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

Longtime Auth Village resident Mary Mitchell dies at 93

Mary Rose (Van Engelen) Mitchell was born on a dairy farm in Faribault, Minnesota, 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 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 October 2, 2016.

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.)

Coming up

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. Senator; District 4 Representative in Congress; several Court judges; Board of Education, District 7, and several Questions.

Sat., 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 & 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.

Sat., 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.

Changing landscape

Another federal agency may be moving to Prince George’s. The General Services Administration (GSA) 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 #174 in Upper Marlboro.

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by Audrey Johnson 301 888 2153  


CSS 2016 Yard Sale/Flea Market will be on Saturday, October 22, 2016 from 8:00 AM–1:00 PM. Rain date will be October 29, 2016 from 8:00 AM–1:00 PM. The address is Chapel of the Incarnation 14070 Brandywine Road, Brandywine, Maryland 20613. To obtain more information call 301-372-1491.

The Yard Sale/Flea Market is to benefit Community Support Systems (CSS), a private, non-profit social service agency serving Southern Prince George’s and Northern Charles Counties.


Come and go with us to Delaware Park Raceway and Casino in Wilmington Delaware Saturday, November 12, 2016. Bus will leave St. Philip’s Episcopal Church at 9:00 AM and Clinton Park-N-Ride, Clinton, Maryland at 9:30 AM and return at approximately 7:00 PM.

Fun package includes a $30.00 rebate, 50/50 raffle, cake sale, and light refreshments. All tickets must be purchased by October 30, 2016. Donation is $40.00. Absolutely no refunds. Sponsored by Shirley Ann Cleaves. For tickets please contact Shirley A. Cleaves (302) 690-4260 or Doretha A. Savoy (301) 233-3136.


Are you interested in getting your daughter into Girl Scouts to become part of an amazing organization for girls from Kindergarten–12th grade? Your daughter will have fun, make new friends and change the world. Join us at or call 800-523-7898. All abilities accommodated, financial assistance and volunteer opportunities available.


Join us for Community discussions on balancing enrollment. Prince George’s County Public Schools invite parents, students, and community members to participate in Community Discussions to continue an open dialog on opportunities to balance enrollment in the district, among other changes. Each Community Discussion will feature breakout groups on specific schools that may be studied for possible changes. Discussions will not be limited to these schools and there are no specific proposals at this time.

The community discussions will take place from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM on Thursday, October 20 at James Madison Middle School, Wednesday, October 26 at Accokeek Academy and Thursday, October 27 at Bladensburg High School.


The United Methodist Women presents “Stop Worrying and Start Praying” Prayer Breakfast Saturday, October 29, 2016 at 8:30 AM in the Family Life Center/Nottingham Myers UMC 15601 Brooks Church Road, Upper Marlboro, Md. Rev. Constance C. Smith, Pastor. Donation: $20.00 advance or $25.00 at the door.

Guest speaker will be Minister Ruthell Bland Deliverance Church of Christ Capitol Heights, Maryland. Contact Christ UMC 301-888-1316, Nottingham Myers UMC 301-888-2171, Janice Watkins 202-247-8691 or Lillie Skinner 301-782-4579 for more information.


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