IF WE ARE KNOWN by the company we keep, Lynda O'Dea is well-known indeed. That was evident last Thursday when hundreds of prominent Baltimoreans arrived at the Hyatt Regency for a tribute to her which benefited the Maryland Lupus Foundation. For many of the guests, all they needed was yet another dinner to attend, but they were there because of their association with and affection for O'Dea. Can you imagine the social schedule of a Jim McKay or Lt. Gov. Mickey Steinberg?
Janet Bouton of the Lupus foundation said it best when describing what O'Dea's involvement with lupus had done for them. "We're a shoestring operation, the air-conditioning doesn't even work. So if you think Lynda's done a lot with the racing industry in Maryland, you can image what she's added to the Maryland Lupus Foundation." O'Dea created the plush Sports Palace at Laurel and Pimlico and the Preakness Village, which transformed part of the Pimlico infield into a corporate hospitality area.
It was a difficult evening for the honoree, but she handled it beautifully, weaving the bits and pieces of her life into a sad story turned upbeat. There wasn't a dry eye in the place, especially the eyes of her children, Michael and Christina. Joe DeFrancis, the son of Frank, her companion and mentor of many years, talked about knowing Lynda for 20 years and spoke in warm terms of his relationship with her and about her overcoming adversity in her personal life and in the tough world of horse racing.
Lots of kind words also from Jim and Margaret (McKay) McManus, he emceed the program; Lt. Gov Mickey Steinberg and his wife, Anita, honorary chairs of the fund-raiser who are Lynda's second family; and WMAR's Scott Garceau and WBAL-TV's Vince Bagli, who presented her with a huge basket of flowers.
Others on the honorary committee were Marsha and Gordon Becker, she's the Becker of the new O'Dea & Becker PR firm; Bartie and Charles Cole, Wealtha and Jim Flick, Mary and Jerry Geckle, Mary and Sig Hyman, Dot and Henry Rosenberg and Carole and Hanan Sibel.
I sat with the chairman of the Maryland Racing Commission, Dr. Ernie Colvin, who must be a very successful dentist considering the spiffy Rolls-Royce he drives; Bill and Jane Boniface, one of Maryland's finest horse trainers; and Mr. and Mrs. James Ryan, he's retired from his Ryland Home Business and spends his time raising horses and traveling. (To show you what a small town Baltimore is, Vince Bagli's dad was the doctor who delivered Boniface.)
Others at the party were Betty Shea Miller, Marty Jacobs, Susan Steinberg, Mr. and Mrs. Edward Steinberg, Barbara Steinberg, Courtney and Ted McKeldin, Ann Carter and Geary Stonesifer, Murphy Toumey and Carroll Jackson, Susan and David Brune, Mr. and Mrs. Rowland King, Nancy and Lou Grasmick, Mary Ellen and Frank Gunther and Jeff Weissman.
Lupus ia a chronic, inflammatory, auto-immune disease that causes the body to reject its own cells. It can cause serious damage to vital organs and is characterized by periods of remission and flares.
Cruising down the river was a great way for Councilman Mike Curran to celebrate his birthday. Capt. Ron Morgan picked up the birthday boy and his bevy of beauties in his new Bay Cafe Shuttle in front of the Science Center for the ride to the Bay Cafe restaurant. Long-stem roses and champagne highlighted the neat ride for Michele Curran, Ginny Seward, Debbie Richardson, Catherine Keenan, Joanna Myers, Joanne Aiello, Joan Brown Dodge, Lorraine Phillips and Mary Pat Clarke, president of the City Council. Sorry I missed the party.
U.S. Secretary of Labor Lynn Martin was in Baltimore Saturday to speak at a "Side by Side" luncheon honoring family day-care providers in Baltimore City and County at the Baltimore Grand. Martin, once an active member of the Junior League, believes strongly in community volunteerism.
Her daughter, Julia Martin, is following in her footsteps and is a provisional member of the Junior League of Baltimore. Baltimore County Executive Roger Hayden stopped by to give awards to the League and the National Council of Jewish Women, who are also involved in this project . . .
Lithuania's first lady, Grazina landsbergis, spent a delightful fedays in our fair city. She was the guest of honor at a private reception held before the opening of the Art and Crafts of hTC Lithuania exhibit, which features colorful woven linens, carved amber and wooden sculptures on display through May 31. Landsbergis, the wife of Lithuanian President Vytautes Lansbergis, is a concert pianist currently on an eight-city tour with two solo stars from the Lithuania Opera Company. The trio performed at the Lithuanian Hall Sunday afternoon...