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Seen Rainbow Gala

Monday, April 08, 2002

By Marylynn Uricchio, Post-Gazette SEEN Editor

Somewhere over the rainbow was under the bright lights and colored swags of the Hilton ballroom Saturday night. The pot of gold held close to $750,000 by evening's end, an enormous total given that the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation has raised $2.3 million in the course of nine previous Rainbow Galas.

Perusing the silent auction. (Peter Diana, Post-Gazette photos)

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The 10th annual gala was the most successful yet, drawing more than 800 guests as it honored the H.J. Heinz Co. and its chairman, president and CEO, Bill Johnson. He was introduced by honorary chair Jim Rohr, chairman, president and CEO of PNC Financial Services Group, while Susie Johnson, in a stunning black gown, smiled from the sidelines. Ross Cooley, chairman of the board of Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International, welcomed the crowd, and WTAE's Sally Wiggin (with Andy Smith) served as emcee.

The evening began with a cocktail reception and large silent auction. Co-chairs Anne German (with Robert), Kitty Gleason (with Jim) and Sue Zitelli (with John) greeted the guests as they congregated before being called to dinner in a ballroom decorated like springtime. Pretty plaid linens from Mosaic were topped with tulip arrangements from Hepatica in assorted vases, making it hard to believe there were still snow flurries in the air. The perfect antidote to a cold night was the hearty dinner, overseen by the Hilton's Art Zehnder, of filet mignon, sea bass with soy ginger sauce, red pepper mashed potatoes and two desserts (the ladies got the flourless chocolate cake, the gentlemen the caramelized torte). The evening's only misstep was a live auction that went from here to eternity with close to 20 items (there ought to be a law that says six is max). It made a noticeable dent in the ballroom as many guests fled before Full Circle reclaimed the stage with some dance music.

Among the many guests were Greta and Art Rooney, Dr. Stan and Ellen Marks, Charlie and Jerri Queenan, JDRF president Bill O'Rourke with Carol, executive director Claralyn Phillips with Gordon, Dr. Massimo Trucco, Maureen and Gary Barunas, Ben and Kim Howland, Joe and Denise Jimenez, David and Susan Matter, Tony and Yvette Detre, Dr. Tony and Cathy DiGioia, Rich and Cathy Fitzgerald, Don and Jan Rea, Ted Smyth, Brian and Sandi Tedeschi, Gary and Candy Davis, Dr. David and Amanda Wilson, Andy Russell and Cindy Ellis, Lois Wholey with Dr. Robert Quinlin, Ina and Larry Gumberg, Pam and Ron Dassner, Bill Dietrich and Jane Treherne-Thomas, Phil and Joan Gulley, Duke and Kathy Kingsley, Mary Ellen Meindl, Walter and Laurie Sapp, Jeff and Patty Kendall, Jack and Meg Horner, the PG's Tracey DeAngelo, Julie and Burton Morris and KDKA's Ken Rice with Jan.

Co-chairs Anne German, Kitty Gleason and Sue Zitelli.

Tricia and Bill Kassling, Lou and Veronica Guarino, Dr. Mark and Roseanne Wholey, Barry and Becky Snyder, Guy and Jane Herrmann, Sam and Ann Rockwell, Barry and Meg Gibson, John Henne, Toni and John Ghaznavi, Leslie and Tony Quatrini, Hilton GM Conrad Wangeman with Shannon (he's off to New York to run the Hilton there!), Andrea and John Jordan, Sandra Bettor, Dolores Wilson Smith, Tom and Sandy Giotto, artist James Sulkowski with Sherri, Jody and Michael Doherty, and Ed Stein with Bonnie Chirigos of Creative Affairs, who worked wonders in planning the event.

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