Vote For Your Next Board of Directors!
Slate of Candidates for 2021-22 SSAS Board
President: Matt Pantaleoni
Matt is a native St. Louisan and renowned bagpiper. He teaches and performs nationwide and, in non-Covid years, travels to Scotland at least once a year to compete in international solo piping competitions. He is a former pipe major of the Invera’an Pipe Band, founder and current pipe major of the Spirit of St. Louis Pipe Band, and founder and emcee of the St. Louis Drones Club recital series. Matt has helped organize the piping competitions at the St. Louis Scottish Games and joined the Society’s board as a Member-at-Large in 2017 and served as President for the last two years.
Vice President: Scott Sinclair, PhD
Scott is retired after forty years from his three careers as electrical engineer, minister, and university professor of philosophy. He is the State of Missouri Commissioner and Clan Historian for Clan Sinclair USA. He has traveled in Scotland twice and plans to return in 2022. He has brought his clan tent to the Saint Louis, Kansas City, Lyon College, and Quad Cities Highland Games/Festivals and he has attended highland events in Texas, North Carolina, and Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He has attended the Saint Louis, Kansas City, and Orlando, Florida Robert Burns Dinners and the Saint Louis St. Andrew’s Day Celebration. His hobbies involve researching ancestry and writing about Scottish history, which includes the publication of his book, “The Sinclairs from Herdmanston.” Scott has been a member-at-large in the SSAS for one year.
Secretary: Karen Kraft
Karen Kraft became interested in Scottish culture after meeting her husband, Allan Stewart. She practiced law with the Missouri State Public Defender System for 33 years before retiring in 2016. She has been the Secretary for the Society since 2010 and is currently chairperson of the Robert Burns Dinner committee.
Treasurer: Bill Hamrick, PhD
I am a Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, retiring after 35 years of full-time teaching. I have served on the Board for two years as a Member at Large and since 2021 as Treasurer. I have participated in Society activities such as the September Scottish Games, Tartan Day, an educational visit to a local charter school, a St. Andrew’s Day Celebration, and three times at the annual Robert Burns Dinner. I have enjoyed all of these activities, especially giving the “Immortal Memory” speech at the 2019 Robert Burns Dinner. I’ve also traveled to Scotland three times and look forward to returning in 2022. Part of my interests there consist of genealogy, as my mother’s family, the Robbs, are part of the Clan MacFarlane, and I’m an active member of the Clan MacFarlane Worldwide. In 2018, it was a great pleasure to visit the family church and cemetery in Tarbet, on the western shore of Loch Lomond.
Communications: Kim William Gordon, PhD
Kim’s background consists of an eclectic mix of not-for-profit, large business enterprises, small entrepreneurial startups and education. He currently is the President of the Friends of Hawn Association, a NFP dedicated to the preservation and growth of Hawn State Park in Sainte Genevieve, MO. He has been involved in the Scottish community the majority of his adult life including being past president of the House of Gordon and Founder of the Seven Rivers Highland Society. Kim holds a PhD in Educational Leadership with his dissertation focused on the application of artificial intelligence in educational settings.
Attorney: Allan Stewart
Allan Stewart’s grandfather was born in Paisley and immigrated to Canada. His father emigrated from Canada to the United States where Allan was born. Allan has been a practicing attorney since 1972 and is licensed in both Missouri and Illinois. His law firm, Stewart, Mittleman and O’Rourke, specializes in family law, adoption, assisted reproduction and probate matters. Allan has been the attorney for the Society since 1992.
Candidates for Member-at-Large (Choose 6)
Jeanne Crouthers Abert
I was born in the late 50’s in Alton, Illinois. I have a business management degree and broker manager license in real estate. I live on a lake in the metro east area of Illinois near St. Louis, MO. I manage my own properties while enjoying my family and other interests. I love to travel, study family history and enjoy nature.
I have Scottish ancestry on my father’s side and Irish on my mother’s. My grandfather was a quiet and serious man and proud of our Scottish ancestry, however I did not realize the impact of it until later in my life. My 5th grandfather was Lt. Andrew Carothers. He emigrated from Scotland as a young boy with his twin brother James. I have a newspaper article with a story telling why the spelling was changed from Carruthers through the influence of a schoolteacher. Andrew fought at the battle of King’s Mountain in the Revolutionary War. His sword is on display at the National DAR Museum in Washington, D.C. I am so excited and proud to learn the history of my family! I traveled to Scotland in 2019 and felt a deep connection to the country, customs and the people. I plan to return in the future and look forward to making many more memories. I serve on the board of directors with Clan Carruthers Society – USA and have served as a member-at-large in the SSAS for one year.
My interest in being involved in the Scottish St. Andrews Society of Greater St Louis as a Member-at-Large, is to further my knowledge of Scottish history and culture, collaborate with fellow volunteers in the community, and, as a recent retiree, stay busy! I am retired from Nestlé Purina, where I ended my 33-year career as Director of Technical Services (product development) in 2019. I am married to an Anderson, and have two son’s 23 and 18-years old and a wonderful daughter-in-law.
I have been the Elliot Clan Society USA commissioner for Missouri since 2012 and plan to continue in that role. In addition, I have served in various volunteer roles over the years, mostly involving my son’s activities. These roles include; manager of the neighborhood swim team, Parent-Teacher organization treasurer and most recently, communications & web site director for my son’s high school lacrosse club. In my professional career and volunteer roles, I have leveraged leadership, collaboration, communication and various computer skills.
As my youngest son leaves the nest, I have an interest in expanding my knowledge of Scottish history and culture. Our family visited Edinburgh and the Border lands in 2018 and saw just enough to know we want to return and explore more of Scotland. There is just so much to see and learn.
I look forward to getting to know the members of the Scottish St. Andrews society as well as collaborating to promote Scottish culture in the area.
Liz Belcastro is a second-generation member of the society. Her parents Dick and the late Anja Lodge are lifetime honorary members of the society. This is her second time on the board. She previously served from 2010-2013 as a member at large. She has also been a member of the Burns committee since that time and is also a Sister of the Haggis. In addition, she served as the admissions chair for the St. Louis Scottish Games for many years. Liz is married to Pete and together they have 14-year-old boy/girl twins. She is of Scottish decent on her father's side.
Anna is a native Scot who grew up in Inverness in the Highlands of Scotland but now resides with her American husband in St. Louis. Before she was a Friday, her maiden’s name was Watson. Clan Watson’s motto is: Inspirata Floruit (It has flourished beyond expectation). Anna enjoys traveling and travels back to Scotland at least once a year to see family. She’s also enjoyed getting to explore the sights of St. Louis and the USA. Additionally, Anna likes gardening and cooking. She has a sweet tooth and loves the Scottish favorite Tablet!
Chris has been a member of the Society since 1998 shortly after his very first trip to Scotland. Chris is 2nd generation US born and celebrates his Scottish Heritage as his paternal grandfather was born in Paisley, Scotland. Chris has been an active member of the greater Scottish Community in St. Louis since.
Chris worked with many members as the Society began investigating the feasibility of a Scottish Games and served on the Games Committee as Membership and Volunteer Chair for 10 years. Simultaneously, Chris helped organize Scottish Partnership for Arts and Education (SPAE), founded by Diane McCullough. He served as Recording Secretary for the next 5 years.
Chris was also elected as Vice President of the Scottish St. Andrew Society under newly elected Chris Brennan in or about 2004. Mr. Brennan decided to take sabbatical, and travel the world. Chris filled Mr. Brennan’s term and was elected President for an additional two years. Chris remained an active member on the Board for a few more years as Immediate Past President under David Brown. Chris stepped away from the Board and in 2015, he was asked to assume the role as President once again and was duly elected. Chris served two consecutive two year terms and in 2019, chose not to run for additional terms and stepped down to enable a change in leadership with Matt Pantaleoni as President. Chris still serves on the Board as Past President when and where as needed.
Laurie has been a member of SAS since 1988, the same year she joined Invera’an Pipes and Drums, now known as St. Louis Caledonian Pipe Band. She began as a tenor drummer but within a few years, became a piper as well as the Business Manager for SLCPB. Laurie enjoys working as a liaison between SSAS and the pipe band, and helping coordinate the band’s annual performance at the Robert Burns’ Supper. Laurie has been retired since 2016 after a career in educational administration including the Director of Admission at The Wilson School in Clayton, and the former Director of Continuing Education at Saint Louis University. Laurie holds a BS from Missouri State University and an MA from Washington University. Laurie has been serving on the SSAS Board since 2017.
I was born and raised in St Louis though I now live in Southern Illinois. I have 3 kids, 8 grandkids and 4 great grandkids. I worked in hospitals running the life support equipment for many years before getting into construction. I am a retired union ironworker out of St Louis Local 396, of which I've been a member for 35 years. Some of the jobs I worked on were the Thomas F Eagleton Courthouse downtown, and the Clark bridge at Alton. I'm sure you've all been to what was the Cardinals football stadium, and Chaifetz Arena.
When I retired I took up genealogy and I do it for myself and others. I help people join heritage societies. I belong to DAR, UDC, Daughters of the War of 1812, Colonial Society of Daughters of Indian wars, which I belong to because I have Cherokee heritage form 1780. I'm working on joining other societies. This is what led me to SASS. I've been a member for some time now. I found a picture of myself and my son representing Clan Cunningham in 2005. I've always worked at the games whenever I could. for the last couple of years I've been a member at large.
Holly Sinclair has Scottish ancestry on her father’s side, and she has enjoyed attending the St. Louis Robert Burns and St. Andrew dinners as well as Highland Games in St. Louis, Kansas City, and Springfield, IL. Born in Austin, Holly has called Kansas City, Tulsa, and Phoenix home. As a student, she studied in Vienna, Austria and Sunderland, England--experiences that sparked her love of traveling. She’s traveled in Scotland, Europe and South America, and she looks forward to visiting again the East Lothian area of Scotland, where her branch of the Sinclair family originated.
With degrees in English and creative writing, Holly has always loved learning about literature, history, and the arts. She is an educator, who has taught young people, grade 6 to college level. Holly moved to St. Louis in 2012, where she taught at Maryville University and Lift for Life Academy before beginning her career as a copywriter. She currently writes marketing copy for Atomicdust, a St. Louis design agency, and poems and essays for fun. Holly lives near South City with her partner, Chad, and three beloved pups: Tippi, Murdoch, and Beau.