Community Mourns Loss of Regional Icons

By Jeff Lytle

“Welcome back” to our seasonal residents and readers.
While you have been gone, a lot has changed. While Hurricane Ian is responsible for much of that,
a change to our civic and cultural landscape is due to the passing of five iconic leaders.
Each made a lasting mark on our community.
It is striking that three of the five outstanding stewards cast long shadows in the arts.


Myra Janco Daniels, 96, was the dynamic founding force behind today’s Artis—Naples, originally known as the Naples Philharmonic Center for the Arts. Her roots in Chicago taught her what top caliber performing and visual arts can be, and she taught the Naples area that those endeavors have to be run like a business—it is not sufficient to have just a dream. When she launched the notion of The Phil in the 1980s, with volunteer musicians playing in school auditoriums and big tents, her motto was: “Let us entertain you for the rest of your lives.” She delivered. And she kept going beyond the philharmonic, embracing projects at Ave Maria University and Naples’ Salvation Army.


Frank Mann, 80, was a lifelong Lee Countian whose family impact on the arts reached far and wide. He was the son of Barbara B. Mann, a Fort Myers arts matron. Fun fact: She was handed her high school diploma by Thomas Edison. Frank rose to the Florida Legislature, where he secured initial funding for the performing arts center that bears her name, and enriches the community of theatergoers from Marco Island to Sarasota. Mann, who enjoyed a hearty laugh as much as building a constituency for a public project, later offered his good name to bolster public confidence and integrity on the Lee County Commission in 1993. He fought the good fight for the environment and growth management, often alone, until his passing in June.


Naples in June mourned another passing. Alan Korest, 92, was a multi-tasker from elected office in the City of Naples and a serial philanthropist. He won friends and influenced people with his fundamental, unwavering good cheer and often self-deprecating humor. A stranger would never know of his family wealth, which he cherished being able to share in so many ways. He and his late wife Marilyn completed the Bower Chapel, started by her father, Ed Bower, at the original Moorings Park. The couple also endowed the Bower School of Music and the Arts at FGCU and boosted Champions for Learning, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, the Collier Community Foundation, and the David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health. His accolades included the Naples Daily News Outstanding Citizen Award, a surprise that greeted him after narrowly escaping Libya on the eve of its revolution. His passion for world travel was shared by Dolly Bodick. They were married in 2017; she survives him.


Nancy Lascheid left us at age 85 in August. Her legacy is clear, bright and ongoing, as co-founder of the Neighborhood Health Clinic for the working poor. Her partner in life and the clinic was her husband, the late Dr. Bill Lascheid. What they launched in a shopping center storefront, where Naples Square rises today, stands as a beacon of healthcare now including dentistry and imaging. It serves as a national model. The Lascheids’ formula was original— privately funded care for the working, uninsured poor, anchored by doctors and nurses working pro bono, to relieve pressure on emergency rooms. And their core message was an epiphany: Amid the wealth of Naples there are essential workers who need, yet cannot afford health care. The Lascheids’ daughter, Leslie, administers the clinic going forward. Nancy and Bill Lascheild, with daughter Leslie


Murray Hendel, 93, was dedicated to community difference-making. A retired accountant, he became the voice of the Park Shore condominium coalition and led the push for systematic, protective beach renourishment. He also campaigned to raise the Collier County tourist tax to pay for it. His public policy trademark was judging issues by their potential for civic progress, not as a political agenda. Behind the scenes, he helped complete the languishing Freedom Memorial monument to veterans (he was one) and first responders. He tutored me, as a new retiree in 2014, to join forces with then-Mayor John Sorey to elevate the granite monument from a gnarled eyesore. I helped beat the public awareness drum while Sorey led fundraising, which crossed the finish line when Hendel lobbied then-Commissioner Georgia Hiller to champion a pivotal $600,000 county contribution.


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