I am writing about something very different this week -- my great-aunt, Mabel A. Whitmore.
A prominent member of the Odenton community for over three decades, Mabel died on Christmas Eve at the Greater Laurel Nursing Home, where she had lived for the past six years. Born Mabel Allen Dixon on Sept. 16, 1909, in Jefferson, Frederick County, my great-aunt was one of seven children.
On June 27, 1941, she married Joseph T. Whitmore in South Carolina. They moved to the Odenton area in the early 1950s.
Mabel was a leading businesswoman in Anne Arundel County. During her career, she owned and operated a beauty shop, ceramic shop and two restaurants, including the well-known "Whitmores" on Route 175 in Odenton.
In addition to her business activities, Mabel Whitmore was active in the community. She was a member of the Odenton Chamber of Commerce, a founder of the Odenton YWCA, a member of the Eastern Star Esther chapter 47, and founder and charter member of the Severn Run Soroptomist Club, where she served as president for two terms. One of her many accomplishments was to make the Soroptomist building (now the Mabel Whitmore Community Building) available to the YWCA, where instructors teach youngsters ballet, tap dance and gymnastics.
Mabel helped lay the groundwork for the Odenton Kiwanis Community Center, presiding over many fund-raising events for it. She was also influential in persuading our elected officials to build the Odenton Library. In 1980, Mabel was named "Citizen of the Year" by the Greater Odenton Improvement Association; in 1981, she was the guest of honor at the 25th anniversary celebration of the Soroptomist Club of Severn Run.
Mabel was diagnosed as having Parkinson's disease in 1984. Her severely deteriorating condition forced her into the nursing home, where she died Monday.
Whether you knew her as Mabel, Joe's wife or "Buba" -- as I did -- you knew she was a wonderful and caring person. I spent a lot of time with my Aunt Buba when I was younger, but I found when writing this that there was much about her I didn't know. Mabel did a great deal for this community, and it's sad to think that people may not remember all the projects she was involved in.
I will always cherish my memories of her; I hope that those of you who knew her do the same.
Services will take place at 1 p.m. today, with a viewing starting at noon, at Hardesty's Funeral Home in Gambrills.
Memorial donations may be made to the Soroptomist Club of Severn Run.