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Centennial Celebration Commemorates Hospitalís Annual Party

Originally Posted: June 28, 2009

Edward Callaghan

Southampton Hospital President Robert Chaloner, Jean Remmel Fitzsimmons, and Nancy Stone at the Meadow Club, Photos by John Wegorzewski

Southampton - Despite the torrential rains on Friday, June 26, nothing could stop over 50 past chairs, committee members and supporters of the Southampton Hospital's Annual Summer Party, one of the Hospital's most important yearly fundraising events, from turning out for this yearly celebration of the efforts of some prominent Southamptonites to help the Hospital maintain and expand its services.

Sponsor Tamara Comolli displayed her fabulous jeweled creations at the luncheon.

As is tradition, the luncheon honored the current chair, the dynamic Sheila O'Malley Fuchs and the events past chairs - many of whom were proudly in attendance. Now readying for the 51st gala, the luncheon was all the more significant as the Hospital is celebrating its 100th Anniversary this year.

Due to the very hazardous driving conditions, guests slowly trickled into the the grand hall where there was a magnificent display of jewelry by noted German designer Tamara Comolli who recently opened a veritable jewel box of a shop on Main Street. Comolli, who works with pearls, precious and semi-precious stones is a favorite on the resort circuit for her sea and earth inspired creations.

Over cocktails, guests tried on the sparkling treasures searching for just the right summer accessory. Comolli and her staff helped the ladies with clasps and placement, sort of like Barbie dress-up! Comolli said, "I am so thrilled to be a part of this magical event and to help such an important asset to the community". Quite a few of the ladies picked out baubles for the Centennial Celebration Summer Party on Aug. 1.

Kay Gilman, Mildred Brinn, and Sheila O'Malley Fuchs.

Fuchs and her daughter Maura O'Rourke, both in dresses from the other afternoon's sponsor Diane Von Furstenberg, spoke of their trip into New York to Diane's studio. "We went down to the Meatpacking District to Diane's amazing studio and not only picked out our dresses for today but our gowns for the Summer Party," said an elated Maura pleased to not have to worry about what to wear on what on one of Southampton's most glamorous nights.

Shortly after 1 p.m., past chairman and long-term trustee Jean Remmel Fitzsimmons gently ushered the ladies and one lone gent, Southampton Hospital President Robert Chaloner, into the now - thankfully - sun drenched dining room where the theme was all pale blue and white with tables adorned with delicate bouquets of baby blue hydrangeas and wild flowers.

Fitzsimmons quickly welcomed all and paid special tribute to Fuchs, chair of the Summer Party this year and recognized the many former chairs present including Betty Sherrill, Ann Grimm, Cindy Willis and Patricia Murray Wood before introducing Chaloner.

A model is fitted by Diane von Furstenberg's Lauren Shane.

Chaloner opened with a note of cheer for all the dedicated chairs and committee members who work so diligently throughout the year on this event which supports the Hospital's Emergency Room Services. "Although this is a challenging year for all across the country, I am pleased to tell you that the ticket sales and sponsorships are on track," he stated to warm applause from the ladies.

Addressing a question on everyone's mind, he spoke on the issue of a new facility, "We are doing all the appropriate due diligence and research in evaluating possible property options for a new hospital - speaking with architects and doing all the preliminary work," he commented. But Chaloner also noted they were still heavily examining the cost and practicality of restoration and expansion of the current facility on Meeting House Lane. But he did note, "This is not the time to launch a major capital campaign."

He likened it to the oft held dream of people to make a cross-country trip who are "waiting for the right road conditions." On a positive note he proudly told the guests that for "the first time in the Hospital's century old history, we will have 18 residents on the floor." He attributed this to an aggressive campaign to attract doctors to a community well removed from a major urban center. Clearly he and the recruiting team did a great job of selling the charms of Southampton.

Bouquets of hydrangeas and field flowers adorned the tables.

Then Chaloner quickly departed as this was indeed a "Ladies Only Luncheon" and the gusts settled in to their lunch of chilled gazpacho followed by cool chicken salad with a mélange of shredded carrots, sugar snap peas and radishes garnished with tomatoes. As always, there was much talk of the upcoming gala and several of the ladies were marveling that The Summer Party Fashion committee Co-Chairs Somers Farkas and Cristina Greeven Cuomo already knew what they were wearing to the bash! Cuomo will be greeting attendees in Chanel and Somers will be in Dior.

Not surprising a number of the ladies will be wearing "local" designers - Jessie Araskog favors Jackie Rogers; Debbie Bancroft will don Vera Wang; Lucia Hwong Gordon will sparkle in Dennis Basso; Patty Raynes will glow in Douglas Hannant; Hilary Gumbel will be chic in Ralph Lauren; Anne Hearst goes for pal Nicole Miller and Tory Burch will wear - what else but - Tory Burch.

Towards the middle of lunch, young committee members and volunteers informally modeled some 36 outfits from Diane von Furstenberg's Pre-Fall 2009 and Fall 2009 Nomad collection. DVF's Lauren Shane skillfully coordinated the models in rapid sequence and they strolled through the dining room allowing the ladies to touch the fabrics, check out bags and hats and admire the figure flattering cuts.

Past Chair Jean Remmel Fitzsimmons welcomes the guests.

"A Centennial Celebration, The Summer Party" will take place on Saturday, Aug. 1 under the tents on Wickapogue Road, Southampton. Christie Brinkley has accepted the position as Honorary Chair for this year's event. As in past years, the evening will benefit the Hospital's Department of Emergency Medicine whose services are so vital to the entire East End community.

"Southampton Hospital is truly fortunate to have such a loyal community to support the tradition of the annual summer party," commented Steven M. Bernstein, Southampton Hospital's Foundation President, "This support is critical to the delivery of quality emergency services considering the geographical isolation of the East End communities."

The Summer Party attendees will dance to the music of Alex Donner under a huge tent transformed by the creativity of Tony Urrutia and Steven Stolman, and enjoy an elegant catered dinner by Robbins Wolfe Eventeurs. Also featured will be the popular silent auction and a raffle of fabulous and extravagant trips and prizes. For additional information and to view the invitation go to the Special Events section on www.southamptonhospital.org.


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