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AROUND TOWN: General Palmer's 'friends' celebrate Penrose-St. Francis
The Palmers, Gen. William Jackson and wife Queen, requested the honor of the presence of 300 of their closest friends to celebrate the Sisters of St. Francis, who arrived by train to care for the ill and injured in “Little London.”
It was 1887 redux in 2012.
Elegant ladies in long dresses of satin and lace with matching, often befeathered, Victorian hats, gentlemen in morning coats or tails, and the Pioneers Museum was all aglitter for a party on Sept. 22.
The 125th birthday of Penrose-St. Francis Health Services was celebrated in black-tie or period-attire style with a “Soirée: A Night in History.”
It was also an elegant way to bid adieu to Albuquerque native iane Le-
Blanc, the popular president of the Penrose-St. Francis Foundation, who is retiring with husband Charlie to the mountains of Piños Altos in southwest New Mexico. She will continue serving as a Navy Reserve officer for several years.
Margaret Sabin, fashionable in black with pearls, honored LeBlanc, saying, “Diane did not want me to do this, but you know I don’t listen.” She had special gifts for LeBlanc’s potentially quieter lifestyle.
Foundation donors rode the historical elevator manned by Matt Mayberry and tekked to the tower of the museum, where they could look out on the city. They had time to leisurely tour the museum’s exhibits.
Since parlor games were popular in the Victorian era, the evening's fun was “Find Your Twin and Win.” Guests drew numbered tags as they entered the museum, then checked other nametags to find their match — no simple feat with several hundred people to check. When 129 found 129, they went to the gift table for either bottles of signature Soirée wine or copies of “The Sisters Story,” with the local history of Sisters of Charity, St. Francis Hospital, Glockner Sanatorium (now Penrose Hospital) and the search for ways to care for victims of tuberculosis.
The Sisters had just arrived in Colorado Springs from Indiana when they were called into duty for 60 workers injured in the derailment of a construction train near Leadville. It was clear they needed a hospital and they went door to door soliciting to raise the $20,000 for the first St. Francis Hospital, recently retired.
Honoring the health system’s anniversary were the Soirée’s top “Founders Sponsors,” General and Queen Palmer — well, maybe in 1887 — and the Lyda Hill Foundation, Thelma Morici, the Anschutz Foundation and the Norris and Penkhus families. “Sisters Sponsors” were G.E. Johnson Construction Co., The Faricy Boys and the William H. Donner Foundation and The Donner Fund of the Pikes Peak Community Foundation.
Other top sponsors: Jane and Gary Loo, Front Range Emergency Specialists, Gayle Beshears, Olson Plumbing and Heating Co., Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers, Rothgerber Johnson & Lyons LLP, the family of Dr. William H. Ryder, Margaret and Andy Sabin and Vladimir Jones.
The Soirée committee included Julie Armstrong, Alisha Ensor, Mary Lou Murphy, Cari Shaffer, Jenny Thatcher, Chris Valentine, Jill Woodford and Helen Zinn.