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David Nelson / Society

Krulak Still Has Starlight in Her Eyes

February 18, 1988|David Nelson

SAN DIEGO — Amy Krulak, retiring after a second five-year stint as president of the San Diego Civic Light Opera Assn., said that although she is leaving the organization's helm, she has no intention of giving up the board of directors seat she has held for 20 years.

"Heavens, no! I wouldn't think of it," Krulak responded when asked if a little R & R might not be in order after so long a tenure.

Nor, it seems, would any of her pals and associates at Starlight consider allowing her to depart. Some 250 of them turned out last Thursday for a tribute dinner at the La Jolla Marriott aimed at reaffirming Krulak's unshakable position in the Starlight pantheon.

Krulak, who has spent 10 of the past 15 years directing what its fans call simply the Starlight Opera, was honored in a ballroom decked out to look like the Great White Way, which is honored by Starlight annually in its summer season of Broadway musicals. The room seemed filled with pencil-thin silver stalactites--ribbons dangling from 500 balloons that took more than four hours to inflate and launch. (Starlight executive producer Leon Drew worried that it would take even longer to get them down, and lamented not having brought along a BB gun.)

Starlight past President Reba Brophy shared party chairmanship duties with incoming President Larry Braidic. Brophy's term in office was sandwiched between Krulak's two stints, and she said she spoke from experience when she described Krulak as having made "an incredible sacrifice" in serving so long.

"People don't realize what a big job this is," Brophy said. "You work a regular 40-hour week and then lie awake at night worrying."

Worries were banished Thursday night, however, and in their place was the music of which Starlight fans can never get enough. Some of Krulak's favorite performers took the stage, including Starlight regulars Ron Hussman, Alice McMasters and Gail Arnhym. Hussman, a Broadway veteran, surprised Krulak with her all-time favorite, "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," and for the finale, Starlight co-artistic director Don Ward led the audience in the appropriate "Once in Love with Amy."

Krulak's husband, retired U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Victor (Brute) Krulak and son, Cmdr. Victor Krulak Jr., headed up a guest list that included Doris and Peter Ellsworth, Anne and Michael Ibs Gonzalez, Debbie and David Hawkins, Maxine Mahon, Dian and Ray Peet, Nina and retired Rear Adm. U.S. Grant Sharp, Valerie Post, county Supervisor Leon Williams, Cindy and Jim Ingham, B.J. and Hal Williams, Bob McGlade, Robert Sullivan and Charles Cannon.

LA JOLLA--Earlier the same evening, Gayle Wilson (wife of Sen. Pete Wilson, R-Calif.) stood at the door of Linda and Neal Hooberman's handsome hillside home holding up a hand of greeting for honorary board members and other supporters of the Child Abuse Prevention Foundation of San Diego County.

Wilson shared hostess duties with Linda Hooberman. Although both are honorary members of the board, they are active in the organization. Wilson called child abuse an issue that "people often don't want to face." She added that after meeting foundation President Norma Hirsh--who was present but largely speechless thanks to a case of laryngitis--she toured San Diego agencies funded by Child Abuse Prevention and was "swept away" by their efforts.

Hooberman said the cause attracted her because of its poignancy, but noted that a situation so profoundly negative might be better approached from a positive point of view. "I think we should adopt the idea of the 'happy child,' and try to restore the happiness that can be found deep down inside everyone, including these children," Hooberman said. "This would be true even for the perpetrators." (Hooberman herself looked harried but happy; she and her husband were scheduled to dine with President Reagan the next evening at the home of Los Angeles financier David Murdoch.)

The guests, meanwhile, mingled over canapes and white wine while the sun fizzled out of sight beyond the Hoobermans' deck. Conversation focused pretty much on the issue at hand, despite the pleasant evening and setting. Board member Steve Haines said that volunteering to combat child abuse is a demanding, difficult job. "The awareness of child abuse has grown in the last 10 years, but it's not a trendy issue like, say, AIDS," Haines said.

As a visible, sweet-throated reminder of the reasons behind the party, The Evans School Ensemble trooped into the Hooberman living room to entertain. They sang several numbers, ending on a rather spirited note with "It's a Small World." Those children who grow up to join the party circuit will discover the exact truth of this sentiment.

Among the guests were Lois and Police Chief Bill Kolender, Barbara and Charles Christensen, Yvonne Larsen, Barbara Miller, Renee Cuomo, Nancy Hester and Mimi Groom.

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