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Reflections on dads for Father's Day

The first celebration of Father’s Day was June 19, 1910, in Spokane, Washington. Sonora Smart Dodd had the idea to honor her father, William Jackson Smart. Smart was twice married and twice widowed, a Civil War veteran who fathered 14 children. In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson approved the third Sunday in June to be Father’s Day.

In time for Father’s Day this Sunday, Marion Citizen photographer contributor Janis Holte-Pavlatos asked some local residents what fatherhood means to them, whether it’s from being a father or from memories of their own father.

John Johnson

Being a father was easy; becoming a Dad had a few bumps in the road. With two boys, I had a lot to learn. Without a “How to be a Dad” book to reference, there was a whole lot of trial and error going on.

Eventually, I had a few goals: be fair, raise them to be independent, college education, and, at a certain point, graduate from being a Dad to becoming their friend. I tried to not over coach.

Today, I call them, and they call me, and both love coming to Florida to just “hang with pops.” How lucky am I? I’m very blessed to have them and their families in my life.

Gary Johnson

My dad and I weren’t close growing up, but much later in life we bonded. He was very outgoing and wherever we went, in a matter of minutes, he knew everyone and had a great time, even with total strangers. It seemed everyone liked him, and he got along with everyone.

Thinking back over the years, and now that he is gone, I’ve come to realize how much I miss him. No baseball games to go, no asking for help with a project, or watching him have a good time and wondering how he does it. He was so upbeat and enjoyed life to the fullest.

Now, on this one day of the year where we celebrate dads, it always comes home how much I miss him and think of him and the things we enjoyed doing together.

Maggie Koller

Happy Father’s Day, Dad, in Heaven.

My dad was a pretty good guy. My mom died of cancer when my sister, 8, and I, 11, were very young. My older brother was already out of the house as was my older sister, so it became the three of us.

My dad was assistant manager of a clothing store in Indianapolis, Indiana, and his meager income was sufficient to feed, house and clothe us but not to hire a full-time caregiver for two young girls. So, daddy did his best. He worked six days a week, came home, cooked dinner, made sure we did our homework and got us ready for bed. He was always there for us and never complained. He did this for three years, then met a woman, married and had two more daughters.

My dad was a fairly spoiled child and young man. He was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and had a car when he was 16, which was in 1928! Not many “kids” had that!

He had no mechanical ability, but he had other talents! He loved thoroughbred horse racing and cooking, and he had a mathematical mind, which I did not inherit! He collected stamps from all over the world and from many years back – it was quite extensive. He never met a stranger, which I did inherit that, haha!

My dad lived to be 84 and saw my baby sister graduate from high school, and the other one was still in college when he passed.

He was a good dad, despite all the obstacles he overcame. I know he knows how much I love him.

Tom Pavlatos

My Dad, Ange (Angelos), was a good father and a good provider for our family. Dad, my Mom Hazel, brother Dennis, sister Deb and I lived in Duluth, Minnesota, close to Lake Superior. In 2003 at the age of 88, my Dad moved from the bitter cold winters of Northern Minnesota to the warmth of California where he was close to my sister Deb, until he passed away in early 2013. He lived to be 97-and-1/2-years old.

My greatest memories of my dad were of the 24 fishing trips to Canada we took during my adult years. My dad, myself, my friend Frank and Greek friends of my dad’s flew in the spring to various lakes in Canada but mostly to Shingwak Lake in Ontario. We fished, slept in tents, and cooked fish on a camp stove that my dad had fileted (he was a master of that art!). We drank a little black berry brandy and some beer. We also drank the clear water right out of the lake.

There were six guys who went on our last group fishing trip in 1975 to Mosquito Lake, which is 125 miles south of the Arctic Circle. The memories made by my Dad and me during all of our fishing trips will never be forgotten.

Janis Holte-Pavlatos

My Dad, Melvin, was known for his legendary physical strength which earned him the nickname of “Popeye.” Neighbors, relatives and friends who knew him were amazed by his impressive strength. My five siblings and I grew up hearing stories of his latest feat and seeing the result of our dad’s strength in our daily lives. He was physically strong, the head of our family, firm in his beliefs and, like our mother, did the best he could with what he had and what he knew.

Friends and relatives would marvel at “Popeye’s” strength, but he also had a softer side. He referred to our mother, Esther, as “Essie...My itty bitty baby-doll,” and he served our Mom coffee in bed every morning of their marriage.

My fondest memory of his softer side was when he would sing the chorus from The Red River Valley to me – “Come and sit by my side, if you love me. Do not hasten to bid me adieu. Just remember the Red River Valley, and the cowboy who loved you so true” To this day, I still choke up when I hear those words.

Our Dad passed away on Saturday morning, April 6, 1963. Everyone in the family was sleeping except for Dad and me, because we both had to work. I was busy getting ready for work and our Dad was laying on his bed resting before he had to get ready to go to his job.

He said, “Come here baby.” I was 18, in a hurry, and I said “Sorry, Dad...I don’t have time.”

I didn’t know that would be the day he’d pass away. I didn’t know they would be the last words I spoke to him. I didn’t know…

I learned something. I learned that the words you speak may be the last words someone hears.

Brownwood Paddock Square Art & Craft Festival returns to Villages

Back by popular demand, American Craft Endeavors (ACE) once more extends its season into summer, bringing nearly 100 local and regional fine craft artisans to The Villages during the Brownwood Paddock Square Art & Craft Festival on July 2 and July 3. The free, outdoor festival fills Brownwood Paddock Square, 2705 W. Torch Lake Drive, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days.

Whether looking for folk art, pottery, jewelry, paintings, personalized gifts, handmade clothing, scented soaps and body products or other specialty green market items, the annual art and craft festival has something to suit every taste and every budget.

Admission to the two day event is always free, and friendly pets on leashes are welcome.

There will be a vast array of craft mediums from folk art, pottery, handmade jewelry and paintings, to personalized gifts, handmade clothing, scented soaps and body products. Prices set to suit all budgets, ranging from as little as $5 to $2,000.

For additional information on the Art & Craft Festival and other American Craft Endeavors craft shows across the state, visit or call 561-746-6615.

Featured attending artists and crafters

Ocala’s Terry Andrews creates stunning sculptures that are a combination of blown, fused and lamp worked glass with a flame colored copper structure creating dimensional wall sculptures that can be displayed indoors or outdoors.

Cindy Blaeuer of Lakeland crafts thematic wreaths using an assortment of mixed media including ribbon work, seashells and other customizable items.

Living plants, including bonsais, will be available in the green market.

Cape Canaveral’s Sonia Larson has been creating three-dimensional art onto palm tree fronds since 2003. Each acrylic masterpiece is sealed, perfect for indoor or outdoor hanging.

Xiubo Pearce from Groveland, creates exquisite handmade pottery from clay and giclee.

Every host’s must-have item! Robin Roberts of Lithia, Florida, crafts an array of styles of serving trays from hand-sculpted wood.

Ocala’s own Cyndee Titelius turns soap-making into an art form, with creative and whimsical designs, loofahs and more.

What's Happening

Bluegrass band at Dunnellon Depot

The next Whistle Stop Café event in Dunnellon is set for Friday, June 24.

Taking to the stage in June is the Florida-based band, Remedy Tree. The four-piece band, and sometime five-member band, has played together since 2015.

Gabriel Acevedo is the leader of the band. He is also the 2018 Florida State Fiddle Champion and a singer/songwriter. He promises an evening of music blending bluegrass, folk and old-time music with new influences to bring an American experience to listeners.

Music starts at 7 p.m. and continues until 9. There is a $5 cover to help defray the cost of the band.

Volunteers with the Dunnellon Historical Society open the doors at 5 p.m. for their Whistle Stop Café. Fried Green tomatoes, Cubans, hobo stew, veggie wraps, gourmet grilled cheese and desserts are on the menu. Food is served from 5 to 8 p.m.

The Whistle Stop Café is inside the Dunnellon train depot, located at 12061 S Williams St.

Chess club returns to Freedom Library

Prior to the pandemic in 2020, there was once a monthly meeting of residents at the Freedom Library to play that interesting and very challenging game of chess. We played on Saturday mornings from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Once the pandemic hit, it closed down like everything else.

Well now, with activities opening up again, we are happy to announce so is chess. But, this time, we are meeting on Friday mornings from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the same Freedom Library, 5870 SW 95th St.

We currently have a few members, including from Oak Run, On Top Of The World and from the general population. But, we are seeking more residents to join us and add to the fun. The next scheduled date is Friday, June 24.

The only phone number I have available now for any new information is my own. My name is Walt Lamp, 352-854-9378. I will be getting some of the other members’ phone numbers, especially those in Oak Run.

So, if some previous members were looking to start again or if anyone else looking to play the game, call me and make a date for Friday mornings. We’re looking forward to making our club a little larger and the game more fun. Chess sets are suggested, since we want to make sure we always have enough.

Barkin’ Brunch at Ocala Hilton

The Humane Society is happy to announce we are partnering with the Ocala Downtown Hilton Garden Inn to bring Ocala the first seasonal Barkin’ Brunch. On June 25 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., pet parents and animal advocates will gather at the Downtown Hilton to raise funds for the homeless pets at the Humane Society of Marion County, with a gourmet brunch!

The Barkin’ Brunch will feature music entertainment, items for raffle, animals for adoption, and the most extravagant brunch menu you have ever seen! (Did I mention it is all you can eat and we’re serving mimosas?)

Tickets are available for pre-purchase at the Humane Society of Marion County (701 NW 14th RD, Ocala), or on Friday, June 10, you can purchase tickets at the Terrace on the Square from 6-8 p.m. Can’t make it to purchase tickets in person? Email to purchase tickets virtually.

Tickets will be sold at the event as well prior to entry, however seats are filling fast! So pre-purchase is recommended.

Olde-Fashioned Day Picnic, Cruise-in & Car Show

An Olde-Fashioned Day Picnic, Cruise-in & Car Show event will be held at the intersection of SW S.R. 200 and SW 83rd Place in Ocala, Saturday, July 23, from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The event is hosted by churches Iglesia De Dios, Joy Lutheran, and The Way.

There will be free food, games and entertainment.

Come for free fun for all ages!

Tribute concert series

WIND-FM is hosting a series of tribute concerts at Reilly Arts Center, located at 500 NE 9th St, Ocala. All showtimes are 7:30 to 11:45 p.m. Visit for more.

Carnival of Crue: Tribute to Motley Crue – July 16

The Wildflowers: Tribute to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Aug. 20

REO Survivor: Tribute to REO Speedwagon and Survivor, Sept. 24

Best of the British: Def Leppard and AC/DC tribute, Oct. 1

SW 200 Corridor Quilt Guild

The SW 200 Corridor Quilt Guild meets the 2nd and 4th Friday of each month from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the SW District Sheriff’s Office (9048 SW SR 200). Our Mission is to enhance the growth and knowledge of the “art of quilting” through the inspiration, creativity, and friendship of its members by sharing quilting techniques and patterns through active participation in teaching/learning with one another. All level quilters are welcome.

For more information, email us

MCSO Citizens Academy registration open

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) Citizens Academy and Partnership (CAP) program, a free 7-week educational course about the operations of the Sheriff’s Office, is currently accepting applications for classes beginning in September 2022.

Classes will be held at the Marion County Sheriff’s Office Multi-Purpose Room,

3300 NW 10th St. Ocala, every Tuesday and Thursday from 9 to 11:30 a.m. beginning Tuesday, Sept. 20.

During the program, MCSO staff will highlight all units within the Sheriff’s Office, giving citizens an in-depth understanding of what the agency is doing for the community. Each week will focus on a different aspect of the agency, personnel, equipment, policies, procedures and overall function. Students will have an opportunity to view specialty unit equipment, hear from experts in the fields of law enforcement, investigations, detention and administration.

To apply for this program, please visit the Marion County Sheriff’s Office website at to fill out the application and release forms.

For questions or more information, please contact Wendy Holland, MCSO Volunteer Coordinator, at or you can call her at (352) 369-6761.

SunTran requesting input for Transit Development Plan update

SunTran is updating its Transit Development Plan (TDP) to reflect its 10-year vision for the future of transit in Ocala/Marion County. Updates include gathering feedback from the riding public and general stakeholders through electronic and paper surveys.

SunTran is requesting Marion County residents provide their feedback on the transit system by visiting and taking a brief online survey.

The TDP evaluates the existing transit system, identifies current and future service improvements, and develops a financial plan based on available funding. SunTran will be soliciting input throughout each phase of plan updates, and the final plan is due September 2022.

For more information regarding Transit Development Plan updates, please contact Steven Neal, Transportation Manager at 352-629-8286.

Summer Nia (Non-Impact Aerobics) classes at H2U Senior CC

Summertime is Nia time. Join us on Wednesdays from 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.

A movement practice created in 1983, based on the science of the body, Nia is a class that encourages moving in healthy and safe ways with inspiring music. No jumping or jarring of the joints. No judgment in every class!

H2U (Health to You), is located at 8375 SW Highway 200, 2nd floor of Bank of OZK, Ocala.

Come try your first class without becoming a member! Call the Senior Wellness Community Center today at 352-401-1338. Nia classes are $5/class.

This class is taught by certified 1st Degree Nia Black Belt Instructor Gail Mongiello.

Nia moves are designed for all fitness levels and can be done in chairs.

Intermediate level line dance classes are offered every Wednesday 3-4 p.m. at H2U above the Bank of OZK on 200.

We look forward to seeing you soon… “Through Movement We Find Health.”

Christ’s Church services

Christ’s Church of Marion County invites you to join us Sunday, June 19, and Sunday, June 26. The morning begins with Sunday School classes for all ages at 9:30 a.m. We offer three adult classes on a variety of topics. A synopsis of each class is available on our website.

Our Worship Service begins at 10:30 a.m. with our praise team leading a blend of familiar hymns of the church as well as contemporary praise songs with a full praise band. Lead Pastor On June 19, Ray Burhart will bring the second message from the series “Courageous Conversations” on the topic of Christianity. Classes are available for children aged 6 weeks through grade 5.

On June 26, Lead Pastor Ray Burhart will bring the third message from the series “Courageous Conversations” on the topic of identity. Classes are available for children aged 6 weeks through grade 5.

Christ’s Church of Marion County is located at 6768 SW 80th Street – just off State Road 200. For more information on all our events or for directions visit our website at or contact the church office at (352) 861-6182.

Stamp Club summer schedule

The General Francis Marion Stamp Club will not be having their regular Wednesday meetings for the months of June and July. We will be meeting next on Friday, July 15, at 1 p.m. at the Marion County Library, 2720 East Silver Springs Blvd., Meeting Room B. We will resume our regular 1st and 3rd Wednesday meetings in August.

For information, contact Elliot at

First Friday Art Walk accepting applications

The First Friday Art Walk Steering Committee is now accepting applications for the 2022-23 First Friday Art Walk season. Applications are open for participating artists, arts and cultural organizations, participating downtown businesses, and business sponsorships. The deadline for submission is 11:59 p.m. Aug. 1. Applications will be reviewed by the First Friday Art Walk Steering Committee and are available on the City’s website at

First Friday Art Walk is scheduled to begin Sept. 2, and concludes May 5. Each year, more than 30 artists and 15 arts and cultural organizations participate. The monthly event is filled with original artwork, live art demonstrations, family-friendly free arts activities, and performances by local performing artists.

For more information, please contact the City of Ocala Cultural Arts and Sciences Division at 352-629-8447; or visit

‘Squares Without Stitches’ community quilt on display

The exhibit, Squares without Stitches is currently on display at the Barbara Gaskin Washington Adult Activity Center, 210 NW 12th Ave. The art exhibit will be on display now through Thursday, Jan. 12, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The exhibit is free and open to the public.

Each year, the Ocala Recreation and Parks Department hosts the annual Festival at Fort King at the Fort King National Historic Landmark over two days. This family-friendly event features historic-themed crafts, games, workshops, activities, historians in period dress, and vendors.

In 2021, the City of Ocala’s Cultural Arts and Sciences Division hosted a booth featuring floral printmaking and calligraphy lessons by the Ocala Calligraphy Guild. While waiting for their hand-lettering pieces to dry before adding flower embellishments, attendees were encouraged to help create a community quilt by drawing on a 6-ft. by 9-ft. canvas using fabric markers. Using nature-inspired stencils and the creativity of a few free-hand artists, participants took a modern approach to quilting by filling the fabric with a grid of colors. From detail-oriented application to an “outside the lines” approach, explore all the marks embedded within this community quilt, inspired by 1800s period quilting.

West Ocala Wellness Community Garden Replant Days

The City of Ocala, in partnership with the Florida Department of Health in Marion County and Feed the Need Garden, Inc., will host replant days at the West Ocala Wellness Community Garden located at 2200 W Highway 40, between SW 21st and SW 23rd Avenue. Replant days will begin at 8:30 a.m.

Saturday, Aug. 27 – warm season vegetables

Saturday, Oct. 22 – cool season vegetables

Community members are encouraged to attend and replant their crops for the upcoming season or start a new garden plot. Plots are available for $10 per year. The goal of the West Ocala Wellness Community Garden is to educate and provide an opportunity for citizens to plant, cultivate and harvest vegetables for their families.

For more information, or to reserve a plot, please contact the City of Ocala Recreation and Parks Department at 352-368-5540 or visit

Museum of History & Archaeology coming attractions

The Marion County Museum of History & Archaeology hosts programs on the third Sunday of odd months at 2 p.m. in the Green Clover Hall at 319 SE 26th Ter., Ocala. A reception follows the programs in the museum itself. Admission is free to members and $5 to nonmembers. Individual and family memberships are available for sale at events.

July 17: Dr. Joe Knetsch, Cousin Bob. Historian, author, professor, his latest book is about a Jewish-American World War II Hero, Robert Warren, ultimately attached to Patton’s Third Army coming across France after the Normandy breakout. It is based upon Warren’s personal letters, some reports from the Fort Benning collections, etc. and the usual secondary accounts now available.

Sept. 18: 11th anniversary of the museum

Nov. 20: Annabelle Leitner, local historian – The 19th Century Marion County Voting Precincts/Public Information.

TBD: Cynthia Graham-Wilson – Marion County author/historian on topic of early Marion County Black Residents and Businesses

We hope to see you there!

Memorial Day at Marion Landing

Each Memorial Day and Veterans Day, a family donates a flag to be flown at the Marion Landing Lifestyle Center in memory of a veteran. That flag is flown until Veterans Day or Memorial Day and is then presented to the family as a keepsake.

This Memorial Day, Arthur and Carolyn Salzlein received the flag that they donated last year, on Veterans Day, in memory of Arthur’s father, Arthur Salzlein, who served in World War I, and brother Joseph Salzlein, who served in Korea.

A new flag, donated by Bruce Carroll in memory of his father, James Carroll, who served in the Army during the early 1950s, has been raised to fly over the Lifestyle Center.

Local church holding information meeting on support for Ukraine

The attack on Ukraine in February has caused grievous injuries, displacement and death among the Ukrainian people. Many would like to help them but don’t know how. To provide information on how to help the people of Ukraine, Our Redeemer Lutheran Church has scheduled a meeting on June 22 at 6:30 p.m. in its Fellowship Hall located at 5200 SW College Road (SR 200), Ocala. The general public is invited.

Three speakers will present information and provide a contact point for those who want to help. They are: Evgeniya Yatsenko, speaking on how her Ukrainian village is helping refugees and displaced persons; Mark Nelson, who will describe Samaritan’s Purse efforts in Ukraine including field hospitals and refugee support; and Rev. James Krikava, describing Lutheran Church Missouri Synod support for refugees in Romania, Bulgaria and Germany.

There will be an opportunity to speak directly with these speakers and ask questions. This is an informational meeting only. No donations will be accepted at this event.