In and Around Morningside-Skyline 
by Mary McHale 301-735-3451


Jack D’Ambrosio, Gang Leader, Decorated Cop and Author, Dies

“I have to announce the passing of probably the most famous past resident of District Heights.  Our ‘Honorary Mayor,’ Jack D'Ambrosio, passed Feb. 21 as a result of his recent fight with cancer.

“Jack was the leader of the infamous Apollo gang of District Heights during his youth and attended Suitland High School.  Later Jack became the most decorated police officer in the history of Brevard County, Florida.

“In retirement, he took to becoming an author.  He wrote of his life growing up in Northeast Washington in his book ‘Family Sins.’

Two other books he authored, ‘Angels with Dirty Faces’ and ‘The Apollos’ were about growing up in District Heights and the escapades of him and his gang members. 

You can take a walk through Jack's life and pay a beautiful tribute to him by purchasing his books, available on”

This Facebook obituary (slightly edited) was written by one of his District Heights/Suitland High friends.  Here’s a little more about him:

Jack Anthony D’Ambrosio was born July 14, 1943 in Washington to the late Anthony D’Ambrosio and Mary Katherine Heflin.  His book “Family Sins,” is loosely based on his family history.

He went on to become a decorated police officer with the Oakland Park Police Department and an investigator for the State of Florida in West Palm Beach.  He received a Presidential Commendation for the Federal D.A.L.E. Drug Enforcement Program and had the highest arrest record for the Drug Enforcement Agency Office in the U.S.

In addition to his parents, Jack was preceded in death by his first wife Myna Hamilton, his brother Michael D’Ambrosio, and his sister June Fernen.

He is survived by his wife, Deborah Abdo-D’Ambrosio; children, Jack D’Ambrosio Jr. and Christine D’Ambrosio; siblings, Albert and Philip D’Ambrosio, Jeanette Pedone and Judy Calloway; five grandchildren and three great-grands.  His funeral was at Ss. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church in Annapolis with burial at Resurrection Cemetery in Clinton.

Jack’s last book was his autobiography,  “Ain’t Life Been Grand,” published in 2011.  As one reviewer said, “Loved it.   All of Mr. D'Ambrosio's books are wonderful. He takes you from roaring laughter and through all your feelings of life.”

Changing Landscape

Following the incident of concrete landing on a car traveling Suitland Road as it passed under the Beltway bridge, Acting Maryland Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn offered his apologies.  He announced that more rehab will be done on that bridge.  Work is expected to take 18 months to two years.

National Harbor continues to get attention:  Conservatives met there Feb. 26 for their annual meeting.

It featured a tribute to President Ronald Reagan. And I imagine some discussion on who’ll run in the next Presidential election.

Dave & Buster’s restaurant is coming to the Ritchie Station Marketplace shop-ping center.

Save A Lot grocery store has opened in the revitalized Forestville Plaza.

Coming up: Lincoln Assassination 150th Anniversary

John Wilkes Booth Escape Route Bus Tours are scheduled for April 11, 18, 25, and May 2.  These are excellent all-day trips—I’ve made the tour three times over the past years.  Contact the Surratt House Museum for availability, at 301-868-1121.  

The Light is On, on Wednesday nights

St. Philip’s and all the other Catholic churches throughout the Archdiocese of Washington have The Light On For You on the Wednesdays of Lent, for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, maybe better known as Confession.  St. Philip’s will open at 6 p.m., other parishes may have different hours.

Vera Met Her Future Husband at the Candy Stand

Elvera Rita “Vera” Dwyer Pope, 94, a longtime resident of Auth Village, died Jan. 28.  She was born in New Orleans, the daughter of William and Viola Dwyer.

She attended school at Ella Dalonde in Metairie, La., where she won awards for spelling and memorization skills.  Because her memory was so sharp she often played the lead role in school plays. But she had to leave school after 9th grade to help her mother take care of her sister Audrey, who was born with spina bifida, and eight other siblings.

While working at her father’s candy stand, she met her future husband, Kermit Eugene Pope.  In 1962 they moved to Maryland and Kermit went into business, building homes with his brother Byron.  Pope Homes became well known in the Camp Springs area.

Vera was an active member of St. Philip’s Church where she was in the Sodality and one of St. Philip’s first women ushers.    

Vera’s husband Kermit preceded her in death.  She is survived by five children, Dr. William Pope, Dr. Pamela Merritt, Kermit Jr., Cynthia Mariast, and Timothy Pope; six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren; and four siblings.  Mass of Christian Burial was at St. Philip’s.

Vera was happiest when she was taking care of her family.  When they visited, she loved to cook her “down home” southern recipes, such as Red Beans & Rice, New Orleans style Gumbo, and Shrimp Stew.


Happy birthday to Roy Derrick, March 6; Anna Buck, Jon McKlveen, Shirley Dodgson and my grandson Richard Shearer, March 9; John F. Latimer, Karl Kaufman Jr., Angelo Meoli, Alberta M. Smith and my son-in-law John Mudd, March 10; Karen Cordero, Blake James Shipman and Father Scott Hahn, March 11; Harold Wilson, Rebecca Turner and Marcy Richardson, March 12.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all you Irish!


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by Audrey Johnson 301 888 2153  



Congratulations to all the students at Baden Elementary School who received Honor Roll Awards for high academic achievement, perfect attendance awards and Principal Awards. The community is very proud of all the students for their achievements.


Happy Birthday to Charlie Canada, Jr., William Farmer, Myrtle Jones, Charles Lewis, Jr., Vanessa Pinkney, Gregory Pinkney, Myrtle Jones , Gill Michelle Pinkney and, Kristen Wilkerson who are celebrating their birthdays in March.


It’s time for a 2015 Extravaganza Sunday Casino Slots Fun to Midway-Harrington Raceway and Casino Slots Harrington, Delaware Sunday, March 15, 2015. Bus leaves Park-N-Ride in Clinton Maryland at 10:30 AM, and St. Philip’s Church at 11:00 AM. The bus returns from the trip at approximately 7:30 PM.

Fun Package includes a $10.00 Slot play rebate with a full buffet meal, Oldies but Goodies 50/50 Raffle. The cost is $40.00. There will be absolutely no refunds. Pay early so you won’t be left out. Purchase your tickets by March 8, 2015. Point of contacts is Ruby E. Hinnant (301) 943-2816, Shirley A. Cleaves (302) 690-4260 and Doretha A. Savoy (301) 233-3136.


New Hope Fellowship Cancer Ministry will be hosting their first Cancer Testimony Service at our Life Center. There will be testimony giving thru dance, song and poem.. This ministry is to inspire those that are battling with this disease and to remember those that lost the battle to Cancer.

There will be light hor’derves served following the service. It’s an absolutely FREE EVENT on March 21, 2015 at the Life Center. The address is 561 Brooks Church Road Upper Marlboro, Maryland 20772. POC: Shonnita McCall .


St. Philip’s family and friend’s line dance social night dates are Fridays March 6, March 20, April 3 and

April 17, 2015 from 7:00 PM-9:00 PM. The cost is $2.00. Point of contact are Ruby E. Hinnant (301) 943-2816, Shirley A Cleaves (302) 690-4260 and Michele Chase (240) 882 3369). The church is located on Baden Naylor Road Brandywine, Maryland.


Hideaway Horse Center is a full service equestrian facility that offers lessons in Jumpers, Hunt Seat, and events for children and adults, beginner through advanced. They offer camps, horse sales, boarding, a horse lease program, and an after school program in addition to their Lesson Program. The address is 12301 Cross Road Trail Brandywine, Maryland 20613. Visit the website at


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