Banquet planned to honor `mayor'


October 06, 2002|By Christina Bittner | Christina Bittner,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

IT SEEMS to me that every neighborhood has an unofficial mayor. It's the person residents go to for advice, the person they complain to when they see something wrong and want to see it made right.

We go to these unelected, nonpolitical neighborhood activists because we value their opinions and know that although they may not be able to "make it right," they have the know-how and the skills to get the ball rolling.

For 60 years, Philip Marner has been an unofficial mayor of Pumphrey. At 7 p.m. Friday, the neighborhood will hold a banquet at the Lloyd Keaser Center, 5757 Belle Grove Road, to show just how much they appreciate all that Marner has done for the neighborhood and its residents.

When Pumphrey Elementary School closed in the early 1970s, it easily could have become an eyesore in the neighborhood. Instead, Marner had a vision of it becoming a community center and stepped forward to make it happen.

"He is the backbone of the center," said longtime Pumphrey resident Chuck Bowie. "It was him who got the building open, and he was there for every phase. Under [former County Executive Robert A.] Pascal, he got it opened up. We were fortunate enough to have [wrestler] Lloyd Keaser from the community go to the Olympics and win a bronze medal, and we named it after him," said Bowie.

Marner is more modest.

"I didn't do it by myself. I came up with the idea" and built upon it, he said. "I worked with a lot of politicians, and they helped. At first, the back of the building was sealed off and we only had two rooms open.

"Now we have six big classrooms open to us. We have Head Start and day care there. People can drop their children off as early as 6 a.m. That's important for working people," he added.

The Lloyd Keaser Center also provides athletic facilities for the youth of the community and space for the county's Pumphrey Senior Nutrition Site.

Marner is stepping down as president of the Taxpayers Improvement Association of Patapsco Park and is handing over his responsibilities as president to Bowie. The new vice president of the association is Albert Ross. Geraldine Bates is the new financial secretary, and Annette Bates is the new secretary.

Bowie said that having Marner working for the neighborhood has been a blessing.

"We approached him about having the banquet, but he didn't want it," Bowie said. "That's just the type of fellow that he is. But we talked about it and all that he has meant to the community and we decided to have it anyway."

Although he doesn't have any projects going on at the moment, Marner will continue to serve the neighborhood as best he can.

"You never know what is going to come up," he said.

Tickets to the appreciation banquet are $15 and may be reserved by calling 410-789-9037, 410-636-4672 or 410-789-5482.

Sour beef dinner

The Aid Association for Lutherans Branch 7342 will sponsor a Sour and Roast Beef Dinner from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday at St. John Lutheran Church, 226 Washburn Ave.

The menu will feature sour and roast beef, potato dumplings or mashed potatoes, green beans with tomatoes, baked apples, dessert and a beverage. Entertainment will be provided by John Norfolk at the keyboard.

Tickets are $9 for adults and $4 for children age 12 and younger. Carryout dinners will be available. Information: 410- 355-7295.

Help with homework

The youth ministry of Community Baptist Church will offer homework help to students of all ages beginning at 6 p.m. Tuesday and Oct. 15. For pupils in grades six, seven and eight, help also will be available to prepare for the state's functional tests. Parents are welcome to attend.

Contact youth ministry director Brenda Wilson, 410-636-9888, with questions.

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