Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
E-mail this article
Print this Article

As Patuxent River Naval Air Station sprang up during the 1940s, amid World War II and its aftermath, some of the people who served in that conflict had the foresight to envision and encourage the arrival of the surrounding “boomtown” of Lexington Park, and to nurture other areas of southern St. Mary’s County.

Robert Francis “Gabe” Gabrelcik, a native of Minnesota who was trained as a pilot and hunted German submarines, died last week at the age of 90, and he was remembered this week for his contributions to the county’s progress after the war.

“He was one of the founding fathers of Lexington Park,” Tom Daugherty said this week.

The group of World War II veterans that championed economic opportunity in the fledgling community started their own businesses, including Gabrelcik’s Patuxent Motors automobile dealership and his development of commercial office properties along Great Mills Road and in other locations in the county. But the “greatest thing they ever did” for the area, by Daugherty’s account, was teaming up to start Maryland Bank & Trust in 1959. Jack Daugherty, Tom Daugherty’s father, was the president of the bank, and Gabrelcik was the chairman of the board.

“It was the first new bank charter in St. Mary’s County in 75 years,” according to Tom Daugherty, now a member of the board of directors of Old Line Bank, which merged with MB&T last year. “They helped a lot of people build houses,” he said, “and a lot of businesses get started.”

Daugherty said of Gabrelcik, “He was a real mover and shaker in Lexington Park.”

Auction set for Saturday at Thompson’s Corner

An auction of the carpentry equipment, bee hives, hive equipment and bees owned by Simeon Stoltzfus, who died in August, will be held at 9 a.m. this Saturday, Oct. 6, at his family’s home on Benjamin’s Place, off North Ryceville Road near Thompson’s Corner.

Enter fitness photos contest

A fitness photos contest that began this week and will continue until Nov. 15, through Fit & Healthy St. Mary’s, invites county residents to “Show Us Your Moves,” through images of themselves, family and friends partaking in healthy activities. For complete rules and an entry form, go online to

Photos will be judged on their ability to inspire others to incorporate fitness into their lives. Led by MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital’s Health Connections, Fit & Healthy St. Mary’s members are community partners who are working together to develop comprehensive strategies that promote healthy eating, increased physical activity and health education.

Hollywood VFD to host Sunday open house

The members of the Hollywood Volunteer Fire Department and its ladies auxiliary will hold an open house from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. this Sunday, Oct. 7, at the firehouse, in conjunction with National Fire Prevention Week.

This year’s theme for Fire Prevention Week is “Have 2 Ways Out.” The open house will include touring firefighting vehicles, learning how to use a 911 simulator, watching a Ridge volunteer firefighters’ smoke trailer demonstration, playing on a moonbounce, navigating a junior firefighter obstacle course and a visit from Sparky.There also will be a free children’s bicycle raffle. For more information, call Mike Sullivan at 301-373-2900 or go online to

Play bingo Oct. 11 in Mechanicsville

A basket bingo event next Thursday, Oct. 11, to benefit the Mechanicsville Volunteer Rescue Squad will be held at the Mechanicsville firehouse, with doors opening at 5:30 p.m. and the games beginning at 7 p.m. for the prizes. The group leader with the most reservations will win a spring basket set. For reservations, call Joyce Downs at 301-884-8829 or 301-481-0906.

Summerseat seeks ghost walk help

Summerseat Farm near Mechanicsville is “ghoul-ing up” for its annual Ghost Walk, and is looking for actors, extras, makeup artists and set designers. Anyone interested in participating can call Jimmy and Teri Dicus at 301-373-2069, or send email to

Play bingo for bags Oct. 12 in Great Mills

A Vera Bradley items bingo will be held at 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 12, at Little Flower School at 20410 Point Lookout Road in Great Mills. Game prizes will include totes, duffels and purses. Dinner and snack items will be available for purchase. For more information and to reserve tables, call 301-994-0404 or send email to

Chaptico church to host Oct. 13 Fall Faire

Christ Church’s Fall Faire will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 13, at the parish hall located at 37497 Zach Fowler Road, off Route 234 in the village of Chaptico. The church is offering carryout oyster and ham dinners, oyster po’ boys, fried oyster cups and hot dogs from the Christ Church Café. Casual seating will be available on the parish hall grounds.

Visitors can tap their feet to the music of the Folk Salad Trio, Harmony Grit, and the Bushmill Band. There will be seasonal gifts in the parish market, flea market finds in the trunks and treasures store, and activities for children including a moonbounce and face painting. Vendors and crafters are welcome.

For more information, contact Sheila Hiebert by sending email to or calling 301-520-4072, go online to or call the church office at 301-884-3451.

Ridge food fundraiser set for Oct. 13

The Ridge Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary will hold its monthly Schwan’s Truckload Fundraiser from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 13, at the firehouse located at 13820 Point Lookout Road in Ridge. To guarantee the availability of the items, pre-orders may be made online at, using Event ID 39903, Ridge VFD Auxiliary, Ridge, MD 20680. Catalogs may be requested via the website. For more information, call 301-872-5671.

In addition, the auxiliary is looking for vendors and crafters to rent tables to display their wares at a craft and vendor fair and yard sale to be held from 8 a.m. until noon on that same date at the firehouse. Yard sale spaces will be available outside the firehouse for a rental fee. Outdoor sellers will need to provide their own tables and covers if desired.

To reserve a space, send email to and include a name, phone number, the types of items to be sold and a preference for an indoor or outdoor table. Or call 301-872-5671 and leave a message with the same information.

Get free trees at Oct. 13 RiverFest

The St. Mary’s Arboretum Association, in collaboration with the Chaney Foundation, will distribute free native tree seedlings on Saturday, Oct.13, at RiverFest, an activity-filled event that day at Historic St. Mary’s City that encourages appreciation and good stewardship of local waterways.

There will be 25 free seedlings available on a first-come, first-served basis, along with information about how to plant the native plants in Southern Maryland.

Tractors, golf carts to parade Oct. 14 in town

Antique tractors and golf carts will parade in Leonardtown on Sunday, Oct. 14.

The third annual antique tractor parade sponsored by the Southern Maryland Antique Power Association will begin at 1 p.m. on the square in town to benefit Christmas in April. A Cart Cruz in town from 1 to 5 p.m. for a second year will benefit the Leonardtown Volunteer Fire Department. Trophies will be awarded and an oyster scald held at the firehouse. For more information, call 301-475-5966 or send email to

Quarter auction set for Oct. 14

The Mechanicsville Volunteer Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary is sponsoring a Quarter Throw Down Auction at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 14, at the firehouse.

More than 70 prizes will be awarded from vendors such as Tastefully Simple, Scentsy, Mary Kay, Miche Bags and Thirty One. For more information and to make reservations, call 410-47-2958 or 301-884-5680.

Culture commission to meet Oct. 18 at St. Mary’s City

The Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture will hold a public meeting at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 18, at the Brome Howard Inn at 18281 Rosecroft Road in St. Mary’s City, hosted by the Historic St. Mary’s City Commission. Reservations are encouraged, but not required. For more information, call 410-216-6181 or send email to

Learn erosion control on Oct. 18

The St. Mary’s Soil Conservation District will sponsor the Responsible Personnel Certification for Erosion and Sediment Control “Green Card” Class at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 18, at the St. Mary’s Agricultural Service Center Conference Room, at Suite C 26737 Radio Station Way in Leonardtown.

State law requires that any responsible personnel involved in grading or other soil-disturbing activities be knowledgeable about erosion and sediment control principles, specifications and implementation, and that they have a certificate of attendance at a Maryland Department of the Environment approved training program. For more information, call 301-475-8402, ext. 3, by Oct. 15 or send email to

Ghost tours begin Oct. 19 at Sotterley

This year’s Ghost of Sotterley tours, titled “1918: Influenza, War, and Restless Spirits,” will take place on Oct. 19, 20, 25, 26 and 27 at the historic plantation in Hollywood.

The tours will begin each day at 7 p.m. and another one will start every 10 minutes. Advance reservations will be required for attending this year’s production, which will take guests back in time to the year 1918. The story line reveals that while restoring Sotterley Plantation to its former glory, owner Herbert Satterlee disturbs more than the bricks and mortar, as the country is in the midst of a flu pandemic and the remains of the Great War. Visitors should prepare to encounter both the earthly inhabitants of the time, and those not of this earth, during the outdoor walking tour.

Dawna Diaz, who has been actively involved in all aspects of the Ghosts of Sotterley for the past 10 years, has returned as director, producer and makeup artist for this year’s production, after recently directing Sotterley’s War of 1812 living history events. James LePore returns as the playwright and assistant director of the Ghosts of Sotterley for the fourth year.

Tickets may be purchased online at Group rates are available by calling 301-373-2280.

Yard sale set for Oct. 20

The Mechanicsville Volunteer Rescue Squad will hold a yard sale from 7 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Oct. 20, at the rescue squad building in Mechanicsville. Tables can be rented for $10 each. To donate items for the sale, call 240-298-0216.

Sheriff to host Oct. 20 open house

The St. Mary’s sheriff’s office, currently celebrating 375 years of service, will hold its annual open house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 20, at its headquarters in Leonardtown. Displays, demonstrations and activities will include a Ridge fire safety trailer, DWI simulator, child safety seat installation checks, a National Guard obstacle course, state fire marshal’s explosives robot, child identification kits, facepainting, a police dog demonstration, Taser demonstration, internet safety, Jeopardy game, emergency services team demonstration, mock police pursuit and an adult detention center tour.

Bingo planned for Oct. 20

The Mechanicsville Volunteer Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary is sponsoring a Super Basket Bingo starting at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 20, at the firehouse. A raffle will benefit Mother Catherine Spalding School. Make reservations by calling 301-884-5680, and be entered in the drawing for a haunted house basket.

Enjoy comedy mystery on Nov. 2 and 3

Mt. Zion United Methodist Church at Route 235 in Laurel Grove near Mechanicsville will present a comedy mystery dinner theater, “The Ultimate Server” by Nancy Bond, at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 2, and Saturday, Nov. 3, with a menu featuring pulled pork and barbecued chicken. For reservations, call 301-655-0522. Proceeds will be donated to the Hungry Team in memory of Johnnie Mae Sawyer, “The Ultimate Server.” There will also be a silent auction.

Speaker series ends Nov. 2 at Sotterley

Michael W. Kauffman will speak on the topic of “American Brutus: John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln Conspiracies” at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 2, in the barn at Sotterley Plantation in Hollywood, to discuss the layers of myth, folklore, and disinformation surrounding the assassination in 1865 of President Abraham Lincoln.

Kauffman’s book on the subject was the basis of “The Hunt for John Wilkes Booth,” a two-hour documentary on the History Channel. Kauffman, the guide for Booth Escape Route bus tours, he is also a frequent contributor to television and radio documentaries. When the Baltimore Circuit Court heard a lawsuit to force the exhumation of Booth’s remains, he was called as an expert witness. And when the remains of another conspirator were discovered in 1993, it was Kauffman who helped the FBI laboratory identify them. In a more recent book, “Footsteps of an Assassin,” Kauffman takes readers over the 100-mile route of Booth’s escape from Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C., to the Garrett Farm in Virginia.

This event is free to the public, but advance reservations are required due to limited seating. Call 301-373-2280 during regular business hours to make a reservation.

Benefit basket bingo set for Nov. 4

The Charlotte Hall Rotary Club will host its 13th annual Super Holiday Basket Bingo to benefit Stephen’s Fund on Sunday, Nov. 4, at the Mechanicsville firehouse. Proceeds will benefit special needs children and their families. Doors will open at 12:30 p.m., and bingo will start at 1:45 p.m. To reserve a table for six or more people, or to be included in a prize drawing, call 240-298-3885 or 301-904-0642, or send email to

Hear stories Nov. 9 at Sotterley

Sotterley Plantation in Hollywood will present its “Legends & Lore” program at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 9, with stories from three centuries of people living on the site. Advance reservations are required. Purchase tickets online at

Help with veterans’ and rescuers’ college tuition

The College of Southern Maryland’s Heroes Scholarship Campaign will continue through Nov. 11 to raise funds to support students studying to become first responders, specifically in emergency medical services, criminal justice, fire science technology or homeland security programs, or students using veteran benefits as part of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Yellow Ribbon Program. For information on the CSM Heroes Campaign, contact Martina Arnold at 301-934-7649 or, or go online to For information on CSM services available to student veterans, go online to