FOR THE PAST 31 years, Mount Airy Middle School students have known Grace Mason as simply Mrs. Mason, the school secretary. To administrators and staff members, however, she'll always be known as "Amazing Grace."
Mason, never caring to be the center of attention or to be fussed over, waited until the school year was over to quietly announce her plans to retire. She will retire Tuesday from a position she has held since 1966.
Mason said the biggest challenge during her career was keeping conversant with office technology.
"She has seen many changes," said Principal Virginia Ashmore. "She has shown a tremendous amount of flexibility and willingness to learn. She's steady and unflappable."
Mason's knowledge of the school and community, as well as of the financial aspects of running a school, made Ashmore's first year at the school easier.
Mason was a source of comfort for students, parents and teachers, Ashmore said. She said that whatever the situation, "You always knew that Mrs. Mason would be at her desk and have the answer to your question."
Although Jack Devault, retired Mount Airy Middle School principal, doesn't remember who gave Mason her nickname, he fondly remembers the 23 years he and Mason worked together.
"Everything was perfect. There were never any mistakes, she's a perfectionist," Devault recalled. "She's always on target, so accurate."
Devault became quite spoiled by Mason's serious demeanor and efficiency, and especially with the comfort of their professional relationship that developed over the years.
Mason said she'll especially miss the students and staff, although she's looking forward to spending more time with her husband of 54 years, Andy Mason.
Mr. Mason said his wife won't have much trouble keeping busy. She'll have time for her hobbies: gardening, flowers, and bird-watching. She's also involved in community service organizations and the couple's church.
DTC The couple plan to spend more time visiting their three children and nine grandchildren in neighboring states. This fall they plan to take a trip to New England with a group from Mount Airy Senior Center.
Mary Hynes of Mount Airy has been selected as the new school secretary.
When students return to Mount Airy Middle School this fall, another familiar face will be missing from the staff.
Retiring after 30 years of teaching is physical education teacher James Myers.
The Carroll County native began his career at the middle school after graduating from Towson State University in 1967.
Myers plans to take it easy for the first six months and will spend more time with his wife, Amy, children, Joel and Stephanie, and a new grandson.
In lieu of a retirement party, Myers requested donations be made to Pittsburgh Habitat for Humanity, an organization he has been involved with for years.
More than $1,200 has been donated in his name.
Students can look forward to meeting George Wunder, the new physical education teacher this fall.
Winfield Community Volunteer Fire Department will hold a crab feast from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 3 at the carnival grounds next to the fire hall, 1320 W. Old Liberty Road.
Advance tickets are on sale for $20. The menu includes all-you-can-eat steamed crabs, fried chicken, corn on the cob, crab soup, salad and fruit bars, beer, soda, tea and coffee.
:. Information: 410-795-4640 or 410-875-5840.
Pub Date: 6/27/97