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HENRIETTA, COUNTESS DE HOERNLE GCSJ, MMSJ, “Our Legend, Her Legacy” 100th Birthday Gala

MEDIA CONTACT: KAYE COMMUNICATIONS, INC. 561-392-5166
BONNIE S. KAYE  bkaye@kcompr.com (C) 561-756-3099 
JON A. KAYE 
 jkaye@kcompr.com (C) 561-756-3097
“GIVE WHILE YOU LIVE, SO YOU KNOW WHERE IT GOES.”
“I’M AN AMERICAN BY CHOICE.”
“GIVING STARTS AT HOME AND BOCA RATON IS MY HOME.”
                                                                                                   –Henrietta, Countess de Hoernle
ON HER 100th BIRTHDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2012
THE COMMUNITY WILL CELEBRATE
THE SELFLESS AND INSPIRING PHILANTHROPY OF 
HENRIETTA, THE COUNTESS DE HOERNLE
“OUR LEGEND, HER LEGACY”
Festivities Include the “Royal Treatment”
with Black or White Tie Formal, Military or Scottish Equivalent, 

Tiaras, Regalia, and Decorations at Benefit Gala,
and a “Red, White and Boca-Blue” Countess Appreciation Day
Planned to Shower Her with Record-Breaking “Community Wishes”
BOCA RATON, FL (July 3, 2012)–To celebrate Henrietta, Countess de Hoernle’s immense, selfless contributions to the community, the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Knights Hospitaller Commandery of Florida invites the community-at-large to join together in honoring The Countess in several ways on her 100th Birthday, Monday, September 24, 2012.  Festivities include a formal gala celebration presented by the Order of St. John to benefit local charities, a communitywide “Red, White & Boca-Blue” Countess Appreciation Day and the presentation of what is planned to be a record-breaking birthday card.
Managing her charitable work from her home since 1981 without any staff, the Countess de Hoernle has selflessly given away more than $40 million of her personal funds to local Boca Raton charities while serving on 16 boards of directors each year, for more than 30 different charities in her lifetime.  Serving as an indelible and inspiring role model of philanthropy with wisdom and grace, there are more than 40 buildings named in her honor in Boca Raton alone, out of the more than 50 in total throughout Palm Beach County and New York.
To celebrate in royal style at the “Our Legend, Her Legacy” themed benefit gala that begins with cocktails at 6:00 p.m. at Boca West Country Club, more than 700 dignitaries and community, business, and nonprofit leaders will don black or white tie, military or Scottish equivalent, tiaras, regalia, and decorations for dinner, dancing, and reminiscing, a video retrospective and presentation of a gigantic birthday card signed by thousands from the community she has long supported. 
Presented by the Order of St. John, Chaired Dame Isabelle K. Paul DCGSJ and Vice-Chair Dame Alyce E. Erickson DSJ with Honorary Chairs Christine Lynn and Barbara and Dick Schmidt, the event is being held as a benefit to fulfill the Countess’s 100th birthday wish of raising significant funds to benefit Boca Raton area nonprofits.  Sponsorships at various levels, commemorative journal tribute ads and birthday greetings, tables of 10 and individual seats at $375 per person are available at www.countess100.org. According to Dames Paul and Erickson, the gala’s program journal will be sent to the Library of Congress, and the Florida State and Boca Raton Historical Societies for inclusion in their historic archives.
Throughout the day on her birthday September 24th, the community is encouraged to pay visual tribute to the Countess for her patriotism for the United States, her “country by choice”, by wearing red, white, and blue and wrapping trees with red, white, and blue ribbons.  In preparation for the gala event, the public-at-large is invited and encouraged to come out this summer to sign birthday card panels (available from mid-July to early-September) that will be on display at convenient locations throughout the community. The panels will then be merged as one card for its debut at the gala event celebration.  Details will soon be announced about where and how residents, nonprofits, schools, companies, and City and County officials and staff can participate in what is expected to be a heart-warming, record-breaking initiative.
“The Countess is an expert at ‘drive-by’ giving,” added Gregory W. Schultz of Wellington, a long-time member of The Order of St. John. “She looks to see where the need is, and armed only with her pen and notebook, with no secretary or entourage, she—and she alone—decides what to give, how much, to whom and how, often hand-delivering her gift within hours of first learning about those who need it the most.”
Born Henrietta Rach in Karlsruhe, Germany on September 24, 1912, she immigrated to the U.S. at age 18 aboard the S.S. Pennland in 1931 to live with her grandparents in Jackson Heights in Queens, NY and became an “American by choice”.  After being twice widowed (her second husband Jeff Gass served in the U.S. Army during World War II and was later put in charge of all the documents for the Nuremburg trials), she married engineer and entrepreneur Adolph, Count de Hoernle (who immigrated to the U.S. in 1926) in 1950 and whose family fortune was created as owner of the Stewart Stamping Corp., Bronxville, NY, a manufacturer of stamped metal products.  She has two daughters and nine grandchildren.
While living in Bronxville, NY, the Countess began volunteering at Lawrence Hospital’s thrift shop.  While there, she noticed many plaques in the hospital stating “This room is donated by … “.  Inspired by the generosity of others, the Countess encouraged her husband to do the same.  At the same time, the Countess also volunteered for local Meals On Wheels programs.  Together, the Count and Countess soon began to provide music scholarships to singers through the Liederkranz Club, a Manhattan social club founded by German-Americans to promote social and instrumental music. Among the first scholarship recipients was opera star Gene Boucher.
Following the sale of Stewart Stamping in New York in 1965 and considerable world travel (including 20 world cruises) and many visits to the area, the couple retired to Boca Raton in 1981—convinced that Boca Raton was, indeed, the “Jewel of The Gold Coast”.  Renewed commitment to her charitable work became their “new” life in Florida. 
“Time, talent and treasure” became her by-words as service on institutional and organizational boards, community involvement, leadership in philanthropic efforts and her commitment to the region became paramount.  Boca Raton Community Hospital received the de Hoernle’s first “Sunshine State” gift, and it hardly was their last.  Other health organizations, educational facilities, scholarships, cultural programs, community singing and theater groups, abused women and children, students, veterans, first-responders, the elderly and, in particular, the desperately needy, sick and poor have all benefited from the remarkable spirit of kindness and giving that rules the life and daily work of the Countess de Hoernle, our legend as she inspires the community with her legacy.
The Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Knights Hospitaller, under Royal Charter and Constitution granted by His Late Majesty King Peter II of Yugoslavia, is one of the oldest orders of chivalry in existence and has raised funds to benefit the sick and the poor of the world since 1048 A.D.  The Countess is its patroness and holder of the Order’s Grand Cross of Justice and Medal of Merit. The gala on the occasion of her 100th birthday is organized by the OSJ Commandery of Florida, a not-for-profit charitable 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization.  Countess de Hoernle’s regalia, degrees, awards, plaques, shields and commemorative photographs are currently on permanent display curated by the Boca Raton Historical Society at the Spanish River Library in Boca Raton.
To learn more about the Countess, the gala, sponsorships, and tickets, as well as updates and how to participate in the “Red, White & Boca-Blue Countess Appreciation Day” festivities, visit www.countess100.org; “Friend” and “Like” Countess on Facebook (www.facebook.com/countess100), or call Gala Chair Isabelle K. Paul (561) 391-3424. 
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Photo Cutlines: (other photos available upon request)
From top to bottom–
  • Henrietta, Countess de Hoernle GCSJ, MMSJ
  • From left: Honorary Chairs Christine Lynn, Dick Schmidt, Barbara Schmidt
  • From left: Gala Chair Commander Isabelle K. Paul DCGSI and Gala Vice-Chair Dame Alyce E. Erickson DSJ with (seated) Henrietta, Countess de Hoernle GCSJ, MMSJ



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