Women of Worth, Leisa Zigman and Neil Simon

Columnist Lois Caplan


OWL, THE OLDER WOMEN’S LEAGUE, is the only grassroots organization dedicated entirely to addressing the concerns of midlife and older women. Through advocacy, education and empowerment, OWL teaches, rescues and helps women in need of such assistance, and I see myself as one of them. Actually I have been tooting OWL’s horn almost since it became a reality in our community, and especially since its first Women of Worth (WOW) awards were established 22 years ago. These awards are given to outstanding women of a certain age who have made a difference in the community.

Twelve women will receive the Woman of Worth awards at a dinner Wednesday, Oct. 11 at the Sheraton Chalet in Westport Plaza. According to the two co-chairs, Susan Fadem and Sheri Sherman, those in attendance are promised a delicious dinner, delightful entertainment in the form of “The Sirens” and most important, the honoring of the dozen women who have contributed so much for the betterment of the community.  

As for the honorees: In a special classification is Sunny Glassberg, who will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. Glassberg is known and beloved in St. Louis for her generosity, especially for children who romp on her Forest Park Turtle Park, for the World’s Fair Pavilion, for her special gifts to the St. Louis Zoo and on and on endlessly.

Receiving the Prestigious WOW Award are (not in alphabetical order) Phyllis MacLaren, Christine Lyss, Susan Margolis Winter Balk, Christy Marshall, Linda Hansen, Kayla Vaughn, Joan Lee Berkman, Haniny Hillberg, Peggy Nelson, Jessica Brown, Delores Mars, and Merle Miller. You may notice that the Jewish community has a good share of these good doers, especially if you add Glassberg and the co-chairs to the list.

As a former Woman of Worth I can tell you that this is an unusual event and everyone connected with it feels special. Learning what these women have contributed to the community is impressive.  For reservations at $75 per person, call the OWL office at 314-989-0977 or mail your check to OWL at 2418 Northline Industrial Drive, Maryland Heights Mo., 63043.

LEISA ZIGMAN, KSDK-TV REPORTER AND ANCHOR, is beautiful, intelligent, charming, energetic, a cancer survivor, a wife and mother and Jewish.  Does that say it all? On Thursday, Oct. 4, Zigman will be honored (and roasted) when she is named the 2012 Media Person of the Year by the Press Club of Metropolitan St. Louis. The gala takes place at the downtown Hilton Ballpark Hotel Main Ballroom, starting at 6 p.m. with a cocktail reception, followed by dinner and program at 7. Also being honored are Jim Forbes and Robert Cohen, veteran photojournalists at the Post-Dispatch, for their outstanding work during the Joplin tornado and public relations firm Fleishman-Hillard, founded by Alfred Fleishman, an outstanding member of our Jewish community.

Ellen Futterman (yep, my boss at the Jewish Light) and Claire Applewhite are co-chairs for this year’s gala, which provides funding for the Press Club’s journalism and communication scholarships. The tradition began in 1988 with past honorees like Charles Brennan, Charlene Bry, Bob Costas, Martin Duggan and on and on. So while I am on the Jewish kick, let me tell you who is on the gala committee so you know it will be a fun evening – Joan Berkman, Cynthia Kagen Frolichstein, Alice Handelman, Carol Lundgren Ellen Soule, Susan Sherman, Lisa Cohen, Joan Quicksilver and Dick Weiss.

All this is the good news.  The cost to attend is $150 or $125 for Press Club members.  Reservations may be made by phone at 636-230-1973 or by check to Press Club, P.O. Box 410522, Creve Coeur. Mo., 63141, or online at www.stlpressclub.org.


NEIL SIMON FANS will soon be in seventh heaven when two of his plays are presented to St. Louis audiences.  “Brighton Beach Memoirs opens the Repertory Theatre’s 2012-13 season Sept. 5. This semi-biographical play, directed by Rep artistic director Steven Wolff, will be performed on the Main Stage of the Loretto-Hilton Center in Webster Groves through Sept. 30. To purchase tickets, visit the Rep Box Office, charge by phone by calling 314-968-4925 or online at www.repstl.org.

Then, on Oct. 4, Neil Simon’s Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning play, “Lost in Yonkers,” will kick off the start of the New Jewish Theatre’s season in the Arts and Education Building of the Jewish Community Center’s Staenberg Family Complex and run through Oct. 21.

Knowing how popular Simon’s plays are and how well the NJT did last year having some sold-out performances, I recommend that you buy your tickets early. Call the box office at 314-442-3283 or go to www.newjewishtheatre.org.