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Hello, everyone!

Our local community was deeply saddened to learn of the loss of a lovely woman and fine educator, Harriett Ann Swales Forrest, 96, of Leonardtown. Thanks to the good care of her loving children and other family members, she lived a long life.

Born June 20, 1915, in Leonardtown, Mrs. Forrest was the daughter of the late Frank and Jane Frances McWilliams Swales. She lived her entire life in St. Mary’s County and was preceded in death by 18 brothers and sisters.

In 1935, she married the love of her life, James A. Forrest Sr., at St. Aloysius Gonzaga Catholic Church in Leonardtown, and together they had five children. During their 73 years of marriage, they both had a passion for education and were very involved in the St. Mary’s County public school system. Mrs. Forrest instilled the importance of education into her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and many of them achieved various levels of higher educational degrees, including bachelor’s, master’s, theological degrees and doctorates.

Mrs. Forrest was a member of the Gray Ladies (under the auspices of the American Red Cross), as well as a member of the Red Hat Society. In addition, she volunteered with Helping Hands and contributed to the St. Vincent DePaul Society. In addition, she and her husband supported youth activities at their home and various youth programs around our county, including 4-H Club and the county’s department of recreation and parks.

Mrs. Forrest was a faithful servant of the Lord and when she became confined to her home, she watched Mass every day on the Eternal Word Television Network. Rarely found without her rosary, she passed away with it and scapular held tightly in her hands.

She was preceded in death by her husband and by their son, James A. Forrest Jr. My brother, Charles, and I had the great pleasure of knowing Dr. and Mrs. Forrest and their family for many years, and they loved all people regardless of color or creed. As a result, they were loved and respected by many and will be greatly missed.

Our deepest sympathy is extended to their children, George (Chiquita), Lewis (Eudora), Barbara (Nace) and Francis/Bert (Margaret). Sympathy is also extended to their nine grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; her two sisters-in-law; a host of nieces and nephews; extended family members and many close friends.

It is very heartwarming to see how so many members of her loving family members came and helped to care for her during her times of illness. May God bless you richly for your selfless service.

The family has requested that memorial contributions be made in her name to the Hospice of St. Mary’s, P.O. Box 625, Leonardtown, MD 20650.

The Ninth Annual Southern Maryland Prayer Breakfast in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will be held on Jan. 21 in the J. Frank Raley Great Room in the Campus Center of St. Mary’s College of Maryland, located at 18952 E. Fisher Road in St. Mary’s City. A full breakfast will be served at 6 a.m., and the program will begin at 8 a.m. The breakfast will cost $8.75; however, the program is free to the public. This event is being sponsored by St. Mary’s College of Maryland, the St. Mary’s County Human Relations Commission and St. Mary’s County public schools. For more information, contact Keisha Reynolds at

My brother, Charles, and my husband, Don, join me in wishing a very happy birthday today, Jan. 16, to Susan Howe of Leonardtown. Susan, we hope you have a wonderful day of celebration.

Friends, don’t forget to stop by the MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital gift shop and check out the wonderful selection of gift items. Sale items include the anniversary calendar, jewelry, Valentine’s Day items and Easter merchandise.

The Hollywood Volunteer Rescue Squad is raffling tickets for a cruise to Bermuda for six nights for two, which departs from Baltimore on Sept. 27 and returns on Oct. 3. A limit of 400 tickets will be sold for $20 each to sail on the cruise ship Grandeur of the Sea. The winner will receive an inside cabin, which can be upgraded at his or her expense; round trip motor-coach transportation from St. Mary’s County to Baltimore; and port charges, taxes and prepaid gratuities. A valid passport is required. The drawing will be held on June 1.

For tickets, call Greg Casoni at 301-373-3535 or Brenda Pruett at 240-298-5019.

The Camp Maria Retreat Center will hold a benefit yard sale on Feb. 16 at 41290 Camp Maria Road in Leonardtown in the Breton Beach section of town. Your support is appreciated and donations are being accepted until Feb. 1.

For additional information and directions, call Theresa at 301-475-8330.

Send signed news to Audrey Ridgell, P.O. Box 457, Leonardtown, MD 20650.