such a reward.”

“I love to reflect on my family’s legacy and often ponder the thought of exactly how many people we have taught how to swim over the last century,” Tasha shares. “Swimming is not something you are born knowing how to do, but something I see as a necessary skill for safety reasons.”

On the day of our interview and photo session, Delee gently fingered the medallion her father had given her mother all those years ago, hanging on a chain around her neck.

“When Mother was dying of cancer and my dad was an invalid, I was going through a tough time myself. I had my own house but I would come over while my mother was taking her treatments and I would care for my dad and sometimes she was so sick I would care for her, too,” she says wistfully. “I was getting ready to go home one day and they handed me a little box. When I opened it, I saw the word “Champ” and I turned it over and it said “To Dot from Newt.” And I said, ‘What is this?’ And they said, ‘Well, you’re our champ.’”

To learn more about Perry’s Swim School, go to perrysswimschool.com or call (352) 732-5540.

January ‘23 35
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All In

Lori and Bobby Jones teamed up to foster the nascent North Marion Equine program, immersing students in the Florida thoroughbred industry via her North Marion High School classroom and his Bobby Jones Equine’s hands-on thoroughbred farm experience.

Some people spend a lifetime seeking out their true passion. Lori Jones had the good fortune to be born into hers. And she has made the most of that rare opportunity while also paying it forward to others.

“I was born into a third-generation farming family in Citra. My dad, Jerry Bunn, grew peanuts, vegetables and ran a cattle operation. My mom Jodie also grew up in a farming family; later she owned and operated a swine operation,” says Lori. “My twin sister Lisa and I grew up doing our farm chores seven days a week. We also

showed horses, steers and hogs through 4-H and then Future Farmers of America.”

While she loved every aspect of the farming life, Lori has always had a particular affinity for horses.

“My sister Lisa and I started showing horses when we were 5 years old. I had a half-Arabian and half-saddlebred and an Egyptian Arabian. My sister had a Polish Arabian,” she shares. “We showed in every class we could, including saddle seat equitation and western pleasure, right up into high school.”

38 ocalastyle.com

The inseparable twins soon took on a new equine-related challenge in rodeoing. Competing in Florida High School Rodeo Association events, the duo were standouts in goat-tying, barrel racing, pole bending, cutting and team roping. The latter two were Lori’s favorites and both developed from ranch work. In rodeo cutting events, horse and rider are judged on how well they work to separate, or cut, cows from a herd during a two-and-ahalf-minute time frame. Team roping involves two riders, a header and a heeler, who work together to rope the horns and the back heels of a steer in the fastest time possible.

“I really focused on cutting in high school and went to work in the summers for Al McDonald at his Cutters Quarters in Reddick,” recounts Lori. “I learned so much from Al and he made me a better cutting horse rider.”

Indeed, Lori’s summers with McDonald paid off. In1989, as a North Marion High School (NMHS) senior, she earned a trio of titles: Florida High School Rodeo Association Girls Cutting State Champion, Gold Coast Cutting Youth Champion and Florida Cutting Horse Association Youth Champion.

“I continued cutting horse competitions while I attended Central Florida Community College and the University of Florida,” notes Lori. “Of course, my focus was on the agriculture industry in college. I figured after I got my degree, I would go back to the family farm and work it. But when I told my dad about my plans, he said no and that I needed to get a real job. But I wasn’t sure what that was at the time.”

When Lori told her UF advisor of her dilemma, she had her answer and a new calling.

“I had never thought about teaching at all,” she says. “But when my advisor suggested a degree in agriculture education, that sounded like a plan to me.”

And Lori took to teaching as easily as she had competing in rodeos. After graduating in 1994 from UF with a bachelor of science degree in agriculture education, she became an agriculture teacher at Kathleen High School in Lakeland. In 1995, she moved to Fort King Middle School and taught agriculture there for 20 years. In addition, she was also the school’s advisor for the National FFA Organization (known until 1988 as the

Future Farmers of America) chapter throughout her time at the latter.

“I discovered that I really loved being able to share my knowledge and past experiences with my students,” says Lori, a self-described tough but fair teacher. “I feel anytime that students can apply their classroom learning to the real world, it helps make a positive influence and impact on their education.”

An Equine Epiphany

In 2015, Lori returned to NMHS, this time as an animal science teacher and National FFA advisor. As for her competitive riding, she had switched from cutting to team roping.

“I can both head and heel, but mostly these days, I head with various heeling partners at weekend shows. My sister Lisa also team ropes and she’s a header too,” notes Lori, 51, who has two sons, Andy (24) and Cody (21), Albritton from a previous marriage. “I have two roping quarter horses, Buster and Gus. I raised Buster, he’s 24 now and still a good roping horse.”

As she settled into her teaching position at NMHS, Lori began to envision something more than just the current animal science curriculum.

“Most of the focus was on livestock, which is obviously very important. But I did have several students who really loved horses and competed in rodeo and other disciplines,” recounts Lori. “And we do live in the Horse Capital of the World, so I decided that it would be a good thing to incorporate more equine-related topics into the curriculum. I went to my principal and he said, if you can fund it, then you can do it.”

Ever the go-getter, that was all the approval Lori needed. In 2016, she and Animal Science Level Four students wrote a grant proposal to establish the North Marion Equine program. In 2017, the Public Education Foundation of Marion County awarded a $5,000 grant to fund equine facilities on the school campus.

“I was delighted with the grant, but knew I would have to reach out to the thoroughbred community to really make the program work. I had no connections to thoroughbreds, but I wasn’t afraid to ask for help,” says Lori. “My brother-in-law Brian Hoey, who is a farrier, mentioned Bobby Jones might be a good person

January ‘23 39
I had never thought about teaching at all. But when my advisor suggested a degree in agriculture education, that sounded like a plan to me.
— Lori Jones

in the thoroughbred industry to contact. I was in a local restaurant one night and someone pointed out Bobby sitting at a nearby table and that’s how we met.”

A Bit of Serendipity Despite being born in Lexington, Kentucky, a major thoroughbred industry center, and growing up in Louisville, home of the Kentucky Derby, Bobby Jones had no involvement then in the thoroughbred business.

“I grew up riding quarter horses and started competing in cutting horse events when I was 13,” says Bobby, 61. “My mentor was Al McDonald. Just before I graduated from high school, he moved to the Ocala area and set up his Cutters Quarters in Reddick. In 1980, about a year after I graduated, I moved to Reddick to work for Al.”

And, yes, he is the same Al McDonald who Lori worked for at his Cutters Quarters during her junior and senior high school years. But by that time, Bobby had indeed transitioned to the thoroughbred business. From 1985-2010, he co-managed Brylynn Farm and after that established Bobby Jones Equine.

“I was eating at the Petro Truck Stop restaurant just off the interstate in Orange Lake when this woman walks up and introduces herself,” recalls Bobby. “She tells

me she’s an animal science teacher at North Marion High School and she wants to start an equine program. She needs someone in the thoroughbred industry willing to help out with the program. I tell her to get back to me when she has her plans in order and I’d see what I could do.”

Bobby pauses, chuckles and says, “I didn’t think she’d be back, but she did come back and that’s how it started.”

Lori chimes in, “First Bobby helped us design and build paddocks and a barn at the school. Then he donated our first broodmare, Clueless Brook, in foal to Chitu. We kept her at the school facilities until she was close to foaling and then moved her to Bobby Jones Equine. Clueless Brook foaled a colt on April 19, 2017.”

The colt was the first hands-on experience for the North Marion Equine students as they learned about foaling, weaning, farrier and veterinary care and sales prepping. And they learned about the sales business, working with the Bobby Jones Equine consignment every day at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company (OBS). Their day began at 5:30am, cleaning stalls, grooming and showing the colt to prospective buyers. Their hard work paid off when the colt sold for $10,000 at the 2018 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s January Mixed Sale.

“It was so exciting for all of us to raise and

40 ocalastyle.com
Clockwise from above: Lori Jones Roping; Bobby Jones giving nutrients to a foal; student Miranda Sellars, veterinarian Cory Miller and Bobby Jones using ultrasound technology. Opposite page: Lori Jones and Buster Photos courtesy of Lori Jones

sell the program’s first foal,” recalls Lori. “That money and all the money from future sales goes right back into the program.”

Bobby donated another broodmare, Perfect Biscuit, and the program sold her 2019 Jess’s Dream colt for $15,000 at the 2020 OBS January Mixed Sale. That was followed by Clueless Brook’s 2019 Valiant Minister filly selling for $5,000 at the 2020 OBS October Yearling Sale.

“We didn’t have anything to sell in 2022, but Valerie Dailey surprised us and graciously donated a 2021 Valiant Minister out of Charmed Gift, by A.P. Indy, colt in late June,” shares Lori. “By this time, I had 22 students, grades 10-12, in the program. Eleven students were selected to participate in the sales prepping and then work at the OBS October Yearling Sale. The colt sold for $14,000.”

Clueless Brook, the first broodmare that Bobby donated to the program, is now retired. Perfect Biscuit has been joined by Country Song and both mares are expecting 2023 foals. Country Song’s 2022 Awesome of Course colt is slated to be sold at this year’se 2023 OBS January Mixed Sale.

For three high school seniors, the North Marion Equine program has made a major impact on their lives.

“I’ve always had horses and showed quarter horses,” says Caroline Cassidy. “But until I became involved in the North Marion Equine program, I had no idea how big the thoroughbred industry was here in Ocala. Being able to work on Mr. Bobby’s farm and at the sales has been great. I’m considering a career in the veterinary field.”

Fianna Roberts-Squier, who has three thoroughbreds and competes in show jumping, moved to Ocala from Volusia County and enrolled at NMHS specifically because of the equine program.

“Mrs. Lori and Mr. Bobby have been so amazing to work with from the first day. Being able to work at the sales has been the highlight for me,” she says. “I plan on getting a degree in equine psychology and behavior.”

Without an equine background, Alexis Riley was coaxed into the equine program, explaining, “I visited the horses on the school campus and that’s what got me interested. Mrs. Lori

encouraged me to enroll in the equine program and I’m so glad that I did. It’s been a great experience and I’m thinking of specializing in equine shockwave therapy.”

Bonus Effects

“The success of the North Marion Equine program, which is an elective class, has exceeded my expectations. I never imagined that this program would have taken off and grown the way that it has,” says Lori. “And that success led to equine science being offered as a curriculum course in 2022. Each year another course will be added and will allow our students to become more knowledgeable about the equine industry.”

Lori is also quick to give credit where credit is due.

“I can’t overstate how important Bobby has been to the North Marion Equine program,” she says. “Thanks to him, the students have been able to get hands-on experience at the farm and at OBS that can’t be taught in a classroom.”

Bobby adds, “I’ve been involved in the horse industry for more than 35 years and being part of the North Marion Equine program is the best thing that I’ve ever done. I love working with the students

and the energy I get back from them is priceless.”

And something more personal came out of Lori and Bobby working together for four years with the North Marion Equine program.

“I fell in love with with Lori, a woman who is a beautiful human being and who gives her heart to her students,” offers Bobby.

Lori shares, “Bobby loves what he does and has such a big heart. Our first date was in February, 2018, when Bobby invited me and my son Cody to dinner at his house. He cooked dinner for us and that really impressed me.”

The couple married on December 18th, 2021, fittingly at Bobby Jones Equine, underneath a wooden arch with a massive oak tree as a backdrop. Home is a 2,200-square-foot log house, sitting up on a rise looking down on the farm that brought them together—perhaps proving that giving back rewards in unexpected ways.

To learn more about programs at North Marion High School, go to marionschools.net/nmh

January ‘23 43
Clockwise from above: Miranda Sellars and Lori Jones; group of North Marion Equine students after they sold a colt to Janice Woods; Taylor Burns with a colt at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company. Opposite page: Bobby Jones with students Fianna Roberts-Squier and Caroline Cassidy Photos courtesy of Lori Jones
1. Credit approval and initial $50 opening deposit required. Member must elect to receive eDocuments. 2. Credit approval and initial $5 deposit required. 3. U.S. checking or savings account required to use Zelle®. Transactions between enrolled users typically occur in minutes and generally do not incur transaction fees. Zelle® and the Zelle® related marks are wholly owned by Early Warning Services, LLC and are used herein under license. Insured by the NCUA. CAMPUS CHECKING IS THERE FOR YOU NO MONTHLY FEE or minimum balance requirement1 ONLINE & MOBILE banking with online bill pay and mobile deposits ZELLE® Transfer funds instantly between accounts with Zelle®³ Open a free checking account today¹ Open an account at campuscu.com Call 352-237-9060 and press 5 Visit campuscu.com to find a CAMPUS Service Center “CAMPUS is there through all the game changing moments in your life.”
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Lifelong Learner

AdventHealth Ocala’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Michael Torres is living his best life sharing quality time with members of his extended family and many friends, and by remaining committed to continuing his pursuit of knowledge.

Dr. Michael Torres’ resume reads like a manual for how to be a successful leader, physician, military officer, business person and strategic planner.

He also is a devoted father and grandfather, avid reader, musician and nature lover.

Torres , 65, has a deep background in medical management and leadership. He has served with the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Air Force, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard, and retired with the rank of colonel. As a business owner, he oversaw corporations dealing with hospital staffing, occupational medicine and billing services. In addition to obtaining his doctor of medicine from Spartan Health Sciences University and master’s in business administration from Touro University International, he has certifications from the University of Michigan College of Engineering, Air War College, National Board of Medical Examiners, American Board of Family Medicine and is a fellow with the American Association for Physician Leadership and American Board of Quality Assurance and Utilization Review Physicians.

Since he came to AdventHealth Ocala in 2018, he had led numerous efforts to enhance the safety measures and quality of care provided to the community.

“I’m committed to the job I have to do, and I get up every day passionate about making sure

that we provide safe care in a way that meets the needs of every patient,” he says, “and we do it in a way that medical science evidence says is the right thing to do.”

“His leadership has been indispensable as AdventHealth continues to elevate the quality of care provided to our community,” offers AdventHealth Ocala President and CEO Joe Johnson. “From physician engagement and communication, to partnering with our nursing leadership team on accountabilities and benchmarks, he has brought the drive and discipline necessary to ensure our teams are effectively working together to provide the best care possible for our patients.”

Early Training

Torres was born in Miami and joined the Marine Corps fresh out of high school.

“From there, I have been all over the world,” he shares. “I did come back to Florida, but not Miami. This was the 1970s and Vietnam had ended and a lot of us from active duty were placed into the reserves. I got a job in a fire department in Broward County. I learned that EMTs made 5 percent more than firefighters and paramedics made another 10 percent more than the EMTs, so I became an EMT and paramedic because I needed the money—and then I fell in love with medicine.”

In the military and with the fire department, Torres took opportunities to engage in leadership roles. He started medical school in 1982. He finished in three years and began a residency in family medicine in Buffalo, New York.

46 ocalastyle.com
I get up every day passionate about making sure that we provide safe care in a way that meets the needs of every patient.
— Dr. Michael Torres Photos courtesy of Dr. Michael Torres

“I obtained my license in 1986 and I was subject to recall as a Marine so I took a commission as a medical officer in the Air Force Reserve and joined the Air National Guard,” he recalls. “I finished my residency and started working as a civilian physician, continuing my time in the military reserve, and took advantage of opportunities to go active duty. I was activated for Desert Storm. As I gained rank, more and more leadership roles were offered to me. I commanded a unit outside of Detroit, a unit at Niagara Falls and a facility in Maryland. I was the deputy chief for aerospace medicine for the Air Force Reserve. When I was the command surgeon for 22nd Air Force in Marietta, Georgia, at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, I was responsible for 31 medical facilities at 17 bases in 13 states, in addition to my medical practice.”

Torres says he loves doing things that make him feel challenged.

“I’ve done all kinds of crazy things in my military career. I have jumped out of perfectly good airplanes. I have flown in fighter jets as a flight surgeon. I have ejected from a fighter jet that was damaged by Canada geese,” he shares. “With the role of a flight surgeon, you are the primary doctor to a group of aviators and their families. You have to do the things they do so you can understand the stressors of their job. If they fly in high-performance aircraft, you fly in high-performance aircraft. If they jump out of airplanes, you jump out of airplanes. I never did those things because I wanted the adrenalin rush but because I was committed to the job I had to do.”

“Dr. Torres inspires and coaches leaders to reach their full potential,” Johnson notes. “He challenges them through his own unique style of care and compassion, guided by disciplined decision making.”

Coming To Ocala

Torres came to Ocala at the behest of Johnson, with whom he had previously worked in Tampa.

“He called and said ‘I need a strong chief medical officer; would you be interested in moving to Ocala?’” Torres notes. “I said yes.”

The doctor says he likes working in Ocala, and the people.

“It’s real here,” he offers.

In his rare downtime, Torres still plays the accordion, which he started playing at the age of 5. He also plays piano. He says he paid for college by working as a professional musician in Miami. He loves all “all kinds

January ‘23 47
Family photos courtesy of Dr. Michael Torres

of music. Everything from rap to Bartok and anything in between. My favorite is jazz and I love instrumental guitar. I’ve constantly got music on.”

He says he is a “voracious” reader and has a listening library of about 400 books.

“I love to read to learn,” he affirms.

“I’m not a big television series person,” he shares, “but I’ll watch movies and I like action films to go along with my military background, but also romantic comedies. I am a Hallmark Channel junkie.”

Torres also enjoys walks and hikes in local parks.

He has an extended family that includes children, grandchildren and stepchildren. His son, Marine Lance Cpl. Michael Torres, was killed in Iraq in 2004.

One of Torres’ stepdaughters is an artist and has an art gallery. He laments his own lack of artistic talent but then relates a conversation he had with her.

“I said, ‘I wish I had your talent. I can’t draw stick figures and make them look like anything.’ And she said, ‘No, no. I shadowed you in the emergency department and I watched you put somebody’s face back together. You knew how to put muscle to muscle and all the different layers, and I was watching you and realizing I was watching an artist.’”

Torres is amiable and known for his wit.

“He is a consummate storyteller, providing his audience with entertaining tales filled with nuggets of life lessons along the way,” Johnson shares. “He inspires those around him to reach for excellence. Whether he is speaking to a team member or a physician, he can tailor his message to their interests and strengths while keeping our mission top of mind.”

The Job

Torres says that as the chief medical officer of AdventHealth Ocala, he is responsible for “quality, patient safety and risk management.”

“I also provide oversight to the laboratory and pharmacy. I’m responsible for medical staff services—that includes making sure the doctor taking care of you is competent and qualified to do so. I track the performance of every individual who is granted privilege to do something to you as a human being in our hospital.”

He says he is “into making sure that we provide the type of care to the patients that they deserve.”

“I believe every human being is qualified to make a judgment on whether or not the caring they received was adequate, was acceptable. As a doctor, I’m qualified to judge the care rendered by another doctor. As a non-doctor, you don’t have the, not to sound antagonistic, you don’t have the education, training, experience and background to determine whether the doctor tied the knot correctly when they were putting in a stitch, but you will know if the doctor treated you caringly,” he explains. “I am happiest when I am making sure we have that safe, evidence-based, patient-centered care.”

Many in the community still refer to AdventHealth Ocala as “Munroe” hospital, which was the name given to the facility in the early 1900s in honor of T.T. Munroe, a banker who led the effort to expand the hospital near its current site. Over time, the public hospital, called Munroe Regional Medical Center, or MRMC, grew into a nationally recognized healthcare facility but struggled financially at the turn of this century. In 2012, Marion County voters rejected a tax to help

I’m responsible for medical staff services— that includes making sure the doctor taking care of you is competent and qualifi ed to do so.
— Dr. Michael Torres

raise $65 million to keep MRMC funded. Two years later, Community Health Systems (CHS) took over operations under a 40-year lease agreement with the Marion County Hospital District, which continues to own the hospital and land. In 2018, CHS sold the lease to operate MRMC to AdventHealth, a Seventh-day Adventist nonprofit health system.

“Our mission as a health system is to extend the healing ministry of Christ,” Torres states. “We have four behavioral standards we live by. 1) Keep me safe. 2) Make it easy. We’re not going to try to complicate your life with 27 sets of forms. We’re going to make it easy with one set of forms. 3) Love me. We need to treat you like we love you because we are told by the God we believe in, love all like you love God. The last is an acknowledgment that we are human. When you make an error, when you fall down, own it. We are all going to make mistakes. When we do, we have to own it, which means admitting you were wrong. Take ownership of the error and say, ‘What can I do to make it right?’

“We are the community’s hospital,” he adds. “We bend over backwards to provide excellent care. We have worked hard on improving the quality of the medical care. We have worked hard on improving the caring. It is not the same place it was under the Munroe moniker but it is still the community’s hospital.”

For those considering a career in healthcare, Torres says you need to love what you are doing and commit to being a lifelong learner.

“I’m going to give you some statistics from a speech I gave for a recent medical school white coat ceremony,” he offers. “In the 1950s, it was estimated that the amount of knowledge in medicine would double in 25 years. In the 1980s, it was estimated that the amount of knowledge in medicine would double every seven years. In the 1990s, it was estimated to be every five years. In the early 2000s, every 3 ½ years. In 2021, the same study published that the total body of knowledge in medicine doubles every 73 days. Whether you’re a nurse, nurse practitioner, physician assistant… it doesn’t matter; you need a commitment to a lifelong quest for growing your knowledge.”

Remember the last time your family visited the forest? It’s a place of wonder and imagination for the whole family—where stories come to life. And it’s closer than you think. Sounds like it’s time to plan your next visit. Make the forest part of your story today at a local park near you or find one at DiscoverTheForest.org.


Ocala Cooks

Yeny Rowley loves to cook for family members and friends, especially dishes such as her Rajas Poblanas, which, she says, acquired its name from the city of Puebla, Mexico, where she grew up.


Janet Behnke, a groundbreaker in the 1970s as the first practicing female attorney in the five-county 5th Judicial Circuit, is well respected in the legal community—but her closest friends can also vouch for her adeptness as a great cook and gracious hostess. This easy-to-prepare dish, which she found online and adapted to her own tastes, is a favorite among her guests.

Wine Vinegar Chicken with Green Olive Sauce

3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1½ cups green olives, such as Castelvetrano, pitted and crushed

1 cup parsley, tender leaves and stems, chopped

½ cup white wine vinegar

6 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, finely grated

1 teaspoon ground turmeric Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Place chicken on a rimmed baking sheet (line with aluminum foil if desired) and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil and turmeric, salt and pepper. Arrange chicken and pour vinegar over and around each piece.

Place the pan in the oven and bake until the chicken is cooked through and browned, about 25 to 30 minutes.

While the chicken is baking, combine the olives, garlic, parsley, 4 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl and

season with salt and pepper.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and transfer the chicken to a serving platter, leaving behind juices and bits stuck to the bottom.

Put the baking sheet is on a sturdy surface and pour the olive mixture onto it. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to gently scrape up all the bits on the bottom and combine those with the olive mixture until you have a nice sauce.

To serve, pour the sauce over the chicken and put the platter on the table or serve individual portions on a plate with sides such as rice and a steamed or roasted vegetable.

Ocala Cooks is a place for our community to share their favorite recipes and discuss all things food. Join the conversation on Facebook and your recipe may be featured in a future issue. To learn more, visit fb.com/groups/ocalacooks

January ‘23 53

Author and columnist Mary Ellen Saladino celebrates her Sicilian heritage by preparing this fish and seafood stew. “It can be enjoyed anytime but often is part of the Italian-American cuisine Christmas Eve celebration, The Feast of the Seven Fishes. All types of seafood can be incorporated. In addition to the stew, side dishes might include oysters or seafood salad, for example, to reach the seven fishes. I found this recipe online but I switch it up, such as swapping cod for monkfish.”

Zuppa di Pesce

1⅓ pounds monkfish loin, cut in four filets

8 jumbo sea scallops

8 jumbo shrimp, cleaned (*see note)

1½ pounds fresh clams

½ large yellow onion, thinly sliced

1 medium fennel bulb, thinly sliced, a few fronds reserved

2 cloves garlic, minced (or more to taste)

½ tsp. red pepper flakes

1 cup dry white wine

2 14.5 oz cans San Marzano tomatoes, crushed

3 cups broth (*see note) or water

Extra virgin olive oil

Rustic Italian bread or baguette, rubbed with garlic and drizzled with olive oil and toasted

Pat fish and scallops dry and season with salt. Coat a heavy bottomed pot with olive oil and place over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, sear the fish on all sides. Remove from pan and place on a rimmed plate or shallow bowl to reserve the juices. Add more oil if needed and sear the scallops on both sides. Reserve with the fish.

Add olive oil to the pot and sauté the onions and fennel until tender but not browned. Season with salt. Clear a small spot and add garlic and red pepper flakes (add oil as needed) and sauté until the garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Deglaze with white wine and let most of it evaporate then add the crushed

tomatoes and broth or water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Add the fish and continue to simmer for about 10 minutes.

Add the shrimp and clams and simmer until the shrimp have almost cooked and the clams are almost open. Add the scallops, along with any juices, and simmer another 2 minutes or so. Taste the broth and season as needed.

Divide seafood between bowls and ladle broth, fennel and onions over the top. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with fennel fronds. Serve with toasted, garlic-rubbed bread.

Note: You can use shrimp shells and fennel stalks to make broth. Quarter an onion, chop two carrots, chop fennel stalks and sauté. Cover with water, add shrimp shells, fennel fronds, a bay leaf, a few sprigs of parsley and a couple of peppercorns and simmer for 30 minutes. Or, just use water but leave the shrimp in their shells.

Ocala Cooks is a place for our community to share their favorite recipes and discuss all things food. Join the conversation on Facebook and your recipe may be featured in a future issue. To learn more, visit fb.com/groups/ocalacooks

54 ocalastyle.com LIVING

Originally from Mexico, Yeny Rowley has an adventurous appetite that inspires her to cook international foods for family and friends, without neglecting, of course, dishes from her native country, such as Rajas Poblanas. “This dish acquired its name from the city of Puebla, where I grew up. It is very versatile. I love to cook and translate recipes like this one to share with others. Some foods I prepare have even spilled inspiration on the pages of my bilingual devotions.”

Rajas Poblanas

3 large poblano peppers

1 medium onion, sliced

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 cup canned corn kernels, drained

1 can Nestle Media Crema Table Cream or 3/4 cup Mexican Crema

2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1 teaspoon organic Better Than Bullion chicken base (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

Roast the poblano peppers on a griddle, rotating them with tongs until the skin blisters, for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and place them in a medium bowl and cover with plastic wrap to allow the peppers to sweat for at least seven minutes.

Heat the butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the onions and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, for about five minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

While the onions are softening, remove the peppers from the bowl. Peel away the charred skin and discard the skins, seeds and stem. Slice the peppers into ¼-inch strips.

Add the sliced poblano peppers to the pan and stir continually for about two minutes. Add the corn kernels, cream, cumin and chicken bouillon, if using, or adjust salt. Bring to a simmer then lower heat. Cook for another five minutes.

Serving suggestions:

Side dish—Pair the mixture with rice, beans and steak.

Taco stuffing—Serve over warm corn or flour tortillas.

Tostada topper—Serve over tostada shells with melted cheese of your choice, such as Oaxaca, Chihuahua, Mozzarella or Monterrey Jack.

Main dish—Add cubed grilled chicken or shredded rotisserie chicken.

Dip appetizer—This creamy dip, which is mildly spicy, pairs well with tortilla chips. Immerse a stick blender in the mixture until you achieve the desired consistency.

Ocala Cooks is a place for our community to share their favorite recipes and discuss all things food. Join the conversation on Facebook and your recipe may be featured in a future issue. To learn more, visit fb.com/groups/ocalacooks

January ‘23 55 LIVING

Head to El Toreo for the best Mexican food this side of the border! Enjoy all of your favorite traditional Mexican dishes in a friendly and festive atmosphere.

Specials: Mondays and Wednesdays, Margaritas are $2 Saturdays, 2 for 1 Margaritas All Day

El Toreo

3790 E Silver Springs Boulevard, Ocala (352) 694-1401 › 7 days 11a-10p

SR 200, Ocala (352) 291-2121 › 7 days 11a-11p

Located in the heart of downtown Ocala, Harry’s offers traditional Louisiana favorites like Shrimp and Scallop Orleans, Crawfish Etouffée, Jambalaya, Shrimp Creole, Blackened Red Fish, Louisiana Gumbo and Garden District Grouper. Other favorites, like French Baked Scallops and Bourbon Street Salmon, are complemented with grilled steaks, chicken, burgers, po’ boy sandwiches and salads. Their full bar features Harry’s Signature Cocktails, such as the Harry’s Hurricane, Bayou Bloody Mary or the Cool Goose Martini. They also feature wines by the glass and a wide selection of imported, domestic and craft beer.

Harry’s Seafood Bar & Grille

24 SE 1st Avenue, Ocala (352) 840-0900 › hookedonharrys.com Mon-Thu 11a-9p › Fri & Sat 11a-10p › Sun 11a-8p

Happy Hour Specials: 2-7p every day

Harry’s Signature Cocktails

Dine-in or take out available
Subscribe today at ocalagazette.com/subscribe Support Local Journalism!
Draft Beer
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Premium Cocktails
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1My lovely bride, Beth. We have so much fun on this, our big adventure through life, that we’re laughing all the time!

Digesting one thought or quote that stretches my mind and understanding each day. For example, “You can’t step in the same river twice because the river and you are always changing.” —Heraclitus of Ephesus (c. 500 BCE)

2Christopher Knife


Chris is the vice president for development and CEO of the College of Central Florida Foundation, Inc. Among the things he is grateful for is “a very giving and generous community.”

Great food cooked at home! Great food cooked for me! Favorite restaurants include La Cuisine, Mark’s Prime, Amrit Palace, Terry’s Place, Latinos Y Mas and Big Lee’s BBQ to name a few. What can I say? I like to eat!

Reading. I’m happiest when I have a few books going at once. Barnes & Noble, Amazon and any place that has books for sale are haunts for me.

A daily walk on the CF Ocala Campus, Silver Springs State Park (I mean, wild monkeys!), the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway or in our neighborhood. Being in a green space daily is essential to my well-being.

6A bowtie for workdays. I’ve worn one most of my working career—all the way back to when I aspired to lecture history. I’ve collected enough ties to just about wear a different one every day. When I’m in Greiner’s Clothing, Inc. or Dillard’s, I’ll be eyeing bowties—even though I do not need any more!

Making music daily on the bagpipe and always trying to improve.

Music making is so important—I like to think that even to whistle a tune or bang on a drum is happiness if you don’t play a bagpipe.

3 4
Select images courtesy of Freepik

Meet Marthalynne Allen

One of Marthalynne Allen’s earliest memories is helping her grandfather Ross Allen feed alligators at his reptile institute, which was a major draw at the Silver Springs Attraction for years. The noted outdoorsman made an impression on his young granddaughter, and she has approached life with his same sense of adventure.

Marthalynne’s life story is a winding path that began in the woods of Marion County and has brought her back to her roots as she now is helping staff the Silver River Museum & Environmental Education Center on weekends. She approaches the job with a passion for the arts and history. Impromptu tours with her are not uncommon and visitors delight in her unique perspective of the area.

There were several pivotal moments in Marthalynne’s young years, such as when her

father moved his family so he could study at the University of Florida and later at Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta.

As a girl, Marthalynne absorbed academia to some degree, but art has always been her passion. A field trip as a young student to the Atlanta Museum of Art exposed her to the works of Picasso and she decided that day she would be an artist. She has since pursued painting, photography and acting.

Her father later worked as the director of a Presbyterian summer camp in Laurel Hill, North Carolina, and Marthalynne spent the rest of her childhood in that setting until she began college. She earned degrees in art and drama from St. Andrews University in Laurinburg, North Carolina. She was awarded several scholarships, which led her to postgraduate studies in acting at the Royal Academy of

58 ocalastyle.com
Photo courtesy of Silver River Museum & Environmental Education Center. The granddaughter of Ross Allen has returned to her roots in Marion County.

Dramatic Art in London and in poetry at the Ezra Pound Center for Literature at Brunnenberg Castle in northern Italy. An acting career aft er college took her to regional theaters across the United States, including in Hawaii.

She eventually returned to the Carolinas and started a company that installed solar photovoltaics, wind and micro hydroelectric systems to generate electricity in remote locations. One of the most challenging projects was in a Native American (Inuit) village in Ambler, Alaska, north of the Arctic Circle.

The tech world could not hold her, however, and she sold the company and began studies in photography at the Maine Media Workshops + College, where her unique view through the lens

won her the Golden Light Award.

After that, Marthalynne headed south and settled in Saint Augustine to work as a creative photographer and gallery representative. Her most recent move was to Citra. She volunteered at the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park in Cross Creek as a historical interpreter and began to work at Mockernut Hill Botanical Gardens in Shiloh, where she learned to apply her artistic talent to plantings and floral arrangements.

As an artist, she says, she strives to “tell stories with my art.”

“I don’t intentionally use written words to tell the story but leave that up to the viewer,” she off ers.

Scott Mitchell is a field archaeologist, scientific illustrator and director of the Silver River Museum & Environmental Education Center, located at 1445 NE 58th Ave., Ocala, inside the Silver River State Park. Museum hours are 10am to 4pm Saturday and Sunday. Admission to the park is $2 per person; free ages 6 and younger. To learn more, go to silverrivermuseum.com.

January ‘23 59
Top photo of Marthalynne Allen courtesy of Silver River Museum & Environmental Education Center. Bottom photo, of one of her artworks, courtesy of Marthalynne Allen.

Life Lesson

As mourners shuffled into Eric’s memorial service, Monty Python advised them to Always Look on the Bright Side of Life. No doubt about it, this playlist was compiled by the dearly departed.

Tom Petty’s bittersweet Wildflowers and Warren Zevon’s heartbreaking Keep Me in Your Heart followed, but the Monty Python song—an upbeatbut-dark comic ditty sung from the cross in the film Life of Brian—was pure Eric. I could almost hear him cackle in the doorway of the University of Central Florida campus newsroom in the 1980s.

Eric hung out in that doorway so he could smoke and remain in the conversation, which was usually making up obscene lyrics to popular songs. Eric was the master.

My favorite was his version of Welcome to the Jungle by Guns N’ Roses. I would recite his lyrics here, but this is a family publication that has no use for a word that rhymes with jungle and refers to the last stop of the digestive-waste process.

It was as juvenile as it was brilliant.

Eric was hysterical. He was an amazing writer and editor who, after college, went undercover to write a heralded piece about the homeless in Orlando. After that, he went to law school, became a Gator and enjoyed a successful law career for decades before esophageal cancer set in.

I learned of his death the way I learn about a lot of things these days: social media. A friend from our UCF days posted his obituary. I smacked my forehead, sighed and reached for a photo I

keep in my home office—Eric and other college friends flanking me and my bride on our wedding day in 1992.

I stared at it for a long time, noting Eric’s prankster smile and wondering what he was saying to make us crack up for the photographer. Chances are, it was something delightfully unprintable.

I adore this photo, but in recent years (decades, actually) it has made me sad. I lost touch with the majority of my college friends in that photo, people who, in that moment, I thought would be at our side forever.

The last time I saw Eric was at his wedding in the early ‘90s. And every time I looked at that photo, I vowed to call Eric and see how life was treating him. I never did.

At his memorial service, I learned he had two kids; one in high school, the other in college. He and the bride we met at his wedding were no longer married, but they remained close friends. That, too, made sense. Eric was a hard guy not to like.

As I listened to the Eric-curated playlist, a familiar thought kept haunting me: Keep in touch with good friends. Make the effort you keep vowing to make.

Finding old friends who played key roles in your life is not hard in this day of Google searches and social media.

As Monty Python proclaimed, always look on the bright side of life. Do not lose touch with great people who made that life bright.

60 ocalastyle.com LIVING

Proudly Celebrating 10 Years of Community, Growth, and Success!

In 2023, we’re celebrating a very special anniversary here at Showcase Properties of Central Florida–a full 10 years under the leadership of Valerie Dailey! Since her purchase of the company back in 2013, Showcase has grown from a company of 5 agents into a diverse team of 50+ award-winning REALTORS® with two office locations, a comprehensive set support professionals, and a full in-house marketing team. We are so proud of how much we’ve grown and developed in the last decade, and we look forward to helping our community achieve their real estate goals for another 10 years!


If you’re thinking of finishing your high school diploma, you have more support than you realize. Find teachers and free adult education classes near you at FinishYourDiploma.org.

January to June in the Garden

North Florida has its own ecosystem and plants can thrive here with the right planning and planting schedule. Here’s a primer to help you get going.

For gardeners, starting the new year can be a bit frustrating. It’s really too cold to plant some delicate tropicals, and they’re not available anyway. There’s barely enough sun to grow vegetables, although some cold-weather crops can be managed. And things in the yard just look kinda brown and blah, don’t they?

Take heart. You can have fun with your plants this time of year; you just have to keep in mind sun requirements, soil temperature and if there’s any danger of frost. And you can always do color pots in containers to liven up your porch or patio.

Here are some suggestions for what to plant and when during the months of January through June. (We’ll do another column later in the year for summer and fall planting ideas.) These recommendations come from the fabulous University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and its UF/

IFAS Extension service and there are more details on their website.

In January and February, colorful annuals such as snapdragon, petunia, viola and pansy can be added to your garden beds or used in containers for refreshing pops of color. These flowers come in fun shades like purple, purple and yellow, pink and magenta. They like the cold, so no need to cover them if temps fall below 32 degrees.

Veggies that do well this time of year are the classic cold-weather crops like broccoli, collards, cabbage and root veggies such as beets and turnips. Most lettuces do well, too, although you’ll want to cover them if a hard freeze is coming. Mild sunshine and cool temps are ideal for these types of plants.

For larger projects, like landscape shrubs and trees, January and February are an ideal time to put them in the ground as the plants are generally dormant, don’t require much water and won’t be doing any serious growth until spring. Follow stan-


dard instructions for prepping the planting hole, treat the root balls with care, gently spread out roots once settled in the ground and then water daily until established. Doing some meditative hand watering this time of year is a nice way to get outside, get some sunshine and fresh air, and enjoy your garden.

For March and April, we shift into the classic spring weather of North Florida. The occasional frost or freeze can still happen, then we move into those lovely cool mornings with warm afternoons that are great for people and plants.

The pansies and other cold-weather flowers won’t handle the warm days any longer, so yank them out (well, compost them) and install wax begonias, coleus or my favorites—caladiums. Soil temperature does matter with these tropical bulbs so resist putting them in the ground until the soil is consistently 65 degrees or higher. You can buy a special thermometer at a garden center to do this, but I just use a meat thermometer. Stick it down about four inches into the soil and see what you get, then plant accordingly.

Most veggies can be started now. Move your seedlings outside or buy some started plants and

fill up that bed! The classic three sisters plantings can do well here; corn, beans and squash. Let the corn get about 18 inches tall, then gently push in your pole bean seeds to climb the corn stalk. When you add the squash, the vines will wander all over the bed and keep down weeds. Tomatoes can go in now, too, and they’ll do pretty well until real summer hits in June.

It’s also generally safe to start pruning chores. Clean up bare shrubs, prune for shape and to remove any dead or diseased branches or foliage, then stand back and watch things grow.

For May and June, it’s time to shift your mindset into summer mode. Temps and humidity are climbing now and cool-weather plants will have wilted or given up the ghost. Think about summer flowers now: sunflowers, salvia, vinca and daisies. Seeds can go right in the ground without worry of frost damage, or you can buy bedding plants ready to install.

For your veggies and herbs, beans, corn, squash, basil, peppers, sage and rosemary will be happy campers. Keep an eye out for insect damage like scale, aphids and mites, and treat as lightly as possible. (This might mean encouraging more birds and other pollinators, not spraying with a chemical.) Humidity starts to take its toll this time of year, so funguses have time to attack. Some hardcore gardeners set up an outdoor fan on a timer to keep the air moving, especially overnight. (Not that I’ve ever, ahem, done that myself in a desperate battle to avoid veggie damage. Ahem.)

Now is the time to plan out your garden for the year. Enjoy the anticipation of lovely flowers, healthy shrubs and yummy vegetables.

A native Floridian and lifelong gardener, Belea spends her time off fostering cats and collecting caladiums. You can send gardening questions or column suggestions to her at belea@magnoliamediaco.com



As Marion County’s only accredited HeartCARE Center™, and the only hospital with accreditations across five specialties from the American College of Cardiology, AdventHealth Ocala is leading the way to reimagine heart care. From minimally-invasive procedures to open heart surgery, our experts provide high-quality, comprehensive care to help heal your heart faster and keep it beating with the pace of life. •Chest Pain Center •Heart Failure •Electrophysiology •Cardiac Cath Lab •Transcatheter Valve Cardiovascular Accreditations: Find a heart care expert at AHOcalaHeartCare.com.
in matters of the heart

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