Ship Ahoy! Cass Miller celebrates milestone b’day on ‘high seas’

Chances are you’ll only celebrate one 50th birthday in a lifetime, so you might as well pull out all of the stops the first time around and give it all you’ve got.

Chances are you’ll only celebrate one 50th birthday in a lifetime, so you might as well pull out all of the stops the first time around and give it all you’ve got. So, no doubt, was the thinking of Cass R. Miller, director of Chicago Housing Authority’s Charles A. Hayes Family Investment Center (formerly the Packing House) as he set into motion his golden year black-tie celebration. Some 300 family members and friends were summoned to Navy Pier to board the four-level Kanan Luxury Cruise Ship for a Saturday night of fun and fellowship, dinner, drinks and dancing, non-stop entertainment and to experience Chicago’s magnificent and unique skyline up-close and personal amid unforgettable luxury.

Dressed in rich chocolate brown from head-to-toe, “birthday boy” personally greeted each guest at the 6 p.m. Red Carpet Reception with an individual photo taken which was presented as a memento upon debarking at 11 p.m. At 7 p.m., the “blessing” was sung by Dwayne Lee and Felicia Coleman-Evans, recording artists, followed by a “Prayer of Departure” by Dr. Byron Brazier, pastor, Apostolic Church of God. Delicious dinner fare was served by the uniformed P Events staff, an African American catering firm. First-level diners were entertained by piano performances by T.Cain; vocalist Terisa Griffin, held court on the second level; “Tribute to Motown Greats,” on third level; and Reginald Torian, The Impressions’ lead singer, and DJ Reg took over the fourth level for non-stop line dancing. Tipsy Cakes prepared the obligatory birthday cake which was shaped like a ship. Upon debarking, guests were given “goodie bags” which they filled to capacity with assorted candies. Certain eye-catchers: center pieces of autumn-hued flowers with colorful tiny fish swimming in the vases.

A virtual “who’s who” made up the guest list, and even though trying to list them shouldn’t be attempted – here goes anyhow: Ald. Pat Dowell, Angela and Abe Thompson, Preston Harden, Doris and Michael House, Josie Childs, Dr. Robin Jones, Commissioner Lula Ford, Rev. Darryl James, the Tyrone Stoudemires, Dr. Dexter Arrington, Commissioner Mildred Clopton Harris, Juanita Passmore, Atty. Stanley Stallworth, Dr. Waldo Johnson, Nemi Johnson, Gwen Kenner Johnson, Lillian Seymour, Iris Thomas, Dorothy White, Hermene Hartman, Bobbie Jones and Preston Harden.

From out-of town: Atlanta’s Dr. Christine King Farris, Dr. King’s sister and vice chair and treasurer, MLK Center; Dr. Angelia Farris Watkins, Spelman College; former Chicagoans Judge (ret.) and Mrs. Walter Williams, Chattanooga; Dr. Maxie Miller Jr., Florida Baptist Convention; Mervin Walton, Newark Housing Authority; Atty. Victor Parker, Los Angeles; Kenneth Trenton, Dallas, and lots more. Wow! What an unforgettable celebration!

Condolences – to Dr. Robert Kimbrough, a long-time friend and dentist, on the loss of his beloved spouse, Lueguster (“Gussie”), who died last week in their home in The Villages, Fla., just days after her 91st birthday! The former Chicagoans (he was a member of one of our town’s most prominent men’s social organizations, The Midwesterners; she was listed among the Windy City’s “best dressed” femmes) lived in the Jackson Park Highlands community of South Shore before moving south.

I talked with Dr. Kimbrough last week and a memorial service for his wife will be held in a few weeks. Watch this space (“Teesee’s Town” in the Chicago Defender) for the update. Our sympathy also to their daughter, Kim Comer (Mrs. Berlin) of Indiana; grandson, Roger; and great granddaughter, Teyton. R.I.P. “Gussie.”

Gift of Health! – Attn: siestas age 40-75! Learn to decrease stress, improve nutrition, increase physical exercise and manage weight every week for two hours beginning Saturday, 6 p.m., at South lawn United Methodist Church, 8605 S. Craggier. The 12-week session is led by Dr. Marilyn Green and Gayle Porter, directors of Gaston & Porter Health Improvement Center; call (773) 734-7708.

Newsy Names – Greg Hinton, a very special “brutha beloved,” leaves Chicago and U.S. Cellular for the Democratic National Convention in D.C. to serve as chief diversity officer responsible for diversity recruiting and supplier diversity as well as for Democratic National Convention Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the campaign arm of Dems in the House of Representatives. You go, Greg! We’re happy for ya! … Book Look! Think you know all there is to know ‘bout rapper and actor Common (nee Lonnie Rashid Lynn)? Maybe not! He tells all (?) in One Day It’ll All Make Sense, a candid and surprisingly straight-forward auto-bio. He’s currently making rounds and signing copies at bookstores and events across the country. Available at Macy’s, Barnes & Noble,, et al … Norm Bolden, owner of Norman’s Bistro, 1001 E. 43rd St., wants you to know his East Bronzeville high-scale eatery is now open for lunch Wednesdays-Fridays, beginning at 11 a.m. and he hosts “live jazz” on Sunday nights.

Happy b’day to Corinne Gloria Jenkins-Harvey, Diann Burns, Michael Alan Stein, Victoria Jarrett, Rev. Clifton Davis, Keith Caldwell, Christine Bowden, Maureen Moe Forte, Suzanne LeMignot, Marshall Qualls, Hermene Hartman, Maurice Rabbi, Fr. George Clements, Dr. Mari Anne Stallworth, Floyd Overall, Gail Lawrence Baker, Rev. Luthetis Carey, Hazel Thomas, Catherine Boganey, Marzette Griffith, Hattye Chapman, Lynn Richardson, Willie B. Cochran, Chef Eric Paul, Denise Corder Hall, Raymond Ward, Glenn Cosby, Charles Hoard, Arlene Burke and Louise Hodges, 90, who celebrated “big time” at Leona’s on Stony Island … Happy 4th anniversary to Maizelle and Wendell Hutson … Tom Finch, head honcho of veteran audio-video producers, Finch & Associates, certified as a vendor for White House Communications, was chosen to set the stage for a President Obama fundraiser at the Sheraton Hotel hosted by the Obama/Bidden Campaign. Vice President Biden spoke to Obama supporters to kick-off the event. Finch and his crew handled all production including stage, sound, lights and decor. Finch is often called on for event production throughout the Midwest.

Movie Magic – A short film, The Truth, co-written and co-executive produced by Chicago’s Atty. Randy Crumpton and directed by his pal, Hill Harper, award- winning actor and author, premieres at the 47th Chicago International Film Festival, Oct. 10, 6:30 p.m.; Oct. 14, 5 p.m.; and Oct.16, 11:45 p.m.; at AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois St. (After many late work nights, unexplained whereabouts and suspicious behavior, Carter, suspecting that his wife has been unfaithful and demanding to know the truth, receives news that devastates their marriage and forever changes their lives – while imparting an important life lesson.)

The film stars Diandra Lyle, Terisa Griffin, Dwight Eubanks, Jensen Atwood, Rockmond Dunbar, Mel Jackson and Eric Lane. Co-executive produced by Kenny Johnson; co-produced by Sharon Kin
g and James Ramos; co-written by Craig J. Harris. Call the festival hotline at 312-332-FILM; go to; or visit the festival office, 30 E. Adams, weekdays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; or

Scholars’ Dollars – Scholarships totaling $10,500 go to seven academically qualified students Oct. 8 at the 35th anniversary of the Ora Higgins Youth Foundation Awards Dinner at the Sabre Room. Leadership Awards go to three Chicagoans who have make major contributions to the growth and development of urban youth: Linda Washington, retired counselor, Dunbar Vocational High School; Jeanette DiBella, principal, Providence St. Mel High School; and Gloria Jackson, retired kindergarten teacher, Dewey School, so say Jesse M. Reed, president of the Foundation’s board of directors, and Barbara Cox, board member. Call (723) 928-9621.

Biz Buzz – City Treasurer Stephanie Neely hosts a free day-long Small Business Expo, Oct. 7, at UIC Forum with 33 business workshops, 125 exhibitors, 100 business experts, 3,000 small business owners and all topics requested by previous attendees. Among workshops: Business Plan Writing, Branding, Marketing, Business Loans, Website Development, Social Media for Business, Art of Networking, Powerful Writing Skills, Money Management, Legal Smarts, Driving Website Traffic, Green Business, etc. Pre-register by Oct. 4 at (312) 744-3360.

Copyright 2011 Chicago Defender


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