Pastor Terri Jo was born in Lansing, Michigan and zig-zagged across the country before the age
of eight, living in university towns before her family settled in Columbia, Missouri which
The daughter of two educators and always surrounded by an environment centered on education,
life-long learning became part of her DNA. She graduated from the University of Missouri
with a degree in Elementary Education. Sensing a call to ministry, she attended and graduated
from the Presbyterian School of Christian Education in Richmond, Virginia and later became
a Certified Christian Educator.
Challenged by complex dynamics faced while working with families, she went back to school
and received a Masters degree in Counseling from the University of Georgia. Sensing a
call to pastoral ministry, she attended the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary
and received a Masters of Divinity degree.
Terri Jo has served churches for nearly 30 years: Shallowford Presbyterian Church as the
Christian Educator (Atlanta, Ga.), Cherokee Presbytery as the Associate for Nurture and
Camp Ministry (NW Ga.), Highlands Presbyterian Retreat and Conference Center as Program
Director (Allenspark, Co.), Pine Shores Presbyterian Church as the Director of Children
and Youth Ministry (Sarasota, Fl.), and First Presbyterian Church Port Charlotte as the
Temporary Stated Supply Pastor since November 2015.
Sea kayaking is her favorite hobby along with most any activity on the water. When on land,
she enjoys trying to keep up with the neighborhood kids at church while playing basketball,
or chasing her dog, Ronan, a.k.a. “RoRo,” a highly educated but goofy Labrador retriever.
Tanga was born in Hickory, North Carolina and grew up there until moving South to Punta Gorda over
18 years ago.
Tanga and her husband, Doug, have been married for 39 years and they have one son and one daughter.
Tanga joined our First Presbyterian team three years ago as the Church Secretary. In supporting
the Pastor and the Church, Tanga has numerous clerical and secretarial responsibilities.
In addition, she actively supports many outreach activities of the church and her heart continues
to lead her to working with the elderly. Crafting and fishing balance out her busy life.
Betty was born in Zanesville, Ohio, and grew up in a large family of 6 siblings.
After high school, Betty moved to Hollywood, Florida in 1956 where she began her career in bookkeeping and finance. Betty and her husband Dan were married in 1961 and moved back to Ohio where their daughter and son were born and raised. In 1998 they made
the move with their family to Port Charlotte where she continued to work in finance and to teach Sunday School, which she did for 20 years. Betty joined the First Presbyterian Church team 18 years ago as the Church Receptionist.
It didn’t take long for the Church to recognize her financial expertise, so she was soon promoted to Church Financial Secretary which she continues to do today with dedication and commitment to excellence.
Jack and his wife, Marybeth moved to Port Charlotte from Manchester, New Hampshire.
They have been married for 29 years and have two daughters. Jack has been an integral part of the Church staff in this leadership role for 13 years with significant responsibilities in all aspects of the Church campus, including
all facilities and grounds. Jack consistently provides support services for all activities and events at the church. His family and friends get to benefit from his love of cooking. His hobbies include sports and fishing.
Butch is the newest member of our First Presbyterian Church team having joined the staff in June ’16. Butch was born in Sac City, Iowa and received his education in St. James, Minnesota.
He lived in several mid-western and northern cities during his career. During his tenure in Houston, Texas, Butch worked with an oil company focusing on exploration of oil from the ocean floor then transferred to Illinois where he retired in 2013. Upon
retirement, Butch and his wife, Joyce, who have been married for 33 years, moved to Ecuador. During their years there, he and his wife created an organization to feed and clothe those in need and engaged three English teachers
to assist in supporting educational needs. A move to Port Charlotte in 2015 has enabled Butch to enjoy his love of fishing and working with the church. He has 4 children and 7 grandchildren.
Jeff was born and raised in Pensacola, Florida along with one sister.
Jeff’s career has included managing seven Applebee’s Restaurants in the Jacksonville area prior to his move to Port Charlotte.
He has actively supported the media needs in the faith community by providing audio and video
services for several churches in the Charlotte County area. Jeff also manages a 501(3)C Thrift
Store whose proceeds provides food through their Food Pantry which is the largest in the area.
He is currently in his third year of study at Florida Southwestern State College where he is
pursuing a degree in Business Administration. Being a dedicated father of one daughter, he enjoys
trips to Disney and beach volleyball.
Joan was born and raised in Andover, Connecticut. She was raised in a household where music abounded, so her love of music was developed at an early age.
Joan graduated from the Hart College of Music (University of Hartford) with a major in music education and a minor in piano. Her graduate studies and M.S. degree is from Eastern Connecticut State University. Over the years, Joan’s career migrated over
to her thirty-five year career in Human Resources and Benefits Consultation. With her love and dedication to music, she has served in numerous positions in the music community, including President of the Suncoast Chorale.
Having also served in several positions with the Phantoms of the Orchestra, she currently serves as their President. Joan and her husband, Ray, were instrumental in the formation of the Bion Cantorum choral group and she
currently serves as their President. All genres of music are deeply engrained in her and are evidenced by her many years of teaching of music and piano, her performances , and her music leadership activities. Joan and Ray
have 4 children and 11 grandchildren.
Judy was born in Springfield, Illinois, but moved with her family to Iowa as a young teenager where she lived until 1975.
She graduated from Drake University in DesMoines, Iowa with a degree in education and also the University of South Florida with a master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling. As a devoted educator, Judy taught special needs students in all elementary grades
in the DeSoto County area. In making a positive difference in the lives of so many children, her focus then became guidance counseling from which she retired in 2001. Judy has always had music in her heart and started playing
the piano at age 5. At age 15 she also began playing the organ. She would tell you that her “vocation is counseling, but her passion is music”. Judy is a strong advocate for the arts in the school system. She is a member
of the Phantoms of the Orchestra and sits on the board of the Southwest Florida Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. German baroque, romantic, and French organ music are special to Judy. She is the proud mother of
four children and four grandchildren. As a faithful disciple, she is a Stephen Minister and glorifies God with her music ministry.
Sandy Asaro has been attending FPCPC since the age of 3 and has been an active participant in a variety of ministries over the years.
In addition to the joy that she experiences from serving our church, she also loves teaching 6th grade Math at Punta Gorda Middle School. Her educational background includes attending public school from grades K-12 in Charlotte
County, Edison Community College for her Associate’s Degree, and Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers for her degrees in Elementary Education and Educational Leadership. With Sandy’s passions for education and
serving the Lord, she really loves having an active role in leading the children and youth programs at our church. Using her leadership skills to serve FPCPC in the roles of Clerk of Session and Christian Education
Chairperson is something that Sandy would also say brings her a deep sense of joy and enthusiasm. She sums up her church service by saying that God placed a statement on her heart one day, “I don’t have the time to
serve but I have the heart to serve,” and this deep commitment has made a difference in allowing God the time and space to work in and through Sandy.
First Presbyterian Church has been our church home for over 40 years. We all have enjoyed many
wonderful events here.
My background in teaching has opened many doors for me - not only in public schools but in Girl
Scouts, canoeing, sailing and quilting but also in Bible studies. I am looking forward
to many more wonderful happenings here.
Ambrose was born in Louisville, Kentucky where he lived until attending Indiana University where he received a degree in
Finance and Accounting. Upon graduation he had a thirty-five year career as a CPA and Chief Financial
Officer for a large corporation.
As the son of a Pentecostal pastor, the teachings of Christ were instilled in him as a young boy.
As an adult, his faith journey led him to the Baptist church where his commitment to serving
others began. When he and his wife, Elaine, married thirty-two years ago, they felt called to
the Presbyterian church. Over the years, Ambrose has served in numerous capacities and currently
serves as an Elder and Treasurer of FPCPC, however, his most cherished service is greeting and
welcoming everyone to worship services where a sincere smile, a warm handshake, and a few kind
words can touch many lives.
Barb is originally from Walton, New York, and she was born and raised in the Presbyterian Church.
She married and transferred to the First Presbyterian Church of Valatia where she served as Clerk
of Session, and worked at most of the fund raisers for the church. Along with her husband,
John, they taught Sunday School for 5-6th graders. Barb raised her son in the Presbyterian
faith. When they moved to Florida, the Danylaks tried many churches in Peace River and have found
a "fit" here.
Nancy’s parents moved to Punta Gorda in 1978 and joined First Presbyterian because many of their
New Jersey friends were members here; in fact, some lived directly across the street. Whenever
Nancy, who lived and taught in Miami at that time, visited her parents they would attend Sunday
services at here.
Nancy enjoyed the excellent sermons of Rev. MacDonald and the friendly congregation. When Nancy
moved from Miami, FL. To Punta Gorda in the summer of 2000 to help her parents, it was natural
that she soon joined the church. Always interested in children and children’s programs, Nancy
started volunteering for special events of Small World. She was also recruited to help man
the information desk in the Narthex and for many years greeted people as they came for the
Sunday service. Soon Nancy was not only volunteering for Small World but she was asked to
be on the Small World School Board. This evolved into helping with Sunday School then teaching
the elementary Sunday School. She was asked to be an Elder in 2013. Nancy has continued to
be active with the Christian Education ministry, the Scholarship committee and the Food Pantry.
Ron Smith is originally from Illinois. He is an Airforce Vietnam Era veteran.
He came to Florida in 1977. He was a math teacher at the former Edison College. Ron is the proud
father of two sons and a daughter. He is married to Christy Smith. Ron currently serves on
the session as an elder and serves as a liturgist occasionally.
Joan Barry was drawn to First Presbyterian because of the many opportunities to serve that the church
ministries provided. After visiting for several years, she became a member in December 2014 and
feels blessed to be part of a church family that really cares for its members and the community.
Joan is currently Co-Chairperson for the Outreach Committee, member of the Disaster Preparedness
& Recovery Team and volunteers at the Food Pantry. On Thursdays she plays with the Mah Jongg
group at church.
Originally from Massachusetts, Joan lives in Port Charlotte with her husband Chris and their
two rescue dogs: Taz and Bob. They have two grown sons: Jeff and Jon. She is semi-retired
as she continues to work at the Cultural Center of Charlotte County. When not at church or
working, Joan volunteers at the Cultural Center, at Fawcett Hospital, and at the library.
Hobbies include Dragon Boat Paddling, golf and mah jongg.
Gail was born in Marianna, FL. to the late Abner and Bertha Myrick. She has five brothers and five
She graduated from Marianna High School in 1983 and went on to play college basketball at Florida
A&M University. She graduated in 1988. Gail is married to John Gamble and has four children
(Charles, Shaniece, Ashuntee and John III). Gail has worked for the Charlotte County Sheriff’s
Office as a supervisor for 25+ years and is looking forward to retirement. Gail is a member
of the NAACP and was ordained as an Elder at First Presbyterian Church of Port Charlotte
and serves on the Session.
Richard was born in Morris, Illinois on July 9, 1933. After high school he joined the Marines in
1953 and served until 1955.
In 1957 he enrolled at Louis University, where he earned his Aircraft and Engine License. He
worked at a couple of small airports. In January 1960 Richard was hired by American Airlines
until he retired in 1995. After Richard's first wife passed away in 1966 he met and married
Lorna, and they were together for 44 years. Richard and Lorna raised 3 children named Wendy,
Ward, and Richard and have 4 grandchildren.
Doris was born in McKeesport, Pennsylvania and resided there until 1986 when she moved to Florida.
Her career was with the Atomic Energy Commission of the Naval Reactor Branch where she had
Doris spent many years volunteering in her church up north as well as FPCPC. She sang in
the choir, taught Sunday school, and served in other capacities. She is currently a Deacon
and an Usher. As a volunteer with the Retired Senior Volunteer Program in Charlotte
County she spent countless hours working with numerous local organizations as well as
the school system. In recognition of her outstanding service, Doris was recognized as
the 2004 Volunteer-of-the-Year for all of Charlotte County Schools. She loves golf, bowling,
and fishing. She has one son, two step-sons, one step-daughter, nine grandchildren,
and seven great grandchildren.
Most people know Dorothy Messick as Dottie. She is one of the Deacons of the church.
She is also a member of the Worship and Arts Committee, the Nominating Committee and the
Chancel Choir. Within the choir, Dottie serves as the librarian, which, making sure everyone
has the music they need for singing in worship and various other programs and performances.
Dottie and her husband, Brad, have been members of First Presbyterian Church for almost
twenty years and enjoy it very much.
Don has been an active member of FPCPC for over thirty years. During that time he has served
in many ways including counting the offering each week, serving as a member of the finance
committee and pastor nominating committee.
Don also sang in the choir and served as an Elder and now currently serves as a Deacon and
greeter. Don’s greatest pleasure is his role as a greeter for the worship services
and he plans to continue in this role for many years to come. Don is married to Theresa
Rucker who is also an active member of FPCPC.
Having been born into a family of strong believers, Elaine has never known a day without the love and grace of Christ. She
grew up with deep-faith family members and became actively engaged in the Methodist church at
a very young age.
Being dedicated to “making a difference,” she has served in many capacities in the Methodist
and Presbyterian churches over the years working with the youth and adults alike. After
being raised in different churches, Elaine and her husband, Ambrose, were led to the Presbyterian
church where she has served in numerous capacities and currently serves as Deacon Moderator,
Liturgist, and member of several committees. Her favorite Bible verse is 1 Corinthians 13,
“The Greatest Gift”. She is a firm believer that God leads each of us in his church to love,
that love can conquer all, and that our faith is lived out by humbly serving others.
“I am a well blessed Christian with lots of love and happiness to share with the world.” She
was raised by two wonderful parents who made sure she and her siblings went to church each
Sunday “whether we wanted to or not.” And she raised her own children the same way.
They had to worship God on Sunday and the only reason they could miss church was if sick.
She moved to Port Charlotte 48 years ago from Bridgeport, Connecticut and starting coming
to the First Presbyterian Church. Later, Dottie joined the church and became very active.
Dottie says, “I am still working for the grace of God. My prayer is when we bring God
into something, it will turn out well blessed in the end.”
Laverne was born on the beautiful island of Jamaica. She migrated to Montreal, Canada in 1966
and later moved to Toronto. In 1977, she married her soulmate, Robert, at Iona Presbyterian
Church. Together they have four amazing children and three grandchildren. .
Laverne worked for the Royal Bank of Canada for 38 years holding a variety of positions including
managing several branches. Her entire career she worked with the public and had great
satisfaction interacting with a diverse population. Laverne co- chaired the Toronto Sick
Kids Hospital walkathon, she sat on the bank’s diversity committee and was a member of
the Black Cultural committee. In 2004 Laverne moved to Florida and worked part time for
SunTrust Bank at the Southport Square location. As a member of First Presbyterian Church,
she serves as a Visiting Shepherd, a Deacon and also as a greeter on Sunday mornings.
Her great passion is traveling, helping others less fortunate and mentoring family and
friends in person or by phone.
Donald Whitmarsh was born in 1946 to a Southern Presbyterian mother and a father raised in the
He was both baptized and confirmed in the Park Avenue Presbyterian Church in Des Moines,
Iowa. His career was in public education in Iowa, largely as an educational media administrator.
He's married to Veronica Sue who has been a resident of Consulate Health Care for the
past several years. The couple boast a million dollar family with son Brian, and daughter
Amanda and her husband Adam and Donald's grandson Boden.
Andy was baptized in the mid 40’s and joined the American Baptist Church. He graduated with a
Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education in 1953 then joined the U.S. Army. He
served for two years as a microwave radio operator and repairman.
Later, Andy received his Master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling and spent 27 years as
a guidance counselor in the school system. He retired in 1989 and moved from New York
to Florida. Andy has enjoyed singing in the choir and now serves as a deacon.
Diane and her husband Dennis visited Florida three years ago after falling in love with what
is now their home then moving here the following year.
Except for their children, grandchildren and some very close friends, they don't miss N.J.
at all. Having found their physical home, they began looking for a spiritual home. They
searched in their immediate area, but then expanded their search and found FPCPC. “From
the first service we were hooked.” The friendship of the congregation and the services
made them feel welcomed and spiritually at home. Diane became active in the church, first
being appointed as Acolyte leader and most recently a Deacon. Diane says, “I am thankful
to God and all the love from my Church family for the many blessings Dennis and I have
Richard was born in Morris, Illinois on July 9, 1933. After high school he joined the Marines
in 1953 and served until 1955.
In 1957 he enrolled at Louis University, where he earned his Aircraft and Engine License.
He worked at a couple of small airports. In January 1960 Richard was hired by American
Airlines until he retired in 1995. After Richard's first wife passed away in 1966 he
met and married Lorna, and they were together for 44 years. Richard and Lorna raised
3 children named Wendy, Ward, and Richard and have 4 grandchildren.
Ron Smith is originally from Illinois. He is an Airforce Vietnam Era veteran.
He came to Florida in 1977. He was a math teacher at the former Edison College. Ron is the
proud father of two sons and a daughter. He is married to Christy Smith. Ron currently
serves on the session as an elder and serves as a liturgist occasionally.
Ambrose was born in Louisville, Kentucky where he lived until attending Indiana University where he received a degree in
Finance and Accounting. Upon graduation he had a thirty-five year career as a CPA and Chief
Financial Officer for a large corporation.
As the son of a Pentecostal pastor, the teachings of Christ were instilled in him as a young
boy. As an adult, his faith journey led him to the Baptist church where his commitment to
serving others began. When he and his wife, Elaine, married thirty-two years ago, they felt
called to the Presbyterian church. Over the years, Ambrose has served in numerous capacities
and currently serves as an Elder and Treasurer of FPCPC, however, his most cherished service
is greeting and welcoming everyone to worship services where a sincere smile, a warm handshake,
and a few kind words can touch many lives.
Bob Hull retired in 1986 after a 30 year career at General Electric that began in his hometown
of Fort Wayne, Indiana. He worked his way up to manager of manufacturing and engineering.
He worked at several sites in Ohio, New York, Michigan and Argentina. Bob and his first wife,
Evelyn, moved to Port Charlotte upon retirement. She died in 2000. He married Pearl Wallace
in 2002. Bob has served as an Elder and Trustee at the church and on various committees
and even helped make the stained glass windows. He celebrated his 93rd birthday in 2017.
Sandy Asaro has been attending FPCPC since the age of 3 and has been an active participant in
a variety of ministries over the years.
In addition to the joy that she experiences from serving our church, she also loves teaching
6th grade Math at Punta Gorda Middle School. Her educational background includes attending
public school from grades K-12 in Charlotte County, Edison Community College for her
Associate’s Degree, and Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers for her degrees in
Elementary Education and Educational Leadership. With Sandy’s passions for education
and serving the Lord, she really loves having an active role in leading the children
and youth programs at our church. Using her leadership skills to serve FPCPC in the roles
of Clerk of Session and Christian Education Chairperson is something that Sandy would
also say brings her a deep sense of joy and enthusiasm. She sums up her church service
by saying that God placed a statement on her heart one day, “I don’t have the time to
serve but I have the heart to serve,” and this deep commitment has made a difference
in allowing God the time and space to work in and through Sandy.