Longtime Auth Village resident Mary Mitchell dies at 93
Mary Rose (Van Engelen) Mitchell was born on a dairy farm in Faribault, Minn., on Sept. 4, 1923. Although she enjoyed her upbringing on the farm, she always complained about milking cows in the cold Minnesota mornings. Mary’s father had immigrated from the Netherlands, and Mary cherished her Dutch heritage. She was close to her cousins in Holland and visited them often.
She graduated from Bethlehem Academy, a Catholic school near her hometown. Then, in a spirit of adventure and patriotism, she embarked on a life-changing adventure, boarding a train to faraway Washington, D.C., during World War II. With her nimble fingers and flare for grammar, she landed positions in civil service and on Capitol Hill.
While dancing the jitterbug one night in a church hall, she was spotted by the love of her life, a dashing, dark-haired clarinet player, Russell Anthony Mitchell. The two were married for 68 years, parted only by his death in 2013.
Mary and Russ moved to Auth Village, where they raised two children, Barbara and Russell, and became active at St. Philip’s Church where Mary was Prefect of the Sodality in 1963-64. She loved to cook, and was noted for her pumpkin bars (memorialized in St. Philip’s Golden Anniversary Cookbook, page 14).
In 1960 she went back to work at Andrews Air Force Base and was known as “Mother Maintenance,” keeping the planes running on time. After she retired again, she worked to perfect her bridge game.
In 2014 she moved from her longtime home on Delta Lane to Spring Village in California, Md. After a blessedly brief bout of pneumonia, Mary rejoined Russ to dance in the afterlife on Oct. 2.
Mary was predeceased by her husband, two sisters and a brother. Survivors include her daughter Barbara Ann Mitchell; son and daughter-in-law, Russell James and Cindy Mitchell; and many beloved nieces and nephews. Mass of Christian Burial was at St. Philip’s, with burial at Resurrection Cemetery.
Thank you to Mary’s daughter Barbara for her loving contribution to this obituary.
Oct. 27-Nov. 3: Early Voting. In our area, the closest place is the Suitland Community Park School on Regency Lane. Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Voting is for U. S. President; U.S. Sena- tor; District 4 Representative in Congress; several Court judges; Board of Education, District 7; and several ballot questions.
Oct. 29: Halloweenie Roast Campfire at Clearwater Nature Center at Cosca Regional Park in Clinton. Join a naturalist for a non-scary, Halloween event, for ages 2 and up. See live animals and do a craft. Marshmallows, hotdogs and roasting sticks will be available. Costumes are not required. Hours: noon to 3 p.m. Fee, $5.
Oct 29: Morningside is hosting its first Trunk or Treat. On that night they’ll hold a costume contest, bake sale, and Trunk or Treat from cars. Cars will also be judged for best (spookiest?). This event is meant to provide a safer Halloween experience for children. For information, contact Councilmember Blade, 240-464-4272, or Councilmember Fowler, 240-354-5953.
I’ve just received word that Mary Taylor, one of the Nichols family of Morningside, died Oct. 8. I’ll pay tribute to her in next week’s column.
Kevin Kelly is the 2016-17 president of the Surratt Society. Other officers are: Louise Oertly, vice president; Sue Perrotta, secretary; and Tom Buckingham, treasurer.
Ligia Rojas is the 2016-17 prefect of St. Philip’s Sodality. Other officers: Carolyn Hayes, vice-president; Lorraine Wright, secretary; and Karin Yeatman, treasurer.
Another federal agency may be moving to Prince George’s. The General Services Administration is considering a site near the Branch Avenue Metro station for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service.
The Surratt House plans to begin preservation work within the year, and to demolish the vacant building next door — it has been donated to the house, making for a clear view of the museum from the busy intersection at Brandywine and Piscataway roads.
May they rest in peace
Herbert M. O’Neill, 88, who lived on the same street in Forestville for more than 60 years, died Sept. 16. He was a S.E. Washington native before moving to Forestville. His wife Margaret, sons Michael and Patrick and daughter Jeanne preceded him in death. Survivors include his daughter Kathleen O’Neill Burgess, five grandchildren and his brother Eugene. Services were at Lee’s with burial at Resurrection Cemetery
William O. Taylor Jr., 75, longtime resident of Suitland, died Oct. 1 in Shady Side. He was born in Washington to Mary and William O. Taylor Sr., and was married to Billie C. Taylor who died in 2009. He served in the U. S. Army and was employed for 40 years with Solon Automated Services. His memberships included: the Moose, B.P.O.E., American Legion and the Fleet Reserve. Survivors include son Ronnie Taylor, daughter Dawn Mahar, six grandchildren and siblings Joseph and Robert Taylor, Joan Gearheart and Rosemary Gearhart. He was preceded in death by brothers Frank and James Taylor and a sister Jean Sinclair.
Happy birthday to Clyde Miller, Catherine Alvis, Jody Nyers and Christina Ramsey Eckloff, Oct. 22; Mary Flood Dawes, Oct. 23; Daniel John Fitzgerald and Anna Norris, Oct. 24; My granddaughter Kathryn Shearer and Donna Anderson, Oct. 25; Orva Heissenbuttel, Juanita Starke and Christopher Flaherty, Oct. 27.
Happy 50th anniversary to Masonic Centennial Lodge No. 174 in Upper Marlboro.