The Best Memories of Those Who Left Us

Remembering some of the Southwest Floridians who died over the last year.

BY April 26, 2017

Berne Davis: With her $1 million gift, this Grande Dame of Fort Myers (left) made the dream of restoring Fort Myers’ historic old post office a reality. Today, the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center is the crown jewel of downtown’s cultural scene.

Lalai Hamric: Big hair, big personality, big heart … Hamric started her career as a public health nurse, inspired by the documentary Harvest of Shame about the plight of migrant farmworkers. She went on to lead Family Health Centers, Lee County’s medical provider for the poor and uninsured, ever pushing for quality care for the neediest residents.

Kathryn Leib-Hunter: Mental illness is often closeted in shame, but Leib-Hunter thrust it into the open. The CEO of NAMI Collier County, Leib-Hunter was a tireless advocate for those with mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders, growing her program to reach some 12,000 people and offering untold hours of training to professionals and community leaders who might encounter people with psychiatric conditions.

Craig Sager: The whole nation might have known him—this long-time NBA broadcaster and devotee of outrageous dress—but Southwest Floridians like to claim him as our own because his early career included a stint at WINK-TV. He died of cancer this past December, but not before publishing a book with his son, Living Out Loud: Sports, Cancer, and the Things Worth Fighting For.

Peter Thomas: Thomas was renowned for his voice—a rich baritone heard on everything from documentaries to commercials to television shows—but in Naples, people will remember him more for his hands—as in his hands-on volunteerism that graced area organizations, particularly those that served fellow veterans.

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