moved to Boca Grande on Christmas Day in 1926.
Ruth was a hard worker who used to run the switchboard at The
Gasparilla Inn & Club, did alterations for Fugate’s Patio Shop and
cleaned homes. She only made it through the eighth grade in school
but she could sew and cook like nobody’s business ... and made a
good living at it.
In 1928 Ruth ran off to Arcadia and married Roy Pouncey, a
captain and chauffeur for a wealthy island family. He was also a
painter, and his preference in color regarding the elephant atop
The Pink Elephant Restaurant was integral in its name. The
sisters recall that the owner was going to name the establishment
“The White Elephant” because it was so isolated from the other
businesses and homes, but Roy decided it should definitely be a
pink elephant. Considering he was a man of some social
prominence, the owners thought his choices were relevant. The
color pink stayed.
Ruth and Roy had a daughter, Sarah Helen Pounce Clark, who
was born on April 27, 1932, and a son named William David. Sarah
worked at The Gasparilla Inn & Club as her mother did, but her job
as a teenager was to run the elevator. She also worked as a secretary,
a bookkeeper, a banker and in a real estate office as well.
Louise du Pont Crowninshield, a lady who was known as “the fairy
godmother of Boca Grande,” offered to send Sarah to college after noting she was
an excellent typist and very good with numbers. Sarah’s father thought a woman receiving a higher
education was pointless, and didn’t allow it. Later in life Ruth Pouncey
remarried at the age of 78. At her second wedding she wore her
granddaughter Jennifer’s wedding dress … it was a strange turn of
events, to be sure.
Sarah and her future husband, Donald attended high school
together in Boca Grande, but the first time they officially met was
at Fugate’s after Sarah had been stood up on a date. Donald had
just arrived from Indiana on an Indian motorcycle, and when he
asked Sarah if she wanted to go the movies with him instead of
the ignorant fool who stood her up, she said “yes.” They were
married in 1951at the First Baptist Church of Boca Grande and
had their reception at the Crowninshield Community House.
Sarah and Donald had four daughters and two sons – Melynda,
Jennifer, Donette, Roy, Mark and Ruth.
“She was a storyteller,” Jennifer said of her mother, “Her
friends loved to tour the island with her and listen to her stories.”
72 GASPARILLA ISLAND January/February 2018
Growing up on Gasparilla Island is an experience that is
never fully appreciated until childhood is gone.
“We were never bored,” Jennifer remembered fondly.
“We left home when the sun came up and came home
when the sun went down. We could play in anyone’s
almost anywhere, like in the stores downtown. We
particularly liked to cut paper dolls out of old pattern
books in Kuhl’s old store.
The photo at the top of the page shows
William Sprott during his days as sheriff. Above
is a wedding photo of Sarah and Donald Clark.