“These 23 years have been the most gratifying and joyful time of my life,” Dr. Marco Clark wrote in his farewell letter to the Bishop McNamara family and friends. He is moving on to the role of Executive Director of the Holy Cross Institute at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas.

During his tenure as President and CEO, he encouraged tremendous development at Bishop McNamara High School, in Forestville, but his greatest vision has been for the La Reine Science and Innovation Center, which had its groundbreaking in December.

“The center will be a hub for technology, collaboration and discovery by offering new academic programs in science, technology, cybersecurity, engineering, entrepreneurship and multimedia,” according to the Mustang Messenger. “By providing students with next generation, hands-on learning experiences, Bishop McNamara hopes to develop the innovators of tomorrow.

“The Center will offer seven classrooms, five of them as customary science labs, featuring two chemistry, two physics and a health science lab. The state-of-the-art innovation lab will be the centerpiece of the building, complete with industry leading hardware such as 3D printers, vinyl cutters, drill presses and computer components that can make a machine run and affect its performance.”

The doors of the Center are due to open in 2021.

The Center honors the legacy of La Reine High School, an all-girls’ school in Suitland (now Drew-Freeman Middle School), which closed in 1992 due to low enrollment. Bishop McNamara, then an all-boys’ school, went co-ed. All seven of my children attended either La Reine or McNamara.

For President Marco Clark, “This is just the culmination of a dream.”

Neighbors & other special people

Upper Marlboro Commissioner and former mayor Wanda Leonard died suddenly June 30 at the age of 58. Among her many honors, she was an honorary member of the Marlboro Volunteer Fire Department.

Morningsiders will be going to the polls on Monday, July 27. Hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Candidates for two Town Council Seats are John Anthony, Sheila Scott, Dave Williams and incumbent Sharon Fowler.

Remembering Malcolm Grow Hospital

The building I’ve known for years as Malcolm Grow Hospital at Andrews is being demolished.

It was named for Maj. Gen. (Dr.) Malcolm Grow in 1962, a man who served as a field doctor in both world wars and was selected the first Air Force Surgeon General in 1949. He was active in military medicine until his death in 1960.

The hospital was originally named the USAF Hospital Andrews, built at the cost of $5.5 million. Construction began in June 1955 and was completed in May 1958.

Today the hospital is mostly rubble. I don’t know what will replace it. Medical care is offered to military families in the new sprawling Malcolm Grow Medical Clinics and Surgery Center.

By the way, on the Net, I came across a letter from “Joel.” He was seeking a photo of the old hospital where he was born in 1965. He wrote he was “born in the hallway of the ER on his way to labor and delivery.”

Morningside Memories: the Sub-Teen-Club

In 1996 Tillie Seaman, of Suitland Road (later, Skyline Terrace), had a dream: a reunion of Sub-Teen members. They had been kids, ages 10 to 14, who joined in 1958 -1967 so they could attend well-chaperoned dances. Tillie’s daughter Janice D. Graves sent letters to those listed on the original membership cards.

Wayne Neale and Donna Bookhultz Bivens helped with the planning. Notices were posted in several County papers and the Penny Saver, and four radio stations.

They sold 158 tickets and had 12 guests. It was a huge success! Everyone enjoyed talking and dancing — the Stroll, Hokey-Pokey, Conga, Twist and the Limbo. Plaques were presented to the founders, Tillie Seaman, Charlie McKeown and Versie Carson (accepted by her son Marshall Carson).

After cost, $500 proceeds were donated to the Morningside Recreation Council, for the children of Morningside.

Margie Sproesser, born Election Day 1932

Marjorie Maye “Margie” Sproesser, 87, of Clinton, died June 6. She was born Election Day, Nov. 7, 1932, the day President Franklin Roosevelt was elected.

She was born in Washington, the 5th child of Francis Joseph and Mary Elizabeth Murray, and grew up on the Murray farm in TB until the family moved to The City. She graduated from St. Cecelia’s Academy in 1951. She made lifelong friends there and fell in love with Paul Sproesser. They wed in 1953 and lived in Congress heights until moving to Clinton in 1964.

In 1969 Margie learned to drive and went to work for the Census Bureau as a statistician. Her name was listed as an author in each published statistical manual until her retirement at age 65.

Margie was proud of her Irish roots and traveled to Ireland. She was a member of St. John’s Church in Clinton for 56 years and was a Eucharistic Minister. She was an officer in the Silver Hill Lions Club.

She was predeceased by Paul, her husband who died in 2000, siblings Francis Murray, Mary Frances Mazzullo and Catherine Loretta Reed. She was the mother of Carol, James, Mary Kathryn, Paula, Paul and Kevin (d. 2019); grandmother of 12 and great-gran of six.

Margie was the longest standing member of her TOPS chapter.

Milestones

Happy birthday to Bill Curcio and Dr. Thomas DeGraba, July 25; Jennifer Booth and Florence Cray (her 97th!) on July 26; Floyd Shields, Connie Robbins and Patricia Rosetta, July 27; Matthew Gryskewicz, Kenny Hunt and Jason Nichols, July 28; Gary Barnes, July 29; Helen Rawlett and Helen Cordero, July 30; John Short, Paula Boxley and Howard C. Booth, July 31.