When we find out about current and past members who were cast or crew for the Pelican Players and we have information, it will be posted here...
Lawrence Robert MacAlister was born in Worcester, Mass., in 1935, and grew up to be a Renaissance man, tuning his skills in a variety of careers. An engineer who graduated from MIT, he also raced cars (including an early Carroll Shelby Cobra) and motorcycles, earning trophies that he discarded along the way. For a while he worked for the Atomic Energy Commission, delving into the properties of heavy water, a field that influenced his entrepreneurial efforts in later life. He spent many years as a general contractor, building communities, shopping centers, and commercial buildings in Massachusetts, Florida and North Carolina. And in the middle of that career, he took several years off to be a charter boat captain in Cape Cod.
When he moved with his wife Carol to Sun City Center, he didn’t quite retire, reactivating his general contractor’s license and lending his expertise to a variety of projects. He also returned to painting, one of his early loves, and earned Best of Show in the very first art show he entered locally. And he became a Pelican Player, serving as vice president and acting in the mainstage production of “Angel Street,” as well as in Reader’s Theatre and several variety shows.
Lawrence passed away September 23, 2020. In addition to his wife, he leaves three children, seven grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.
Keith Connes. 94 died of cancer on October 5, 2020, in his home in Sun City Center. Keith was bornin Manhattan, New York City on January 24, 1926 He is survived by Fely, his lovely and tender, caring wife. He is also survived by his son Lee Connes; and grandchildren Brandon and Nicole in North Carolina.
Keith Connes attended Ithaca College studying drama and music. He was an ad man in New York City, quit the corporate world to become a freeIancer and migrated to California. He also performed in and wrote plays over his lifetime from the heights of piloting small aircraft including hot air balloons. as well as the depths of the ocean by scuba diving. Keith has written several books, most recently via voice to text, and has written a book and taught classes about this. When cancer recurred, he was trying to complete publishing his latest book about our ,vice-presidents who became president. Keith bas been active in Toastmasters, the computer club, several writing groups and the History Society of Kings Point where he’s given presentations. Keith embraced his life with vigor and enthusiasm.
His family and friends miss his intelligence and wit and cherish the legacy of his published works. Memories of him bring smiles. Keith Connes was a talented performer and storyteller, a dynamic and. interesting person. What a life!
Per his wishes there has been no funeral service.
Mary Winter was a past President of the Pelican Players . In addition to that position, she was at one time the Vice-President and secretary. Mary started her Pelican "career" by calling a Mary Kay rep for some make up products. Mary volunteered that she too at one time was a Mary Kay rep. She was asked to help with make up for the Follies. Mary then became a props person, stage manager, assistant director and finally director. She was in several main stage presentations, readers theater and murder mysteries. Mary passed away on December 2, 2020.
Jim Smith was born in Watertown, New York, May 31, 1940.
Jim was the sound engineer for the Pelican Players for many, many years. He did mainstage, reader's theater, murder mysteries and cabaret singers shows.
Jim was also very involved with St. John Devine Episcopal Church in Sun City Center. Jim went to Hamilton College in Clinton, New York.
You all remember Jim's deep voice as the announcer before all mainstage shows for several years. "Welcome to the Veterans Theater, home of the Pelican Players."
His last project was co-directing and sound mixing for "It's A Wonderful Life" which recently aired on Sun Radio, 96.3.
Jim passed away Thursday, December 31, 2020.
"Jim was not destined to see 2021. Covid19 claimed another victim. His life was full of ups and downs and he was fortunate to be given the last 20 years in which to make a difference for many people. I will miss him terribly..he was my best friend" - Wendy Smith
A Few Thoughts about Jim Smith – 1/1/2021
On a day recently, Jim Smith was in my living room and we we’re talking about radio production. Then, a few days later, he’s reported ill, then he’s in the hospital, a COVID patient. We spoke by phone a few times about the progress he was making and then once released, he began recuperation at home. Suddenly, he was gone. Just like that. It doesn’t help to be told that he’s in a better place. I want him in this place where we had been friends and colleagues through years of shows and church services. I want to see him laying out speaker cables, setting up microphones and managing audio output for scores of voices and musical instruments. I want to see him steam and seethe when somebody on stage messes with a tech setup of his they weren’t supposed to touch. Unlike most people in theater who are either techies who care that the actor’s light is right and care little about what the actor does in that light—or are the creatives who are trained to find the light and have no clue about the knowledge and skills required to give them their light, Jim was a crossover practitioner of the arts. He was a techie and an artist. He was trained and gifted in electronics and in music voice and composition. Through a microphone he put in place, his bass voice from the back row of the choir could register on the Richter Scale like a distant roll of thunder.
There was a time, maybe fifteen years ago when St. John Divine was still in its Ruskin church building, and then Choir Director Chuck Wirick was desperate for men to join the bass section. He thought I could hit a few low notes and there I was next to Jim in the back row. I cannot read music and I cannot sing, but attempted to imitate Jim, to approximate a note a split second after he’d sung it. We got away with this for quite a few Sundays. Then, one Sunday, Jim couldn’t attend. The jig was up, my choir days were over. Jim, however, carried on as a creative techie of the first magnitude.
After St. John Divine moved to Sun City Center, Jim would work the board up in the media booth through most of a service, quickly don cassock and surplice, transfer himself to the choir loft’s back row, power the Offertory, go back to the booth, and finish up with faders, mic. and mute buttons, EQ pots, and other fine-tuning. When trying to explain to me how the electronics worked, he spoke an alien tech-speak language to which I would nod in pretended understanding. But Jim also spoke the universal language of music. There was a time at SJD when the Liturgy’s Offertory featured Jim Smith compositions for the Sanctus, Benedictus and Agnus Dei. After Jim sang his own compositions with the choir and returned to the booth, I never failed to declare that despite my lack of musical talent, my inner musician tells me, my emotional response to his music tells me, that his Agnus Dei was one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever composed by anybody in any century, the Masters included. That part of him, his mastering of those music manuscript dots and doodles that are translated into thrilling sounds, remain with us as a tangible, permanent connection.
Comments by me about Jim cannot include an orderly, chronological account of his history. We knew the basics of our earlier lives but didn’t dwell on them. Jim might say to me while setting up for a show that he had a heart transplant about twenty years ago, and had already outlived lifespan expectations. Then he’d ask me to do a mic. check. I would mention to him a few near-death experiences of mine, he would express genuine interest in the state of my health and ask me to do a mic. check. It wasn’t from either of us a lack of interest or empathy. We were comfortable with each other, had much in common, figured we were lucky to still be here and should just carry on as though we always would be. But he would miss making it to 2021 by six-and-a-half hours.
For Wendy Smith, Jim’s loving wife, best friend and sidekick, for all to whom he was family, for theater and church volunteers who worked with him, for everyone who benefited from his skills, friendship, character and dignity, indeed, his very presence, this is an awful loss, a punishing loss, an impoverishing loss, as death tends to be. I will miss our conversations about music composition, amps, ohms, and impedances even though such matters are, as ever, mysteries to me. I will miss hearing him speak with a reverence for knowledge and music in a voice that rumbled like distant thunder. ECB
Thoughts from Dan Tackitt
It is difficult to find the words to express how deep a loss his friends and I feel in Jim's passing. For you a husband, companion, friend and partner for many years. For us a friend, a great sound man and a wonderful guy to chat with when time permitted at practice or a performance. He always had time to stop and talk and always with a smile and a friendly greeting. He will be missed by so many, for so long. God be with you Wendy and you have many, many friends to call upon in this time of sorrow.
From the Sun City Center Observer
James (Jim) Stuart Smith died December 31, 2020, from Covid19 complications. Born May 31, 1940, the son of Stuart and Blythe Hadcock Smith, Jim spent his formative years in Watertown, New York, and Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. A 1962 graduate of Hamilton College, Jim lived and worked in Pennsylvania, New York, and Ohio, before settling in Florida. In 2007. Trained in electronics and music composition, Jim was an audio technician with Rock n’ Roll artists, created light shows for discotheques, designed industrial inspection lights and served as audio specialist and as performer with churches, choirs, The Performing Arts Company and Pelican Players in the Sun City Center area. At St John Divine Episcopal Church, Jim was a vestry member, sang bass with the choir and developed the church’s audio system. He is survived by his wife Wendy; son Evan; stepsons Gregory and Timothy Blank; sister and brother-in-law, Liz and Bill George; grandchildren; and nieces and nephews. Born with a congenital heart defect, he underwent a heart transplant in 2000 and remained grateful to the family that donated “the Gift of Life.” Memorials may be made to Donatelife.net or the St John Divine Media Department. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, February 13, at 11:00 a.m. at St John Divine Episcopal Church 1015 Del Webb Blvd. E, Sun City Center and also livestreamed on its YouTube channel.