Marco’s Stan Gober honored in roast

Stan Gober gave an emotional thank you to a packed ballroom at the Marco Island Marriott Beach  Resort following his roast to raise funds for the Marco Island YMCA on Thursday night.

Photo by ROGER LALONDE, Staff // Buy this photo

Stan Gober gave an emotional thank you to a packed ballroom at the Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort following his roast to raise funds for the Marco Island YMCA on Thursday night.

Stan's Idle Hour Restaurant

221 West Goodland Drive, Goodland, FL

Thirty-eight years ago an Alabaman named Stan Gober landed on Marco Island and the place hasn’t been the same since. Just ask the myriad of charitable foundations and organizations he has befriended through shows, fundraisers, and concerts along with the total involvement of his complete energy and presence during that same stretch of time at his landmark Idle Hour Restaurant in Goodland.

On Thursday evening before a packed house at the Marco Island Marriott Resort and Spa, it was 81-year old Gober’s turn to be honored at a featured and long-awaited Stan’s Roast. It was a singular event for friends and relatives to come together to say thanks to a singular individual who has given so much to noble causes during those years while never asking for a thing in return.

With Johnny Angel acting as emcee, the program featured such varied personalities and close friends as Bill Rose, Wendall “Whitey” Ellsworth, Wade Keller, Joe Klimas, Lee Lindberg, John “Jack” Patterson, Dr. David Randall, Larry Sheetz, and Jeff Walker.

“This really means a whole lot to me plus it being quite an honor for all the hard work and our keeping steady at it without even thinking about how it all would turn out,” said a visibly touched Gober. “It really means a lot to me and my kids, Russ, Steve, and Jeff, along with the whole family.

“It’s also a wonderful opportunity for me to visit with friends whom I haven’t seen for a long, long time,” he added. “As a matter of fact, there are a lot of friends who came down from Nashville and Chicago along with brothers from New Hampshire as well.”

He continued, “The recognition factor is just overwhelming. You know you’ve been here a long time when you’re the oldest restaurant on Marco Island, the Isles of Capri, Everglades City, and most of Naples. That’s a heckuva way of putting it, isn’t it?”

The good-humored jabs persisted throughout the evening from the nine featured roasters with Bill Rose, owner of Marco Island Marina, perhaps getting in the best lines when his time at the mike came. Picking on Gober’s age, Rose broke up both Gober and the crowd with his humorous comments.

“Stan and I came to Marco Island around the same time thirty-eight years ago only I came to visit and he came to stay,” Rose pointed out. “Even though he was much, much, much older than me.

“A friend of his once said that Stan could compress a multitude of words into the smallest idea I know. That was Abraham Lincoln,” Rose pointed out. “Another friend once remarked that Stan possessed none of the virtues that I disliked and the all of the vices I admired. That was Winston Churchill.”

Another roaster, “Whitey Ellsworth, remarked that ‘Now Stan regards Happy Hour as nap time.’

In addition to the event topping its $50,000 goal for the evening, five copies of a hand-painted portrait of Gober were auctioned off by the YMCA’s Steve Reynolds with the first going for $1,000 along with various 50-50 tickets sales manned by YMCA staff throughout the festivities.

In addition to honoring Gober, the gala’s impetus was centered on The Marco Island YMCA Capital Campaign for the purpose of contributing to the Marco YMCA’s drive for a $6.1 million expansion to the existing building on Sandhill Drive.

“We need to build a bigger Y,” Bill Morris, Chairman of the YMCA Capital Campaign told the crowd. “Our current Y has so many programs they can’t run because of lack of space. There are currently 60 kids on a waiting list for day care. What that means is that people who have jobs can’t find a place for their kids here on Marco. That also means that there’s no place for kids to go when they get out of school in addition to having a gym that’s too small for teenagers to play in.”

Morris then brought a chuckle to the crowd when he pointed out, “We only need about $3.1 million dollars more to finish the building so if one of you wealthy people would like to write a check for that amount we’d be happy to pick it up tonight.”

Sponsors of the $2,000 each tables at the event included: Accu-care Nursing Services, Inc., Bennett, Dr. David Randall, Etta Burnell, Horizons Real Estate, Island Woman Boutique, Jim Paradise, Keller Publishing, Marco Community Bank, Marco Island Fire Rescue Foundation, Marco Island Sunrise Rotary Club, Marco Healthcare Center/NCH, Marriott’s Crystal Shores on Marco Island, Standing Watch, Sunset Builders of SW Fl, Inc., The Eiseman’s, and the YMCA Board of Directors.

O, the story that is Stan Gober

Will live for a thousand years.

It’s one of a solder of fortune and fate.

It’s one of a poor boy’s tears.

More grateful than most to the good God above,

For blessings and courage and insight.

A common man born with a patriot’s heart

and a yearning to set the whole world right.

A soul that reflects in his bright sparkling eyes,

both hardships and hopes in abundance,

The voice of an angel, the heart of a rose,

invective of modern-day pundits.

He stands by his duty to country and kin,

instilled by a mother’s great caring.

To all he extends a hand open and firm

to guide those who are missing their bearings.

So raise glasses high to this sweet Southern son,

Don’t measure him past ages’ time.

His face may be grizzled, his gate just a trot,

But his heart is still right in its prime.

O, the story that is Stan Gober

Will live for a thousand years.

It’s one of a soldier of fortune and fate.

It’s one of a poor boy’s tears.

© 2008 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 1

DOBERMAN writes:

A true "American" hero! A well deserved tribute. God Bless Stan.

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