Mrs. Abare hosts final spring tea
Flagler College’s First Lady Susan Abare hosted her last spring tea on Tuesday at the college’s Markland House, as President William T. Abare, Jr. will be retiring in June.
The annual event featured local ladies, most of whom are alumnae and local community leaders, dressed in brightly-colored dresses and plumed hats sipping tea and mingling with longtime friends.
Donor and community member Shirley Thompson has known the Abare family since they moved to St. Augustine more than four decades ago; the spring tea took on a particularly sentimental tone for her.
“Susan Abare has gotten even more beautiful over the years,” she said. “She was an exceptional school teacher and was always willing to share her love of the college with students and their parents. We all look up to her. She is a force to be reckoned with, and we love her — both of them — dearly.”
Mrs. Abare said that it has been a joy to host the tea event each year in the historic Markland House.
“This year, I was overwhelmed at the number of friends who attended,” she said. “We had such fun chatting and catching up, while enjoying delectable goodies.”
The choral group Vivace from Memorial Presbyterian Church performed songs, and welcomed Abare’s grandchildren to join in for its final number. Longtime friend Sue Hale and Abare’s granddaughter Julia Owensby also delivered touching tributes.
“Many happy, emotional tears flowed,” Abare said. “What a blessing it has been for me to have been able to host this beautiful event since my husband became president in 2001. I deeply appreciate all that was done to honor me at this.”
This year’s event was hosted by Abare, Kris Kelly, wife of associate vice president of Academic Affairs Dr. Yvan Kelly; Susan Joyner, wife of incoming President Dr. Joseph Joyner; Melinda Provenza, wife of Joe Provenza, vice president of Technology Services; Mary Ellen Stewart, wife of Dr. Daniel Stewart, vice president of Student Services; Jackie Carson, wife of David Carson, vice president of Business Services; and Abare's granddaughter Owensby.