REPRESENTING: Cape May Retirement Village in Wilmington (resident)
HOMETOWN: Wilmington, Ohio – but I’ve lived all over, including both Warren and Athens, Ohio; Aruba, Netherlands Antilles; and Naples, Florida for 29 years.
EDUCATION: I graduated from Wilmington High School, where I was class Valedictorian. I then attended Denison University, and that’s where I was initiated into the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority. I earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at Ohio University, where I was elected to three national honor societies: Phi Beta Kappa, which is a liberal arts honor society; Phi Kappa Phi, excellence in all disciplines; and Phi Sigma Iota, a French honorary society. I also earned a Master of Arts degree in French Literature from Ohio University (OU), which included study at the Université de Reims in France. I spent a summer there learning from French professors, and I got a course in French civilization, which was quite interesting! At a later period, I continued graduate work at OU in comparative literature. Although I was unable to complete my doctorate, I did complete the course work and would be called, in academic circles, ABD or “All But Dissertation.” While living in Florida, I received the GRI designation in real estate from the Florida Realtor Institute – so that’s a little different from the rest of my education!
CAREER: In my early adult life, when I lived in many different places and moved around rather frequently, I worked in various business offices as a private secretary or doing general office work. Some of these businesses included a furnace manufacturing company, a non-academic personnel office at OU, an insurance agency, a plumbing supply manufacturing office, and a temporary clerk/steno Civil Service position in a U.S. Navy installation when I lived in Aruba!
After completing my MA at Ohio University, I taught French and French Literature in Translation, which was a humanities course, for four years at OU’s Zanesville campus. After that, I moved to Naples, Florida, and was fortunate to get a teaching job in the Collier County Public Schools, where I taught high school, middle school and adult education, including French, English and English as a Second Language. About this time, my career activities were interrupted when I began traveling back and forth to Ohio to assist my parents with their business and personal care. For about a year, I worked with some women friends who owned a craft shop in Naples called “Helen’s Hang-Ups.” So I did retail sales for the first time in my life, selling macramé and ceramics, and I also taught macramé! After that period, I got a Florida Real Estate Salesperson license and had my license with three different real estate brokerages, primarily Downing-Frye Realty, an old, family-owned brokerage in Naples. Another job I had while living in Naples was administrative assistant to Dr. Douglas Powell of Harvard University Health Services. He had a research operation called Powell Associates, and I was involved in a three-year research project where I did telephone work from home.
AFFILIATIONS: While living in Naples, I was a member of the National Association of Realtors; the American Association of University Women (AAUW); the Greater Naples Alumnae Panhellenic, of which I was president for two years; and the Naples-Marco Kappa Alpha Theta Alumnae Club, where I served as treasurer for two years. I became a member of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), and in Naples I was in the Big Cyprus Chapter. I continued that membership when I moved back to Wilmington, and am now a member of the George Clinton Chapter.
Another group I was invited into during my time in Naples was the Fellows of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. Meetings were held twice a year, usually in New York City. I was able to attend quite a few of those meetings, which were held at such places as New York University in Greenwich Village, private venues like the Union League Club and the Harvard Club of New York City, and the New York City Public Library. I’ve also been published in Who’s Who of American Women since 1993, and Who’s Who in America since 1996.
Another major interest during my time in Naples was the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A). For 10 years, I was a member at the Moorings Presbyterian Church in Naples, and it was there that I was ordained an elder in 1985. I later transferred to Vanderbilt Presbyterian Church, also in Naples, where I was a member for 10 years and served on the session as an elder. During that 20-year period, I attended at least a dozen conferences at the Montreat, North Carolina Presbyterian conference center. In 1998, I was elder commissioner to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) from the Peace River Presbytery, which included Naples.
HOBBIES/INTERESTS: The main passion of my life, in the middle years, I would say was travel. I’ve traveled extensively in Europe, Canada and the Caribbean, as well as the United States. I’ve cruised down the Danube River on a Romanian ship; I journeyed from Aruba to Copenhagen on a Swedish tanker; I spent many summers in the South of France; and I once took a Norwegian freighter from Curacao through the Panama Canal to San Diego.
As far as another passion, I’ve always liked any type of interest group with interactive discussion. For a number of years while living in Naples, I hosted a French conversation group in my home. It was for people in the community who spoke French and just wanted to keep up their speaking skills. There were so many interesting people, for example, an archeologist, a woman from Norway who had studied French in Switzerland, and a woman from South Africa. It was somewhat informal; we simply chose topics for discussion and spoke French!
Currently, in Wilmington, I’m a member of the Presbyterian Church of Wilmington, where six years ago I founded a Ruth Circle for senior women. It’s a fellowship and we are really good friends. The central part of our circle meetings is the Presbyterian Women’s Bible study.
OPRS FOUNDATION: My involvement with the OPRS Foundation just evolved! I had been the Cape May resident representative for OPRS for four years, and I was Chair the last two years. I was also Chair of the Cape May Philanthropy Committee, which took me to the Campus Fundraising Council. [OPRS Foundation President] Tom Hofmann asked me to chair this council – the first resident ever to serve as Chair – and that automatically put me on the Foundation Board. What has really inspired me, however, was that during the time I served as resident representative, I fell in love with OPRS. Everyone exudes such professionalism and caring.
As a resident, I’ve seen firsthand how charitable giving can enhance the quality of life of those served by OPRS. I greatly enjoy serving on the OPRS Foundation Board, representing not only donors, but also the thousands of residents and clients around the state who benefit from donor support.