Dr. Willett



Providence Foundation is proud to have Dr. Robert E. Willett, Jr. as the Festival of Flowers Honorary Chair for 2020.  Dr. Willett, a recently retired Surgeon at Providence, began his practice in 1981 and moved to the Providence’s current location upon its opening in 1987.  Over the last 40 years, he developed a special interest in breast cancer treatment observing and participating in dramatic surgical improvements in care throughout his well-respected career. Dr. Willett retired January 1, 2020.

Dr. Willett met his wife Kim while she was a social worker at Providence’s downtown hospital location.  They have supported the Festival since the initial Gala at Spring Hill College.  Dr. Willett and Mrs. Willett both feel strongly about supporting organizations that assist in providing health care to those who are poor and vulnerable.

Dr. and Mrs. Willett have 3 children that were raised on Dog River.  Both of their daughters were married in their outdoor garden setting and their family have loved gardening and made it a tradition.  Hence, Festival of Flowers became a passion of theirs as well.

Dr. Willett believed throughout his career that good surgical results required good teamwork and he enjoyed working with the physicians and staff at Providence to make great care happen.  As part of helping to continue to build the team, Dr. Willett worked to recruit Breast Fellowship Trained Surgeon,  Dr. Lindsey Beakley, and together they formed the Breast Oncology Service at Providence in 2018.  Providence Hospital Board and Providence Foundation Board wish Dr. Willett well in his retirement and thank him for his ongoing support of Providence and our patients in need.

Dale's photo



The Providence Hospital Foundation is pleased to announce the collaboration with Lead Designer Kenneth Dale Speetjens for its 27th Annual Festival of Flowers Garden Show. Dale began his career by serving in the United States Armed Forces. During his time with the military, Dale was deployed to Iraq where he served with honor. After leaving the military, he began his studies at Auburn University where he graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Environmental Design and a Masters in both Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning while working as a Graduate Research Assistant. After graduation, Dale joined Mobile’s Bloomberg Innovation Team where his work focused on the Blight Index, a project in which Mobile has received international attention for in several publications including: Fast Company and Strongtowns.

After nearly two years with the Innovation Team, Dale taught alongside an international team of architects, landscape architects, urban designers, and planners at the Galapagos International Architecture Studio in the Galapagos Islands. His class spent five weeks developing a path for the islands to become more sustainable. Upon his return to the United States Dale joined the Auburn University’s College of Architecture, Design, and Construction as a visiting Professor.

Dale is the Co-Founder and CEO of Shipshape Urban Farms, an agritech company focused on the design, manufacturing, and operation of hydroponic farms built inside up-cycled shipping containers. The technology developed by Dale and the Shipshape team require 90% less water and energy versus conventional farming.

Dale is sure to bring excitement and fresh ideas to this year’s Festival of Flowers Event!

Mary Elizabeth Kimbrough



Mary Elizabeth Kimbrough is a native Alabamian currently living and working in Mobile. A graduate of Auburn University and the University of Illinois, Kimbrough has done post graduate work at Penland School of North Carolina, Loyola University, The Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts, and Brown University. Known throughout the southeast for her colorful ceramics and two-dimensional work, Kimbrough has work in many public and private collections in the United States, Japan, Bahrain, and Cyprus.

Her interests lie in using texture, gesture, and color in an open, spontaneous way. Subject matter comes from all aspects of Kimbrough’s life, from the flora and fauna of Alabama, to her love of pattern and decoration. Currently represented by Sophiella Gallery right here in Mobile, her images have also been used in commercial illustrations, advertising campaigns, and by licensed manufacturers. Kimbrough has had numerous one person shows, been included in many group and invitational shows, and is known for her public art talks.

Kimbrough has won many awards for her work over her long career. A full-time instructor at Bishop State Community College, Kimbrough has also had a long teaching career, one that has informed her studio practice profoundly. Currently, she is working on a series of two-dimensional palm images, which may morph into three dimensional pieces. These works come from her great love for the landscape of the Gulf Coast and the beauty of the region. Kimbrough will be a participant in “The Throw-Down,” a competition held by the Arts Council in Mobile, and will be having a solo show at Sophiella in November as well as work included in a group show at Hall-Barnett in New Orleans this fall.

To see her work, visit Mary Elizabeth Kimbrough Visual Artist on Facebook, Chatmek on Instagram, or at her website, Kimbrough may also be reached at, or 251-300-9401.