County planning worker retires today

NEIGHBORS

December 24, 1998|By Casey Willis | Casey Willis,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

TODAY, MARY Edmondson will conclude 30 years of service in Howard County's Department of Planning and Zoning.

In a joint proclamation by newly elected County Executive James N. Robey and Howard County Council, Edmondson is recognized for "her extensive knowledge which has been invaluable as she capably and effectively helped to manage a complex department, promoting teamwork and harmony among employees and earning the respect of her peers and all those who came in contact with her."

She "worked quietly behind the scenes, taking little credit for herself," the proclamation reads.

As an administrative analyst in the office of the director, Edmondson established a reputation for efficiency that helped ensure the smooth operation of a department that has been marked by tremendous growth over the past 30 years.

Edmondson, known to native Howard Countians as Mary Leslie Hawkins, grew up in West Friendship and attended West Friendship Elementary, Lisbon and Howard high schools.

She married her high school sweetheart, Clarence, 41 years ago. They raised two sons: Kevin, a pilot for US Airways, and Chad, a civil engineer.

"I was hired in April 1964," Edmondson said, "after the Rouse Co. had presented a table model of the proposed new town of Columbia and the concept had been approved by the county commissioners."

She became an assistant to the chief of the Bureau of Land Development and coordinated plans that came pouring in as a result of the sudden building spurt that became Columbia.

Tom Harris, director of the five-member department then known as the Office of Planning and Zoning, remembers Edmondson as "always extremely efficient and pleasant."

Edmondson worked part time as a secretary in the county's Industrial Development Office for a few years to have more time for her children and returned to the Office of Planning and Zoning full time in 1969.

Over the years, she has worked with builders and developers, coordinating the building permit process.

Developer Jim Moxley, president of Security Development Corp., describes her as "a conscientious, organized and pleasantly persistent public servant who always was able to get the task at hand completed."

Uri Avin, who served as director of the Department of Planning and Zoning from 1987 to 1991, described Edmondson as "a very smart lady who always went above and beyond the call of duty."

Edmondson is proud of her role in the creation of the 1990 General Plan, which contains guidelines for future development in the county. The plan won a national award from the American Planning Association.

The document took hours of time, demanded a great deal of attention and has been used as a model for communities across the country.

Edmondson also assumed responsibilities beyond those required by her job description.

She played the piano at employee holiday celebrations and helped coordinate Howard County Government's United Way campaign.

She served on the board of the Woodmark Community Association and was a member of the board of directors of Howard County General Hospital from 1991 to this year.

A member of St. James United Methodist Church in West Friendship for 34 years, she sings in the church choir and plays the organ.

In retirement, Edmondson is looking forward to spending more time with her 4-year-old granddaughter and 2-year-old grandson as soon as she and her husband are settled in their new Ellicott City home.

The couple, who love to dance, plan to travel and keep dancing through the years ahead.

Christmas services

Christmas Eve services will be held at St. Louis Roman Catholic Church in Clarksville at 4 p.m., 5: 30 p.m., 6 p.m., 7: 30 p.m., 8 p.m., 11: 30 p.m. and midnight.

Tomorrow, Masses will be celebrated at 8 a.m., 9: 30 a.m., 11: 15 a.m. and 12: 45 p.m.

Mount Zion United Methodist Church in Highland will celebrate with a 5: 30 p.m. family service today, featuring the Cherub Choir and preschool singers.

Candlelight services will be held at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. with the Senior Choir and soloists.

The service at 11 p.m. will include Holy Communion.

Congratulations

Congratulations to David Stepp, an eighth-grade pupil at Glenwood Middle School, who was recently named to the All-State Junior Band by the Maryland Music Educators Association.

David was the only middle school saxophone player selected for the band, which includes seventh-, eighth- and ninth-graders.

The band will perform Feb. 20 at the Baltimore Convention Center.

New directors

The Howard County Fair board of directors recently elected new officers.

H. Mitchell Day will serve as the new president. Charles Rupp is the new vice president.

Carol Hodiak Chaney will be the recording secretary.

Former County Councilman Charles C. Feaga was elected to a three-year term as a board member.

Keep warm at the library

As winter begins, the Howard County Library announces "BRRR!" -- a program of chilly tales and activities for children ages 2 to 5.

The program will be presented at 10: 30 a.m. Jan. 13 at Lisbon Community Library.

Registration begins at 10 a.m. Monday and may be done in person or by phone.

Information: 410-489-4290.

Learn CPR

New parents and child care providers should circle Jan. 23 on their calendars.

From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Howard County General Hospital will offer an Infant and Child CPR class at the Wellness Center at Inwood Village Center in Glenwood.

The course features safety strategies such as removing airway obstructions.

The cost is $39.

Information or registration: 410-740-7680 and enter 3861.

Pub Date: 12/24/98

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