The Valley Line: Fundraiser celebrates historic homes

May 19, 2012|By Jane Napier Neely
  • Anthony Guthmiller, left, director of Pasadena AIDS Service Center, chats with La Canadans Kathleen Bywater and Robert Morse at the kick-off gala for the center's "Big Week Out" event.
Anthony Guthmiller, left, director of Pasadena AIDS… (Photo by Jane Napier…)

I hope all you moms had a nice celebration on your special day last weekend. I certainly did. I traveled to Northern California to be with my son, Chris, and daughter, Heather, and their respective families.

It was especially joyful to once again to be with Chris’ kids. They have all just returned from their three-and-a-half year residence in England. Aidan, 11, Lucan, 9, and Morgan, 4, are happy to be back in their own home again and to see their school chums of long ago. They all have nuances of a British accent that is very charming.

I also had an opportunity to watch Heather’s budding thespian Catherine, who is 8, in the opening night of a play she is in with the Palo Alto Children’s Theatre. Her 5-year-old brother, Ryan, sat right next to me and was absolutely mesmerized to see his big sister in costume and on the stage singing and dancing.


The joys of being a grandmother are immeasurable. I thoroughly treasure every moment of it.


It has been a whirlwind of a week for the Pasadena AIDS Service Center. In fact the name of their major fundraiser was “Big Week Out.”

This week-long lifestyle event explored the beauty and uniqueness of Pasadena and surrounding areas. Approximately 20 exclusive dinner parties were hosted in some of the region’s most distinguished and historic homes.

The kickoff event was held on May 5 at the iconic and historic Greene and Greene home of Phaedra and Mark Ledbetter. The house was built in 1906 and sits on 3 1/2 lush acres of land on Grand Avenue. It is known as the Robinson House for the family name of its first owners.

The party, chaired by Mark Ogden and Boyd Smith, was an afternoon soiree of superlatives on all accounts. Nearly 500 people came to this kick-off extravaganza that included auctions, hors d’oeuvres and hosted bars. The silent auction this year was focused on travel and fine dining and contained a potpourri of tempting goodies. The live auction offered 15 exclusive luxury items that were hotly contested. A favorite bidding item that afternoon was the cutest black and white mixed-breed puppy that totally stole everyone’s heart.

Honorary chair for the kick-off gala was recording artist and actor Sam Harris. Anthony Guthmiller, director of the AIDS Service Center, who was awaiting arrivals at the gate of this impressive estate, personally welcomed every guest. It was a very nice gesture.

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